The Seahawks Lost In Germany To The Bucs

I’m conditioned to not really like these games being played in another country. It seems like undue stress on the two teams who have to go all the way over there, change around their whole body clocks, play on VASTLY inferior fields, and then have to turn right around and play the next week (if you choose to not have your BYE follow it). If every single team in the league had to do it every single year, I guess that’s one thing. But, either it’s on a rotation of teams, or it’s just random selection. Then, there’s the whole thing about losing one of your home games because of a blatant cash grab by the league.

And, I’ll just add – for a team like the Seahawks, who has to travel the most air miles in the league by a considerable margin almost every single year – you’re even further hampering our competitive balance.

That being said, it was kind of fun waking up at 6:30am with my dad and brother, having a big breakfast, and watching a football game before all the other football games of the day got going.

What wasn’t fun was watching how the Seahawks played through three quarters.

I won’t say the defense completely reverted back to the way things were in the first month of the season – they weren’t the worst I’ve ever seen – but this was a clear and obvious step back from our recent efficiency. The Bucs were able to move the ball kinda sorta at will. They rarely hurt themselves with penalties or negative plays (aside from the two big interceptions, obviously), so they were able to stay ahead of the chains and keep their offense moving in one direction. Lots of third downs were converted (10 of 15 in total), thanks mostly to them being in 3rd & short situations.

That meant, obviously, the Bucs were able to run the ball exceedingly well. 44 for 161, which isn’t a great average, but is more than enough when your quarterback (one Tom Brady) goes 22 for 29 for 258. You could argue if it weren’t for a Brady pick thrown right at Cody Barton for some reason, and that asinine trick play where Leonard Fournette tried to toss one to Brady lined up out wide, the Bucs would’ve won in a laugher.

As it stands, the Seahawks pulled it to 21-16, before the Bucs ran the last four minutes off the clock.

All of our points came in the second half, with 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Discounting the two picks by the Bucs, the play of the game was an incredibly stupid Geno Smith fumble on what was apparently a designed quarterback run of some kind on 2nd & goal. If the design of that play was to look like a blackout drunk trying to find a potted plant to piss in, then mission accomplished.

The Bucs defense was exactly what I thought it was: very stout against the run, while potentially beatable through the air. Kenneth Walker was limited to 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. But, when we started throwing to him (mostly in the second half), he came alive for 55 yards on 6 receptions. D.K. Metcalf was able to get his and probably deserved to be targeted more (6 for 71), and Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin both caught TDs late.

It was cool to see Tariq Woolen deke the Bucs into throwing a pass towards Tom Brady, who slipped and fell as the ball was severely underthrown. I’m told that Cody Barton had a good game, even though it seemed like he got swallowed up every time someone went to block him. It was REALLY unfortunate that we spent all week working on stopping the pass, then proceeded to not only get run all over, but also generate zero pressure on Brady whatsoever.

This game feels like a missed opportunity. It’s also pretty galling that we’re 0-3 against the NFC South, considering their record against everyone else. On the one hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just cost ourselves, if indeed we proceed to win our division, as the Bucs look like a shoo-in to win theirs. On the other hand, that’s a significant tie-breaker we just earned ourselves in the form of potential draft position for next year. I don’t know what to root for anymore! My brain is broken!

Where that leaves us is we’re 6-4 heading into our BYE week. One can fairly safely assume the 49ers will be 6-4 after they beat the Cardinals next week. That puts us in a dead heat for the division lead with 7 games to play. We come out playing the hapless Raiders, Rams, and Panthers, before that showdown with the 49ers on Thursday night. 5-2 feels like a safe estimate if we play up to our abilities. I would say 4-3 is the absolute minimum, which still puts us at 10-7, and a very good shot at the post-season. But, we could go as high as 7-0 or 6-1 if we catch some breaks.

I’m more than fine with the timing of this BYE week. Let’s rest up and get healthy and come back to sprint towards the finish with everyone else.

Fun Seahawks Are Fun!

I still don’t know if I totally comprehend what happened yesterday. Though, I’ll admit, there’s a lot about this team that befuddles me.

My brain is having a hard time wrapping itself around the concept that the Seahawks are good. But also, ARE the Seahawks good? If we’re good, why did we lose at home to the Falcons and at ALL to the Saints? Is this part of the 7-10 process, where they lure us into a false sense of curiosity and wonderment, before bringing the axe down on our necks?

Or, did the Seahawks used to be mediocre, but now we’ve grown? Now, we’ve figured out how to play defense a little bit. Now, as the younger guys have had an opportunity to gain experience, we’re seeing the fruit starting to blossom.

I can’t think of a better litmus test at this point in the season than a road game against the Chargers. I like the Chargers. I think they’re pretty good. Their coaching is a little suspect at times; I think their play-calling on fourth down leaves A LOT to be desired. But, there’s a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Seahawks just made mincemeat of them, 37-23.

I’ll admit, part of the reason why I’m so jazzed is because I had some fantasy football juice in this game, and after a rocky start – losing D.K. after only a single reception severely hurt my chances – my guys blew up. “My guys” being Austin Ekeler (127 total yards, 12 receptions, and 2 total TDs) and Kenneth Walker III (168 rushing yards on 23 carries and 2 TDs) whose game-sealing 74-yard touchdown almost single-handedly swung two of my games on Sunday.

The good thing for the Seahawks is that all the Chargers had was Ekeler. We pretty much held everyone else in check (though Mike Williams got his – 7 for 86 and a TD – before spraining his ankle late in the game). The defense did a lot of good things in this one. 3 sacks, a fumble recovery, and a timely pick by Ryan Neal. Moreover, Woolen and Bryant both looked outstanding, and Darrell Taylor (he of the strip sack/fumble recovery combo) is starting to come around.

The story of the day has to be the offense, though. Walker looks like the stud of all studs. So, you know, I’m just waiting for his ankle to get rolled up on, which seems to be how it goes whenever the Seahawks find a running back they really like.

Then, there’s The Resurrected Geno Smith, who’s somehow also better than he’s ever been in his life? This isn’t like a so-so quarterback being propped up by an elite team around him. This is a legitimately GOOD quarterback leading a young team to a winning record! 20 of 27 for 210 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT (off of a deflected ball, that was nevertheless ill-advised, since the receiver was so well covered). He had a couple of dimes to Marquise Goodwin for touchdowns, who got to have his breakout game in a Seahawks uniform (4 for 67 and 2 TDs).

The cool thing is, the Seahawks always had an answer in this one. After we went up 17-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers started clawing back, bringing it to 17-14 with plenty of time left in the second quarter. But, we cooly marched down the field and made it 24-14. More importantly, we didn’t let their 2-minute offense go anywhere in keeping that score where it was at the break.

I somehow didn’t notice, but the Seahawks had a 10+ minute drive in the third quarter to go up 27-14. That really shortened things up, but by no means discouraged further scoring. We gave up a safety after the Chargers downed a punt at the one yard line, but we proceeded to force a 3 & Out off of the free kick, then got another field goal to make it 30-14. Then, another stop by our defense led to the Kenneth Walker burst around the right side; 1 play, 74 yards, game-clinching touchdown. We gave up a meaningless garbage time TD to my boy Ekeler, but then we proceeded to run off the final three and a half minutes to end it in Victory Formation.

The obvious downside to this game is the D.K. Metcalf injury. He had his hands on a ball near the goalline, came down awkwardly, and that was it. Seems to be a knee injury. It immediately took him out for the rest of the game, no questionable tag or anything. So that’s ominous. There will be further testing today, and it sounds like he’s optimistic this won’t be a big deal, but I have concerns!

Namely: Dee Eskridge fucking sucks, and it’s ridiculous that he’s getting as much playing time as he’s getting. He had a stupid penalty, he fumbled a toss by taking his eyes off the ball (though they credited it to Geno, which is asinine), he had zero catches on one target, and he had a meaningless fly-sweep run for 4 yards. This is what he’s here for? The stupid fly-sweep play that never works because it’s the NFL and everyone is fast? He’s brittle as fuck, every hit looks like it’s going to end his season, and I can’t shake the feeling that he’s keeping someone else off the field who is more deserving and who has a higher ceiling. All because we threw away the 2021 draft (where we only selected three guys) and he was our top pick that year.

This team will STRUGGLE if we don’t have Metcalf for the rest of the year. I’m just telling you that right now. Tyler Lockett is and has always been a really good #2, but he’s also getting older, and in spite of avoiding contact at practically every turn (smart, in his case; prolong that career!), he still found himself on the injury report and questionable all week. I love Marquise Goodwin, and as long as he’s healthy, he can be an elite #3. But, he hasn’t been able play a full season since 2017. He WILL get hurt, it’s only a matter of time. It was nice having him in this game, with Metcalf out. But, he could go down as early as next week and it wouldn’t shock me.

That leaves Eskridge (again, sucks) and the rookies at receiver. That makes this team much more predictable and easier to handle if it’s left to the running game and tight ends to do all the heavy lifting. Metcalf is the difference-maker. Metcalf forces defenses to spend untold time and resources in an effort to try and stop him. He takes the best cornerback off of Lockett, who is free to get open among lesser opponents. He opens up the tight ends to feast off of linebackers and linemen. He makes Geno Smith better than he is. Sure, Geno was able to weather the storm against the Chargers, but long term? I’d be very nervous. And I’m not just saying that because I have Metcalf in my dynasty league and don’t want to see him miss any time ever.

Now what we’re looking at is a step up in our litmus tests: a home game against the one-loss Giants. They appear to be the exact photo negative of the Chargers: they’re still good, but it has everything to do with the coaching, and less to do with the talent at quarterback, my apologies to Danny Dimes and whatnot.

If you thought I was befuddled by the Seahawks, HOO BOY do I not understand these Giants!

I would say their schedule has a lot to do with their 6-1 record, but I’m not so sure. Of course, they beat up on the Panthers, Bears, and Jaguars. But, they also defeated the Titans, Packers, and Ravens. I know those teams aren’t as spectacular as we all expected heading into the season, but I still believe they’ll all either be in the playoffs this year, or at least in contention to the bitter end.

They play largely mistake-free football. Dimes doesn’t throw a lot, but he’s running pretty well for a quarterback, and only has 2 picks against 6 TDs. They rely largely on their running game, featuring a rejuvenated Saquon Barkley, who has 726 yards and a 5.1 average per carry. He’s also pacing the team in targets with 30 and is second in receiving yards. He hasn’t played a healthy, full season since his rookie year of 2018, but he’s showing why his talent made him the 2nd overall draft pick.

So, you know, easy peasy, right? Stop Saquon Barkley, win the game! Simple! Why haven’t all these other teams thought of that?

The interesting thing is that their defense isn’t all that amazing. They’re middle of the road against the pass, and legitimately bad against the run. Yet, they allow the 6th fewest points in the league, making good on that Bend Don’t Break promise.

For the Seahawks to win, just know that Barkley is probably going to get his. But, you have to make him work for it. You can’t get gashed for huge plays all day long. You also need to put Danny Dimes into 3rd & medium-to-long situations and force him to beat you with his arm. We know how to play against mobile quarterbacks, so I would hope we can apply that wealth of knowledge to this game.

I don’t think there’s any way we get this game in a shootout. I think it’s going to be low-ish scoring and close. One way or the other, the winner will be decided by 3 points or less.

How about this for making a guess: if D.K. Metcalf is healthy and plays this week, the Seahawks will win. If he’s out, the Seahawks will lose. Either way, the score will be 20-17.

The Seahawks Signed Marquise Goodwin For Added Wide Receiver Depth

This is a move I was clamoring for a few years ago. I was a big fan of Goodwin from his days with the 49ers, but of course he’s had a number of injuries that have limited him. The talent is there! Or, at least, it was. I don’t know if it still is. He didn’t play during 2020 for COVID reasons, then he played for the Bears last year with a rookie QB and an Andy Dalton. So, I honestly couldn’t tell you what he has left in the tank.

As far as depth guys go, you could probably do worse. I still kinda like the move, even though obviously the Seahawks seem pretty well set at the top 3-4 spots. Lockett and Metcalf are your primary targets. Freddie Swain is your 3rd/4th option. Dee Eskridge is heading into his second season (after not doing much in 2021), then there are the two rookies who will compete with holdovers like Penny Hart, Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson, and the like.

Among all the guys after Metcalf and Lockett, I don’t think anyone really projects as the kind of speedy deep threat that Goodwin is, when he’s healthy. It’ll just be a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy through training camp and the pre-season.

Of course, as I mentioned up top, this would’ve been a better move a few years ago, when we had Russell Wilson dropping dimes. Neither Geno Smith nor Drew Lock have the kind of deep ball accuracy that will actually pay this move off. In which case, barring a fluke, it actually kind of seems like Goodwin is a longshot to make the team. It’ll nevertheless be fun to see him running around out there in games that don’t matter.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: The All-Important Draft

See the first post in this series for what I’m talking about here.

Well, we did it.  I drafted my team and, if I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job!  Of course, I always say so myself, because why wouldn’t I?  I brought in these players, I must like them to some extent!  Because they’ve yet to disappoint me.

It’s all downhill from here.

As I talked about last time, my 3 keepers are Wentz, Fournette, and Elliott.  Since I had my RBs set, I didn’t have to focus on them too much in the early going.  So, after the first three rounds took care of the keepers, I went to work bolstering my WR unit.

I picked 8th, in every round.  I won’t list out every single pick, but I’ll at least show you the first round, to give you an idea of the players we had available:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Melvin Gordon
  4. Cam Newton
  5. Keenan Allen
  6. Davante Adams
  7. Matthew Stafford

So, those were the guys taken right before me.  Both of the top QBs that were left out there, the top 3 RBs, and my two favorite WRs.  I was bound and determined to get a receiver; the available ones were:  A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Gronk (technically a TE, but still), T.Y. Hilton, and Tyreek Hill.  I went with Hill.  I like Mahomes a lot, I like that offense, I think Hill is a stud in the prime of his career who will be the focal point of that passing game (as opposed to the tight end-centric offense run under Alex Smith), and I just believe he has the highest upside to really blow out some games.

I should point out that all of those other receivers I listed off were taken by the time I drafted again.  I still wanted to go WR – to knock that position out of the way – even though I desperately needed a second QB (and, one might argue, a FIRST QB, since who knows when Wentz will be ready).  Adam Thielen was sitting there and he felt like an obvious pick, so I took him (the other WRs were Amari Cooper, Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald, and Doug Baldwin; I think I made clearly the best choice).

By my next pick, all of those receivers were gone, as well as the next two best tight ends (Kelce and Ertz), so I went into the QB well.  No more QBs were taken after Cam & Stafford, so I had my pick of the shit-filled kitty litter.  I went with Derek Carr, upside over recent success.  I think he’ll be a transformed player under Jon Gruden and even if the Raiders are a terrible team, I think they’ll be behind in a lot of games and throwing the ball a ton.  Plus, they don’t really have a defined #1 RB (a respectable committee led by Beastmode), so I think this could be great for me.  The other QBs available were Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Blake “The Bort” Bortles, Dak Prescott, and Case Keenum.  Ben is obviously better, but I can’t trust him to play a full season.  I might regret not taking Alex Smith though.

When it came back to me, in Round 7, Demaryius Thomas was still sitting there at the top of the Yahoo rankings.  I needed a flex guy, and honestly the value I was getting for Denver’s #1 receiver was too good to pass up.  I might’ve gotten the steal of the draft, or he might be the bust that everyone is expecting.  We’ll see, I’ll take my chances.  By taking him, though, I missed out on Chris Carson, his teammate Emmanuel Sanders, Jacksonville’s defense, the Rams’ defense, Allen Robinson, and Corey Davis, among others.

In Round 8, I took the best tight end available (who was also among the best overall players available), Greg Olsen.  My plan going into the draft was to wait until one of the last three rounds to take a tight end (as well as a defense and a kicker), but Olsen is elite, and the drop-off in tight ends was significant (plus, like I said, he was one of the top players remaining).  I missed out on Marquise Goodwin, Mark Ingram, and Minnesota’s defense, among others.

Next, I started filling my bench, with Robert Woods leading the way.  At this point, I still haven’t grabbed a third RB, and that might be my undoing if I have injuries to my top two guys.  A run on RBs went right after I took Woods, with guys like Lynch, Peyton Barber, Rex Burkhead, Chris Thompson, Dion Lewis, and Carlos Hyde all going off the board.

In Round 10, I went back to QB, because it’s always smart to have a competent third (in case of injuries, BYEs, or if Derek Carr really does suck), so I bought low on Andy Dalton.  In Round 10 of a 2-QB league, I think I got really good value on this one too.  Plus, I think everyone is severely underrating him this year, and I like him to bounce back in a big way.  I passed on Jameis Winson, because I can’t have his 3-game suspension hanging over my head if I don’t know Wentz’s status those weeks and I didn’t want to have to roster 4 QBs.  I also passed on guys like Mitch Trubisky, Mayfield & Darnold, Ryan Tannehill, and Eli Manning, which I’m okay with.

Next up, Adrian Peterson was still there, so I grabbed him.  I don’t know if that’s going to work out for me, but he’s a #1 RB in the 11th round, so beggars can’t be choosers.  The other RBs available were all backups or in time-shares (Latavius Murray, Sony Michel, James Conner, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, and Marlon Mack, among others).  If worse comes to worse and I need an RB off waivers, I’m sure I can find someone, so I’m not too worried about it.  If best comes to best, then in AP I have a 1,000-yard rusher on a good offense.  (I will say that I’m disappointed that Will Fuller V was taken 2 picks after this; I think he’s a stud).

In Round 12, Jordan Reed was still there, so I grabbed him.  Yep, the guy who was going to wait and take whatever TE was left over in the final rounds … ended up drafting TWO of them.  But, when healthy, Reed is a Top 3 TE.  And now he has Alex Smith throwing to him, the ultimate in TE-friendly QBs.  Plus, Greg Olsen is getting up there, so it’s nice to have some TE insurance.

In the lucky 13th round, I grabbed Kenny Stills.  All the podcasts I was listening to in the week leading up to the draft cited this guy as a potential break-out player.  Tannehill apparently loves him, he’s a target monster, and with Landry out of the picture, he should be the team’s #1.  I am CRUSHING this draft with all the value I’m getting!

In the final two rounds, I finally had to go grab a defense and a kicker.  I drafted Baltimore’s defense in the 14th, and ‘Frisco’s Robbie Gould in the 15th.  Whatever.

Yahoo’s stupid grading system put me in the middle of the pack with a B grade.  It hated my Derek Carr pick (about 6 rounds too early according to ADP?), but it loves my Thielen pick, as well as my RB keepers.  My team is the 2nd oldest in the league, which might be troubling; then again, my tendency is to draft a lot of young guys and where has it gotten me?  Nowhere near the championship trophy, that’s for damn sure.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  My schedule is one of the toughest in the league, so that’s fucking great.  Then again, why should I trust Yahoo’s grading?