The Seahawks Were Manhandled In Every Phase Of The Game Against The Ravens

This is another Wheel of Cheese game for the Seahawks; I’m not even mad! Mostly because I’m so incensed about the Huskies’ loss on Saturday I still can’t even see straight. But, I mean, what can you be upset by with the Seahawks? Going for the field goal on 4th & short? A lazy, stupid pick-six? An even lazier, stupider fumble-six?

Let’s face it, there’s nothing the Seahawks could’ve done to win this game; they were outmatched in every facet. Which is weird because – until that pick-six – I thought the Seahawks were pretty well handing it to the Ravens. The defense was bending & not breaking – as is their wont – and the offense was moving the ball pretty well for two out of the first three drives.

Then, the pick-six happened, and it really deflated the balloon. The Seahawks should’ve led comfortably at halftime; instead they were lucky to tie it up on a last-second field goal.

From there, for the most part, the Ravens made adjustments and the Seahawks had no answers. The Seahawks just couldn’t get anything going. The receivers couldn’t get separation – mostly because the Ravens were mugging them constantly (but not quite enough to draw flags) – and Carson was starting to get bottled up. Just total physical dominance from the Ravens.

On the flipside, Lamar Jackson was the second coming of Jim Brown, Babe Ruth, and Wayne Gretzky all rolled into one out there. He could do no wrong, and if his tight end didn’t drop everything that came his way, they probably would’ve scored 40 in this one.

I don’t have a lot of bright spots for the Seahawks. No real silver linings. Tedric Thompson showed once again why he’s not a starter. On the flipside, Marquise Blair showed why he probably should be (particularly when McDougald returns and can slide into the free safety spot, relegating Thompson to the bench). Blair wasn’t dominant, but he made some plays.

I thought Clowney was all over the place, until finally the Ravens came to their senses, realized the Seahawks have no one else in their front seven, and double-teamed him throughout the second half. I thought K.J. Wright looked slow, I thought Bobby Wagner looked pretty mediocre, and I thought Mychal Kendricks looked invisible. The supposed strength of this defense really hasn’t done anything to earn their contracts.

Offensively, even discounting the fumble, D.K. Metcalf was more bad than good. Tyler Lockett was just okay, but clearly they were doing something with their coverage to render him inconsequential. And Russell Wilson had easily his worst game of the season, again even when you discount the pick-six, he just didn’t have that usual spark, and clearly couldn’t pick the team up on his back when the chips were down in the second half.

Look, it’s hard to go 4-0 against the AFC; I can’t remember the last time the Seahawks achieved it. The Ravens easily had their best defensive effort of the season; none of the games I’ve seen from them have looked NEARLY that amazing. And, once again, the team from Seattle hasn’t figured out how to play in the rain.

Next week, it’s the cure for what ails pretty much every team they play: the Atlanta Falcons. No rain in a dome! Or, whatever they call their weird stadium now.

The Seahawks Beat The Browns, Just Like I Knew They Would

See, the key to any good Reverse Jinx is to never call out the fact that you’re performing a Reverse Jinx. It’s like a birthday cake wish, if you say it aloud, it won’t come true!

I’m with all of you, I thought the Seahawks had no business losing to the Browns yesterday. But, as we saw with the 20-6 start to that game, it was certainly on the table. I had to go so far in my Reverse Jinx as to triple-down on it, making bets with family and friends totalling a whopping $45! I lost cold, hard cash just so the Seahawks would win this one! I’m the Jesus Christ of football fans!

Let’s dig into it, because I feel like I’ll have a lot to say. First up, the defense.

I’m very conflicted. Sometimes, they can look SO TERRIBLE. They give up an avalanche of yards and touchdowns and you think it’s never going to relent. They might put the team in some significant holes, but they almost always adjust and figure out a way to at least slow it down to a dull roar. You try to wrap your head around ’em, try to figure out who this defense is REALLY, but they won’t ever let you solve the riddle.

With those first three Browns drives (I’ll lump the opening kickoff return in with the defense in this case), we’re talking about 102 return yards and 184 yards of offense; it’s like the Seahawks weren’t even there! The D-Line wasn’t able to get any pressure, the run defense was abysmal, and receivers were wide open all day.

Then, the game just got goofy. A blocked punt, a couple tipped passes turning into interceptions, and a methodical Seahawks offense almost bringing us all the way back to even by halftime. By the way, I don’t love the handoff to Prosise for the 2-point play (I guess it would’ve been too obvious if they’d put Carson back in the game, since he was off the field for the entire 2-minute offense). When you’ve got Russell Wilson as your quarterback, put the fucking ball in his hands and let him go to work! Spread everyone out, and let him throw it to whoever or scramble around and run it in if that presents itself!

The wackiness continued throughout the second half, as the Seahawks finally got the lead, then fumbled it away, then stopped the Browns improbably on 4th & Goal at the 1 (after a hilarious challenge by their head coach that cockblocked a would-be touchdown). The Seahawks proceeded to have one of the worst 3-play sequences of all time from their own 1-yard line, only to punt the ball 23 yards away (which Pete Carroll apparently wanted him to take a safety on; did he decide this at the last second? Why wasn’t this instructed to the team in the huddle?), which led to the Browns re-taking the lead two plays later.

With 9 minutes left in the game, down by 3 points, nothing would’ve surprised me. The Seahawks could’ve turned the ball over, could’ve been set back by penalties, could’ve driven the ball into Browns territory only to settle for a field goal, or could’ve done what they did and taken back the lead. For what it’s worth, I was convinced that had we settled for the tie, we would’ve lost this game in regulation. But, on the very next drive, the Browns turned it over for the fourth time, and thankfully the Seahawks were able to capitalize by running out the clock.

Russell Wilson continues to look like the MVP of the league, with 295 yards passing, and 3 total touchdowns (against zero turnovers). Chris Carson continues to look like one of the five best running backs in all of football, with 124 yards and a touchdown (while just straight up murdering people late in games). Tyler Lockett continues to look like one of the ten best wide receivers in the league, but also shout out to Jaron Brown for his 2 TDs, and D.K. Metcalf for some clutch catches throughout.

It was a nice effort out of the offensive line in this one. I had Myles Garrett getting 3 sacks, and he fell one shy (though I think one was called back on penalty?). But, otherwise with Fant starting for Brown, and Jones in for Fluker, I thought they held up pretty well. Mike Iupati had his best game as a Seahawk, which came at the perfect time.

Huge bummer in losing Will Dissly. It fucking sucks when someone is so special and keeps getting knocked out for the season due to fluke injuries. The Seahawks were smart to call up Jacob Hollister from the practice squad before the game, and we’re relatively lucky that Ed Dickson should be returning soon from his injury.

Also returning this week will be Jarran Reed. Here’s hoping he doesn’t immediately pull a hamstring or something in practice in his enthusiasm to return from suspension. It’s not a moment too soon, as this D-Line could use another infusion of talent. They still really haven’t gelled, particularly as a pass rushing unit, so hopefully a stud in the middle will make all the difference (considering how much Baltimore likes to run the ball, we’ll need his presence there as well to help slow things down). Nick Chubb is the real deal (making that Penny draft selection all the harder to swallow, especially when you factor in how injury-prone Penny has been in his brief NFL career; that was supposedly the reason why the Seahawks were down on Chubb); and he made the Seahawks look like idiots in this one. I would expect we’ll see a lot of Mark Ingram next week (though, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit).

0 sacks and 0 quarterback hits for the defense (though Mayfield did take some big hits as a runner, leaving this game hobbled for a brief spell). I thought a lot of the turnovers were pretty lucky on our part – being in the right place at the right time – so kind of a mixed bag all around.

Not a lot to praise on the special teams. A missed extra point, a long return, and a muffed punt pretty much dominated the story for this unit. Flush it and move on to next week.

The Seahawks are 5-1 and with the 49ers at 5-0, that showdown in a few weeks looms LARGE. The fact that it’s on Monday Night will make things doubly exciting.

The Seahawks Won One Helluva Game Over The Rams

That was IN-credible! I mean, where do you begin?

I don’t want to make this a total recap post, but that’s exactly what I’m gonna do let’s start with losing the toss, getting the ball first, then fumbling on that first possession. Just … not the way you want to start against the Rams, or ANY good team. Yet, somehow, after two drives of 23 total yards, the Seahawks were only down 6-0. What could be better than holding the Rams to field goals?

Well, forcing them to go scoreless the rest of the first half, until a 2-minute drive finally broke the string.

Before we get to that, we can’t talk about that game without talking about that throw to Lockett in the back corner of the endzone. Everyone on the planet thought Wilson – scrambling for his life, like he would do most of the evening – was throwing that ball out of bounds. But, he does this from time to time: he puts the ball in a spot where either our guy is going to make a highlight-reel catch, or it’s going to fall harmlessly out of bounds. It’s his way of taking a chance without REALLY taking any chances. If it connects, then great! He looks like a wizard and he makes his receiver look superhuman. If it doesn’t, then whatever, he was just throwing the ball away and the receiver still almost made an amazing play. From running to his left, throwing on the run – on a rope – to the dive, the extension, and getting both feet down clearly for the replay video to see, it was the best throw & catch of the season by far, all due respect to whatever Mahomes is doing in Kansas City.

The next touchdown was pretty special in its own right. The Seahawks did a good job of working the ball down to the Rams’ 40-yard line on a 2nd & 7. It was the perfect time to take a deep shot: you knew it, I knew it, the crowd knew it, even the Rams knew it. Play action, D.K. Metcalf gets beyond both defenders on his side, 40 yards in the air, wide open touchdown. Outstanding.

After that Jaron Brown fumble, I never would’ve believed the Seahawks would’ve been up 14-6 at one point in this game, with a chance to extend it. But, there you have it.

The Rams finally started to get their offensive mojo back on the drive after that Metcalf touchdown, but it was a remarkable play to strip Gurley of the ball deep in Seahawks’ territory. At that point, I was wondering if the Seahawks might put the game away in the first half and coast to a lopsided victory!

Indeed, we used a lot of rushes and chunk plays through the air to get into Rams’ territory, where we had 3rd & 1 at the 30-yard line at the 2-minute warning. The play was stuffed, but it was also a play I didn’t really love. The O-Line’s banged up and not totally recovered from the previous game, it was a long stretch play to the right side, giving the Rams a lot of time to fill the gaps. I would’ve loved to have seen a zone-read there, maybe one of those things where you go from the huddle, run up really fast and quick-snap it before they have a chance to really dig in on the other side of the line of scrimmage. But, whatever, it was still 4th & 1, and while I understand why we went for the field goal, I definitely feel like that was the time to go for it and REALLY put them away. Convert there, you get to run the clock down as far as you want, and you either get a better field goal opportunity (with no time left for the Rams to do anything), or you score a touchdown to go up 21-6 at half. Pete likes to get hormonal from time to time, but it’s never the times you WANT him to be hormonal; usually he does it and compounds the bad times we’re already experiencing, it’s rarely at a time to stomp on another team’s throat to really put them away.

As you could’ve seen coming a mile away, we missed the field goal, and the Rams went right down the field to bring the game to 14-13 at half. Just too easy, and a harbinger of bad things to come in the third quarter.

By winning the toss, the Rams got the ball after halftime, and what do you know? They went right down and scored ANOTHER touchdown, to go up 20-14. From there, you knew the shootout was on, and if we didn’t get an All Pro punt out of Dickson to pin them back at the 1-yard line (and if Goff wasn’t a mediocre quarterback who missed a potential 98-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods), the Rams would’ve definitely scored more points in this one. As it stood, they scored on 4/5 drives starting with that one just before halftime.

Fortunately, after the Rams punted from their 2-yard line, the Seahawks drove down to re-take the lead at 21-20. That couldn’t stop the Rams from going right back the other way to make it 26-21 (failing on the 2-point conversion, in a game they’d go on to lose by 1 point).

Both teams traded field goals before the Seahawks went on another one of their long, clock-chewing drives. With over 9 minutes left in the game, the Seahawks took it 75 yards for a touchdown, leaving just over 2 minutes left to play. The failed 2-point conversion attempt on our end was just a fantastic play by the defender (on first glance, it looked like Metcalf should’ve had it, but no).

At 30-29, no one felt safe. The problem with missing the 2-pointer there is that we couldn’t quite eat up ALL of the clock, but we also very well could’ve shot ourselves in the foot. MAYBE, if we got lucky, and they drove down too quickly to kick the field goal, we could get one more crack at it.

Then, the Tedric Thompson interception happened. It was a spectacular play by him, tipping the ball with one hand on the turf, keeping it airborn long enough to corral it, then having the smarts to get back up and start running it back. Of course, this was a Rams game, and that means the refs made the WRONG call once again. For the second time in, what, four weeks? Saying nothing of the NFC Championship Game last year, but come on! They blew a fumble dead against the Saints that would’ve given them 7 points; who’s to say what the Seahawks could’ve done with a proper run-back of that INT? Who’s to say, at the very least, what we could’ve done with the extra yards?!

Do all the NFL referees own equity in the Los Angeles Rams or something? This is kind of becoming suspicious at this point. I mean, why are they getting ALL the calls?

Anyway, that INT was a blessing and a curse. It happened just before the 2-minute warning, and the Rams still had 2 time outs. The Seahawks ran the ball twice – which was the right thing to do – and got 8 yards out of the deal. The 3rd & 2 play, however, was probably dumber than not going for it on 4th down in the first half. An option play? When was the last time that ever worked in a big moment in the NFL? I like having the ball in Wilson’s hands, and I like there BEING options for a play, but there really should’ve been a passing element to that one. RPO baby! When he’s rolling out, fine, have Lockett there behind him as a possible pitch man. But, also run one of the tight ends out there in a route – maybe fake a block at first to throw them off the scent, or fall down or something – but when he was out in the open, he knew he wasn’t going to convert, and he pitched it: right there, we should’ve had someone leaking out for him to throw it to down field. It was ALMOST the perfect play, but it turned into a near disaster.

Luckily, I guess, we stayed in bounds and forced them to use their final time out. It’s always a different ballgame in a 2-minute drill when you don’t have any time outs left.

Nevertheless, it’s never ideal to give the Rams the ball with 98 seconds left, down a single point. Even if it is on their own 7-yard line.

True to form, the Rams marched right down the field. I liked the aggressiveness the defense showed; I didn’t see too many 3-man fronts. But, I wish they’d gone to the well more with blitzes straight up the middle, as opposed to those corner blitzes that take so long to develop. You really don’t have a lot of time against a Rams offense; by the time the corner blitz comes home, he’s already released the ball.

I honestly thought we were going to lose on that field goal. My worst nightmare would’ve been Pete Carroll calling time out right before Zuerlein’s miss, only to give him a second chance where he nails it. He was sort of kicking to that upright a lot; there was a field goal earlier in the game that just squeaked in on that side. Any way you slice it, that’s a kick he makes probably 95 times out of 100, so I feel VERY fortunate right now.

Kudos to Wilson and Carson, who I’m going up against in my fantasy league. 268 yards (on 17/23) with 4 TDs for Wilson; 118 rushing yards on 27 carries (plus a 5-yard receiving TD) for Carson. They crushed me, but more importantly they crushed the Rams (had they done all that and the Seahawks still lost, I’d be inconsolable right now).

Kudos to Dissly and Lockett, who combined for 132 yards on 8 receptions with a touchdown. Kudos to Al Woods for stuffing Goff at the goalline to prevent that 2-point conversion (also, what were they doing running a QB draw?). Kudos to Tedric again on that fantastic INT after having a rough season so far. Kudos to Clowney and/or Wagner for forcing that Gurley fumble. And Kudos to Poona Ford for that early tackle for loss that easily could’ve saved us 4 points by not allowing the Rams to convert and challenge for a TD on that field goal drive.

There’s a lot to like about this win, and it sets things up remarkably well the rest of the way. I’ve said all along that the Seahawks need to go 4-1 in their first five games, and run it back for the next five. Well, here we are, 4-1, with 10 days until we go to Cleveland (who will be coming off of a Monday Night game). From there, it’s a very reasonable slate until our Week 11 BYE. Let’s enjoy the weekend, everyone!

The Seahawks Beat The Cardinals In A Classic Get-Right Game

Really at no point during the game yesterday was I worried about the outcome. It didn’t even look like the Seahawks had to try all that hard to take care of business; it was the definition of Workmanlike.

Of course, I tried my best to conjure up some things to be concerned about heading into this game, and it was like they all read it down at Seahawks Headquarters and decided to respond with their game play.

For starters, I don’t remember us doing any dumb shit; that’s always a plus! Probably the dumbest thing I saw was David Johnson going off for 8 receptions and 99 yards, but if that’s the worst thing this defense did all day, then that’s certainly something you’ll live with 100 times out of 100. I’d still like to see some of the tackling get cleaned up, but we’re really picking nits at this point.

Next up, the running game was a legitimate concern, and not just because of Carson’s fumbling. He managed to make it through this one unscathed, and led a pretty generous attack with 104 yards on 22 carries (he also caught 4 for 41 for a nice overall day). The O-Line looked better than it has all year, which was nice.

Wide receiver depth is still a work in progress, but Wilson was smart about it in this one. He took advantage of our talent at tight end, with Dissly and newly-re-acquired Willson combining for 83 yards and a touchdown on 9 catches. That was always going to be a strength for us in this one, as the Cardinals had been handing out career games to opposing tight ends like lollipops at a doctor’s office. Also, the criminally-underutilized Jaron Brown made his presence felt in a relatively significant way (3 for 50); until we start getting more consistency out of guys like Moore and Metcalf, I feel like Brown needs to be more involved.

And, finally, there’s the front seven we all know and love! Wagner and Wright were all over the field making plays. Kendricks had 2 sacks and was a general thorn in Arizona’s side all day. Ansah had his first sack in a Seahawks uniform. Rasheem Green had an awesome play to sack Murray for a big loss when it was just the two of them in open field and he didn’t get juked out of his shoes. Collier and Poona and Woods and Q-Jeff all made their presences felt.

But, you can’t talk about this game without talking about the play of the day: Clowney’s one-handed interception-turned-touchdown. Just a tremendous athletic play! It got us out to a 10-0 lead and really set things up for us to step on their throats the rest of the game.

It wasn’t quite the offensive explosion I’ve been waiting for, but I also feel like we left points out on the field, and if we really needed to, we easily could’ve done whatever we wanted. This was a quintessential Get In & Get Out game for us. Lots of time-consuming drives, build up a comfortable cushion, and try to make it through without any more injuries. This was punctuated by our 15-play, 75-yard (technically 80, after a first down penalty pushed us back before it even started) touchdown drive that took over 8 minutes off the clock. The Cards had just pulled the game to 20-10; at that point in the game, the Seahawks had gotten the ball three times in the second half and punted on all three. Another one of those would’ve made this game VERY interesting when it had no need to be. That’s when the Seahawks just leaned on ’em and all that punishment we’d been hitting them with all day finally killed their wills to live. Carson was great all day, but he was particularly brutal on this drive, running over, around, and through the Cardinals’ defenders like they weren’t even there. It’s just a shame he didn’t get to enjoy the reward of scoring the touchdown.

When I say the Seahawks could’ve done whatever they wanted, I mean they had 21 first downs, 340 yards, and converted 4/10 third downs. They took relatively few chances, so no fourth down tries, and not really many (if any) deep balls thrown. I mean, if it weren’t for the Clowney touchdown, there wouldn’t be anything memorable about this game whatsoever. I thought Kyler Murray had a few good plays, but he’s young and has a pretty mediocre offensive line, so it’s gonna be hard at first. I do think that as he gets used to the NFL, he’ll turn into someone special, but he’s not there yet.

Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out Shaquill Griffin. He has REALLY stepped up his game this year. It didn’t look super promising in the pre-season, but he’s taken it up a few notches! He had a great recovery after getting turned around to force an incompletion, and he had one of the most athletic plays I’ve ever seen in leaping around Larry Fitzgerald to bat a ball down without making any illegal contact (or really ANY contact to the body); it’s just too bad the play didn’t count as someone else on the defense was called for a penalty. We haven’t seen the turnovers yet, but we’ve certainly witnessed opposing offenses stay away from his side, and that’s as Richard Shermanesque as you can get! Way to go!

The Seahawks Should Have Their Best Game Of 2019 (To Date) In Arizona This Weekend

The Cardinals’ defense is terrible. Let’s just get that out there. If the Seahawks don’t surpass 30 points in this one, then I don’t know what to say. Russell Wilson should have no trouble moving the ball down the field, and more importantly, our running game should finally bust out into something much more formidable.

I mean, I don’t really have much more to say beyond that. The Cardinals, in theory anyway, have a good offense, but that’s yet to translate to really eye-opening numbers. They’ve been fine. They have a rookie quarterback, a terrible offensive line, and a shaky rushing attack. It’s looking like they’re making baby steps every week towards being an elite force offensively, but at the moment, they haven’t yet put it all together. Could this be the week? It’s entirely possible! But, regardless, I still think we can outscore them in a shootout.

If I had to force a reason to be concerned, I guess I could get into all the myriad ways the Seahawks could do dumb shit and lose to another team they should beat, but how do you top that Saints game? How do you top a punt return for a touchdown (off of a seriously crappy punt), a third straight game with a fumble for Chris Carson, a return for another touchdown ON that fumble, a “lining up over the long-snapper” penalty that turned a missed field goal into an eventual touchdown, and Alvin Kamara being an immortal god incapable of being slowed down even for an instant by the Seahawks’ defense?

On the plus side, there isn’t anyone NEARLY as good as Kamara on the Cardinals; that’s something to be thankful for, right?

I’m sure there are tons of other ways the Seahawks could fuck things up, but I just can’t see it happening. Not against Arizona.

If I’m concerned about anything, it’s our running game. Really, it’s our offensive line, who while technically “healthy” in that they’re all playing, I have to believe are all banged up because why else would they be this ineffective? Teams ALWAYS play us to try to slow down the run, so loading the box isn’t anything new. If we can’t convert a 3rd & 1 or 4th & 1 when the other team knows we want to run the ball, then we have a fundamental problem that WILL torpedo this season.

I’d say my next biggest concern would be our depth at receiver. Wilson has been feeding Tyler Lockett a steady stream of targets, as well he should; and Lockett – to his credit – has stepped up in a big way. There are tons of #2 receivers out there who look like absolute dogshit when elevated to the team’s #1, either via injury or personnel changes, but Lockett is raising his game to another level, and that’s very encouraging.

Beyond Lockett, though, D.K. Metcalf is a promising outside receiver and deep threat, but he was largely held to a quiet game last week against the Saints (2 catches for 67 yards, but one of them was as harmless a 54-yard bomb at the end of the first half as you can get). The Saints appeared to drape their best cornerback on him all day, but we’ve still gotta find a way to get him the ball more than that. David Moore was on his first game back after his injury, so that’s always going to be a tough one, but Malik Turner appears to have seen an increase in his playing time on offense, and I just don’t think he’s got what it takes. He was the target on that critical deep overthrow on 4th & 1 that Russell checked into after the Saints loaded the box, which was a smart move, particularly with the way we’d failed time and time again in those situations that day. But, they clearly weren’t on the same page, as Turner was … turned all the way around in trying to make a play on the ball. If he were more experienced with Wilson, or just a more competent receiver, maybe that would’ve been a conversion. But, I’m hard pressed to place the bulk of the blame on that play on Wilson, knowing what a good deep ball thrower he is.

Finally, how can you not be concerned about the way our front seven played against the pass last week? We’re almost as healthy as we’re going to be – three more Jarran Reed-free games to go before he completes the set – and they just did NOTHING against the Saints. Of course, what can you do when they’re getting rid of the ball so quickly? And, similarly, this was Ansah’s first game back after his injury, and the team was taking no chances with him, keeping him in there for around 19 or so plays. I’ve said it all along and I’ll say no different now: as this season progresses, this team should get better each and every week. Part of that is reincorporating injured players into the system, while new players (like Clowney) continue to acclimate to the new scheme. I really expected the Seahawks to harass Bridgewater a ton last week, but that was coming from the notion that he’d hold onto the ball like he usually does.

So, will Kyler Murray be the same way? Obviously, with his scrambling ability, it’ll be a tall order to get him on his back. But, that offense is designed for the quick pass, so once again we might be in store for a long, sackless day. Nevertheless, their O-Line is horrible, so there better be enough breakdowns to at least make his job difficult.

I’ve got it as a 33-16 Seahawks victory. Let’s get back on the winning trail!

I’ll tell you this much: if we DO somehow find a way to lose, then fuck this season. I will be beyond pissed. If we’re 2-2 heading into a Thursday Night game against the Rams, then we might as well all get ready for another fucking useless Wild Card season, with a very real chance that this team is no better than 8-8 and on the outside looking in. There are no Must Win games in September, but there are certainly Better Fucking Win games. And, the Seahawks Better Fucking Win this week against Arizona, or there’s gonna be hell to pay.

Seahawks Follow The Same Script As Every Other Dumb, Frustrating Seahawks Loss, This Time To The Saints

Early mistakes, huge deficit through three quarters, followed by furious comeback to make the final score respectable. As I was sitting there watching it, I kept wanting to leave, to go watch literally anything else. But, I knew the switch would flip at some point. Whenever these games come around, I’m usually off watching something else in another room, only hearing about (or reading about on Twitter) what amazing things are happening in my absence. This time, I thought I’d stick around to see the “magic”, but it took longer in arriving than I hoped.

So much of my Friday preview came to fruition, just not exactly the way I’d anticipated. I said Teddy Bridgewater is fucking mediocre, and lo and behold, 177 yards on 19/27 with 2 TDs and 0 INTs, for a 6.6 average. He was never going to botch this game for his team, and they were smart to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. Much more quickly than I ever could’ve expected, as the Seahawks’ pass rush – complete with the return of Ziggy Ansah – couldn’t do a damn thing.

Also, both teams were shaky on third downs (NO – 3/11; SEA – 5/14), but critically the Saints were 1/1 on fourth down (for a TD) while the Seahawks were 1/4, a huge reason why we lost this one.

Ironically, while the game did largely hinge on turnovers, they were technically even, and the team that had the ball last did NOT win. So, chew on that one if you dare!

My biggest gaffe in the whole Friday preview was stating the following:

I don’t expect Chris Carson to fumble, in case you were wondering. I think he’ll actually come out with a pretty monster game this week to silence all the critics of his first couple games

– Some idiot

I mean, I couldn’t be more wrong if I tried. 53 yards on 15 carries, with countless slips and falls thanks to not being able to run on wet fake grass. I would argue his fumble was costlier than the Saints’ (and not just because they ran it back for a touchdown), as he immediately started to lose snaps as both the team lost confidence in him and he probably lost confidence in himself. I don’t know how you don’t bench him immediately and send a message through loss of playing time, but he’ll certainly be the guy getting the first handoff next week.

The general focus of my Friday preview was that the Seahawks are fully capable of blowing a game they should win, and that’s all you really needed to take away from it. Punt return for a touchdown. Fumble return for a touchdown. Sloppy tackling all day long, particularly on Alvin Kamara, who is apparently tougher to wrangle than the Incredible Hulk I guess.

Even though the Seahawks threw for over 400 yards, the Saints did something pretty interesting on defense. Instead of shutting down Lockett – who went off for 154 yards on 11 receptions – they shut down D.K. Metcalf by largely having their best cornerback on him for most of the day. He had only 2 catches for 64 yards, and one of those was a 54-yarder as the clock expired for the first half. It’s not a bad plan, to be honest, as he’s proven in his short career to be a beast with a 50/50 ball in one-on-one coverage. You can let Lockett eat all he wants as long as you don’t let him get past you deep, and that’s pretty much what happened.

The biggest thing the Saints did to thwart the Seahawks was to shut down the running game. Wilson scrambled for 51 yards on 7 carries, but if you’ve watched tape on the Seahawks for the last year and a half, you’d know that’s the exception and not the rule. The actual Seahawks running backs went for 58 yards on 19 carries, for an average of just over 3 yards per carry.

The most brutal thing to watch was actually how ineffective the defense was at stopping Kamara. I guess it’s a good thing we don’t face him every week. I’ve noticed we tend to be weirdly terrible whenever we have to play in the rain, which is absolutely not something you would expect. Someone on the weather service needs to get on it, because I swear the Seahawks always suck in the rain.

This was just disappointing anyway you slice it. I always hate it when my teams lose, but I hate it so much more when they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot, in a game they’re supposed to win. The funny thing is, if Drew Brees was out there instead, the Saints probably would’ve won by 20 and I’d have a remarkably different tone.

As shitty as it is, we’re still on pace. I said the Seahawks would go 1-1 in the 2-game stretch between the Steelers and Saints; the results I expected just flip-flopped. Fortunately, the Saints are who we thought they were, and the rest of the NFC South is a dumpster fire, so we shouldn’t be competing with them for a wild card spot (if it comes to that). The downside, of course, is that if we’re both divisional winners, this one might bite us in the ass, but that’s certainly a better problem to have, and a much more luxurious bridge to have to cross.

This Is Exactly The Kind Of Game The Seahawks Might Boner

I’m usually a little more doom & gloom than I care to be on these pre-game Seahawks posts, always looking on the dark side, trying to find all the ways we can blow it, and this one is no different. But, let me be clear right from the top: the Seahawks SHOULD beat the Saints this weekend. I’m picking them in my weekly picks, and I fully expect the Seahawks to be 3-0 when we reconvene on Monday to talk about it.

The Seahawks have had a pretty charmed life so far in the 2019 season. That Bengals game easily could’ve gone sideways, when we were all expecting a double-digit victory. Without question, the Seahawks looked better against the Steelers, but you can’t deny we got lucky with that Roethlisberger injury. The way they started to move the ball in the second half, combined with our two lost fumbles, it might’ve looked mighty different in the second half if he was fully healthy and playing the full 60.

Ramp that good fortune up to 12 this week, with the loss of Drew Brees as the Saints come to town, and it’s easy to see why we’re all in agreement one way or another about the Seahawks prevailing. The deck is so STACKED in our favor it’s incredible:

  • No Drew Brees
  • Teddy Bridgewater is (likely) starting
  • The Saints have had to stay on the west coast all week after losing to the Rams last week
  • Teddy Bridgewater is mediocre
  • Ziggy Ansah is (likely) returning from injury
  • Poona Ford is (hopefully) returning from injury
  • Tedric Thompson is not returning from injury
  • Teddy Bridgewater

I mean, let’s just start here: our front seven might be a Jarran Reed away from full strength, at the absolute best possible time. So far, the Seahawks are 2-0 against two AFC teams, which counts not at all to the most important tie-breakers for the Seahawks: divisional record and conference record. The Saints are our first crack at this and they’re ripe for the plucking. They’re also a major competitor to our playoff standing this year; they could very likely be in line for a wild card spot, or if they recover and we somehow get over the hump against the Rams, we could be vying for a possible playoff BYE. Beyond our divisional games, this is one of the most important matchups of the entire season (alongside the Eagles, Vikings, and maybe Falcons) and it could be THE most important.

Must. Win. This. Game.

Now, of course, I have my fun at Bridgewater’s expense, because he is truly mediocre, and probably overpaid. I don’t see a ton of difference between what he can do and what Geno Smith can do; give Geno a top 5 offensive line, a dynamic offensive-minded head coach, and a bunch of weapons around him, and I bet he too can throw for 220 yards and a touchdown every game. The difference is, of course, the cost to sign either player. Bridgewater was (somehow) a Pro Bowler in 2015, when he threw for all of 3,231 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions (with a whopping 192 yards rushing and 3 TDs on the ground); I’m assuming every other quarterback in the NFL died that year? Anyway, he could’ve conceivably competed for a starting job somewhere else, but opted to be an overpaid backup for the Saints, and now here we are. Their head coach is trying to play games about which quarterback will be starting, but Bridgewater has a cap hit over $7 million, so I have to believe he’ll get the lion’s share of the opportunity.

All of that being said, MUCH worse quarterbacks have beaten this Seahawks team, even in Seattle, so we really can’t take this team too lightly. This won’t be a walk-over; it won’t be a rout. They’re still a good football team, of that much there is no doubt. With Thomas and Kamara and a stout defensive line … the Saints are fully equipped to be a land mine!

Sorry, I’ll stop with the poetry.

This is a team a lot like the Colts, who also lost their All Pro passer. There’s still a good team around Bridgewater; the Saints’ foundation is strong. They have one of the best O-Lines in the game, even without Max Unger in the middle. They have one of the two best running backs in the entire league, who can beat you every way imaginable. They have one of the best 5 or 10 wide receivers in the game. They have a top notch cornerback in Marshon Lattimore, who is fully capable of shutting down Tyler Lockett or D.K. Metcalf, depending on where they choose to play him (I’d try to make the rookie beat me if I were them, so I’d expect a quiet day out of Lockett in this one). They may not have a bunch of huge names along the D-Line, but they still get pressure with the best of ’em, and largely without the need to blitz.

This game shouldn’t look too much like the Steelers game. I would expect the Seahawks to continue running the ball well, but I’d also expect Russell Wilson to hold onto the ball more closely to career norms, as opposed to the quick-throws he did against the Steelers.

Really, all the Saints need to do is not turn the ball over, feed Kamara every which way from Tuesday, and they should be in a close one in the fourth quarter. I expect both teams to be pretty shaky on 3rd downs, so honestly I think this one will come down to turnovers; the winner of that will win this game. If both teams are equal, I still see it as a coin flip game, probably coming down to who has the ball last.

I don’t expect Chris Carson to fumble, in case you were wondering. I think he’ll actually come out with a pretty monster game this week to silence all the critics of his first couple games. I wonder, however, if we won’t see some tipped passes or drops from our receivers falling into the opposition’s hands. Coverage should be tight all day, which means Wilson will have to hit throws into some small windows.

I actually have some high hopes about our defensive line finally coming together, though, and I think this group will be the key to everything. Can’t let Kamara blow us up between the tackles; if he’s going to beat us, at least let it be on the outside, in the passing game. Of course, I’m going up against him in fantasy football, so expect 3 TDs and 150 yards from scrimmage. But, if we can somehow bottle him up and force the quarterback to beat us with his arm, I’m fully prepared for a Dink & Dunk explosion. With the way Bridgewater likes to hold onto the ball forever, we should finally run into a game where the Seahawks net 4-6 sacks and generally make his life miserable.

The over/under is 44.5, and I’m taking the under. The line is Seahawks -4 and I’m also taking the under. This feels something like a 16-13 game.

Somehow, The Seahawks Won In Pittsburgh!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s all so confusing. You know how, like, on a sitcom where a nervous, fumbling guy asks someone out on a date, and he’s so convinced ahead of time that she’ll say no that he doesn’t even listen for her response? He quickly sputters through his spiel, “Will you go out with me?” and before she even gets two words out, he follows up with, “You know what, nevermind, I don’t know what I was thinking, I was just kidding, let’s pretend none of this ever happened,” and he starts walking away as she tells him, “Yes, I’ll go out with you,” but he’s still so far in denial he doesn’t hear it – to the comedic delight of the studio audience – and this misunderstanding goes on far too long, much like the lede to this particular blog post?

See, that’s where I’m at right now. My brain was so ready for the Seahawks to be 1-1 that it hasn’t dawned on me yet that we’re 2-0 and heading back home to face a Brees-less Saints team that’s living on the west coast for a week.

How did we get here? More importantly, when did it dawn on me that the Seahawks might actually prevail in that game?

It started off as most Seahawks games tend to do: with lots of punts. On both sides! There were some very fine punts on both sides. Throughout the entire first quarter. Then, at the end there, Chris Carson fumbled which set up a touchdown for the Steelers, and the game started to make sense again. Seattle, on the road, struggling to get anything going on offense, unable to overcome their own mistakes. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

Even when the Seahawks tied it up on the very next drive, I had my doubts. A long, 12-play drive, with multiple 3rd/4th down conversions, and no big plays? That’s not sustainable. That’s not Seahawks football. Say what you will about how we love to run the ball, but our scoring drives tend to be pretty quick, with at least one chunk play for huge yards.

Then, on the final drive before halftime, Ben Roethlisberger did something to his throwing elbow. When it became clear he wouldn’t return, I’ll admit that gave me some confidence in our chances. But, we were still down by 3 points on the road, and you never know how a backup quarterback is going to respond.

It turns out, Mason Rudolph acquitted himself pretty well. He looked poised, he made good decisions, and if it weren’t for Donte Moncrief letting another ball go through his hands (this time for a crucial Seahawks interception), we might be having a very different discussion today.

The short field led to the Seahawks taking a 14-10 lead, which was cut to 14-13, which was subsequently extended to 21-13. The offenses really came alive in this portion of the game, as teams traded touchdowns like football cards. The Steelers came right back to pull it within 21-19 (thanks to a botched 2-point attempt). Then, the drive of the game.

The Seahawks had already made a futile attempt at challenging a PI call in the first half, costing us a time out which would’ve come in handy on our final drive of the half, when we were trying to inch closer for a field goal attempt. Then, in the second half, nursing that 2-point lead, the Seahawks started shooting themselves in the foot. There was a first down false start, then a first down holding penalty to make it 1st & 25. After a predictable run play, it was 2nd & 20 when Wilson took a deep shot into double coverage for Tyler Lockett. There was marginal contact, but more than anything it just looked like a couple of guys going for the ball. When Pete Carroll threw the challenge flag, I thought it was the dumbest thing ever.

But, the refs determined it actually WAS defensive pass interference! Instead of 3rd & 20, it was first down 38 yards closer to paydirt! From there, we were a few plays away from a touchdown to the future Offensive Rookie of the Year, D.K. Metcalf!

At that point, victory felt all but certain. Then, a botched handoff to Carson left the door wide open for the Steelers to pull the game back to within 2 points with a little over five minutes left in the game. Thanks to some semi-aggressive play-calling (based on expectations, not necessarily compared to the rest of the football world), the Seahawks were able to convert multiple first downs – including a 4th & 1 conversion to seal it – and run out all the clock.

The stars of the game are plentiful! Russell Wilson had 300 yards on 29/35 passing. Tyler Lockett reeled in 10 catches for 79 yards (plus that PI flag he drew). D.K. Metcalf had his first NFL touchdown. Rashaad Penny busted out a 37-yard touchdown. Will Dissly caught 2 TDs! Carson had a rough day, but still plowed through for that final 4th down conversion. And, of course, who can forget Donte Moncrief? The Steelers sure did, as I don’t think he played another snap for them after he let us get that INT.

Defensively, the Seahawks were FAR better than I expected. I was expecting 475 yards passing out of Roethlisberger, so to fall 400 yards short was something to behold. Even if he stayed healthy, it didn’t look like he had many answers for whatever we were doing. The Steelers’ rushing stats were pretty skewed by a 23-yard run; otherwise we did a good job of holding them in check. I wouldn’t say everything is all better, but it was a solid effort on the road. There was definitely improved play from the secondary that I think made all the difference.

This is still a tough Seahawks team to figure out, but I feel like I say that all the time, ever since the Super Bowl seasons anyway. This is a REALLY encouraging start though, and lines up pretty perfectly to what I was hoping for heading into the season. Go 4-1 in the first five games, go 4-1 in the next five games, and rock & roll down the stretch and let’s win a division! Well, with a 2-0 start, and with the Saints coming in without Brees next week, it’s all setting up for something special. Gotta take care of business, though.

The Seahawks Won A Ragged Game Against Cincy

It simultaneously felt like the Seahawks were lucky to prevail, while at the same time the Bengals were lucky they weren’t down by two scores for much of the game.

I thought the Seahawks had a good plan, but their execution left a lot to be desired. Be it penalties or other offensive line mistakes leading to shortened drives, it certainly harkened back to the dark days of 2017 (or, you know, week 1 against Denver last year). I don’t know what I expected from Cincinnati’s defense, but I never imagined having as much trouble with their front seven as we did. Nevertheless, I like how we stuck to our gameplan and did what we could with the rushing attack. My whole thing was: just play it safe and wait for the Bengals to shoot themselves in the foot.

The only problem is, they never did. Not really. Even their fumble early in the second half only led to the Seahawks going 3 & Out. But, I kept waiting for the Andy Dalton meltdown that never showed up. He passed for 418 yards on a very respectable 8.2 yards per attempt average, as the Seahawks sold out 100% to stop the run. The fact that our defense succeeded in that respect is pretty encouraging. The fact that we generated 4 sacks – without Ziggy Ansah, who was held out as a precaution – and a number of other pressures also signals good things yet to come.

But, the secondary play left a lot to be desired. I’ll say this, Shaquill Griffin finally showed up! He was magnificent, and I hope it continues. But, Tre Flowers was a bit of a mixed bag (he STILL hasn’t learned you can’t wrap your off arm around the defender when making a play on the ball and expect PI won’t be called) and Tedric Thompson was outright dreadful. I said this on Twitter, but it bears repeating: this defense just doesn’t work without Earl Thomas. Not like it’s supposed to. We can get by for now, but something needs to change at the safety position, because T2 is bringing nothing to the table. I mean, he should’ve been benched on the spot for giving up that TD to John Ross at the end of the first half. I don’t care if he’s the fastest guy in the NFL or not, the fact that he got behind Thompson in the first place is the true crime in this scenario!

I’ll also say this: I worry about our nickel defense in general. I like that the Seahawks have realized where their strengths lie – the linebacker position – but staying in base for so long and allowing these mismatches with Kendricks or Wright covering a wide receiver is just going to lead to trouble in the long term. I dunno, maybe I’m wrong, and the Seahawks are exposing a market inefficiency, but I doubt it. It feels more like this is going to bite us in the ass and we’ll have a hard decision to make regarding who to sit in lieu of getting another true defensive back out there.

Boy, I sure hope we don’t have to go on the road against an elite quarterback who was just embarrassed on Sunday Night Football!

In the end, life is short, so I’ll close on the bright side. Chris Carson looked in top form, rumbling for a couple of touchdowns (including one through the air, as he caught 6 balls for 35 yards). It was also awesome to see D.K. Metcalf make such a big impact in his rookie debut (4 for 89 yards, and at least one PI call in the endzone to set up a TD). We also got to see Jadeveon Clowney’s Seahawks debut, and he looked like a force for us in the early going.

The player of the game, though, has to be Quinton Jefferson, who is locking down that 5-tech spot on the line. He had 6 tackles (3 for loss), 2 sacks (3 QB hits), and a couple of passes batted down, as he was all over Andy Dalton like a cheap suit. Kudos, though, to John Ross, who really had a breakout game after a couple tough years to start his career (7 catches for 158 yards and 2 TDs, as he looked like his old Husky self out there, despite a couple of tough drops that could’ve swung the game to the Bengals if things broke differently).

Comparing The Seahawks’ 53-Man Roster To My June Predictions

Right around the time of OTAs, I did a meaningless projection of what the Seahawks’ roster would look like for opening day. So let’s check out how wrong I was!

Quarterbacks

Projection: Russell Wilson & Geno Smith
Result: Russell Wilson & Geno Smith

So, I got the easiest one out of the way. Where’s my cookie?

Running Backs

Projection: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, C.J. Prosise & J.D. McKissic
Result: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, C.J. Prosise & Nick Bellore

I was THIS close. To be fair, in my projections I did talk about Bellore possibly throwing a wrench into this fight, with either Prosise or McKissic being the odd man out, and you know what they say about horseshoes, hand grenades, and roster predicting, right?

Tight Ends

Projection: Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, Will Dissly & Jacob Hollister
Result: Nick Vannett & Will Dissly

To be fair, Dickson is on IR (designated to return after 8 weeks) and Hollister somehow made it onto the practice squad, so I’m counting this as a victory. Of sorts. We also have George Fant, who I’ve listed as an O-Lineman for the purposes of this exercise.

Wide Receivers

Projection: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, Jaron Brown & Keenan Reynolds
Result: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, Jaron Brown, Gary Jennings, Malik Turner & John Ursua

I was almost WAY off on this one, but the Seahawks did a bit of roster gymnastics this week to slide a couple guys onto the IR, while opening up the likes of Geno Smith and Jaron Brown to free agency (with the wink-wink agreement to bring them back once those IR designations were placed). It turns out the Seahawks CAN keep all of their rookie draft picks! But, Malik Turner is the one who took Keenan Reynolds’ spot (though I fully anticipate Reynolds being in the mix at some point this season, if the injury bug returns). Regardless, I wouldn’t expect this unit to be 7-deep for too much longer, but it’s an interesting group nevertheless.

Offensive Line

Projection: Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, Ethan Pocic, Jordan Simmons, George Fant & Jamarco Jones
Result: Duane Brown, Mike Iupati, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, Germain Ifedi, Ethan Pocic, George Fant, Jamarco Jones & Joey Hunt

This was actually a pretty obvious unit to predict, as the veterans are here to start, and the reserves are too good to part with. Simmons got hit by the injury bug and landed on the IR which is unfortunate, but Hunt can play both center and guard (and even tackle in a super pinch), so he’s good to have around (especially with Pocic being the first guard off the bench in place of Iupati heading into week 1).

So far, with the offense, I predicted 20 out of 25, which isn’t too bad.

Punter/Kicker/Long Snapper

Projection: Michael Dickson, Jason Myers & Tyler Ott
Result: Michael Dickson, Jason Myers & Tyler Ott

Nailed it.

Secondary

Projection: Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe, Jeremy Boykins, Tedric Thompson, Bradley McDougald, Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair & Lano Hill
Result: Shaquill Griffin, Tre Flowers, Akeem King, Neiko Thorpe, Parry Nickerson, Tedric Thompson, Bradley McDougald, Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair & Lano Hill

The one I was least sold on was Boykins, and lo and behold he turns out to be my lone blemish in this area. I should’ve probably mentioned something about the Seahawks making a minor trade near the start of the regular season – like they do just about every damn year around this time – but them’s the breaks.

Defensive Line

Projection: Ziggy Ansah, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin, Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Al Woods & Quinton Jefferson
Result: Ziggy Ansah, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Jadeveon Clowney, Poona Ford, Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, Bryan Mone & Branden Jackson

Welp, there was no way for me to see the Jarran Reed suspension coming. Ditto the trade for Clowney. I was probably always a little light on this position in general, so it’s not totally shocking to see Jackson in there, but he’s just a rotational guy who won’t see a lot of playing time, barring injuries. I never would’ve guessed Mone in a million years though.

Linebackers

Projection: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Mychal Kendricks, Shaquem Griffen & Barkevious Mingo
Result: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Cody Barton, Ben Burr-Kirven, Mychal Kendricks & Shaquem Griffen

The main reason why I was so short on the D-Line was because I essentially had Mingo as a rush end for this team. But, as the pre-season wore on, it was becoming increasingly likely that he was going to be cut (if he wasn’t somehow dealt for the best defensive end on the trade block). There was also worry that Griffen wouldn’t make it, but his value on special teams is apparently too high to part with. Nevertheless, quite the solid group.

That’s 21 out of 25 predicted on defense (with Reed coming back after 6 weeks, and a few of my other picks landing on the IR) for a total of 45/53 on the team heading into week 1 (barring any other moves later this week). My biggest stroke of genius was leaving Austin Calitro off; he very nearly made it, but was waived in recent days and picked up by Jacksonville. So, good luck to him I guess.