The Seahawks Are Great On Monday Night Football, But That Won’t Be Enough This Time

Look, you know me, I hate giving praise to the 49ers. I haven’t taken the time to look deep within myself and done the soul searching required to give this the accuracy it deserves, but I think I hate the 49ers more than any other team. I dunno, it goes back and forth between them and the Rams, depending on my mood, but either way:

SCREW THE 49ERS!

Ironically, much of my hatred of this team came from Richard Sherman’s hatred of Michael Crabtree, then of the 49ers, and now that’s where the ex-Seahawk calls his home. So, let’s start there.

I don’t hate Richard Sherman. But, he’s certainly a complicated fellow, and I think I could use a break. I don’t wish him ill, and I don’t even necessarily need to see him fail, but I would REALLY like to see the Seahawks – and particularly Russell Wilson – stick it to him tonight.

I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate it here: Richard Sherman is the epitome of someone you LOVE when he’s on your team (and you’ll defend him to your dying breath), but if he’s on any other team, you’re likely to hate his guts. He’s a perfect football troll that gets under the skin of every opposing fan base he goes up against. So, when I used to read those stories about how he’d yell at Russ in practice (something along the lines of “You fucking suck!”) I thought it was awesome. It represented the swagger and the intensity of the Legion Of Boom. Also, it was fine, because as a Seahawks fan I knew Russell Wilson didn’t ACTUALLY suck. I knew that the best defense Wilson would ever go up against would be the one he saw in practice every day of the week. That’s what helped make him so special against the rest of the NFL. Steel sharpening steel or some damn thing.

But now, I dunno. It irks me a little bit to reflect on that sentiment. It’s a little bit of a Little Brother syndrome (which, as the older brother of my family, I know nothing about, but I can at least empathize; some of my best friends are little brothers!); Wilson grew up with the Seahawks in the shadows of the defense and the running back (Marshawn Lynch). Now, Wilson’s not only in his prime, but he’s as good as he’s ever been (he might be the very best he’ll ever be, we won’t know unless he eventually finds a way to take his game to yet another level), while Sherman’s an elder statesman, but arguably at the tail-end of his prime. And, it still feels like Wilson is trying to break out of Sherm’s shadow. I mean, let’s face it, the Seahawks were at their very best when this defense was ruling the roost. Wilson’s trying to prove that he’s good enough to run the show and carry this team to the promised land.

And, to get there, he has to go through Richard Sherman and the San Francisco 49ers.

When the Seahawks cut Sherman, I didn’t agree with the decision, but I understood it. More from a payroll perspective than anything. Ideologically, it makes sense: as guys get older in the NFL, they’re going to be more injury prone. Sherm was awesome on his rookie deal, and he was just as good through most of his second contract. But, he was coming off of a ruptured Achilles tendon and had just one year remaining on that second contract. So, there was the unknown of his returning from season-ending injury, and what he’d eventually be looking for in a third contract beyond 2018. With the way the Seahawks’ roster was shifting, I could rationalize them trying to save money on the secondary and putting it to use elsewhere (like the O-Line, for instance).

What I didn’t agree with was getting rid of Sherman because he was some sort of “cancer” or otherwise a personality the coaching staff didn’t want to deal with anymore. Yes, he’s outspoken, and yes, he’s had his share of embarrassing moments in the media, but I don’t believe he was actively trying to poison the team from the inside. He’s a winner. He loves to play football and he loves to win; those are guys you keep as long as possible. And, while the Seahawks were able to bring in a few guys with the savings they netted from eliminating his 2018 salary, I would argue they would’ve been better off rostering a motivated guy coming off of an injury looking to extend his career as long and as lucratively as possible. Once he proves he’s worth a big money deal, we could’ve let him walk and gotten a better compensatory pick for it.

And, not for nothing, but had we kept him through 2018, maybe this year he’d be playing for someone OTHER than the 49ers.

But, he’s there now, and I just can’t. While I know he went to college in the area – so that was naturally a preferred landing spot – his ultimate goal was to play for a team that could prevent the Seahawks from winning the Super Bowl. He’s a savvy guy, he saw the 49ers as a team with a newly hired excellent coach that was on the rise. He figured he could help accelerate that rise, and here we are. The last thing I need to see in my life is Richard Sherman jumping around yelling about “I Told You So” and all that nonsense. It’s just going to infuriate me more, and I don’t want that. I want to continue to love and respect a guy who was so central to the Seahawks being the champions they were.

And look, I’m not an idiot. Well, I am, but I’m not so petty that I won’t one day cheer the man when he’s inducted into the Ring of Honor, and/or has his number retired by the team. But, in the here and now, I just don’t want to resent the man.

But, I’m afraid that’s where I’m going to be, after the 49ers beat the Seahawks, because I’m utterly incapable of foreseeing a way the Seahawks win this game.

The Seattle Seahawks are famously the best team in the NFL on Monday Night Football, with our 24-10 record. It’s too much to go through at this time, but suffice it to say I’ve seen worse Seahawks teams beat teams that are better than these 49ers, so there’s just something spooky about how we’re so good in this arbitrary time slot.

But, that’s just it. I have two reasons why the Seahawks might win this game, and one is this random impossibly-good record that spans 40+ years of existence.

The other reason is Russell Wilson, of which I’m sure you’re intimately familiar.

The flipside is plentiful:

  • The 49ers’ defensive line
  • The 49ers’ secondary
  • The 49ers’ run game
  • The 49ers’ healthy and improving quarterback
  • The 49ers’ creative coaching staff
  • The Seahawks’ shaky pass blocking at times
  • The Seahawks’ shaky defense at all times
  • The Seahawks’ specific lack of a pass rush
  • The fact that this game is on the road
  • The fact that the 49ers have had a few extra days to prepare

I mean, I could go on and on if you want me to, but we’d be here all day.

If I’m being honest, I think the Seahawks’ defense will look like they’ve looked all year. They’ll get a stop here and there, they’ll bend, they’ll sometimes break, but they’ll also hold the 49ers to field goals sometimes. I would expect the 49ers to score somewhere in the mid-to-high 20’s. Anywhere from 24-29 points (the definition of mid-to-high 20’s, in other words).

The real wild card here is what the Seahawks are able to do offensively. My initial gut instinct is to bury the Seahawks – like the 49ers’ defensive front will do to our offensive line, running backs, and quarterback. We’ve seen this since 2012: when the Seahawks are faced with a rabid D-Line, they struggle to move the ball and score points. In the past, we’ve been able to win some of these games by holding the other team to under 20 points, and just gutting our way to a 16-13 victory. But, clearly, the Seahawks’ defense isn’t capable of doing that anymore. Which has been okay so far this year, because we haven’t gone up against very many quality defenses.

Except, when we have, we’ve sucked. We were able to put up 27 against the Saints, but 20 of those points came in the 4th quarter when the game was pretty much decided. Against the Ravens, we got 16 points and were run out of our own stadium. I would argue the 49ers’ defense is better than either of those two teams. On top of this being a road game, I’d say the likelihood of us even keeping this game close is pretty remote.

The Seahawks SHOULD lose by multiple scores.

And yet, I can’t totally rule us out. Russell Wilson has always been special, but this year he’s on another planet. I think everyone acknowledges that, and that’s why any expert picking this game might even consider for a moment that the Seahawks could win. But, I think if you played this game in 100 alternate universes, the Seahawks probably only win a third or a quarter of the time. Maybe less. Ten?

I’ve done a pretty good job of building this game up in my mind. The Seahawks need this game MUCH more than the 49ers. Falling behind by 3 games in the division with six games left to play would most likely be too much to overcome. I’ve even gone to the trouble of taking tomorrow off of work so I don’t have to be exhausted as I stay up for the end of this one. So, believe me when I say I’m prepared to be disappointed tonight. I’m prepared to be angry. I’m prepared to tweet 90,000 times and throw out 40 million expletives. And, yeah, I’m prepared for the inevitable Richard Sherman post-game rant where he calls out the Seahawks and the haters in general (I’m also prepared for the much more devastating Richard Sherman post-game measured response where he praises both teams and takes the high road as the lion who doesn’t care about the opinion of the sheep).

The 49ers are favored by 6.5 points, and I’d say the odds are better than 50% that they cover that spread. I’d put maybe another 35-40% on them still winning, but by 6 or less. That puts the odds as pretty remote for the Seahawks to actually win. If they do, it’ll be as close to a miracle as it comes. And, if they do, I hope Russell Wilson is as emotional and insufferable as they get. What I’d love to see is Wilson really stick the knife into all the people who said he was only good when he had an elite defense and running game at his disposal. What we’d get would be far more bland and pointless, but at least Seahawks fans could sleep well knowing the truth: that Wilson was always the future of this team.

It just took getting rid of all his detractors to make it happen. In that sense, maybe it WAS a good thing the Seahawks moved on from Richard Sherman when they did.

Predicting The 2017 NFL Season

It’s that time again!  Check out some predictions from past seasons:

Since I don’t do a good-enough job of noting this ahead of time, let’s take a brief look back at my 2016 predictions and see where I went wrong.

In the NFC, I had the NFC seeded in the following order (top 4 teams are division winners):

  1. Seattle
  2. Green Bay
  3. Washington
  4. Carolina
  5. Arizona
  6. New York

In reality, they were seeded as follows:

  1. Dallas
  2. Atlanta
  3. Seattle
  4. Green Bay
  5. New York
  6. Detroit

So, I had two division winners correct, and three playoff teams out of six.  Not bad.  My best call was nailing the Giants for a Wild Card berth; my worst call was predicting the Falcons would finish fourth in the NFC South (not far behind:  predicting the Cowboys would finish third in the East).

In the AFC, I was considerably better, nailing the division winners (although, not quite in the correct order) and 5/6 playoff teams:

  1. New England
  2. Kansas City
  3. Houston
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Oakland
  6. Buffalo

I wanted so desperately for the Bills to make it back to the playoffs, I was blinded by how terrible they are as a franchise!  In reality, the playoffs looked like this:

  1. New England
  2. Kansas City
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Houston
  5. Oakland
  6. Miami

Best call here was nailing the top two seeds in order, and the top 5 (just flip-flopping the Texans and Steelers).  Worst call:  Dolphins finishing fourth in the East (behind the Jets???  Come on, man!), followed by the Jags finishing second in the South (I was drinking the Bort Kool Aid, for sure).

I ended up with a Seattle over Kansas City Super Bowl, because I’m a homer.  I also had a Seattle over Indianapolis Super Bowl the year before, and a Seattle over Denver rematch in 2014.  I will give myself some credit for correctly predicting the Seattle over Denver Super Bowl in 2013, as well as (I shit you not) a Baltimore over San Francisco Super Bowl in 2012.

So, it’s time to get back on the horse!  Without further ado, here are my divisional predictions:

NFC East

New York
Dallas
Washington
Philadelphia

There’s got to be some regression with the Cowboys.  Not a lot, but I think just enough.  Of course, I’m saying that knowing full well I’ve staked my fantasy football future on the arm of Dak Prescott, but I’ve got some real issues with that defense, and I just don’t think their offense can be as perfect as they were last year (particularly the running game, since I’m rolling with Ezekiel Elliott in two different leagues.  I like Washington, but I don’t care for their defense, and I question whether their passing game can be as potent as it’s been.  Obviously, I expect Kirk Cousins to play well, but he’s got a lot of new pieces around him.  The Eagles strike me as a few more years away.  The Giants just feel like the most complete team on both sides of the ball, so I’m rolling with them.

NFC North

Green Bay
Minnesota
Detroit
Chicago

Is there really any point in picking against the Packers?  They’re like the Patriots of the NFC; they’re always good, and they’re always surrounded by crappy division-mates.  I think the Vikings and Lions could go either way; I think they’re both about .500 teams.  I like the Vikings’ defense just a little bit more than I like Detroit’s offense.  I also think a second season with Sam Bradford should help them move the ball a little more.  I think the Bears will be a mess and, more importantly, I think that’s the best thing for them, as they’ll need to surround their new rookie QB with a lot of talent going forward.

NFC South

Carolina
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
New Orleans

I almost picked the Bucs, but I dunno.  I just don’t see it.  I think they’re a year away still; they strike me as fairly immature.  Honestly, I don’t feel strongly about ANY of these teams, but having Carolina bounce back is the least-ridiculous thing I can imagine right now.  I do still think the Bucs will make a Wild Card spot though, I’m just not so sure they’ll have enough to overtake the Panthers.  I think the Falcons will be about a .500 team as they remain hungover from that devastating Super Bowl loss.  And, I just don’t think the Saints are very good, and they probably need to think about blowing that situation up at some point.

NFC West

Seattle
Arizona
San Francisco
Los Angeles

The last couple years, I’ve been seduced by blind homerism when it comes to the Seahawks.  Nevertheless, they’ve still managed to win at least 10 games and make the playoffs both years.  So, I’m not TOTALLY crazy.  This year, however, I believe to be the year we get back our #1 seed and our home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  I still like Arizona to kick up a little fuss, but they’re about a .500 team too.  I think the 49ers will be better than people expect, though they’re probably still a 6-7 win team.  I think the Rams will be much WORSE than people expect, and I’m pretty sure people are already expecting them to be pretty bad.

Here’s a prediction for free:  I think the Seahawks will go 2-0 against the Rams; WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT???

AFC East

New England
Miami
Buffalo
New York

Tank-a-palooza is in full effect with the Jets, as I fully expect them to win no more than 1-2 games.  I like Buffalo only a little bit more, to be honest, as they’ve gotten rid of a lot of talent, and still don’t seem too keen on Tyrod Taylor being the guy going forward (I hope they let him loose at some point, so he can go to a team that deserves him).  I still like Miami to come up second in the division with Jay Cutler at the helm, but I still only see them as around a .500 team.  New England should run away with this thing with 13-14 wins.

AFC North

Pittsburgh
Cincinnati
Baltimore
Cleveland

This could be an interesting little division.  I think the Ravens are a year or two away from returning to the playoffs.  I like a lot of the moves Cleveland is making (though, surely, they’ll face growing pains with their rookie QB).  I like a lot of the moves the Bengals have made this past offseason as well, though I think they’ll fall JUST short of the playoffs (likely on a tiebreaker).  I think the Steelers take this one with 11 wins.

AFC South

Tennessee
Houston
Indianapolis
Jacksonville

I think now, FINALLY, the Titans will have their year.  I also think they have the highest variance of any of the teams in this conference.  They could go 13-3, or 9-7, or anywhere in between, and I wouldn’t be shocked.  I went ahead and pencilled them in at 10-6, tied with the Texans, and both teams cracking the playoffs.  I think both the Colts and Jags will be terrible, netting between 2-4 wins each.

AFC West

Kansas City
Oakland
Denver
San Diego

I really wanted to put Oakland here, and this might be my biggest regret, as I’ve kind of been hyping them all off-season.  But, the Chiefs are just more of a complete team.  I think their defense is certainly better than the Raiders’, which could be their ultimate downfall.  I still like the Raiders to make the playoffs, but they might be a year away from grabbing one of the top two seeds.

NFC Playoffs

  1. Seattle
  2. Green Bay
  3. New York
  4. Carolina
  5. Tampa Bay
  6. Dallas

AFC Playoffs

  1. New England
  2. Kansas City
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Tennessee
  5. Oakland
  6. Houston

I’d absolutely love to see a playoffs with these teams involved.  Let’s look at the playoff predictions:

Wild Card Round

Dallas over New York
Carolina over Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh over Houston
Oakland over Tennessee

Divisional Round

Seattle over Dallas
Carolina over Green Bay
New England over Pittsburgh
Oakland over Kansas City

Championship Round

Seattle over Carolina
Oakland over New England

Super Bowl

Seattle over Oakland

OH SNAP!  Are you ready for this???  The Seahawks can only win Super Bowls against their old AFC West foes!  The storylines are pretty amazing, though, starting with Beastmode vs. his old team.  Michael Crabtree vs. Richard Sherman.  Ken Norton Jr. & Bruce Irvin vs. their old team.  Then, there was all that crap from Derek Carr about running it on the 1 yard line.  And, of course, there’s the 1983 season and how the Raiders prevented the Seahawks from making their first Super Bowl during that miracle playoff run.

You’re going to see a lot of people predicting the Seahawks vs. Patriots Part II, including Peter King in his MMQB column; but how many people will predict the Seahawks/Raiders?  Maybe just me.

Is it because I’m stupid?  Probably.  But, wouldn’t that be fun?

The Seahawks Have A Job To Do

Well, the Rams really could’ve done us a solid last night.  But, instead they decided to shit the bed, smear the shit all around trying to half-assedly clean it up, then covered it with the comforter to try to hide the fact that they shit the bed.  But you know, and I know, and the Rams know, that the room still smells like shit and it’s only a matter of time before the maid comes in and discovers what the Rams have done, but by then we’ll be on a plane back home and …

I forget where I was going with this.  Let me back up.

The Cardinals just beat the hapless Rams last night.  In St. Louis.  Bumping them up to 11 wins and for all intents and purposes comfortably IN the playoffs in some capacity.  And now they get 10 days to prepare for us to come to town, but that’s a post for another week.

Right now, we’ve got some business to take care of.  Some trash to take outside.  Some lawn to fertilize.  The 49ers are in town this weekend, reeling from back-to-back losses to the Seahawks on Thanksgiving, and the Raiders last week.  They’re 7-6 and, I believe, will be eliminated from the playoffs with one final death blow.

The 49ers aren’t a good team.  I don’t need to tell YOU that, but I will, because it’s so much fun.  It’s so much fun to watch Jim Harbaugh struggle.  To watch his house of cards tumble all around him.  Yes, these 49ers lost to the lowly Raiders.  Yes, they were held to 3 points by a resurgent Seahawks defense.  But, keep going back, you’ll notice a delightful trend.  Like a hard-fought 4-point victory at home against RGIII and the Redskins (the since-benched RGIII, that is).  Like another hard-fought 6-point victory against the Giants.  Like an overtime win against the ridiculous Saints.  Like a 3-point loss at home to the Rams.  It goes on and on.  Their most-impressive wins are either Week 1 at Dallas, or Week 4 at home against the Eagles.  And, I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s not September anymore.

Remember at the start of the season when we looked at these three games specifically – at Frisco, at Philly, back home vs. Frisco – as the most difficult games of the year?  And then, when we lumped the Cardinals into the mix, grudgingly accepting them as a threat even while keeping our doubts about us, marking this 5-game stretch as not only critical, but possibly lethal to our chances?  AND LOOK AT US NOW!  We are in a VERY solid position to go 5-0 in this stretch, as long as we can stay healthy and continue T’ing C of B.

Just two weeks ago, the Seahawks held the 49ers to 3 points in their home stadium.  What has changed?  Nothing has changed.  In fact, the Seahawks are looking HEALTHIER than they were two weeks ago, as there’s a 50/50 chance Max Unger returns this week.  He’s been practicing, after all, so we’ll see.

In that last game, we held them to 164 yards and 4/11 on third down.  We took the time of possession by a good ten minutes and, in spite of giving them an 85-yard edge in penalties, we still dominated them in every facet of the game.

Now … the game is being played here.  In Seattle.  Where the 49ers have not only struggled in recent years, but they’ve been laughed off the face of the fucking Earth.  Usually it’s blowouts.  Obviously, in the NFC Championship Game last year, instead of a blowout, we were able to treat them to a heartbreaking, demoralizing finish.  Either way, the 49ers haven’t had success here in the Russell Wilson Era.  So, what makes you think they’re going to have success this weekend?  When they’re in the middle of their worst stretch of play since Jim Harbaugh was hired, while at the same time our defense is back to its 2013 level?

Am I the only one who thinks this is a no-brainer?  Obviously, I’m not, because Vegas has pushed the spread on this game to over 10 points, the last time I checked.  It’s the most the Seahawks have ever been favored over the 49ers since Pete Carroll has come to town.

I’m pretty comfortable in saying the Seahawks are going to win comfortably.  The only way I can see them keeping it close is if we’re sloppy with the football, giving it away and whatnot.  If our offense is struggling the way the Rams struggled to move the football last night, then maybe I could see the 49ers hanging around.  But, we’re not employing Shaun Hill and the Loser Brigade.  We’ve got Russell “Always Finds A Way” Wilson.  Even if we struggle in the red zone again, we should be able to put up enough field goals to make this a laugher, with the way our defense has been rolling.

The 49ers are the least of my concerns.  They’re a beached whale gasping its dying breaths.  Colin Kaepernick has regressed to the point where he can’t get out of his own way and stop turning the ball over on ill-conceived throws.  Michael Crabtree is so far below mediocre, you could pull a man off the street and get blanket coverage.  Frank Gore is on his way out of the league.  The offensive line is a mess.  Their linebackers are all backups on any other team.  They have a little shred of respectability in their run defense, and some marginal talent in their secondary.  But, my money is on the Seahawks having their way with them.

It’s going to be a great day on Sunday.  We’ll close the book on the 2014 San Francisco 49ers.  We’ll be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Jim Harbaugh’s reign with that team.  And, we might be looking at one of the last days of Colin Kaepernick:  Franchise Quarterback.  If he doesn’t get out of the tailspin he’s been in, you could be looking at a career-backup for some other team.

I wonder how he’d feel about playing behind Russell Wilson for pennies on the dollar …

Seahawks Satisfy By Stomping The Slumping 49ers

I’d just like to point out that this is the defense fantasy owners were expecting when they drafted the Seahawks about six rounds too high.  If you managed to somehow make it through the first 11 weeks of the season still in a position to make the post-season:  CONGRATS!  If you were also determined to keep the Seahawks’ D on your roster all year, you’re going to be rewarded with a nice little run of games.

Of course, if you’re just running out the clock in anticipation of the Consolation Bracket, then you’re wondering just where in the Hell THIS defense has been all year!

In the last two weeks, the Seahawks have defeated the Cardinals and the 49ers by a score of 19-3.  Isn’t that just a LITTLE weird?  Can we all agree that we’ve never seen that happen before?  I mean, what kind of voodoo mindfuck is going on here?  Yesterday, I put up a preview of the game where I said, “The Seahawks are the 49ers are the Cardinals are the Rams.”  Except, that’s not really true.  See, the Seahawks – when we’re at full strength (or, as close as we can be to full strength without the likes of Unger, Miller, and Mebane) – are a championship calibre team.  The Cardinals are pretty good – and they’ve been mighty lucky in these close games this year – but they’re nowhere near our league.  The 49ers are just plain awful.  At least, when you compare them to the Seahawks.

Does anyone know what happened to Colin Kaepernick?  Did he catch a glimpse of that Sports Illustrated cover with him and Russell Wilson’s massive schlong and immediately forget how to play football as he looks longingly into the distance, pondering the meaning of life?  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, RUSSELL WILSON’S MASSIVE SCHLONG???

Because, whatever is going on, the fact remains:  Kaepernick has lost it.  That essence.  What was once a promising, young quarterback leading his team to back-to-back NFC Championship Games is now a homeless man’s Kordell Stewart.  So, what’s changed?  Unless we’re talking about some sort of Body Snatchers situation, this should be the same guy who has been awesome since he made his first start in this league.  His receivers and running backs are at full strength.  The defense has been solid as usual.  The one thing that stands out has to be health at the offensive line position.

Before we get too far down this rabbit hole, I want to look at some numbers:

  • Russell Wilson – 214/335, 63.9%, 2,466 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs, 59.0 QBR, 94.7 rating
  • Colin Kaepernick – 230/376, 61.2%, 2,736 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 52.7 QBR, 87.8 rating

These numbers don’t strike me as too terribly dissimilar, right?  You’ve got a couple of quarterbacks here who are having semi-down years, with many of their troubles due to injuries across their offensive lines.  And yet, if you needed to win a game behind a feeble line, going up against a tough defensive front seven, you’d choose to play with Wilson in a heartbeat!  I mean, it’s not even close!  Let’s say you get to replay last night’s game, and you’re running the 49ers, and you get a chance to swap – for one day only – Wilson for Kaepernick.  All else is equal.  I’m going with Wilson, even against the teeth of the Seahawks’ pass rush!

I don’t know how to quite put my finger on it, but Wilson is just a gamer.  He’s able to elevate his level of play to the circumstances at hand.  He’s able to adapt when faced with overwhelming torment from the defense.  If a game dictates that he needs to hand the ball off 30 times, so be it.  If a game dictates that he needs to tuck it and run, he’s on it.  If he’s got to whirl and twirl to avoid almost-instantaneous pressure, only to find a wide open receiver at the opposite side of the field with nothing but green grass in front of him, he’s going to do it and break your collective heart in the process.

Russell Wilson is whatever you need him to be.  That’s why he’s great and that’s why he’s going to continue to be great.  And, as his athletic gifts start to wane in his advancing years, I have no doubt he’ll have picked up enough tricks of the passing trade to make it as a quick-strike pocket passer.

Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, refuses to adapt.  Part of that, without question, is his RGIII-syndrome.  All quarterbacks have egos the size of Jupiter, it’s in the nature of the position.  If you don’t believe you’re the best, then you’ve already been weeded out of the game long before reaching the Pros.  But, there’s a difference between a Russell Wilson ego and a Colin Kaepernick ego.  Wilson is a student of the game.  He’s humble enough to know that he’s not one of the all time greats yet.  When he puts out a poor performance, he’s going to do whatever it takes to correct his mistakes.  But, Kaepernick’s got the ego where he won’t listen to anyone but his legion of Yes Men.  He’s at the point where he thinks he’s too good and too talented; so even if he has a bad game, it must be a fluke and will surely be rectified the next time he steps onto the field.  Not through intensive practice, study, and self-reflection, but just because he’s Colin Kaepernick and greatness is in his blood, or something.

I mean, we’re talking about the guy who won’t even admit that it’s POSSIBLE he made a poor decision in challenging Richard Sherman at the end of the NFC Championship Game.  A guy who said he would make the same choice 100 out of 100 times!  And I believe him!  You know why I believe him?  BECAUSE HE DID IT AGAIN LAST NIGHT!

I mean, come on.  Are you seriously right now?  Two picks, both to Richard Sherman, and what’s worse:  the targets were their third and fourth receivers!  He wasn’t even trying to get the ball to his supposed #1 guy Crabtree (who ended up with a sub-mediocre 3 catches for all of 10 yards).  No, he was throwing to the likes of Brandon Lloyd and Stevie Johnson of all people!

You just don’t get it, do you Kaepernick?  You THINK you’re good enough to beat anyone and everyone, but you’re not.  Instead of realizing your limitations, you try to force that square peg through the round hole.  You don’t do what’s best for the team, you do what’s best for yourself.  As a result, you’ll never be a champion, and you sure as shit will never be one of The Greats.

But, to be fair, he’s also not terrible.  Well, he’s not terrible when he plays teams not named the Seattle Seahawks.  If you look at his game log this year, the only other game of his on par with last night’s monstrosity was the week 2 loss to Chicago where he threw three picks.  He’s got 8 interceptions on the year, and five have come in the two games against the Bears and Seahawks.  MOST of the time, he’s adequate.  Once in a while, he can be really good (about as often as he has one of these meltdowns like last night).  He’s got a lot of games where he throws 1 TD and 0 INTs, with passing yardage in the low to mid 200s.  It’s actually pretty remarkable how consistently acceptable he is.  Colin Kaepernick is like missionary position sexual intercourse with your longtime partner or significant other:  for the most part, he gets the job done, but it’s rarely exciting or exceeding expectations.

Also, what happened to his threatening you with his legs?  I highly doubt that defenses have adjusted to the point where he is completely shut down, but he’s only had three games this year where he has run for over 40 yards, and all of them happened in the first month of the season.  Unless there’s some sort of nagging injury that I’m not aware of, this appears to be a conscious decision on either his part or the coaching staff’s part to eliminate the threat of the run altogether.  Why do I know it’s that, and not the rest of the NFL catching up?  Because Russell Wilson has almost twice the number of rushing yards on the year as Kaepernick.  You don’t think defenses are geared up to keep Wilson in the pocket and prevent him from gashing them?  Of course they are!  But, Wilson is still doing it.  Why?  Because he doesn’t think rushing the football is beneath him.  Clearly, Kaepernick is above all that.  And, as a result, he’s not as good of a quarterback.

Now, I’m not here to JUST dump on Kaepernick.  I no longer hate him as much as I did, say, last year.  Chalk that up to me having to rely on him as one of my fantasy football quarterbacks the last few years, and somehow being in first place right now in spite of his nothingness.  For instance, I don’t think he’s ONLY a running quarterback.  He’s not a guy who has gotten to this point simply by running with the football (like, say, Mike Vick, for instance, who still has a career somehow even though he’s been terrible for a while now).  But, without the THREAT of the run, Kaepernick is VERY ordinary.  There’s no doubt about that.  To be one of these hybrid quarterbacks and be successful in this league, you can’t just abandon one of the two elements that makes you great!  Russell Wilson has come to grips with that reality and is thriving because of it.  Without Wilson being on pace to surpass 1,000 yards rushing, he’d be having a pretty miserable year all things considered.  But, when you tack on those rushing totals, it makes him the real deal, and it makes this offense formidable (even though we’ve been struggling to get into the endzone for the better part of this entire season).

The red zone struggles continued last night.  How much of that is our offense still continuing to spin its wheels vs. the 49ers defense being very good?  I can’t say.  Just as I couldn’t say last week when we faced the very good Cardinals defense.  Weather permitting, we should have a pretty good idea in Philly next week as to whether or not our offense is starting to click, or if this is going to be a problem the rest of the way.  Regardless, the Seahawks didn’t need much more than a few field goals last night, and that’s all that matters.

Once again, smothering defense was the name of the game.  In addition to those two picks, Kaepernick went 16/29 for 121 yards and obviously 0 touchdowns.  He also had to endure 4 sacks and another 5 QB hits, with only 17 rushing yards on 3 attempts.  As I talked about in yesterday’s post, Getting Home was what it was all about.  I called out Bennett, Avril, and Irvin specifically, and each one of them ended up with a sack apiece and at least one other QB hit and one other tackle for loss.  All around SOLID game out of the defensive line last night.  This is made all the more clear by the fact that we saw our second consecutive strong performance in the rushing defense department, giving up only 64 yards on the ground, on 18 carries, for a 3.6 yard average.  Either the Kansas City game was a fluke, or Bobby Wagner really IS the key to this whole thing.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have him back.

Offensively, one positive was the fact that we WERE moving the ball.  379 total yards is nothing to sneeze at, even if four drives ended up as field goals.  That’s solid improvement on the offensive side of the ball that you can take to the bank.  All we need now is a little more improved execution and I think we can put this whole dark chapter of our season to bed.

Beastmode continues to put on a clinic out there, wearing out defenses.  He ran the ball 20 times for 104 yards.  I don’t even care that he was shut out of the endzone, nor do I care that the 49ers are down some of their regular defenders, it’s always impressive when you run for over 100 yards against this team.

Wilson was once again his usual, efficient self:  15/22, 236 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs.  He also ran the ball 7 times for 35 yards.  Aside from a couple of fumbles (that were luckily recovered by the Seahawks), he had quite a clean day in spite of the four 49ers sacks.

Every great thing I said about the defense last week holds up.  All around HUGE effort out of those guys.  We’ll need it to continue if we’re going to slow down the Eagles next week.

Seattle Seahawks’ Santa Clara Thanksgiving Special Spectacular!

You know, the one good thing about jam-packing the entire final month and a half full of meaningful games:  it’s impossible to “look ahead” to your next week’s opponent.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the 2014 NFL season.  It started A LOT later than it usually does, but with this – the first showdown between the Seahawks and the 49ers – we can now say that the season has officially started.  Can you BELIEVE the NFL opted to roll with a 16-week exhibition season prior to starting the regular season this year?  THANKS OBAMA GOODELL!

Maybe it’s the rush of caffeine to my head, maybe it’s a clogged artery or two doing a little happy dance, but I am PUMPED UP about this game tonight!  Truth be told, I’m fairly excited for all the games on today’s slate; this might be the best Thanksgiving for football we’ve had in decades.  But, tonight, at 5:30pm, when we kick off Round 1 of the two most physical teams in football – the most bitter and hated rivalry in the game today – I’m hopefully going to be at least two Jager shots into my evening, with a pitcher of beer in front of me, and some of the rowdiest Seahawks fans in the city over at Buckley’s in Bell Town.  I’ve been dreaming about this game for weeks!  Since we all caught wind of the schedule earlier this year and automatically sought out the first 49er game of the slate.

As for the game itself, I wouldn’t mind watching the Seahawks stomp all over the 49ers, dealing them a crushing blow from which they’ll never recover (Seahawks kill 49ers on the road, come back in two weeks to roll comfortably at home, resulting in the 49ers missing the playoffs, resulting in Jim Harbaugh being let go, resulting in the 49ers hiring the current Stanford head coach, resulting in a long, slow decline into mediocrity for a once-proud franchise as Harbaugh takes over the Oakland Raiders and never appears in a playoff game ever again).  But, for some reason, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

For a while now, you could say the Seahawks and the 49ers are the same exact teams, and you wouldn’t be too far off.  Nothing changes in that comparison, except now, these teams are the same for all the wrong reasons.  Both teams have been obliterated by injuries (though, to be fair, a number of them – on both sides – are starting to trickle back into health).  Both teams still have strong defenses, but aren’t as dominating as they’d been the last couple years.  Both teams still rely heavily on the run (though, I will say the Seahawks are far superior in this department this season).  And both teams have young, mobile starting quarterbacks who have taken significant steps back in their development (for whatever reason) up to this point in the season.

As a fantasy owner in a league with a 2-QB setup, I know all too well FIRST HAND of the struggles of Colin Kaepernick.  He tends to start off games very hot, and then does absolutely nothing but bumble around for the following three and a half quarters.  The fact that this team still manages to win in spite of his mediocrity is a testament to – I dunno, their coaching?  Their experience?  Their will to never give up?  I have no clue.  This team should be spoken about in the same breath as the Chicago Bears right now, but somehow they’ve found ways to get the job done.

On the flipside, Russell Wilson is gritting games out by the grit of his gritty grit grit #Marklar.  He’s not quite RGIII-bad with his pocket presence, but he’s on that spectrum to be sure.

I don’t know how you peg this game as anything but a low-scoring affair.  The Seahawks are the 49ers are the Cardinals are the Rams.  What are the Seahawks going to do against a dominating front seven in Santa Clara?  Unless we’re talking about injuries to their big men, probably not much.  A positive to put in our hats would be the fact that the Redskins, last week, with Alfred Morris, were able to run all over them.  If they can do that with him, the Seahawks should be able to do better with Beastmode.  Especially when you consider James Carpenter will be back and starting (pushing Alvin Bailey to our 6th O-Lineman spot, in the event we want to go jumbo on their asses).

So, maybe bank on some improved interior running compared to last week.  Also, probably bank on Russell Wilson not getting around to the edge quite as often.  Yes, the 49ers are missing some linebackers, but their replacements aren’t too shabby, and their secondary is playing improved ball over last year.  I like the Seahawks to grind it out on the ground; here’s to hoping the passing game finds its gear and gets going.

Defensively, I like the Seahawks to continue their strong effort against the run.  The 49ers are a little beat up along the offensive line, and with Bobby Wagner back, we’re still pretty stout in this department.

In the passing game, Michael Crabtree has somehow gotten even MORE mediocre than he was last year, if that’s even possible.  The real guy to fear is Anquan Boldin.  I wouldn’t mind this being a game where Richard Sherman shadows Boldin a little more than he does Crabtree, though it would be nice to reenact The Tip.  That’s a show we can CERTAINLY take on the road!

The key to this game, above all else:  getting home.  Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, and Bruce Irvin are the keys to this game.  It’s not enough to just pressure Kaepernick; he’ll get out in space and make us look like assholes in the process.  No, if we’re not going to try to simply harass him in the pocket, then we’ve GOT to bring him down for losses!  I want him leaving this game wondering just how in the Hell they’re going to come into Seattle in two weeks and come away with a victory (here’s a hint:  they won’t).

It’s been too long since the Seahawks have gone into San Francisco and come away with a victory.  Thankfully, as has been pointed out by countless people on Twitter this week, we’re not GOING to San Francisco to play the 49ers.  We’re doing so in Santa Clara.  They’ve proven without a shadow of a doubt that theirs is no home field advantage, going 3-2 on the year, with embarrassing defeats to the likes of the Bears and Rams (and but a narrow victory over the Redskins last week).  Let’s go out there today and drag them down to .500.

Nail, meet coffin.  This game is as big as it gets for the victor.

The Key To Roster Building In The NFL

I’ll preface this by saying:  you can’t do anything without a quarterback.  That’s obvious.  Everyone knows it, so there’s really not even much point in bringing it up, except if you don’t bring it up, then wise-asses will come on here and tell me I forgot about the quarterback position.

There are all kinds of different types of quarterbacks that can win you a championship, as evidenced by the last decade or so of NFL champions.  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady are going to go down as all-time greats.  Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger likely won’t.  Doesn’t mean they’re BAD; just means that no one is going to put them in their Top 10 All Time Greatest Quarterbacks list.

For the record, my picks:

  1. Joe Montana
  2. Tom Brady
  3. John Elway
  4. Peyton Manning
  5. Dan Marino
  6. Steve Young
  7. Johnny Unitas
  8. Brett Favre
  9. Drew Brees
  10. Warren Moon

But, that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, the quarterback is crucial.  It’s too early to say where Russell Wilson will fall on that list, but I’d venture to say we’d still be ringless if he had to carry a team with an underperforming defense last season.

And that’s what the elite quarterback will afford you.  The elites – like Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Brees, etc. – can cover up for just a so-so defense.  Of course, the fact that all of those quarterbacks only have one championship apiece will tell you that a quarterback can’t do it by himself (and, truth be told, the years their respective teams won it all, their defenses weren’t that bad).

The more talent you have around your quarterback, the less perfect your quarterback has to be (hence why Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger both have two championships each).  But, the NFL has a salary cap, and teams have got to find a way to fit 53 players into that cap (plus a little extra to make up for injuries and such).  So, HOW you build around your quarterback is just about as important as the quarterback itself.

There isn’t exactly one specific way to run your team, but I’ll tell you this much:  you’re not going to get very far without a good defense.  That means one of two things:  elite pass rush, or elite secondary (or, ideally both).  Without really delving deep into things, I think it’s pretty safe to say that at least half of NFL teams are pretty happy with their quarterbacks.  I don’t think it’s out of the question to say that at least half of the teams have a guy under center capable of winning it all (assuming everything breaks right and they have a good team around them).  So, you figure that at least half the time, your defense is going to face a pretty good quarterback.

Now, if you’re going to build a defense to combat all those pretty good-to-great quarterbacks, you’ve got to have one of the two aforementioned qualities:  an elite pass rush or an elite secondary.  It’s all about disrupting the quarterback’s timing and forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to do.  If you’ve got the pass rush, then odds are you’ll be able to force him to throw early; if you’ve got the secondary, then odds are you’ll be able to force him to throw late (and hopefully give your adequate pass rush enough time to get home).  So, it would stand to reason that if you’re building your roster to win a championship, you’re going to focus the bulk of your defensive salary cap on edge rushers and/or the secondary.

What you DON’T want to do is start pumping a bunch of money down into your linebackers and interior linemen.  Unless that interior lineman is in the Cortez Kennedy/Warren Sapp mold, you’re probably overpaying.  You can find wide-bodies just about anywhere, on the cheap, no problem.  Ditto linebackers.  People will point to some of the quality guys like Patrick Willis and Luke Kuechly, and I will admit that those dudes are pretty awesome at what they do.  But, you know who else is pretty awesome?  Bobby Wagner.  He’s a second round pick making a fraction of what those guys are making and will make.  Bobby Wagner isn’t heralded in the least, but he’s still awesome.  And, I would venture that you can find a TON of Bobby Wagners in the draft, which will save you money in the long run over massive extensions for the Kuechlys of the world.

Take a look at the Seahawks.  We’ve pumped some serious money into Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor, and soon we’ll devote a whole bunch more into Richard Sherman.  Pass rush & secondary.  Where are we finding savings?  How about three linebackers (Wagner, Wright, Smith) all drafted in the 2nd round or later, all still on rookie deals.  Now, the Seahawks MIGHT extend one or more of those guys when the time comes, but I bet they’ll be mid-range contracts that don’t kill our cap for years to come.

We’re also saving money on our interior line.  Brandon Mebane has a $5 million APY, and that leads the team on interior line spending.  Tony McDaniel is on a short-term, on-the-cheap deal, and the rest of our interior guys are on rookie contracts.

Of course, the Seahawks could always use a little more pass rush security.  Maybe Cliff Avril gets extended beyond this year.  Maybe we hit on someone in the draft.  Maybe we pick up another team’s cast-off.  Or, maybe we just try to hold the fort and steal another team’s outgoing free agent next year.

The point is:  pass rush & secondary = big money players.  Linebackers & interior linemen = savings.

On offense, the Seahawks have proven that a run-first model isn’t entirely out-dated.  Nevertheless, their spending in this area kinda sorta is.

Marshawn Lynch has the fourth-highest average per-year salary on the team (behind Harvin, Thomas, and Okung).  His contact runs out after the 2015 season.  Nobody really expects Lynch to see the final year of that deal as it’s currently configured, because nobody really expects Lynch to continue playing at the high level he’s been at the last three or four years.  Plus, there’s the whole issue with Russell Wilson getting his money after the 2014 season (when the team can negotiate an extension and finally pay him what he’s really worth).

As you can see from all the free agent deals for running backs this off-season, they’re not getting the kind of money they used to get even 10 years ago.  It sounds crazy when you think of someone like Chris Johnson, who can only get a 2-year deal; he was once the best runner in football and he’s NOT THAT OLD.  Same goes for these other guys.  What kind of a deal would Ben Tate have gotten even five years ago?  Now, he’s playing for peanuts, as is MJD, Darren McFadden, and every other running back who hits free agency.

Why is that?  Because teams are reluctant to go with the one-back system and instead opt for a By-Committee approach.  Because injuries are a son of a bitch.  And because all too often, a no-name guy from the back-end of the draft will enter the mix in the NFL and be just as good, if not better, than these over-paid mama’s boys (Trent Richardson) who somehow still get drafted high.

All of this tells me one thing:  you’re foolish if you’re pumping too much money into the running back position.

The Seahawks have the luxury of paying Marshawn Lynch a high salary because they’re paying next-to-nothing for Russell Wilson (and the quarterback position at large).  But, when Wilson’s commanding around $20 million per season, you’ve got to find ways to cut corners somewhere.  I would wager the Seahawks will pull some of that money out of the running back position (which is a shame, because everyone loves Marshawn Lynch with a passion).

It’ll be difficult, for the Seahawks more than others, because we DO rely on the run so much to make our offense go.  The run sets up the play-action pass.  The run keeps defenses honest.  The run also reduces the risk of turnovers, because if we’re successfully running the ball, then we’re not throwing as much.  If we’re not throwing as much, then we’re not throwing as many interceptions.  Bing, bang, boom.  So, the Seahawks can’t throw just any ol’ scrub in the backfield and expect to succeed.

To do what I advocate, you have to draft wisely and you have to draft often.  Finding value in a guy like Christine Michael (if he does, indeed, turn out to be the elite runner we all expect) will set us up for a good long while.  Yet, even if we were saddled with only Robert Turbin and whoever else via draft, I’d be content.

Because as long as you put value and talent into your offensive line, it really shouldn’t matter who you have at running back.

Under my system – which incidentally is the one the Seahawks have been using – you’ve got to have a great left tackle.  Russell Okung fits that mold.  He’s not quite Walter Jones, but then again, who is?  You SHOULD be able to cut corners a little bit on the guard spots, as long as you’ve got a great center.  The Seahawks have Max Unger, who is pretty terrific.  I’d like to see a breakdown of the best centers and how often they’re involved in lengthy playoff runs, because I think they’re WAY more important than most people give them credit for.

Under almost no circumstances should you be paying elite money to a guard.  Unless you know you’re getting someone like Hutch in his prime.  At which point, you should probably find a value center and make due with a so-so right tackle.  Obviously, you can’t pay everyone, but you should probably have at least two guys who are worthy of high-paying contracts.

If you’re a bad team, get that left tackle with a high draft pick.  There is ALWAYS an elite left tackle coming out in the draft.  So, if you have a high draft pick, make that guy your first priority.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a wonderful coach like Tom Cable, so try to get yourselves one of those.

The model isn’t perfect, obviously.  The Seahawks had two great linemen and a bunch of injuries last year and really struggled to protect the quarterback.  That’s where your QB comes into play.  You can put a crappy QB behind an elite O-Line and make some hay.  You probably won’t win many championships, but you can consistently make the playoffs.  The worse your O-Line is, though, the better your quarterback must be.  Russell Wilson probably isn’t an elite QB just yet, but he was good enough to make up for all the injuries and inconsistencies we suffered last year.

And, of course, that leads us to the passing game.  You can run the football all you want, but unless you can throw the ball when it counts, you’re not going to go all the way.  Ask Adrian Peterson about that, I’m sure he’s got some stories to tell.

Like I said at the top, you need the quarterback, but it helps if he has talent to throw to.

Some quarterbacks – like Brees, Peyton Manning, etc. – will turn any receiver into a 1,000 yard threat.  Others – I’m looking at you Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, etc. – need their receivers to elevate their games.

Andy Dalton would be a poor man’s Kyle Orton if he didn’t have A.J. Green.  Kaepernick was God-awful last year without Crabtree!  And Jay Cutler’s a fucking mess WITH guys like Brandon Marshall, but just imagine how terrible he’d be without him.

Now, say what you will about our receivers, but I think they’ve been pretty great.  And, until Percy Harvin came along, they’ve been relatively cheap as well.

Again, a great quarterback will make up for a lot of deficiencies.  I have no doubt that someone like Russell Wilson makes someone like Jermaine Kearse a better football player.  It’s tough to say what Kearse’s ceiling would be in an offense that passes as much as New Orleans or Green Bay, but I bet it would be higher than you’d think if you had someone like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees throwing the ball around 35 times a game.

Our offense doesn’t need to over-spend at the wide receiver position, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  If you can get someone like Percy Harvin, you probably should do it.  If you draft someone and he turns out to be the next Calvin Johnson, then you should probably do whatever it takes to keep him.

This can be a little tricky, because if your #1 receiver is making top quarterback money, AND if you happen to have one of those top quarterbacks, then you can get into a situation like they’ve got down in Detroit.  The Lions should probably worry about pumping their resources into an offensive line, or a secondary, to round out their team (and not, for instance, over-pay for someone like Golden Tate, but you didn’t hear that from me).

There are talented receivers out there in the draft and among the undrafted free agents, but you gotta be smart about it.  I would more than be in favor of an A-B-C salary structure for your top three receivers.  Your A-player gets the lion’s share, your B-player gets a healthy mid-level contract, and your C-player is probably a rookie or a young guy on a cheap deal.

In short, on offense, you’re going to want to pump a lot of money into the quarterback and the offensive line.  Stay away from overpaying running backs and tight ends (unless you’ve got one like Jimmy Graham that plays more like a wide receiver anyway).  And, just be smart about paying your receivers.  If you’re only going to throw 20-25 times per game, maybe don’t throw all your eggs into the receiver basket.  But, don’t leave the cupboard completely barren either.

The point of all of this is to say that the Seahawks are doing it the right way.  If you root for another team, and they happen to be struggling, then follow the money.  Where are their big-money contracts going?  Would they be better off putting that money elsewhere?  Are they making the same mistakes over and over?  Then, you might be a redneck Mariners fan, and get out of my brain.

Michael Bennett Re-Signs With Seattle Seahawks

See, I put myself in a certain frame of mind, I write posts resigned to the fact that things aren’t going to go the way I want them to, and when things go well for me – proving me wrong in the process – I get to sit here and bask in the elation we’re all feeling right now.  Michael Bennett will return to the Seahawks!  Word on the street is, 4 years, $28.5 million, $16 million guaranteed.

This is pretty huge.  It was always going to be impossible to bring everyone back (hence the bummer of seeing Red Bryant go), but as long as we were able to keep Michael Bennett, we’re able to mitigate that loss a little bit, and not have to completely start over on the D-Line.

I don’t know if there’s much left to say about what Bennett means to this team.  He generates pressure from every spot along the line, he’s got a motor unlike any other, and he makes those around him better.  To get him for a little over $7 million per year is outstanding to me, and possibly means we’re also able to keep Chris Clemons.

Now, I know that’s a difficult proposition – considering his cap hit is nearly $10 million, which has him currently the third-highest on the team – but you know my stance on the whole thing:  you can never have enough pass rushers.  With the overall salary cap increase, it might still be possible to hang onto him.

OR, if you wanted to get cute, you can look at it like this:  Chris Clemons is likely not worth $9.7 million on the open market.  At his age, coming off of that ACL injury, there’s no way he’s beating out a Michael Bennett-esque contract (or even a Cliff Avril-esque contract).  And, now that we’ve got Bennett back in the mix, signed-sealed-and-delivered, that gives the Seahawks a little more leverage in this thing.  Maybe instead of just keeping Clemons at this $9.7 million figure for one year, we renegotiate to something like 2 years & $10 million, with $4-5 million guaranteed for 2014, and something like $2 million guaranteed in 2015.  That way, we lower his cap figure to a more-reasonable level, he still gets MOST of the money he would otherwise get on his current deal, and if he holds up through 2014, the Seahawks get a bit of a bargain for 2015 when there’s a chance we lose Avril to free agency.

Any way you slice it, though, there’s nothing bad about getting Michael Bennett back.  He was the team’s number one priority for a reason.  Now, if we go after another pass rusher in the draft, we can let that guy evolve at his own pace and not have to rely on him right out of the chute to be a Super Bowl-level piece.

To put it another way:  if the Seahawks do nothing else the rest of this offseason, they’re already a favorite in my eyes to repeat as world champions.  Granted, doing nothing else would mean losing guys like Golden Tate, Clinton McDonald, and 40% of our starting offensive line, but I still feel like we could fill those holes internally right now and be fine.  However, there was no internal fix for losing Michael Bennett.  Hell, there were very few EXTERNAL fixes for losing Michael Bennett!  But, right now (assuming no one steals away Doug Baldwin, who indeed was tendered with a 2nd round draft pick price), we’ve had a successful offseason.

Of course, that having been said, you KNOW the Seahawks aren’t done.  Not by a long shot.  While this isn’t about simply reloading for 2014, but rather building for the long term run of championships we’re sure to win, it’s a nice feeling to know that while our long term interests are always paramount, our short term goals won’t take a hit.

Long Live Michael Bennett!

P.S.  Now, we just need to re-sign Clinton McDonald and I’ll REALLY be happy.

P.P.S.  Speaking of Doug Baldwin’s 2nd round tender, what’s to stop a team like the 49ers from totally fucking with us on this deal?  I HATE that we didn’t give him a 1st round tender, I really do.  The 49ers are absolutely STACKED with draft picks and can surely afford to give away a 2nd rounder for the right return piece.  But, besides that, what’s keeping them from driving up the price?  I feel like the Seahawks’ plan all along was to bring Baldwin back on this 1-year deal, and then dealing with him during the NEXT offseason.  But, if the 49ers put the screws to us and make him a big offer, that’s going to force us to make that decision before we wanted to.  Either that, or they’ve just bolstered their passing attack tenfold.  Crabtree, Boldin, and Davis are nice and all.  But, if you throw Baldwin into that mix, you’ve really GOT something!

The one thing holding that back is likely Jim Harbaugh not wanting to admit that he fucked up in not drafting one of his old college players.  Then again, if the front office really wants to stick it to Harbaugh for all that “signing with the Cleveland Browns” nonsense (and for overall being a terrible, Bieberian douche to work with), maybe they go around Harbaugh to bring in Baldwin regardless of how he feels.

Either way, I hate the whole damn scenario and I hope the team figures out a way to extend Baldwin before it’s too late.

The Whole Richard Sherman Hullabaloo

There are two universal truths on the subject of Richard Sherman:

  1. I’m a hardcore Seahawks fan, therefore I love Richard Sherman
  2. If I was a 49ers fan, I would despise Richard Sherman

And that’s what it boils down to.  If he was on your team, you’d love him and defend him like he’s a member of your family.  You’d take him exactly as he is and you wouldn’t trade him for anything.  As it stands, literally any team COULD HAVE gotten him, but he fell to the Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, so if you don’t like him, blame your organization’s general manager for lacking the foresight that ours so obviously has. 

To the rest of the world – outside of Seattle and San Francisco – Richard Sherman is up for debate.

There are people, no doubt, who hate the Seahawks simply because of Richard Sherman.  Even though we’ve got one of the most pleasant young quarterbacks in Russell Wilson, even though we’ve got one of the funniest, toughest, and most likeable running backs in Marshawn Lynch.  If you have no affiliation with Seattle or the Seahawks, and you’re watching this game as a casual observer of the NFL, AND Richard Sherman just so happens to rub you the wrong way … well, you’re probably going to be rooting for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl (that is, unless you live in Kansas City, New England, Oakland, or San Diego).

***

Richard Sherman, boy is he polarizing!  I often find myself wondering if I would appreciate his antics if he played on another team.  Obviously, if he was a 49er, I’d hate his guts.  But, let’s say he played for Cincinnati, or Philadelphia, or some other team I have relatively benign feelings about.  Well, the easiest way to answer that question is to look back at some of the most polarizing players in years gone by.  Deion Sanders.  Chad Johnson.  Terrell Owens.  Randy Moss.  I like ALL of those guys!  To me, talent always trumps any of that off-the-field nonsense.  Sometimes, what a guy says is funny.  Sometimes, what he says is enlightening.  Sometimes, it’s just narcissistic boasting.  But, it’s almost always entertaining.  And, if they have the talent on the field to back up what they say off of it, then I’ve got no problem.

It’s when guys run their mouths, then turn around and suck dick on the field … that’s what I’ve got a problem with.  But, with players like Owens, Moss, Sanders, and Sherman, it’s like watching a majestic bald eagle soaring over a field of supermodel lesbian orgies:  I don’t want to take my eyes off of them, except to brush away a tear because of how beautiful it all is.

***

I like a good rivalry.  Hell, I LOVE it.  There’s nothing like it.  Of course, what would I know about it, since this is the first real rivalry I’ve been a part of?  Even those Sonics teams in the 90s didn’t have one particular team they always competed against on an even level.  The Utah Jazz came close, I guess, but can you really define your sports fandom on a Sonics/Jazz rivalry?  The Trailblazers and the Lakers came close too, but I dunno.  It’s hard to remember the passion you felt for something 20 years ago.  I have this memory of just generally hating all the other Western Conference teams equally.

Anyway, what makes for a good rivalry are two teams who are evenly matched, who play one another regularly (so, it helps if they’re in the same division), and who actively dislike one another.  Scrapes and jawing on the field.  Verbal barbs through the media.  Rumors floating around on Twitter about what REALLY happened between so-and-so and so-and-so.

In this case, we have Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree.  Apparently, at an off-season charity event, Sherman was slighted by Crabtree in some way.  We’ll probably never get the full truth out of this one, but suffice it to say, they don’t like one another.

Then, we had the quotes after the NFC Championship Game.  First, on the field, with Erin Andrews:

I’m the best corner in the game!  When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you going to get!  Don’t you ever talk about me!

And, when Andrews tried to get the scoop, asking him who was talking about him, Richard responded:

Crabtree.  Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut if for you real quick!

The exclamation points are mine, but really I like to think they’re everybody’s, because that was as delightful an exchange as I’ve ever seen from a post-game, on-field interview.  Generally, those things are THE WORST.  The interviewer & interviewee can’t really hear one another, the questions are always the same (“How does it feel to win the game?”  “What were you thinking when so-and-so did that thing?”), and the answers are always dumb fucking cliches, because when you ask a dumb fucking question, you deserve a dumb fucking answer.  I will take Sherman’s animation and exuberance any day of the week.

Then, in his post-game interview session with the rest of the reporters, Sherman said the following:

I was making sure everyone knew Crabtree was a mediocre player.  Me-di-oc-re.  And when you try to beat the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens.  Game.  I appreciate that he knows that now.  There has been a lot of talk from him running his mouth about me.

And also:

He wouldn’t make the top 20 of NFL receivers.  If any team had a chance to pick Crabtree, they wouldn’t draft him.

And finally, in response to a question about being surprised that Kaepernick challenged him:

Everybody in the stadium was surprised.  You throw that?  It’s insane.  I’m thankful they keep doing it.  I should have picked it, but there was some offensive interference and I knew it wouldn’t be called.

Jewels.  Crown jewels, all of them.  I treasure each one of these quotes like they’re my own offspring.  I could write a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of fiction and it still wouldn’t make me as happy as those quotes.

Here’s the thing:  if you’ve ever played sports – even if it’s just at the intramural level of basketball or football or whatever – and you’ve gone up against a team or a player who just rubs you the wrong way, you know exactly what Richard Sherman was feeling at the end of that game.  It takes a certain type of individual, with a certain mind-set, to get as caught up in these petty grudges.  But, when you’re in the moment, nothing else matters.  To defeat that fucking dickhead – regardless as to WHY you think he’s a dickhead – is the best thing that’s going to happen to you that week.  It’s a feeling unlike any other, because it’s a feeling that only the most competitive sorts possess.

***

Richard Sherman is a rare talent.  He’s the best at what he does, yet he’s punished by not getting a chance to do what he does as often as he’d like.  What I mean by that, of course, is that other teams avoid throwing at him like the plague.  He had two balls thrown his way in the entire game.  One resulted in a holding penalty on third down that continued a scoring drive for the 49ers; the other ended the game with a Seahawks victory in hand.  To go out there and maintain your focus has to be one of the toughest things to do in this sport.  At any moment, the threat of being beat is real.  Richard Sherman has to stay in that moment and prevent that threat from becoming a reality, play-in and play-out.

He has to stand there as the quarterback ignores him.  He has to try his best, even though the other team is CLEARLY positioning its third or fourth-best receiver in his area of the field.  Not only did Sherman play a near-flawless game of coverage, but he almost single-handedly preserved the victory when the 49ers were so foolish as to change the one tactic that was working for them all game.

I talked about it yesterday, but it bears repeating:  only a foolish type of arrogance would lead a team down this direction.  If Michael Crabtree is your best receiver, and you’re determined to throw it to him to win the game, why wouldn’t you put him on the other side of the field, against Byron Maxwell?  I’m not saying it would have worked out any better – because Maxwell is a beast in his own right – but at the very least it would have given them a CHANCE.  Against Sherman?  No chance.  Game.

***

Richard Sherman doesn’t need a guy like me defending him.  Anyone who has done the least bit of research knows, deep down, this is a good guy at heart.  When you consider the man’s background, his charity work, his dedication to this team and the players around him:  really, he’s the ideal guy to root for.

Most people refuse to listen to reason, though.  They’ll never take the time to learn, and if they do, they’ll dismiss all of his genuine qualities.  I get it.  It’s like arguing politics with someone.  They’re steadfast in their beliefs and nothing is going to change their minds.

All I can say is, I’m glad we’ve got Richard Sherman, and I’ll take him exactly as he is.  Accept no substitutes.  This is the guy to lead us to the Promised Land.

Always Never A Doubt In My Mind

At one point in this game, Russell Wilson had scrambled his way into an opening-play fumble (recovered by the 49ers), LaMichael James had muffed a punt (recovered by the 49ers), and Colin Kaepernick had the ball stripped on a sack (recovered by a 49ers lineman, ran for 6 yards).  That final piece of lunacy saved a touchdown drive and gave the 49ers a 17-10 lead, and it left Seahawks fans wondering if the football gods were EVER going to smile down upon us.

Ask anyone who knows anything, and they’ll tell you that going 0 for 3 on fumble recoveries is pretty fucking rare.  A fumble is generally a 50/50 proposition, and if the Seahawks went down because of this stat, you’d call it one of the unluckiest breaks in football.  Of course, one game is pretty much as small of a sample size as you could get; nevertheless, I couldn’t help but believe that this streak couldn’t continue FOREVER.  There would HAVE to be fumbles forthcoming that would bounce our way.

Sure enough, from that point in the third quarter where the 49ers went back up by a touchdown, the Seahawks caught all the breaks.  Colin Kaepernick was strip-sacked by Avril (recovered by Michael Bennett).  A fumble by Jermaine Kearse at the goalline that was recovered by Marshawn Lynch at the 1.  And, on the very next play, a Russell Wilson/Marshawn Lynch fumbled exchange on 4th & Goal from the 1 yard line (recovered by Michael Robinson, which doesn’t sound so great, because we failed to score the touchdown or even keep the 49ers pinned back inside the one yard line, but if you look at it again, you’ll see a ton of 49ers players around that football, with a clear opportunity to return that thing for a 99-yard touchdown).  Kaepernick was intercepted by Kam (which wasn’t a lucky break, per se, but it was a turnover).  Another Russell Wilson fumble on a busted play (recovered by Wilson, resulting in an offensive pass interference penalty).  And finally, the game-ending interception on the tip from Sherman to Malcolm Smith.

To be honest with you, I don’t know how to feel about a game that hinged so deeply upon luck.  There’s the obvious turnover issues I described above, there were referee issues (some iffy penalties, some iffier non-calls, and that fumble recovery that couldn’t be reviewed, which ended up not really mattering anyway), there were injury issues (I don’t know if we’ll ever know the impact of the 49ers losing their best offensive guard and their best linebacker in Iupati and Bowman respectively), and there was the play of the game.

To set it up, the Seahawks pulled to within 17-13 on a Hauschka field goal.  We forced a 3 & out thanks to the refs missing what probably should have been roughing the punter.  We got the ball at our own 38 yard line, and we drove to the San Francisco 34 yard line, with 2nd down and 6 coming up.  Russell Wilson was called for a clear Intentional Grounding, which put us back to the 50 yard line, for a 3rd down and 22 to go.  This is the nightmare scenario, but to our credit, we called something reasonable.  A nice little pass to Zach Miller out on the flat, who rumbled for 15 yards to the San Francisco 35 yard line.  At this point, it was 4th and 7.  Maybe within the range of Hauschka, but not really something you feel comfortable about in this situation.  It was the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks very nearly decided to kick it, but ultimately burned a timeout.  Had we lost this game because we were short on timeouts, I’m sure everyone would have pointed to this situation.  As it stood, that timeout was probably the smartest decision we made all game.

We put the offense back out on the field to pick up the seven yards.  Russell Wilson nailed the hard count, which got the 49ers to go offsides.  To their credit, the refs didn’t whistle the play dead (for the record, in a similiar situation this season, the refs blew the play dead and cost us an opportunity to make a huge play).  All the receivers broke off of their intended routes and ran for the endzone.  Wilson made the perfect throw, and Jermaine Kearse came down with an amazing catch.

How does luck come into it?  Well, if that throw is offline, or if the 49ers defender makes a better play on the ball, and it falls incomplete, then we’re looking at 4th and 2 from the 30 yard line.  At that point, I don’t think there’s any question that the Seahawks go for the field goal, to pull within 17-16.  And who KNOWS how the game turns from there!  What if Hauschka misses the 47 yarder?  Of course, he would go on later to make a 47 yarder, but Hauschka was on record – after the game – as saying that he really didn’t want to kick that field goal when it was going to be a 52 yarder.  What if, in his shaken state, Hauschka pulls that one?  Then, the 49ers would get great field position, and most importantly, we’d get no points.  Even if we assume he would make it, that still would have left us down a point with a quarter left to go.  That touchdown was the difference between the 49ers ultimately needing a touchdown to win the game vs. needing a field goal to win the game.  If that’s the case, I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re sitting here today lamenting the fact that the 49ers are playing for the championship.

Just a wild, crazy game.  Here are some other observations:

Russell Wilson was REALLY driving me crazy in that first half.  I understand that you’ve got to take the good with the bad with a guy like Wilson, and it really COULD be worse.  I’m not sitting here wishing that we had some gunslinger like Tony Romo who would ultimately cost us more in big games than he’d help us.  But, it really looked like Wilson was playing tentative yesterday.  Holding the ball too long, looking to scramble out of the pocket (which couldn’t have been worse, because more often than not – with our linemen pushing their ends outside and around the pocket in a circle – he was just running himself INTO pressure) when he should have just stepped up and made a throw (especially when he’s got Golden Tate streaking downfield with single-coverage).

Of course, Wilson ended up having enough in him to lead us to victory, so it’s not like I can complain too hard.  And, if he leads us to a Super Bowl victory, it’s going to be hard for me to EVER badmouth the man again.

Good God, do we need someone better to spy Colin Kaepernick on the run!  It struck me that Bruce Irvin probably would have been perfect, but it didn’t look like we used him all that much in this game.  He seriously whiffed on one play, where he bit on the play fake and let Kaep run around him for a huge gain; but, if Irvin’s sole job was to simply follow the quarterback wherever he went, I think Irvin’s speed could have neutralized him.

Marshawn Lynch had another huge game, going for 109 yards on the ground and a touchdown.  This was the first time anyone had run for over 100 yards on the 49ers this year, and for a minute it looked like one of the rare times that the Seahawks would lose a game where Lynch went over 100 yards.  That fumble at the goalline wasn’t even his fault, so I’m glad they didn’t put that on him in the scorebook.

Doug Baldwin, as always, was a revelation.  One of these days, he’s going to get the respect he deserves, but for now, let the doubters keep doubting him.  He’ll just keep making them look stupid.  With 6 catches for 106 yards, it looked like he was going to be the MVP of the game.  He still might be, especially when you consider his 69 yard kickoff return ultimately led to a field goal (and probably should have been a touchdown drive, if our offense wasn’t still sputtering so frustratingly.

Finally, what can you say about a defense that’s the best in the game.  From the first play, where we were placed at a disadvantage thanks to the Wilson fumble, this defense showed up and put in their usual outstanding work.  Bobby Wagner led all tacklers with 15, and Kam Chancellor wasn’t far behind with 11.  Kam also came down with that interception (on just an AWFUL pass by Kaepernick) and had another two passes defended.  Our D-Line wasn’t able to get as much pressure as you’d like, but I thought they played a lot smarter in the second half, not letting Kaepernick just immediately have the edge to run.  Even though we were playing so safe, Bennett and Avril were still able to wreak some havoc.  And the run defense?  Aside from Kaepernick (who got most of his rushing yards on scrambles when a pass play broke down), this part of their game was completely shut down.  Frank Gore finally started looking his age, running for 14 yards on 11 attempts.

I don’t really know what the next-day narrative is going to be today (aside from Everything Richard Sherman, which I will write about tomorrow), but I have the feeling that Colin Kaepernick is going to get a lot of love from the national media.  This is a mistake.

Yes, it’s quite the breathtaking thing to see Colin Kaepernick with the football, running in the open field.  Dodging tacklers, graceful as a gazelle, he’s a weapon unlike any other in the game of football.  If he didn’t have all that, you know what he’d be?  Without the ability to run for dozens upon dozens of yards, Colin Kaepernick would be Jeff George:  a rocket arm attached to a mental midget.

When he’s on, he’s something to behold.  That touchdown pass to Boldin in the back of the endzone from 26 yards out was as good as it gets.  Nevertheless, it was a STUPID decision and the ball was very nearly tipped or picked off entirely.  Then, there’s that aforementioned interception to Kam.  He was standing RIGHT THERE the whole time!  There was no deception out of Kam to bait him; Kaepernick saw him the whole time and still threw the damn pass right to him!  He said he thought he could get it over Kam … but Kam’s 6’3!  There were his two fumbles, which resulted from him trying to do too much with a play (which I can’t really fault him for, unless I feel like jumping down Wilson’s throat every time he does something annoying like that).  And, of course, the game-clinching interception when he challenged Richard Sherman with less than 30 seconds to go in the game.

He said he’d take Michael Crabtree in a 1-on-1 matchup with anyone in the league.  He said he wouldn’t change a thing about his decision-making process.  Did he say this because he’s stupid?  Because he’s arrogant?  Because of his blind hatred of the Seahawks and especially Richard Sherman?  Any way you slice it, it’s foolish thinking from a foolish individual.  Maybe if Crabtree magically transformed into Randy Moss in his prime, I could see it.  But, Crabtree isn’t anything special.  I’d take Doug Baldwin over him any day.  Crabtree is only considered an “elite” receiver by the national media because he was drafted in the first round, plain and simple.  There’s nothing about his game that’s elite.  He’s okay.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 25 wide receivers who are better than him (Baldwin, Tate, Fitzgerald, Dez, Marshall, Jeffery, Megatron, Jordy Nelson, Cobb, Demaryius Thomas, Decker, Welker, Hilton, Garcon, Green, Brown, Cruz, Desean Jackson, Andre Johnson, Keenan Allen, Josh Gordon, Cordarrelle Patterson, Julio Jones, Vincent Jackson, and Jimmy Graham – who is actually a wide receiver, in spite of what they try to label him as in New Orleans).

The point is, he’s not better than Richard Sherman.  And if Kaepernick is too stupid or too stubborn to realize that, then maybe Kaepernick isn’t the guy who’s going to lead you to a championship.  His talent may be good enough to get him past most teams in the league, but his hubris is ultimately going to be his undoing against the best teams in the league.  He thinks that just because he has a strong arm, he can make every throw, and that’s just not the case.  And, if that throw’s not there, no worries, he can just run for any first down he wants.  Except, here’s the thing:  when his team is down and he’s got to mount a comeback, the same shit he gets praised for is what’s going to ultimately cost his team ballgames.

In the end, this was a game about two quarterbacks.  One a little too cautious, one a little too reckless.  Somewhere in the middle, you have the perfect NFL player.  But, ultimately, it’s easier for a cautious quarterback to take a few more chances than it is for a reckless player to settle for the sensible decision.  That’s why the Seahawks won this football game.  That’s why the Seahawks are in the Super Bowl and the 49ers are licking their wounds.

How I Hate The 49ers, Let Me Count The Ways

For starters, I’ve never hated a professional football franchise the way I hate the 49ers right now.  In my much-younger days, when the Seahawks were in the AFC and I wasn’t so jaded from a decade’s worth of mediocrity out of my home team, I think I hated the Raiders the most.  Followed by the Broncos and Kansas City in a tie for second.  Then, as the 90s progressed, my hatred for my AFC West brethren waned, as the Seahawks were increasingly irrelevant.  I started to simply hate teams that won all the time.  The Cowboys, particularly.  As the Seahawks entered the NFC West when the NFL re-aligned, I was left without a rivalry.  My hatred for our old AFC West foes has since all but dissipated.

As the Seahawks almost-immediately took over control of the NFC West, I really had a hate-on for the St. Louis Rams, because for a while there, they were the only team contending for division titles with us.  Then, they completely fell apart.  And, as we did the same, the Arizona Cardinals briefly reigned supreme.  Once Kurt Warner retired, they were done, and up rose the 49ers.

Now, it’s ONLY the 49ers.  They’re a loathesome bunch of jag-offs and I literally wish they were all dead (except for Frank Gore; I’ve got no beef with that man).  The only question remains:  do I hate the 49ers more than I hate any other team in any other sport?

Here’s the ultimate measure of my hate:  in this Divisional Round weekend, I would have gladly traded a Seahawks defeat for a 49ers defeat.  THAT’S how badly I want them to fail.  I’d accept my own team’s failure just to have them go home empty-handed.  Is it completely irrational and idiotic?  You bet it is, but that’s the way it goes when you hate a team this much.

In baseball, I’ve got nothing.  In the early 2000’s, I hated the Yankees with a passion.  But, a decade’s worth of Mariners futility has washed that away.  Now, there’s only numbness.

In basketball, there used to be the Trailblazers, Lakers, and Jazz.  But, of course, with no Sonics, there’s really no point.  I guess I hate the OKC team, but it’s not like I’m sitting here day-in and day-out rooting for them to lose.  They’re hardly on my radar until the playoffs come around, at which point I still refuse to watch their games.  Maybe that’s a marker of utmost hatred:  I can’t even bring myself to watch them play ball.

In college basketball, there’s UCLA and Arizona in a tie for first.  More than anything, I just hate those schools because they keep taking recruits we’re trying in vain to sign.  But, during the games against the Huskies, my blood doesn’t really boil a whole lot.

In college football, there’s Oregon and there’s everyone else.  So, I have to ask myself:  do I hate the 49ers more than I hate Oregon?  That’s a REALLY difficult question to answer, which should go to show just how much I hate those fucking 49ers.  In the end, if I’m being objective, I have to admit that I hate Oregon more, but it’s CLOSE.  It’s damn close.  I’d much rather see San Francisco win a Super Bowl championship than the Oregon Ducks win a college football championship.

So there you go.  My current Hate Rankings:

  1. Oregon Ducks
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. OKC Thunder
  4. USC Trojans (because Sark can eat a dick)
  5. UCLA Bruins (because Myles Jack can eat a dick too)

But, getting back to the 49ers, how much do I hate them?  Let’s count them down:

1.  Jim Harbaugh

I hope he dies of AIDS.  I hope he contracts HIV by cheating on his wife, I hope he gets caught and loses everything in the divorce, I hope he’s too pig-headed to take the HIV medications available to him, I hope he contracts full-blown AIDS, and I hope he dies, pathetic, in-pain, and alone in a hospital bed, surrounded by a non-stop stream of women giving loud, screaming births.

It should be self-evident, but let’s get into it.  Jim Harbaugh whines about EVERY. FUCKING. THING. that goes wrong for his team while they’re on the field.  His temper tantrums have gone well beyond the point of parody; surely, he realizes how much of a cunt he looks like, but he doesn’t care.  How he doesn’t get at least five “unsportsmanlike” penalties every week, I have no idea.  For all the shit I give refs, they’re little Mother Teresas for putting up with his insufferable bullshit.

Also, have you heard his interviews?  Even if he was my team’s coach, I’d be fucking embarrassed by how short, rude, and pointless he is with the media.  I tend to think the media’s complaints about such things are over-rated, but in this case, I’ll side against The Douchebag.

And, not that I try to picture his awkwardly-shaped body having sex, but can’t you just imagine Jim Harbaugh’s love-making being very competitive?  I can only imagine that he’s doing everything in his power to finish first (boringly missionary, of course), followed by actually finishing first while his wife lays there with equal parts frustration & apathy, with him slapping her on the rump saying, “Good game.  Better luck next time.”  And entirely NOT meaning it.

2.  Colin Kaepernick

I’m all for celebrations after touchdowns.  I think the No Fun League ethos has put a serious damper on the game of football and the league needs to reign some of that in.  In fact, to be honest with you, there isn’t a post-touchdown celebration I even find annoying or offensive … except for Kaepernick faux-kissing his biceps.

Can you imagine anything more conceited or self-congratulatory?  It’s gross, it really is.  I know there are plenty of mouthy Seahawks – especially on defense – who are self-promoting narcissists, but Kaepernick takes it to another level.  Also, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since he only does it when he rushes for a touchdown.  Shouldn’t he kiss his biceps when he throws for a touchdown?

I know that’s a little nit-picky, but that goes to further prove my point that Kaepernick is a God damn retard.  His level of intelligence HAS to be bordering on single-digits, right?  He can’t even play the quarterback position without his little arm-band!

Colin Kaepernick has lived a charmed fucking life.  He struggled when Crabtree was out and it’s pretty apparent why:  unlike the elite quarterbacks of the league, Kaepernick doesn’t make anyone else around him better.  When Aaron Rodgers loses a receiver or two, it’s just a Next Man Up situation.  Drew Brees doesn’t have any star receivers (unless you lump his starting tight end in there); he makes average receivers INTO stars by being great.  Tom Brady has had Julian Edelman and a whole lotta filler on his team this year, and he led the Patriots to the AFC Championship game.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, was headed towards the very real possibility of not making the playoffs AT ALL.  Or, he was looking at a first-round exit.  But, since Crabtree came back, the 49ers have been on the roll of a lifetime.  Crabtree is a very good player, and the only real threat (besides Frank Gore) on the 49ers offense.  Without him, Kaepernick is just another shitty running quarterback who struggles to muster 150 yards through the air.

3.  Anquan Boldin

Never have I seen such a mediocre player talk as much shit on a football field.  And yet, when you watch him in his post-game interview, all you hear out of his bitch mouth is how much respect he has for the other team.

Bullshit.  Tell it like it is, ‘Quan!  I am.

Boldin has never been a star in this league.  He was a complementary player in Arizona, vastly overshadowed by Larry Fitzgerald.  He was utter dogshit in Baltimore until the playoffs rolled around; doing very little to help out his team on a week-in, week-out basis.  And now that he’s been in San Francisco – aside from that Week 1 monster of a game against a pathetic Packers defense – he’s been more of the same.  There’s a REASON why the 49ers only had to give up a 6th round pick for him.  Even then, I think the Ravens fleeced the 49ers in that deal.

He’s slow, he’s big, he’s generally only good for 2-3 catches a game, and he’s clearly on his last legs.  So, tell me, what do you have to talk shit about, Anquan?  How hard you’re riding the coattails of your more-talented teammates?  How you’ve been riding coattails your entire career?  You’re a joke, and hardly even worth the time it’s taken me to write these four paragraphs.

4.  Donte Whitner

You’re a poor-man’s Ken Hamlin.  You’re all brute-force and zero skill.  The difference between you and Kam Chancellor is night and day.  First of all, Kam Chancellor is bigger and stronger than you.  He hits harder than you.  But, he’s not a complete fuck-up who costs his team 15 yards per hit in personal foul penalties.  And, not for nothing, but he’s a better cover guy than you.  The one thing YOU do well?  He does it better, as well as everything else required to be an elite safety in this league.

5.  The Offensive Line

Hold much?  How about, like, every damn play?  How they get away with it, I’ll never know.

6.  The Fans

Seriously, for a city as cosmopolitan and as fun as San Francisco, the 49ers have THE trashiest fans I’ve ever seen!  Ignorant, front-running, and for some reason violent … I just don’t get it.  Are the bulk of people who go to 49ers games actually from the outlying areas?  What’s the Tacoma-equivalent to San Francisco?  Or, rather, what’s the Yakima-equivalent, because I think we’re getting warmer with that comparison.

If they’re not bitching about how loud it is in our stadium, then they’re bitching about being mis-treated in our stadium.  AT LEAST WE DON’T STAB YOUR FUCKING ASSES!  How many arrests take place during and after your average San Francisco home game?  Let’s try to double it this week, Seahawks fans.  I’ve never encouraged the 12th Man to be violent before, but I think this week, we need to let the 49ers fans know we’re not going to be pushed around.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, Seahawks fans!  Let’s, uhh, let’s be the bigger people … or something.

I swear to Christ, if any 49ers fans among my Facebook friends try to talk shit this week, I’m immediately blocking them.  Especially if they’re family!

I could go on and on, but this is long enough as it is.  Go Hawks.