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I got into what I think the Seahawks should do this off-season in this post following the debacle against the Rams, so I don’t want to repeat myself all over the place this soon after. I’m on record as saying that I don’t necessarily think THIS is the year to blow it all up and start over – nor do I think that’s the direction the team will take – my whole agenda is to loosen up the cap a little and prepare for a bigger overhaul in 2019. In short, that means letting the dead weight walk (Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Luke Joeckel, Eddie Lacy, Blair Walsh, and all the other guys on 1-year deals, except for maybe Bradley McDougald, depending on what happens with the other safeties on the roster); further trimming some of the fat by getting rid of guys like Jon Ryan, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Lane and Thomas Rawls; and then making calculated decisions on some of the aging vets nearing the ends of their deals. For the most part, I’m cool with hanging on to a lot of guys – Bennett, Sherman, Earl, Wright, maybe Kam if doctors clear him to play again – but I’m not going to be devastated if the team opts to trade/release them. I do think, however, that all of those guys should be playing for their jobs in 2018 if they remain, and we look to clean house after 2018 if the team’s record plummets.
So, that’s my take. In a nutshell: run it back with the same core – or close to it – don’t make any crazy trades or high-priced free agent signings (in order to keep our compensatory picks for 2019’s draft), and if things fall apart for a third straight year with injuries, look to the 2019 draft/free agent class to replenish the roster with younger/hungrier options. The key being: DON’T FUCK WITH THE 2019 DRAFT. I don’t know if it’s going to be a good one or not; all I know is we can’t keep kicking the can down the road with these inflated veteran contracts and bad draft classes. And, if we’re going to be bad in 2018 – like I think we probably will be – then at least take advantage of the higher draft picks in each round by having all of them in place.
With that out of the way, what do I think the Seahawks will actually do?
Well, for starters, I don’t think they’ll do everything that I’d like them to do, and I don’t know how that makes me feel. I’m conflicted, because on the one hand In Pete & John We Trust, but on the other hand I just don’t know if they have it in them to be patient. They’re constantly aggressive, which is part of what made their moves from 2010-2012 so dynamic and franchise-altering; but it’s also a big part of this team’s downfall. Start with the Percy Harvin disaster, which gave way to letting Golden Tate walk, which ultimately led to them doubling-down on their mistake by trading for Jimmy Graham, who has never been a fit for this team – even when we finally figured out how to use him in the red zone two years too late – and the Seahawks’ only real offensive success has come when he was out with his knee injury. I absolutely, 2,000% believe that’s no coincidence, and if they bring him back on a high-priced contract, I seriously might have to reconsider whether or not I want to keep following this team as a fan. I don’t care how shitty the draft is at the tight end position, and I don’t care how shitty the tight end free agency class is; if you over-pay for Jimmy Graham, because he’s Russell Wilson’s BFF or whatever, I’ll probably have to take a break from investing myself in this team as thoroughly as I have over the years.
I don’t know if I actually believe they WILL bring him back, and I honestly don’t think he wants to be back, so my hunch is that will work itself out. But, my fear is that they compound this thing even further by trading for some other offensive weapon that’s a terrible fit for our particular scheme, style, and quarterback. I’m not a fan of trading for receivers in any capacity anyway (be they tight end or wide receiver); if I had my druthers, if the Seahawks are going to make any splashes in the passing game, I’d rather they extend Paul Richardson (though, that’s really the lesser of two evils, and in a perfect world the Seahawks would do neither).
I think the Seahawks have lost their minds when it comes to trading away draft picks, so expect more of the same. I would anticipate Plan A is for them to trade back from the 18th pick to get an extra second and/or third rounder, to go along with a low first rounder. I highly doubt there’s a player in this draft who’d fall to them at 18 that would lead them to take him over trading down and collecting more picks, but if there is, then I think you really have to be concerned about this team trading some of its 2019 picks to get back into the second and/or third rounds, which is my nightmare. Of course, my WORST nightmare is they trade 18 for some other team’s unwanted veteran, citing the tried and true (and misguided) credo of: he’s better for us right now than any college player we would’ve taken with that pick. If I fucking hear that one more fucking time, I’m gonna lose it.
See, the worst part of where the Seahawks are at right now, with their core as it is, the salary cap where it is, and where they often find themselves drafting, is we’re in a prime position to finish anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7 every year, until we somehow, miraculously find ourselves hitting more on these draft picks. Which means, unless we find some magic elixir that keeps these fucking guys healthy for a full season, it’s gonna be a long, frustrating road back to Super Bowl contention. And, we can kiss goodbye any thought of being as good as we were from 2012-2014. It’s the New Orleans Saints model, and I fucking hate it, because it took them fucking forever to get as good as they were this season, and even now it’s no guarantee that they’ll make it to the Super Bowl, or be great for years to come.
I also think the Seahawks have at least one big free agent splash in them, be it an offensive lineman, an outside pass rusher, or some sort of stud interior pass rusher. I doubt that means re-signing Sheldon Richardson (who I would prefer, if for no other reason than to preserve our comp pick for Jimmy Graham going elsewhere), but I bet it WILL mean we lose out on the surefire 3rd round comp pick we would’ve gotten for whatever insane contract Sheldon will end up signing with some sucker team.
Ultimately, I think it means while a bunch of our outgoing free agents get signed elsewhere, the best we can hope for in comp picks is a 4th or 5th rounder, with a very real chance we get stuck with a 6th or 7th rounder, or nothing at all, if this front office continues to chase the dragon on whoever the equivalent of Luke Joeckel and Eddie Lacy are this upcoming offseason (1-year fliers on the hope of turning around total miserable busts).
It’s bleak, man. That’s really what I’m getting at. I think we’ll get our panties in a wad about some of the free agent signings, as the Seahawks continue to put Band Aids over their amputated limbs; and then we’ll further blow our loads over whatever prospects we settle for in the draft, but will any of it translate to real, tangible improvement? In the running game? In the offensive line? In the passing game? In the pass rush? In the run defense? In the pass defense? At all those levels we struggled at in 2017? And, will there be any LASTING tangible improvement? Or, will half of these guys immediately go down with injury and leave us scrambling yet again to plug the dike?
See, these temporary fixes that the team has employed the last couple years – the same ones I fear they’ll continue trying in 2018 – are what the fanbase at large wants to see. They want to see heads roll. They want to see a massive influx of free agent help. But, the smart franchises don’t over-react to every fucking thing. The smart franchises plan for the future as they continue to play for the present. You don’t have to be the Cleveland Browns – throwing away every valuable player to accumulate as many prospects and draft picks as possible – but you also shouldn’t be the Ravens or Saints – clinging to aging vets and trading away your future picks/prospects in hopes of winning now over all else. Unfortunately for where we are now, the Seahawks have veered over into that Ravens/Saints territory, and have drastically reduced their future flexibility and prospect pool in the process. While some of the moves might have made sense at the time (the Sheldon Richardson & Duane Brown trades in particular), we have to admit they ultimately failed this year, and might have crippled this organization in the short term future. The worst thing you can do is cripple yourselves in the long term future on top of it.
So, take a bath in 2018. Ride it out, and set yourselves up to be in a position to take advantage of things in 2019. Otherwise, expect to keep spinning your wheels in the land of the .500 teams, never quite making the playoffs and never quite getting bad enough to draft the improvements you need for sustained success.
I’m … I’m not going into 2018 with any semblance of a good headspace when it comes to the professional Seattle teams. Wake me up when the year is over.
I don’t know if there’s any point in rehashing this one too in depth, so let’s blow through it really quick: the Seahawks lost at home to the Arizona Cardinals. Led by Drew Stanton and his slightly torn ACL (that still left him spry enough to repeatedly run away from Michael Bennett in the open field), the Cards racked up 259 yards en route to a 26-24 victory. Of course, the most mind-boggling thing was their 20-7 halftime lead, but at this point should it even be all that mind-boggling anymore? We suck early in games, period. That only made the inevitable second half comeback all the more painful in the end, as Blair Walsh sailed yet another field goal wide of its target in the closing seconds of the game.
Of course, by that point, it was known that the Panthers – behind garbage-ass Cam Newton’s 3 interceptions – lost to the Falcons, blowing their opportunity to win their division in the process (because, against all odds, the Bucs actually managed to beat the Saints). So, it didn’t really matter what Blair Walsh did, and missing that kick actually made things better for the Seahawks, not just in dropping our draft pick from 20 to 18, but ensuring that there’s no fucking way this front office loses its collective minds and opts to re-sign that good-for-nothing piece of shit kicker. 21 of 29, for the worst season percentage of his career. 3 of those misses were under 40 yards (not counting the extra point he also missed), and 0 of those makes were 50 yards or more. Ostensibly, we brought Walsh in here to be a cheaper alternative to Steven Hauschka, but we also brought him in here because of his big leg. Once it was determined that he couldn’t be trusted, he finished the season with just 1 attempt over 50 yards, so obviously that was a huge embarrassing failure of a signing.
But, you can’t blame the fact that the Seahawks missed out on the playoffs on a terrible kicker like Blair Walsh (though, you can certainly trace at least a couple of these close losses to his missed field goals). There’s plenty of blame to go around for why the Seahawks finished 9-7 and outside of the playoffs. We’ll get into more of that as Seahawks Death Week goes on.
Before we get to that, a few notes on this final game of the season:
Tyler Lockett looked amazing, particularly on his kickoff return for a TD. He’s slowly but surely returning to form after his devastating injury; I would expect great things from him in 2018.
I hope the Seahawks can bring Byron Maxwell back on the cheap. He’d be a nice depth piece to have behind Sherm and Griffin. I would also hope DeShawn Shead can return, but I think that’s less likely. He’s probably looking for more of a starting role, and if he shows out in workouts, could very well command a salary this team has no business matching. Besides, Justin Coleman appears to have that slot corner position on lockdown, so there isn’t a lot of room for more DBs (assuming, of course, that the team goes out in the draft and picks up another one).
I would absolutely love it for Dion Jordan to stay on. I’ll get to where he should play in the coming days (hint: so long, Michael Bennett), but I thought he was clearly the best defensive lineman on the field for the Seahawks in the last couple weeks, and it would’ve been nice to see him at least get more than 50% of the defensive snaps.
I’m less high on Sheldon Richardson returning, but I’d consider it for a couple reasons: I don’t want the Seahawks to waste their time on high-priced free agents from other teams (mostly because I want some good compensatory draft picks for 2019). While he would certainly figure in that equation if he walked away, I just don’t know who you could bring in to fill that spot, unless you’re sure Malik McDowell can come back from whatever stole his rookie season from him. I have my doubts there. Obviously, though, if Richardson is looking for Ndamukong Suh-type money, then let him walk. But, if he can be had at the right price, with an out after 2-3 years, I say jump on it!
Okay, so I’m jumping on some of my future posts, so I’ll wrap it up with this: I think the Seahawks need a lot of work in their receiver corps. Baldwin is a stud, Lockett is criminally under-utilized, but as for the rest … yeesh.
There is a lot of justified talk this week – following the 42-7 smackdown against the Rams – that the Seahawks need wholesale changes. Blow the damn thing up! No one is off limits! (up to and including Russell Wilson … shh!)
And, yes, I get that, 100%. This year, in many ways, has been a huge disaster (only to be punctuated by a 9-7 or 8-8 finish and missing the playoffs for the first time in the Russell Wilson era). The second half of 2015 for Russ appears to be more of an anomaly than a sign of things to come. We’re still seeing the same issues with him (missing open receivers because he can’t see them, running himself into sacks and/or turnovers, throwing the ball beyond the line of scrimmage and/or behind the line of scrimmage for intentional grounding penalties). We’re also dealing with the same O-Line issues (penalties, early pressure, lack of a running game) and the same running back issues (injuries, lack of dynamism). Jimmy Graham appears to be useless outside of the red zone, the receivers after Doug Baldwin don’t appear to be making any improvements, and the second and third tight ends aren’t anything more than second and third tight ends.
And that doesn’t even touch on the aging and injury-prone defense.
On top of all of this, we’ve traded away a lot of good future picks to bring in guys like Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown, in an effort to Win Now (which I very much approved of at the time; it’s unfortunate that they haven’t been enough to push this team over the edge). So, the only way to get those kinds of draft picks back is to trade down in the first round again (when you’re looking at a first round draft pick that will be the best we’ve seen since 2012, somewhere in the Top 20 to start out), or trade away some of our valuable stars (of which we don’t have many who aren’t currently injured or on bad contracts or both).
The Trade Russell talk is pretty dire, and most certainly a topic deserving of its own post (which I’ll probably get around to at some point, even though I can all but guarantee it will never happen in a million years … or at least not until he’s considerably older and/or whenever a new regime takes over), so I will proceed here under the assumption that Wilson will be on the Seahawks in 2018.
With that unpleasantness out of the way, I do agree that almost everyone else is on the chopping block. Probably NOT Bobby Wagner, who has the second-largest cap hit next year, with $5.2 million in dead money. Probably NOT Doug Baldwin, who has the fourth-largest cap hit next year, with almost $9.5 million in dead money. And probably NOT Justin Britt, who is set to only count a little over $6 million against the cap, but has almost $9 million in dead money.
There are some obvious moves I think the Seahawks will make, without question. Jimmy Graham is off the books after this season, and I think he stays that way. It was a nice idea, but that experiment was an unmitigated disaster. Sheldon Richardson is in the same boat; I think you let him walk and you accept the comp pick for 2019. There’s no way he’s worth a huge extension at his age and at what will be his price. Jeremy Lane only has $2.5 million in dead money, and was never meant to see 2018 in a Seahawks uniform anyway (unless it’s on a veteran minimum deal, but he would surely get more than that from another team).
Jon Ryan is currently set to have the 13th-highest cap number on the Seahawks next year, which is INSANE. He’s not only been one of the least-effective punters in football, but $3.2 million? Get the fuck right out. It’s insane that we’ve been trying to pinch pennies all season, as far up against the salary cap as you can get, and we’ve got a punter making this much money. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you. Go home and play with your kids.
Then, as sad as I am to say it, you’ve got guys like Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril, who might not play another down in the NFL. And, if they do, they’ll definitely be at risk the next time they get hit to either go back on the IR or end up paralyzed. No one wants to see that. Cliff is set to make $8 million, but only has $500,000 in dead money, so I think that’s a no-brainer: cut him. Kam, on the other hand, is set to count $9.8 million against the cap, while having a dead money hit of $7.5 million. Let’s get back to him.
Richard Sherman has 1 year left on his deal; he counts $13.2 million against the cap, with a dead money figure of only $2.2 million. It feels like Seahawks fans are already shoving him out the door without giving much consideration to the fact that he’s impossible to replace. Let’s also get back to him in a minute.
Earl Thomas, as well, has 1 year left on his deal; he counts $10.4 million against the cap, with a dead money figure of only $1.9 million. If you cut both Sherm and Earl, that’s a TON of free money you get to play around with. But, again, another guy who’s impossible to replace.
Duane Brown is back in 2018 at a figure just under $10 million, with no dead money since he was acquired in trade. I don’t think it hurts you at all to keep him for another season, then make a decision on left tackle (groom George Fant to take his place in 2019 and beyond?).
Michael Bennett is an interesting case. He’s under contract through the 2020 season, set to count only a little over $8 million against the cap, with only a little over $5 million in dead money. You could argue that his 2018 season hasn’t been on par with his peak, and I would agree with you. But, I don’t feel like he’s been totally useless.
K.J. Wright is another interesting case. He’s only signed through 2018, and while his cap hit will be $8.2 million, his dead money is only $1 million. He missed the Rams game due to a concussion, so a lot of people are lumping him in with the “aging defense” that needs to be purged, but he really hasn’t been all THAT injury-prone in his career.
My point, with guys like Kam (if he is medically cleared to play again), Richard (assuming he makes a full recovery of his Achilles, which I think will happen), Earl, Duane, Bennett, and Wright, is that you don’t necessarily NEED to dump all these salaries right away. If you’re worried about extending Frank Clark, don’t be. The Seahawks will have more than enough money to keep him here for the long haul. If you’re worried about any of the other impending Seahawks free agents, I would ask why? What have they done to garner such concern? And, if you’re worried about having money to bring in other free agents, to bolster the O-Line or whatever, then I repeat: don’t. The Seahawks will have enough money coming off the books from the likes of Graham, Sheldon, Lacy, Joeckel, Walsh, Lane, Ryan, and any of the other turds on this team who don’t deserve to be back, that we should be fine to plug holes where needed.
But, I honestly don’t think we need to do a total rebuild. Not THIS offseason, anyway. I think, if you were to rid the Seahawks of every single big contract (outside of the aforementioned Russell, Bobby, Doug, and Britt), you only do that because you want to tank the 2018 season. And, if you’re doing that, then you might as well go all the way, trade EVERYBODY (including Russell Wilson), stockpile a billion draft picks, and start all over with a new rookie QB in 2019 with the first overall draft pick. But, I’ve never been much of a fan of the Cleveland Browns approach, and I don’t think you should be either.
I think the Seahawks should let it ride in 2018 (minus, of course, the obvious moves of letting go of Graham, Richardson, Lane, Ryan, Walsh, Lacy, Joeckel, Avril, and so on and so forth). I absolutely don’t think the Seahawks should be thinking about throwing around any extensions to any of our aging vets, and I think we use 2018 as a testing ground. If 2018 goes well, and the team improves, maybe we look on a case-by-case basis. For instance, I don’t hate the idea of extending Earl or Richard, if they make it through 2018 unscathed, as long as their next deals give us some easy outs in the event of future injury (particularly Earl, as I could see him eventually acquiring this neck/stinger issue that Kam’s dealing with right now).
And, if 2018 goes to shit, then I think you’re in a MUCH better position to drop all the vets, blow the thing up, and head into 2019 with a cleaner slate to start over through the draft and whatnot.
This is also contingent, of course, on not blowing your wad with 2018 free agents. Bringing in Sheldon Richardson in the first place – and giving away such a high draft pick – was only palatable because he was going to get us a huge compensatory draft pick in 2019. If we fuck that up, by spending a ton of money on high-priced free agents, then what was the point? Same goes for keeping Jimmy Graham around; he should get us at LEAST a 4th round comp pick, if not another 3rd. I WANT those comp picks!
And, for the love of God, stop trading away our draft picks for players! It should be the other way around, if anything! It was fine for 2017, as we were clinging to hope that our championship window could be extended. But, to double down on this terrible line of thinking would be a disaster. Kicking the can down the road is exactly what the New Orleans Saints did for so long, and they ended up with a bunch of 8-8/7-9 seasons as their reward. It wasn’t until they finally devoted themselves to rebuilding through the draft this past offseason when they were finally able to get back to division-winning football.
Let’s just … maintain. No huge splashes in free agency, no giving away draft picks for veterans, no free agency money PERIOD on the running back position, let the big money free agents walk so we can get some comp picks, cut off some of the fat, but save the rest of the fat to deal with after 2018, at which point we’ll be better prepared to set this team up for 2019 and beyond.
My world is a little upside down right now, when it comes to the Seahawks. I was pretty sure they were going to lose to the Jags, but they were supposed to lose a 14-9 slugfest (that would, of course, assume Blair Walsh could actually make three fucking field goals, so right there the faulty logic bit me in the ass). Under no circumstances, however, should Blake Bortles have out-played Russell Wilson in damn near every facet of the game! And, to a lesser extent, the Seahawks’ defensive line should’ve probably done SOMETHING aside from bend over and take the ol’ dick in the ass, but that’s neither here nor there.
What am I supposed to make of a defense that couldn’t stop The Bort? Just a matter of flying across the country and playing on the road? Bullshit! That shouldn’t matter. Hangover from the big Philly win? Bullshit! With so much on the line, and so many losses already under our belt, they could ill afford to give away yet another game.
Ergo, I have to assume that the Seahawks’ defense just isn’t very good. I mean, Cleveland held the Jags to 19 points. The Chargers held them to 20. The fucking RAMS went to Jacksonville and limited them to 17! The Jets held them to 20, the Titans held them to 16. I mean, aside from the Rams and Chargers, we’re not talking about world-beating defenses here.
So, if the Seahawks’ defense isn’t very good, and the Jags were able to rack up 30 points … and if we assume the Rams’ offense is better than Jacksonville’s (which it very much is), I can only believe that the Rams should have no problem whatsoever coming into Seattle and moving the ball at will.
And don’t you DARE give me this 12th Man bullshit. CenturyLink Field is not what it once was! We’ve already suffered 2 losses at home. The Falcons came in here and put up 34, the Texans put up 38; and on the road we have the aforementioned 30 from Jacksonville, and 33 from Tennessee. That’s 4 teams so far – including two teams when we were pretty much at full strength – who have dropped 30+. So, no, I’m not gonna buy the It’s Loud In Seattle argument.
You could maybe remind me that we held the Rams to 10 points, but I’ll again remind you of all the injuries we have now, and double down on the fact that the Rams had their fair share of drops in that game. By all accounts, they should’ve WON that game, if Kupp had held onto the ball in the endzone at the end of the game. Plus, there was the Earl Thomas forced fumble that hit the pylon. That game was more fluke than anything else. On top of that, the Rams have played a bunch more games since then, and have to be more comfortable in their offense.
That doesn’t factor in how great the Rams’ defense is. They’ve ALWAYS been great against the Seahawks, and this year they’ve got Wade Phillips, the best defensive coordinator in the league. You can’t tell me that defense isn’t vastly improved over where it was at the beginning of the year.
Again, I’ll reiterate, I just don’t know why we should expect the Seahawks to win this weekend. From here on out, with all the nothing we’re getting defensively, I think you have to require the Seahawks to score 30+ to win, and I just don’t think they’re capable of doing that, ESPECIALLY against the Rams, and regardless of how money Russell Wilson is playing this year.
I’ll do you one better: unless we see some serious magic the rest of the way, I can easily envision a scenario where the Seahawks finish the year 8-8. I’m already calling this Rams game a loss, which will drop us to 8-6. At that point, we’d need to win out and get help to make the Wild Card, which makes that game in Dallas all-important (because I fully expect them to beat the Raiders this weekend). Dallas will have Zeke Elliott back, which will make their offense whole again. And, if we can’t stop the Jags or Rams, I don’t see why we should stop the Cowboys at full strength. There’s a possible record of 8-7, at which point we’re officially eliminated from the playoffs. By then, you figure anyone playing through injuries will just go on the IR and call it a season. And, with nothing left to play for, I’ve heard of crazier things than the Cardinals winning in Seattle (like, for instance, last year on Christmas Eve).
I’m not necessarily guaranteeing an 8-8 record, but I’m also not poo-pooing the idea either.
The Seahawks are broken, and it really feels like the championship window is slamming shut right before our eyes. I fucking HATE it when the Seahawks’ defense is bad; it literally ruins my whole life. You know what my vision of Hell is? All those bad New Orleans Saints teams we’ve seen under Drew Brees. You know the ones: where he’s great, throwing for 5,000+ yards and the offense is tops in the league, but the defense is the very fucking worst and they end up anywhere from 7-9 to 8-8. Bad enough to consistently miss out on the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a draft pick that’s actually worth a fucking damn.
That’s what I see in the Seahawks’ immediate future, as we continue to try to lean on aging veterans on the defensive side of the ball, who can’t help but get injured every fucking year. Sometimes, it’s the usual suspects, like Kam Chancellor, Jeremy Lane, and to a lesser extent Bobby Wagner; sometimes it’s someone you never expected, like Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, or Richard Sherman, and your season goes down the toilet as a result. If you keep those guys and ride them out, then yeah, you’ll be pretty good, but your seasons will end disasterously as one by one they get picked off in the annual churn that is NFL injuries; if you dump everyone and start over, then you’ve got to suffer through a rebuild, and there’s no guarantees that the next crop of draft picks will be able to return this defense to its Top 5 form. Plus, given Pete Carroll’s age and personality, there’s no way in a million years I see them blowing this team up.
What a miserable time to be alive. Oh sure, Russell Wilson will be in the MVP discussion every year, but the rest of the team will be mediocre so what’s the point?
At least we still get to enjoy fantasy football. That’s certainly not a huge bundle of agitation and disappointment waiting to happen every fucking year.
Old teams have injury problems. Not every old player gets injured, but the more old people you have on your team, the odds of a bunch of them getting injured skyrockets. The Seahawks are old. Oh sure, the back-end of the roster is super young, which brings down the average age of the team, but the stars on the Seahawks are all getting up there. So, it’s time to stop thinking of 2016 and 2017 as fluke years, and start thinking of this as the norm. We’re never going to keep this team fully healthy, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can think about turning over this roster for real.
Guys like Bradley McDougald, Michael Wilhoite, Terence Garvin, Byron Maxwell, and take your pick from our running back group, these are all Band Aids. Fine for small cuts and scrapes, but useless when limbs start getting amputated.
Russell Wilson is great, one of the best players in the league, so you can never really count yourself out of any game. But, he’s not good enough to overcome losses to Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and Cliff Avril. Yesterday was just another example of that.
That being said, I don’t know if I can put all of this loss on the injuries to Wagner and Wright. Was it Wilhoite & Garvin’s fault that the D-Line accounted for 0 sacks and just 1 QB hit? Was it Wilhoite & Garvin’s fault that Byron Maxwell kept getting beat by The Bort throwing deep down the sideline on him? Now, it might’ve been their fault that Leonard Fournette was able to convert a 3rd & 11 when you needed a stop to get the ball back, but like usual, this loss was a total team effort.
It didn’t help anyone but my fantasy team (who has the Jags’ defense) that Russell Wilson kept throwing deep bombs into double coverage or really good single coverage for picks. It didn’t help that Jimmy Graham wasn’t able to catch a single ball. It didn’t help that we saw more damaging play from Germain Ifedi with his penalties and his more penalties. It didn’t help when Blair Walsh missed yet another make-able fucking field goal. It didn’t help when the defense – as I mentioned before – laid a total fucking egg.
And yet, there we were, on the comeback trail, late in the second half. Three plays and two touchdowns across two fourth quarter drives to pull to within 6 points. Plenty of time on the clock, and more importantly, all the time outs at our disposal. The defense got a stop! And we had the ball, with a chance to take the lead. Throw to Baldwin for 9 yards, out of bounds, and that’s as far as we got.
Didn’t help that the fucking refs missed an obvious fucking holding penalty, as the defender got beat and took Paul Richardson to the ground, but that’s the theme of the day, isn’t it? The Seahawks didn’t get much help from anyone. And that’s why they lost.
And then, at the end, when the Jags were in Victory Formation, out came the pissy-pants, with Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, and Co. all acting like fucking assholes. At this point, I don’t care if it was in retaliation to whatever harmful things the Jags were doing to you; there’s enough of a precedent with you acting like a bunch of Bitch Babies to automatically not take your side. I don’t feel ashamed to be a Seahawks fan, but you absolutely should feel ashamed for the embarrassing display. You probably don’t, and that’s okay too, and while I’ll continue to root you on in future games, I’m going to stop defending you and your juvenile actions.
So, yeah, the Seahawks lost. They now sit 7th in the NFC, because the Falcons and Panthers both won. At the start of the game, we were talking about possibly running the table and maybe sneaking into the 2-seed; now we’ll just take what we can get. Fortunately, the Rams also lost, so next week’s game is going to have a lot to say as far as the NFC West is concerned. I could see the Seahawks winning that game. But, I could also see the Seahawks losing either of the next two, against the Cowboys or Cardinals, to fuck up their shot.
Except, this year, I don’t think a Wild Card spot will be our consolation. I think the NFC West is going to have exactly one representative, and I think it’ll be the Rams. Maybe it’s for the best. All the better to get a jumpstart on the big rebuild.
The game couldn’t have started off any worse. First drive: Atlanta marched right down the field for a touchdown. The defense got caught by a couple penalties and our shaky secondary got picked on. Jeremy Lane couldn’t have been more useless last night in proving what a collosal drop-off he is from Richard Sherman. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Seattle Seahawks without more catastrophic injuries, hence the Shaq Griffin loss on the opening drive. He was replaced by Byron Maxwell, who did okay, but I really would’ve liked to have seen what Griffin could’ve done in this matchup (and I REALLY would’ve liked to have seen what the defense would’ve looked like with Griffin on one side and Maxwell on the other, with Lane in the Dime package, if on the field at all).
Then, as Tyler Lockett brought back his first of many tremendous kickoff returns out past the 50 yard line, it looked like we’d be in for a barn-burner. Instead, Russell Wilson threw a mind-boggling interception on 2nd & 1, which led to another easy Atlanta touchdown. On the back of another quality kickoff return, the Seahawks pulled the game back to within 7 points on yet another nifty touchdown to Jimmy Graham, and after forcing the first of only 3 Atlanta punts, it looked like we’d climb back into this thing.
Not so fast: another disastrous play by Wilson – this time a sack/fumble – led to a defensive touchdown and a 21-7 Atlanta lead.
The Seahawks and Falcons went back and forth the rest of the half, with Atlanta leading 24-17 with a little over a minute left to go. The Seahawks got into field goal range almost immediately, and then they did what all shitty teams do: they settled for that field goal. EXCEPT NOT SO FAST! They had a fake all lined up and ready to go, which was killed on Twitter all last night and will continue to be killed in Seattle the rest of this week, but I’m telling you right now: that fake would’ve worked if it didn’t get blown up by Grady Jarrett, who flew past the long snapper and stopped Luke Willson in the backfield. You stop that guy, and the Seahawks had that thing blocked all the way to the endzone. Instead, it’s a missed field goal opportunity (which, when you figure you’ve got Blair Walsh, is at best a 50/50 proposition, from any distance 40 yards or closer), and a reason to point fingers at the coaching staff.
The Seahawks moved the ball all day, at will. I know there were turnovers and whatnot, but Jon Ryan only punted once all day. Tyler Lockett racked up 197 yards in kickoff returns alone, and the offense tacked on another 360. Russell Wilson accounted for 258 yards passing, with another 86 yards rushing, and 3 combined touchdowns. Of course, he gets dinged for the pick and the fumble leading directly to 14 Atlanta points (pretty important when the Seahawks only lost by 3), but yeah, let’s go ahead and put all of this on the coaches.
The way I see it, there was only one time I was disappointed in Pete Carroll, and that’s when he challenged the Doug Baldwin drop. I know, he’s Doug Baldwin, and believing he caught the ball inspires more confidence than what your own eyes tell you, but you can’t listen to him in that situation. You’ve got to trust in your staff who – upon seeing that replay JUST ONCE – should’ve been telling you to stay away from that red challenge flag. And, if the staff didn’t tell you that, then someone should be fired, because they were asleep on the job. That timeout was WAY more important than stroking some wide receiver’s ego, and I’ll argue that cost us the game more than the fake field goal attempt.
Even still, the Seahawks had a chance. I tried to predict a Seahawks victory with 3:49 left in the game, down 11 points. And, sure enough, we marched right down the field, scoring on an impressive throw to Baldwin with 3 minutes to go in the game. Hell, we even hit the 2-point conversion! (which, in hindsight, might’ve actually lost us the game, as I have to believe we would’ve been more aggressive in that final drive – as opposed to settling for the game-tying field goal try – if we were down by 5 points).
In the end, the Seahawks got the ball back, down 3, with almost 2 full minutes to go in the game (and no time outs). And again, they got into Falcons territory super quick … and then proceeded to throw short pass after short pass, instead of going for the jugular and winning this thing in regulation. I’ll never understand how Pete Carroll can be so aggressive one minute, and so conservative the next. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it sometimes.
But, there we were, a 52 yard field goal away from sending this game into overtime. A game we’d been losing since the opening drive, would’ve finally been tied for the first time since 0-0. It was straight enough, it looked on target, but it fell just under the crossbar for the soul-crushing defeat. Blair Walsh needs to be off this team going into 2018, that’s all I’ve got to say. He obviously doesn’t trust his leg – which is why he put all his focus into making sure it was on target, as opposed to putting the oomph required to get the ball to fly 52 fucking yards – he’s a mental case, and he doesn’t deserve to be on this team. Period.
You can say this about every single loss, but there really is a lot of blame to go around. Some people blame the fake field goal. Some people blame the botched challenge. How about blaming Doug Baldwin for dropping an easy 3rd down conversion late in the game? Or, how about punting in that situation when you know your fucking defense couldn’t stop a God damn thing? You’ll notice the Falcons got a field goal right after that sequence, to go up two scores; if we go for it on 4th down and fail, HEY, they’re in field goal range already and maybe we save a couple minutes!
You can blame the dropping-ass receivers, you can blame the refs for clearly looking for reasons to throw flags on us (while overlooking all the holding and interfering the Falcons were doing on very similar-looking plays), you can blame the secondary for not only allowing Julio Jones to do whatever he wanted, but for making the rest of their mediocre receivers look like Julio Fucking Jones. You can even play Poor Me and blame all the injuries, because if we’re being honest, if you put both of these two teams on the same field at full strength, the Seahawks would wipe the floor with the Falcons.
But, for me, the number one culprit in why the Seahawks lost falls squarely on the defensive line. Specifically the pass rush, as the rush defense was okay, aside from not tightening up on the goalline. 4 QB hits? 1 sack? Matt Ryan had all FUCKING day to throw the ball! And I don’t give a shit if he spent most of the day getting the ball out quick, do you understand how many resources we’ve piled into bolstering this D-Line? Even without Avril, we’ve got Michael Bennett (big money contract), we’ve got Frank Clark (high draft pick, could’ve been a first rounder if not for his trouble in college), we’ve got Sheldon Richardson (All Pro talent, who we traded away a 2nd round pick for), we’ve got Dion Jordan (taking a flier on the 3rd overall draft pick in 2013), we’ve got Naz Jones (another relatively high draft pick), we’ve got Dwight Freeney (a future Hall of Famer who was non-existent in this game), and we regularly run K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner up the middle on blitzes (two Pro Bowl/All Pro type talents at linebacker). WE HAVE ALL OF THAT, and all we could muster were 4 QB hits and 1 measly sack?
Un-fucking-acceptable. All we heard about all off-season and all pre-season was about how the Seahawks were going all in on making the pass rush better, and it looks NO DIFFERENT than it did last year, in spite of the influx of all this new talent. What a fucking joke; the D-Line should be fucking ashamed of the performance it’s put up this season, and in particular last night.
You’re at home for Christ’s sake! You’ve got nearly 70,000 screaming fans at your back! You’ve got the other team scrambling with their silent counts and getting guys lined up correctly, and that’s as good as you’ve got? Fuck that. Fuck that and fuck you.
As noted by countless people, this loss knocks the Seahawks out of the division lead and out of the playoffs entirely, if they started today. But, I mean, who cares now? It’s not like this team has a Super Bowl run in it anyway. I mentioned this on Twitter last night and I think it’s very appropriate today: should we even be rooting for the Seahawks to make the playoffs? What’s a pointless Wild Card game going to prove? Give me the Top 20 draft pick. Get a REAL impact player in here to start ruffling some feathers.
This isn’t a good team, particularly the defense. It’s really sad to watch. A once-pround, dominant group has now given up over 30 points in 3 of 10 games. And sure, the offense looks better than ever, but no one ever said “Offense Wins Championships.” Russell Wilson is great, and if you were voting on the award objectively (and not based on which team has the most wins), he is clearly the NFL’s Most Valuable Player (because without him, we’d be even worse than the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers, which is saying a lot) – also, for the record, Tyron Smith, left tackle of the Dallas Cowboys, is probably #2 on the Objective MVP list, with how that team has fallen apart since he went down, but that’s neither here nor there. But, Russell Wilson can’t do it all. He can’t be quarterback AND running back AND wide receiver AND cover guys on special teams AND kick field goals AND cover guys on defense AND sack the quarterback. I mean, he’s Russell Wilson, he’s not 53 guys.
The Seahawks just have to win. That’s it! End of post! It’s patently ridiculous that the Seahawks are at this point, it’s ridiculous that they lost to the Redskins last week, and frankly it’s ridiculous how they’ve lost all three of those games this season. We’re a game behind the Rams now – who look like a fucking murderer’s row the way they’re beating some of these teams (although, curiously, they too lost a home game to the Redskins, which just might be one of those teams unaffected by the 3-timezone change) – and if you haven’t seen their schedule, it’s so close to Seattle’s it’s eerie!
Their AFC road games are at the Jags and Titans, as are ours. Their road NFC East games are at the Cowboys and Giants, as are ours. They play last year’s 3rd place NFC South team – the Saints – at home; we play last year’s 1st place NFC South team – the Falcons – at home. They play last year’s 3rd place NFC North team – the Vikings – on the road; we play last year’s 1st place NFC North team – the Packers – on the road. Literally the only difference is the order in which we play these teams. Which thus far has hurt the Seahawks, because we had to grapple with Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson when they were still healthy; they avoid Watson, and get to face whatever backup Vikings QB is in the lineup in two weeks.
If I’m being honest, it’s hard to find two more losses on the Rams’ schedule, unless they start suffering significant injuries. Their toughest games are both at home, against the Saints and Eagles. Other than that, MAYBE the Vikings’ defense poses some threat, but I’m not really a believer in those guys. So, either the Seahawks need to win their remaining 8 games – including at home against the Rams to take the season head-to-head tie-breaker – or the Rams need to start dropping some games they should otherwise win.
Also, not for nothing, but going 8-0 is pretty much a prerequisite for getting a first round BYE in the playoffs, which sounds pretty impossible when you’ve got the Falcons and Eagles at home, and the Jags and Cowboys on the road. You scoff at the Jags, but have you SEEN their defense? Now imagine those guys going up against this Seattle offense (particularly this Seattle offensive line), and understand the game is in Florida, at 10am Pacific time, and you’ll see why I’m freaking out here.
That’s obviously getting ahead of things by quite a bit. Taking this second half of the season as one big chunk is insane; we’re going to have to take this one game at a time, just like Russell Wilson always says. Forget about everything else, the Seahawks just need to go 1-0 tonight.
Of course, they SHOULD go 1-0 tonight, because the Cards are pretty terrible. But, they also SHOULD have gone 1-0 last week at home against the Redskins, and you saw what happened. Remember last year, when the Seahawks SHOULD have won down in Arizona, but dicked around all night and ended up with a 6-6 tie? Remember why that happened? Remember a certain kicker missing a certain number of field goals to cost this team a win? Remember how that kicker frequently missed kicks down in Arizona because their field is garbage? And remember how that kicker is now kicking in Buffalo, and the Seahawks went and signed Blair Walsh for some God-foresaken reason?
That 6-6 football game last year was EASILY the worst game of the entire season, across the entire NFL. I’m just saying, don’t be shocked if we’re in for something similar tonight.
We all know Arizona is awful. Their record is 4-4, which sounds insane, until you’ve seen who they beat: Indy, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, San Francisco again. So, three of the very worst teams in the league. They lost to the Lions, Cowboys, Eagles, and Rams. So, three of the very best teams in the league (and the Lions). That 4-4 record feels like a lie, but given the discrepancy of their opponents, it’s hard to get a true read on just how bad the Cards really are. Tonight should be a good litmus test, and it would be, if it weren’t being played on Thursday Night.
[SECTION WHERE I TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I DESPISE THURSDAY GAMES]
(it’s just easier that way)
No Carson Palmer, no David Johnson; so two of their three best offensive players are gone. Larry Fitzgerald is still the ageless wonder, and Drew Stanton is still a good fit in Bruce Arians’ offense as a backup quarterback. He takes care of the ball for the most part, and puts his team in position to win more often than not. And, he’s got Adrian Peterson to hand the ball off to, who is averaging 4.2 yards per carry since coming over from the Saints. The key tonight is, obviously, prevent AP from keeping them on schedule and force Stanton to beat you down field. Even without Earl Thomas, that shouldn’t be a concern for the Seahawks.
Defensively, the Cards aren’t very good. 27th in points per game, 23rd in yards per game. They’re 24th in passing yards per game at 249.3, and 11th in rushing yards per game at 100.5. Since the Seahawks can’t run the ball anyway, tonight would be a poor night to try to shoehorn that into our offense. Just throw it on them! Throw away from Patrick Peterson and take what’s given to you! I expect Jimmy Graham to have a big one here, so expect him to colossally disappoint.
I’ll say this: they don’t have Calais Campbell anymore, which is the best news I’ve heard all year (the downside is that he’s currently tearing shit up on the Jags, who we play in December). I’m not saying it’ll be smooth sailing against that front seven, but any time you can avoid CC destroying the interior of your O-Line, it’s a leg up for the good guys.
Take care of business, Seahawks. Or so help me God.
Alternate Title: Blair Walsh Fucking Sucks Dick.
I told you, didn’t I? I’m sure I did. You sign a guy like Blair Walsh, you’re obviously betting on his strong leg and hoping for a big turnaround. But, you’re also in line for a game like yesterday’s, where his THREE missed field goals – in a game the Seahawks lost 17-14 – were the difference between winning and losing.
I don’t care about all the penalties on the offense. I don’t care about the two Russell Wilson interceptions, or the others that were dropped. I don’t care about Jimmy Graham dropping yet another ball in the endzone, this time a 2-point conversion that as it turns out would’ve been pretty meaningless. I don’t care about a defense that was handed a 4-point lead with 94 seconds to go in the game, only to blow it on some ridiculous chunk plays through the air.
I care about a 44-yard field goal, a 39-yard field goal, and a 49-yard field goal, all shanked wide-left.
And I SURE as shit don’t care about how great Blair Walsh was with the media! He isn’t paid to answer your fucking questions and be a “stand-up guy” or whatever; he’s paid to kick a football between some fucking uprights! If he makes ANY of those three field goals and this game is 100% different.
Assuming he makes just one, that means a 7-5 halftime deficit turns into a 10-5 deficit, which turns into an 11-10 lead (assuming we miss the 2-point conversion, which we did anyway), which turns into an 18-10 lead (assuming we hit the extra point, which I would hope he’d be able to fucking make), which turns into them needing a 2-point conversion of their own at the end of the game to send it into overtime.
AT THE VERY LEAST, we’re looking at overtime, which is a coin flip away from being a potential Seahawks victory.
Instead, it’s yet another demoralizing defeat when things were looking so promising.
Make no mistake, the Seahawks had no business losing that game. The Redskins were too banged up and too mediocre on top of that to come into our house and steal that victory. This game was a fucking trainwreck, and you know what? I’m done getting excited over this team. I’ll continue to watch and cheer along and all that, but I’m not getting my hopes up. What’s the point? The Seahawks are going NOWHERE!
Even if we pull it together to the point where we beat the remaining bad teams on our schedule (Arizona twice, the 49ers, the Falcons, and the Jags), that’s another 10-win season. Probably a wild card team, but so what? It’s not like the injuries are going to subside; they’re going to get worse! To the point where the thought of beating the likes of the Rams, Eagles, or Cowboys sound like utter insanity.
Which means, best case scenario, we’re going on the road in the playoffs. We gotta go through the likes of the Rams/Vikings/Saints? Then go through one of the two BYE teams? Then go through whoever was good enough to make it into the NFC Championship Game? Are you high? With THIS bunch? In what alternate universe is that a reality? Because I’d love to go to there.
The Seahawks always have and always will need to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs to get anything done. If you think that’s happening this year, you’re the biggest homer on the planet. And, if you think the Seahawks can get back to the Super Bowl without home field advantage, then I’m afraid we need to get you into the loony bin, stat.
What a God damn fucking waste. Here’s to 8 more weeks of going through the motions. For what it’s worth, the Seahawks would need to go 8-0 to get the top seed in the NFC. The playoffs start this Thursday, saddle up.
This was a game you’ll love if you’re a fan of numbers. Specifically offensive numbers, as we had oodles. Russell Wilson: 452 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 30 rushing yards. Deshaun Watson: 402 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 67 rushing yards. DeAndre Hopkins: 11 catches, 224 yards, 1 TD. Will Fuller: 5 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs. Tyler Lockett: 6 catches, 121 yards. Paul Richardson: 6 catches, 105 yards, 2 TDs. Jimmy Graham: 4 catches, 39 yards, 2 TDs. Hell, even Lamar Miller had 54 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, and 2 combined TDs. Offense. For. Days.
But, it was pretty slim pickin’s as far as defense is concerned. Earl Thomas came back with a pick-six after giving up a long opening-drive touchdown bomb. Richard Sherman had a couple interceptions after being challenged with impunity all game. Jadeveon Clowney was a beast, both in pass rush and particularly in the run game. The Seahawks had 5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss, including big games for Bennett, Clark, Wright, and Wagner. Even Dwight Freeney got in on the action with half a sack.
All of those things were great, but you don’t come out of a 41-38 game and heap praise on the defense. And, I gotta tell ya, while it was a refreshing change of pace to see the Seahawks go out there and sling the ball up and down the field, I think I still prefer it when our defense is the best group on the field. There’s something about both teams scoring on 13 possessions out of 26 (not counting end-of-half kneeldowns) that’s a little overwhelming.
What I did like was the fact that no team was ever up by more than 7 points. That’s pretty rare, considering how much scoring took place. I mean, the Over damn near hit before halftime! When there’s a game like this, it usually involves the Seahawks looking like crap for the first half, then scrambling to come back by multiple scores to win by some miracle at the end. This one was just a slugfest; two insane offenses throwing haymakers back and forth.
In a game like this, you can take it one of two ways: you can breathe a sigh of relief and live with your heads in the clouds over how the offense moved the ball. Just throw out the books and appreciate this one for what it was: probably the most exciting game (from start to finish) in the NFL this season (perhaps narrowly edging that Chiefs/Raiders Thursday Night game a couple weeks back, but I don’t want to succumb to recency bias). Or, if you’re like me, maybe you can’t help but see some of the warts.
I’m willing to more or less overlook the L.O.B.’s lack of dominance in this one, because let’s face it: they’ve pulled this offense’s ass out of the fire on PLENTY of occasions. Every once in a while, they deserve to have a bad game and somehow the team still finds a way to win.
I thought, for the most part, the run defense looked pretty good, aside from some key breakdowns in contain when it comes to Deshaun Watson. I mean, where was the spy? Isn’t this game tailor-made for Bobby Wagner to have eyes on Watson all game? What you absolutely can’t have happen is the line getting sucked over to one side, with 20 yards of open field for Watson to punish us.
More than anything, you can say the Seahawks’ defense – while mediocre as a whole – made just enough big plays when it mattered most. The aforementioned Earl Thomas interception returned for a touchdown. The Sherman interception that led directly to a field goal that gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game at 27-24. The sacks and D-Line pressure that led to the Texans’ five punts on the day. And, the biggest play of the day that no one is talking about:
With just under 3 minutes to go in the game, and the Texans up 38-34, the Seahawks were driving. Russell Wilson just scrambled for 21 yards that had me literally exclaim, “Wow, how did he do that?!” He stepped up in the pocket and ran through a nexus of three Texans who all converged on a single spot, and instead of getting his block knocked off, he somehow caused all three of them to hit one another as he scampered to the 20 yard line. At that point, it was without question that the Seahawks would re-take the lead, and the only question that would remain would be: did we leave the Texans too much time on the clock? Except, instead, Wilson treated everyone to his single worst throw of the game, an out-route that was easily picked off, as if he had intended to throw it to the defender.
(which, I mean, let’s not rule this out. You know as well as I do that Russell Wilson is a wizard. He just is. He’s magic, and we’re all fortunate to be graced with his presence. So, hear me out on this: what if he could see into the future, realize we were in the process of scoring too quickly, and had we done so, Deshaun Watson would be the one everyone is lauding for his last-minute game-winning efforts? I submit this as my argument that he MEANT to throw that interception, knowing we’d get the ball back, and ultimately score with too little time left on the clock for the Texans to do anything about it)
But, I digress. Getting back to the biggest play of the day that no one is talking about:
The Texans took over with just under three minutes left in the game. They ran the ball for 4 yards on first down, the Seahawks opted to save their time out. They ran the ball for 8 yards on second down, and we hit the two-minute warning with a fresh set of downs. After the break, the Texans ran again for 1 yard, time out. THEN, we get to the play of the game: second down, hand off to Miller again, this time for 5 yards. But, if you look at it, the Texans had that thing blocked to go for double-digit yards or more. Things just opened up like you wouldn’t believe, and if it weren’t for Michael Bennett diving in there and slapping at his foot to get him to fall down, the Texans would’ve ended the game right there. Go back and look at it! If you can find it, that is, because like I said, hardly anyone is talking about it, and yet the only reason the Seahawks had a chance at the end is because Michael Bennett saved the day.
Now, I’ll also say I agree with the majority of America today: Bill O’Brien should’ve put the ball in Watson’s hands on at least the third down play. I can see it both ways: with the run, you take away Seattle’s final time out, and as I just discussed, there’s a decent chance of converting a 3rd & 4 with the way things were going as recently as that very drive. But, on the other hand, Watson was a juggernaut yesterday. You could’ve run with him, you could’ve had him drop back and pass, you could’ve done a run-pass option, you could’ve done one of those fucking plays where he fakes it to three other guys before hitting a fourth option (that our defense somehow could NOT figure out, at any point in this game). Instead, in hindsight, it feels pretty weak to just run it back up the middle again for the fifth straight play. The Seahawks stopped it for a 2-yard gain and the rest was history.
I suppose more of my consternation with this game comes from the fact that the Seahawks’ run game was abysmal. I mean, just the worst I’ve ever seen, and I’ve lived through full seasons of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett!
Part of this absolutely has to do with Chris Carson going down with injury, because God fucking dammit would he come in handy right about now! Why do all of our best running backs have to be fucking injured all the God damn time? Him and Prosise this year, Rawls and Prosise last year, Rawls the year before. I mean, shit!
Part of this has to do with Eddie Lacy, because he’s effectively useless. I’d been willing to give him time to grow with this offense up until this game, because he’s a volume rusher, and gets better the more you feed him (ironically enough). But, 6 carries for 0 yards? No. No thank you. Go home, eat your China food, and waste some other team’s time. You’ll never for ONE SECOND get me to believe the guys on the active roster are better than Mike Davis, who is LANGUISHING on the practice squad right now.
Which gets me to my next gripe: Darrell Bevell. Not Darrell Bevell the play-caller, mind you. I know that’s what everyone gets on him about, but again, I thought he called a pretty great game, all things considered. He gave the running game everything he had, but it clearly wasn’t working and he gave it up for the most part in the second half. What I’ve got a problem with is Darrell Bevell the offensive coordinator. And, by that I mean, the way he designs his offense, and how he uses the players he’s got.
It took him FUCKING FOREVER before he put Jimmy Graham out wide near the goalline this season. Why is that? Because he doesn’t want to tip off his play-calling. It’s why he lines Graham up inside on run plays, when Graham is the worst blocking tight end in the universe. You can’t just have Graham out there on passing plays, because then defenses will expect that. SO FUCKING WHAT? Here’s a newsflash, you fucking moron: what you’re doing now – by “out-thinking” the defense – ISN’T FUCKING WORKING! Rushing plays with Graham on the field get blown up CONSTANTLY!
Same goes for Thomas Rawls, out there on third downs. Why would you do this when you’ve got a talent like J.D. McKissic? Oh, because if McKissic is out there, the defense will know you’re passing? WHO CARES? It beats throwing to a fucking stone-hands, who drops carefully-lobbed balls in the endzone!
I come from the school that says, “Put my best 11 guys up against your best 11 guys and let the chips fall where they may.” Because, more often than not during the Pete Carroll/John Schneider Era, the Seahawks have had the most talent in the NFL. That’s just a fact. And, you know what? It used to be enough for this team. The Seahawks used to be a team (albeit, with Beastmode in the backfield, which obviously has to account for a lot) that would run the ball when the opposing team had 8-9 guys in the box, and we’d STILL get a productive gain on the play! Because our 11 guys were better than their 11 guys, and we’d make them pay for their inferiority.
But, nowadays? The Seahawks have lost their sack. They’re trying to get cute, which leads to throws to Rawls, runs towards Graham’s side, long bombs to McEvoy, and fullbacks streaking free up the middle for 66-yard gains. Which, obviously, when it works – like the throw to Madden, and the 53-yard bomb to McEvoy – you look like a genius. But, more often than not, those plays haven’t been working this season, and you just look like an asshole who’s trying to get a head coaching job somewhere else. Which, GREAT, DO IT, GET OUT OF HERE! But, of course, the NFL sees right through that, so we’ll be stuck with Bevell here for as long as Pete Carroll remains head coach. It’s our burden, but one I’m willing to live with. Still doesn’t mean I’m not going to bitch about it.
Thankfully, the receivers were there to pick up the slack. Doug Baldwin was mostly quiet, which is shocking. But, we had 100-yard games from Lockett and Richardson, who both had a bevy of long bombs they went up and snagged. P-Rich in particular looks like the Golden Tate we’ve been lacking since we let him walk to Detroit. See, the Seahawks don’t necessarily need a guy who’s 6’5; we just need a guy like Richardson who’s 6’0, but can jump like a freak of nature. Thankfully, he’s been able to stay healthy, because he sure looks like a stud this season.
Let’s finish with some quick hitters.
The Seahawks took over their final drive on their own 20 yard line, and Russell Wilson immediately uncorked a dagger. Honestly, I don’t know how Ifedi got away without a holding flag, and I’ll admit, I half-expected another flag on P-Rich for offensive-PI (replays showed that to be a clean catch, but I’ve seen flags for less contact than that).
I hope Earl Thomas’ hamstring injury isn’t too serious. At the same time, I was relieved that Steven Terrell wasn’t back there to get torched in the game’s closing moments.
I thought the Special Teams got short shrift for having a pretty great game. The Texans didn’t get much of anything on their returns, Jon Ryan made some clutch punts off of some poor snaps, and Blair Walsh was a silent assassin. He made his two field goals (both pretty short range), and all 5 of his extra points, which ended up being huge, particularly the last two that gave us 3-point leads, as a Houston field goal in response would’ve only tied the game instead of given them the lead. The NFL’s objective with the longer extra points was to make them more exciting, and while I hate them with a passion and wish like Hell that they’d move them back to the 2-yard line, I have to admit they’re maddeningly interesting, particularly in games like this.
Finally, I’d like to shout out the offensive line. Not so much for the running game, in which their blocking was predictably awful; but in pass protection, they were okay!
I know, the narrative now and forever is that the pass-protection was, is, and always will be dreadful. But, I mean, if it was really THE WORST as everyone (particularly the national media) claims it to be, could Wilson have thrown for a franchise-record 452 yards? Obviously, while it wasn’t the best, and a stick figure quarterback like Jay Cutler or Eli Manning would be lunch meat behind this kind of line, it was Good Enough. Hawkblogger’s Sunday night tweets go into it in a lot of detail, so check out his Twitter. Essentially, the Seahawks were middle-of-the-road, from a leaguewide perspective, when it comes to pass protection, and God bless ’em, that’s all Russell Wilson needs! Hell, that’s all any of us have been clamoring for since Wilson busted out onto the scene! We don’t need a Top 5 unit to put up a ton of points, just give us a Top 15-20 unit and watch us go to work! And, yesterday, the O-Line (again, from strictly a pass-protection perspective), played like just that. They gave Wilson time to throw, and when they didn’t, they at least opened up lanes for him to scramble around until he could find someone down field. That’s our game!
What’s frustrating is when there’s a guy in his face on the third step of his 3-step drop. I’m sure the Texans’ defensive numbers will show a lot of good pressures on Wilson, but those are the types of pressures we can all live with. And, in the end, it all added up to Wilson’s best day as a pro.
Of course, we’ll never REALLY know how much of that was due to his wizardry, but that’s the beauty of magic: it’s more fun when you DON’T know the magician’s secrets.