The Seahawks Almost Always Suck In The Divisional Round

The Seahawks are 4-8 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. If you discount the three times the Seahawks were the #1 seed, our record drops to 1-8. Of those nine games, all of them were on the road; for what it’s worth, we’re 0 for our last 8 Divisional Round road games.

But, I would argue even the games we won (except, maybe that very first one, when we went down to Miami and shocked the world against Marino and a 12-4 Dolphins team that seemed destined for the Super Bowl) we played like absolute crap. So, once again, let’s take a stroll down memory lane (also, if it’s all the same to you, I’m going to disregard the games from the 1980’s entirely, because I was a toddler at the time).

Want to know why it’s so hard to win on the road in the Divisional Round? Maybe these examples will give you an idea.

But first, let’s start with our home victories. In 2005, the 13-3 Seahawks had about as easy of a road to the Super Bowl as you can imagine. The rest of the NFC was pretty mediocre that year. Nevertheless, a 6-seeded Redskins team came into Seattle and played us extremely tough. We had to overcome an injury to our MVP, Shaun Alexander, as well as three turnovers to squeak out a 20-10 victory. The weird thing is, we were able to take the Panthers to school in the NFCCG the next week, winning by 20 points, before obviously … let’s just move on.

Fast forward to 2013. Again, the 13-3 Seahawks had the #1 seed, this time hosting the Saints. Again, we had to face the 6-seeded team from the NFC, who barely beat the Eagles to get to us. We all remember this one; TERRIBLE weather game. When I think of the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks struggling in the pouring rain, I think of this game. We were up 16-0 through three quarters, but the Saints split that score down the middle early in the fourth quarter. It looked like from that point onward, the Saints were going to be unstoppable (indeed, they tacked on another TD late), but thankfully we pulled some magic out of our hat to win it 23-15. You’ll remember the very next week, we played a tremendous NFCCG game against the 49ers, before absolutely blowing the doors off of the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

The very next year, at 12-4 we somehow got the #1 seed again. This is arguably our best performance in any Divisional Round game; but it was still in doubt into the fourth quarter before that tremendous Kam Chancellor 90-yard Pick Six to salt it away. Oddly enough, our worst performance probably came in the NFCCG the next week, with all the turnovers and needing the dramatic comeback against the Packers to win it in overtime. Foreboding.

***

Anyway, those are the three victories this century. Now, let’s get to the crux of my argument. Here are all the times the Seahawks have had to play in the Wild Card round, before going on the road to have their asses handed to them.

2006 – The year after our first Super Bowl appearance. We won the NFC West (at 9-7), and barely got by the Cowboys in that Tony Romo game. That sent us to Chicago to face a 1-seeded Bears team; I remember this game vividly. I was living in New York at the time, watching in a bar called The Black Sheep in Manhattan (it was my go-to establishment for watching NFL games). I still, to this day, can’t believe we lost to Rex Grossman. We started off frustratingly slow – down 21-14 at half – but totally dominated the third quarter, taking a 24-21 lead into the final frame. We had COUNTLESS chances to either add to our lead, or win it late, but instead the game went into overtime. Nevertheless, we won the coin toss, but again fucked up and had to punt. Rex Grossman completed a bomb into Seattle territory and that was that. Just, no excuse whatsoever.

2007 – Again, we won the NFC West, but again we had to play on Wild Card weekend, beating the Redskins in easy fashion. That left us going back to Green Bay in a snow storm. Most people only remember the “We Want The Ball & We’re Gonna Score” game, but not a lot remember the time we went there, took a quick 14-0 lead, then proceeded to be outscored 42-6 the rest of the way. One of Brett Favre’s last great games. That was the year the Giants beat the Patriots as a 5-seed in the Super Bowl, so clearly we know the impossible is sometimes possible, but I highly doubt it’s that way for us.

2010 – Remember the 7-9 NFC West champions? Remember the Beastquake sending us on the road in the Divisional Round, once again to Chicago? That Seahawks team was terrible and it showed. The Bears (with Jay Cutler, yeesh) went up 28-0 late in the third quarter, then 35-10 late in the fourth quarter before an improbable Hasselbeck-led rally made the final score a misleading 35-24.

2012 – This one hurts more than any other loss outside of the two Super Bowl defeats. That Seahawks team should’ve won it all! But, we lost one too many games in the regular season (I blame a road loss to a mediocre 7-9 Dolphins team in week 12, coming off of our BYE), so the 11-4-1 49ers won the division over the 11-5 Seahawks (even though we KILLED them in Week 16 at home). It was all set for us to meet them in the NFCCG for a rubber match on the season; all we had to do was get by the Falcons (after, once again, dispatching the Redskins in the Wild Card round). So, what did we do? We went down 20-0 at half. We made a furious comeback to take a 1-point lead with less than a minute to go; but the Falcons went straight down the field to kick the game winner, 30-28. Had we advanced, I have no doubt we would’ve beaten the 49ers again, and I don’t think it’s a stretch for us to have beaten the Ravens in the Super Bowl.

2015 – Super Bowl XLIX Hangover season. We somehow made it to 10-6, but the Cardinals were the divisional champs. We improbably won in Minnesota in the Wild Card round (Blair Walsh Game) to send us to Carolina. Once again, we fucking shit the bed in the first half, going down 31-0. And, once again, we made a furious comeback to pull the game to within 31-24. We scored on every drive in the second half except one where we punted; that ultimately decided the game (aside from, of course, all the turnovers and fuck-ups in the first half). Those Panthers would go on to destroy Arizona before biffing it against the Broncos in the Super Bowl. That’s a tough one; I like our chances in both of those games.

2016 – Honestly, I blocked most of this season out of my memory. It says here that we hosted the Lions in the Wild Card round? That doesn’t sound right. The Lions made the playoffs?! Then, we had to go back to Atlanta, and after taking a 7-0 lead, the Falcons would outscore us 36-6 before we tacked on a late, meaningless touchdown. Those Falcons would easily cruise to the Super Bowl before handing away the title to the Patriots with their terrible coaching.

***

That brings us to this weekend. We were prevented from playing the Rams again in last year’s playoffs after losing to the Cowboys in the Wild Card round, but there’s no doubt in my mind we would’ve been destroyed. There seems to be significantly more hope for the 2019 Seahawks against these Packers, but I dunno. As I’ve said all along, it’s just HARD to win on the road in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, when you’re going up against a Top 2 seed coming off of a BYE. They’re a Top 2 seed for a reason; say what you will about their easy schedule, but they still won those games! They won those games – not for nothing – in a similar fashion to the way the Seahawks win a lot of their games!

We’re beaten up and tired after having gone on the road and taking out the Eagles. The Packers are fresh and healthy. Maybe if a few of their key players had gone down with season-ending injuries in Week 17, I’d be singing a different tune. But, the Seahawks are the team overburdened with injuries, while the Packers seem to be relatively healthy at all the right spots. It would take every ounce of magic the Seahawks have in them to prevail in this one, and I just don’t think we have any more magic left.

The 2019 Seahawks just aren’t very GOOD. That’s the bottom line here. I highly doubt we can play a second straight turnover-free game, I highly doubt all of our key guys are going to make it through this one healthy, and it just seems – again, based on experience – that we save our absolute worst performances for the Divisional Round.

I expect no different this weekend.

The Long Shadow of the Randy Johnson Trade

I moved this to my Seattle’s Worst Trades, Draft Picks & Free Agent Signings heading HERE.

Comparing The 2005 Seahawks To The 2013 Seahawks

Last week, we more or less giddily looked forward to the “Big Game” on February 2nd.  This week, I’ve decided to take a step back and review the last time the Seahawks were in a position to give all of our lives meaning.

The 2005 Seahawks didn’t come out of nowhere, per se, but they also didn’t look like a team that would be bound for the Super Bowl.  In 2003, the Seahawks finished second in the NFC West (to the Rams), and lost in the Wild Card round to Green Bay (take the ball, score, all of that nonsense you wish you could forget).  In 2004, the Seahawks won the NFC West, but lost again in the Wild Card round, this time to the Rams (who, sadly, managed to beat us three times that season).

Suffice it to say, these Seahawks were starting to remind everyone of the early George Karl Sonics teams (good enough to win divisions and make the playoffs, but ALWAYS with the first round exits).  In a way, 2005 was a make-or-break year for Mike Holmgren.  Obviously, he had already lost his General Managing duties by this point, but if there was another underperforming finish to this season, you had to wonder how hot his seat would’ve been.  2005 was his seventh season in Seattle.  He had made the playoffs three times in those seven years, and each time he lost in the first round.

So, it was more than a little disconcerting to see us go into Jacksonville – where we expected to be the better team, given the Jags’ questions at quarterback – and lose to kick off the season.  Granted, those Jags would end up 12-4, but we had no idea they’d be that good going in.  The Seahawks bounced back with a couple of home wins over a couple of mediocre teams (Falcons & Cardinals), before losing on the road once again (this time to the Redskins).

By this point, it was the same boring storyline:  the Seahawks can’t win on the road (and they especially can’t win on the road at 10am Pacific time).  The very next week would, once again, put this theory to the test, as we faced off against our most bitter rival (at the time), the St. Louis Rams.  After they’d beaten us three times the previous year, we knew there was a dragon left to be slain.  Having it on the road, in the morning, made it all the sweeter when we won 37-31.

This kicked off an 11-game winning streak that was only broken in Week 17 when we rested many of our starters (as we’d locked up the #1 seed).

Looking back on it, the NFC was VERY weak in 2005.  The Rams & Packers were both in the midst of down seasons.  The Bears had a great defense, but were led by Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman of all people.  The Seahawks drew the Redskins in the Divisional Round, with the aging Mark Brunell, and easily dispatched them.  That led to an NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers.  We made mincemeat of Jake Delhomme (probably the beginning of the end of his career, with three interceptions against only one touchdown) and Steve Smith (at the height of his powers, held to a trivial 5 catches for 33 yards).  These were not teams to fear.

For sure, all the talent was in the AFC in 2005.  The 14-2 Colts were the best team in football.  The 13-3 Broncos were surprisingly effective with Jake Plummer at the helm and the 3rd ranked defense by points scored.  The 10-6 Patriots were still, more or less, the same team that had won three of the last four Super Bowls.  The 11-5 Bengals were a surprising division winner, with Carson Palmer looking to really make his mark on this league.  The 12-4 Jaguars were one of the better 5-seeds in the history of the league to that point (boxed out by the aforementioned 14-2 Colts).  Leaving the 11-5 Steelers, in the 6-seed.

Had things gone according to plan (or according to the 2013 blueprint), the Seahawks would have played Peyton Manning and his Colts in the Super Bowl.  Of course, nothing goes the way you want it to.

The Steelers started out their playoff run by killing Carson Palmer’s career.  He thew one pass for 66 yards.  On his next attempt, he was hit at the knees by a defensive lineman and was out for the game (Palmer would make it back, but he was never as good as he was in 2005).  A promising Bengals team was defeated, with Jon Kitna at the helm.  The Steelers continued their run by going into Indy and playing the top team in the league.  They came away with a 3-point victory.  That led to them going into Denver to play the Broncos (who somehow managed to defeat the Patriots), where they won easily.

To be honest, the run couldn’t have gone more perfectly for the 6-seeded Steelers.  It was a harrowing feat to say the least.  You want to talk about steel sharpening steel?  Compare that run of three straight road games to the charmed life the Seahawks had, with one of the easiest conference regular seasons in recent memory, followed by two home games where we enjoy the best Home Field Advantage in the world.  Pretty much, the Seahawks were flying first class to the Super Bowl, while the Steelers had to survive a death march over steaming hot coals.

In any other year, against any other team, I would have been cheering on the Steelers like nobody’s business.  Instead, I came out of Super Bowl XL with the Steelers as one of my most hated teams of all time

***

I’ll have more on Super Bowl XL tomorrow.  Right now, let’s take a look at those 2005 Seahawks, and how they compare to the 2013 version.

As a general overview, the 2005 Seahawks were (unsurprisingly) quite successful on offense and not so much on defense.  In fact, they led the league in points scored and were second in yards gained.  However, on defense, they weren’t quite the trainwreck I seem to remember.  They were 7th-best in points allowed and 16th in yards given up.  Of course, I would contend their schedule had something to do with that, but the point is, we’re not talking about the 2012 Saints or anything.

The 2005 Seahawks had the MVP of the league in Shaun Alexander.  He scored 27 rushing touchdowns which, at the time, was the NFL record.  It would be beaten by LaDainian Tomlinson the very next season, but it was still an amazing achievement.  Alexander also ran for 1,880 yards, which was a career high for him.  You can say what you want about his running style, but the man got the job done for us and should be appreciated as the greatest running back in Seahawks history.

The 2005 Seahawks were led by Matt Hasselbeck.  He was in his seventh year in the league, fifth year with the Seahawks, and third year as the Seahawks’ unquestioned starter at the quarterback position.  Remember, when he first got here, we were jerking him around with Trent Dilfer on the roster.  As if winning that Super Bowl with the Ravens (and the greatest defense of all time) somehow made Dilfer competent at the quarterback position or something.  Anyway, I made the point at the time (and stand behind it to this day) that the 2005 Seahawks were as good as they were because they had Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback.  Shaun Alexander might have been the league’s MVP, but Hasselbeck was the team’s MVP.  Had we played that season with a replacement-level quarterback (or, Seneca Wallace, as he’s formally known), we would have had replacement-level results, no matter how many yards and touchdowns Alexander ran for.

Then again, the heart and soul of the 2005 Seahawks resided along the offensive line.  It was EASILY the best in football and EASILY the best line we’ve ever seen in Seattle.  It also probably rivals some of the best offensive lines in the history of the league, but I’ll leave that argument for people smarter than me to make.  All I know is:  with Walter Jones & Steve Hutchinson on the left side of that line, the rest of the offense’s job was made a lot easier.

So, let’s start there.  Let’s make the rest of this post a position-by-position breakdown, starting with the offensive line.  For the record, I’m going to try to pick the player who played the most games at his given position (or, who is known as that team’s “starter”).  The better player is highlighted in blue.

Left Tackle
2005 – Walter Jones
2013 – Russell Okung

Left Guard
2005 – Steve Hutchinson
2013 – James Carpenter / Paul McQuistan

Center
2005 – Robbie Tobeck
2013 – Max Unger

Right Guard
2005 – Chris Gray
2013 – J.R. Sweezy

Right Tackle
2005 – Sean Locklear
2013 – Breno Giacomini

Overall, when you consider the offensive line as a whole, you give the overwhelming nod to the 2005 Seahawks.  The 2013 Seahawks have no one NEAR the calibre of Walter Jones & Steve Hutchinson of 2005.  Max Unger gets a marginal nod over Tobeck.  Chris Gray was like 2005’s version of Paul McQuistan (savvy veteran, able to play multiple positions along the line, helps more than he hurts).  I never did like Sean Locklear.

Quarterback
2005 – Matt Hasselbeck
2013 – Russell Wilson

I’m not gonna lie to you, before I looked at the stats, just going off of memory, I REALLY wanted to pick Hasselbeck over Wilson.  I just thought, given the style of offense (West-Coast, heavy on the passing and the completion percentage), the Seahawks would have required more out of Hasselbeck than they do out of Wilson now.  But, look at these numbers!

Hasselbeck:  294/449 (65.5%), 3,459 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs, rating of 98.2
Wilson:  257/407 (63.1%), 3,357, 26 TDs, 9 INTs, rating of 101.2

First of all, I thought Hasselbeck would have attempted WAY more passes than Wilson, but it turned out to only be 42 more passes (or a little over two and a half passes per game).  As it turns out, Wilson was the more efficient quarterback, who still managed to best Hasselbeck in touchdowns thrown.  When you tack on Wilson’s rushing yards, it’s pretty clear who’s the better quarterback.  It’s NOT Year 7 Hasselbeck; it’s Year 2 Wilson.  Soak that in as you daydream about the next dozen years with Wilson at the helm.

Running Back
2005 – Shaun Alexander
2013 – Marshawn Lynch

Listen to me, now.  I know how much you love Beastmode.  Hell, I love myself some Beastmode as much as anybody!  I wouldn’t trade his hard-nosed, rugged running style for anything.  It isn’t even really a question of who would you rather have.  I’m not posing the notion of putting 2005 Alexander with 2013’s offensive line to see who would be the better guy.  Let’s face it, 2005 Alexander WITH 2005’s offensive line is just a better running back than 2013 Lynch with 2013’s line.  I’ll kindly refer you to the numbers:

Alexander:  370 attempts, 1,880 yards, 5.1 yards per carry, 27 touchdowns
Lynch:  301 attempts, 1,257 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns

Let’s face it, 2005 Alexander’s numbers are Looney Tunes!  You just don’t see running backs like this very much anymore.  They’re a dying breed.  Alexander was 28 when he had this season.  Lynch is 27, but considering the pounding his body takes, you’d have to think he’s in a similar boat.  When Alexander hit 30, he fell off the cliff.  I would expect nothing less out of Lynch.

Also, 2005 Alexander had 69 more attempts!  In what is supposed to be a pass-oriented offense.  Now, granted, those Seahawks won a lot of games and leaned on teams late with that rushing attack.  But, the 2013 Seahawks ALSO won a lot of games, but weren’t putting up numbers like this.

It boils down to those 2005 Seahawks being a fast-paced offense vs. the 2013 Seahawks slowing the game down.  Of course you’re going to get better offensive numbers if you’re going to be running so many more plays.

Wide Receiver 1
2005 – Darrell Jackson
2013 – Golden Tate

The numbers don’t bear out that Jackson was the team’s #1 receiver – because he missed a good ten games in the middle of the season before returning for the playoff run – but it’s pretty obvious who the team’s top target was.  Jackson’s early career was mired by drops, but he managed to get his shit together starting in 2005.  And, in that playoff run (where he caught 20 balls for 268 yards in three games – and it would have been more in the Super Bowl had things gone a little differently), Jackson really took a step forward.

Nevertheless, Golden Tate gets the nod.  He draws the lion’s share of the coverage (usually with the other team’s best cover corner), and still managed to catch 64 balls for 898 yards.  What puts Tate over the top is his talent, his versatility, and his ability in the punt return game.

Wide Receiver 2
2005 – Joe Jurevicius
2013 – Sidney Rice / Jermaine Kearse

I resisted the urge to put Doug Baldwin here, mainly because I want to save him so I can compare him to Bobby Engram.  In his stead, I put the duo of Rice & Kearse.  Rice was obviously this team’s #2 receiver when he was healthy, but of course, he went down after 8 games and Kearse picked up some of the slack.  You’ve got to ding Rice for not being reliable with his health.  But, aside from all that, Jurevicius was rock solid in 2005.

He caught 55 balls for 694 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns!  He was the type of big body that Pete Carroll has been spending his entire Seahawks career trying to bring in.

Wide Receiver 3
2005 – Bobby Engram
2013 – Doug Baldwin

Bobby Engram was Doug Baldwin before Doug Baldwin was even a twinkle in the Seahawks’ eye!  Engram was Hasselbeck’s 3rd Down security blanket just as Baldwin is that for Wilson today.  And, when other receivers went down – as they seemingly always did – Engram was able to pick up the slack, just like Baldwin has this year after Rice went down.

I’m giving the nod to Baldwin for a couple reason.  Even though Engram caught 17 more passes, they caught the same exact number of yards:  778.  Doug Baldwin is the more explosive receiver.  He can go downfield and make a big play FAR more regularly than Engram ever could.  While he may play in the slot, Baldwin isn’t just a traditional slot receiver like Engram was.  Baldwin can play all over, yet still be that security blanket on third down who finds the hole in the zone or makes the diving sideline grab.

Tight End
2005 – Jerramy Stevens
2013 – Zach Miller

I probably shouldn’t let my emotions get the better of me, but in this case I can’t help it.  2005 Jerramy Stevens’ numbers absolutely dwarf Zach Miller’s, and if he even REMOTELY lived up to the hype coming into his pro career, Jerramy Stevens would be a beloved individual around these parts.  Instead, he sucked dick, and is beloved in Pittsburgh for handing them the Super Bowl.  So, Zach Miller gets the nod (plus, Miller is actually a true tight end who blocks well and does the whole thing; Stevens was a glorified, overweight wide receiver and not a very good one at that).

So, if you add it up for both sides, 2005 gets the edge on Offensive Line, Running Back (an extension of the offensive line), and one of the three wide receivers.  2013 wins on Quarterback play, Tight End, and 2/3 of the wide receivers.  If I’m weighting things as I should, it’s pretty neck and neck.  Offensive line is the most important part of any football team, so they factor in pretty heavily.  QB comes next.  And, I figure the receivers and tight end equal out the Shaun Alexander MVP factor.  I’m calling it a wash across the board.  But, you can’t just call it a tie, so let’s go to the numbers:

2005:  452 points, 5,915 yards, 1,020 total plays, 5.8 yards per play, 17 turnovers
2013:  417 points, 5,424 yards, 973 total plays, 5.6 yards per play, 19 turnovers

Look, by the slimmest of margins, I’m giving 2005 the nod over 2013 on offense.  There are pieces there to cobble together the greatest offense of all time (2005 O-Line with 2013’s skill position players), but if you want the truth, I’m going to go with the offense that scored more points.  It’s kind of as simple as that.

***

Let’s hop right into the defenses.

2005 Defensive Line
Bryce Fisher (DE)
Grant Wistrom (DE)
Rocky Bernard (DT)
Marcus Tubbs (DT)
Chuck Darby (DT)

2013 Defensive Line
Red Bryant (DE)
Chris Clemons (DE)
Brandon Mebane (DT)
Cliff Avril (DE)
Michael Bennett (DE/DT)
Tony McDaniel (DT)
Clinton McDonald (DT)

This goes without question.  I mean, LOOK at that rotation!  The 2013 Seahawks can come up with any number of fronts, whereas the 2005 version pretty much ran out the same four guys play-in and play-out.  I would argue that Mebane was just as disruptive up the middle as Tubbs.  Michael Bennett can do just as much as Rocky Bernard on the inside (as far as pass rush is concerned), as well as have the ability to slide outside and rush on the edge.  Grant Wistrom was less of a joke than a nightmare I’m still trying to wake up from.  No contest.  Next song.

2005 Linebackers
Leroy Hill
D.D. Lewis
Lofa Tatupu

2013 Linebackers
K.J. Wright
Malcolm Smith
Bobby Wagner
Bruce Irvin

In 2005, you had Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu as rookies, and therefore at the height of their powers and physicality.  But, Tatupu was never good enough to hold Bobby Wagner’s jock, and the combination of Wright & Smith is WAY more versatile than Leroy Hill ever was.  Hill was great at run-stuffing, and he managed 7.5 sacks in his rookie campaign, but there’s more to linebacker than simply running forward.  You’ve got to run laterally, and backward.  You’ve got to play in coverage, and that’s where the 2013 crew has it all over the 2005 crew.  Which is odd, because those Holmgren defenses were known for their speed.  Here’s the thing:  2013 HAS that speed, but they’ve also got size and versatility.  Again, no contest.  Next song.

2005 Secondary
Marcus Trufant
Kelly Herndon
Michael Boulware
Marquand Manuel
Jordan Babineaux
Ken Hamlin
Etric Pruitt

2013 Secondary
Richard Sherman
Byron Maxwell
Earl Thomas
Kam Chancellor
Brandon Browner
Walter Thurmond
Jeremy Lane

I could have stopped after just Richard Sherman – with he alone covering all of the other team’s receivers – and he would have beaten out the 2005 secondary.  I was going to split them up by cornerbacks and safeties, but what’s the point?  It’s laughable how terrible that 2005 secondary was.  Luckily for the 2005 team, they were frequently playing with a lead.  It’s a lot easier to play defense with a lead than it is from behind.

On the whole, it’s not even close.  2013 defense in a landslide.  In fact, I don’t know if there are any guys on that 2005 team would would even PLAY on the 2013 version!  I don’t think anyone turns down a 2005 Rocky Bernard.  And I know 2005 Bryce Fisher had 9.0 sacks, but does he have the ability to stuff the run like Chris Clemons does?  I mean, maybe Fisher cracks the defensive end rotation, but most of those 2005 guys are backups at best on the 2013 team.  I’ll tell you this much:  I’m starting Byron Maxwell over Marcus Trufant every day of the week.

***

In conclusion, the 2013 Seahawks are the better team.  You pit them against the 2005 Seahawks, one game, winner takes all, it’s the 2013 team by a comfortable margin.  2013’s defensive line might struggle to get pressure on the quarterback, and it’s 50/50 whether or not the 2005 team runs the ball well.  But, there’s no way 2005 is throwing all that well against 2013’s secondary.

For the record, nothing would bring me greater joy than to see Kam Chancellor knock the shit out of Jerramy Stevens.  I don’t even mean in any hypothetical matchup between these two teams.  I mean in real life.  Kam Chancellor hunts Jerramy Stevens down, wherever he’s living, and he fucks his shit up.  For real.

Concerning The Saints Game This Weekend

The Seahawks play the Saints on Saturday.  For starters, don’t you just hate being the first game of the weekend?  I guess, in one sense, it’s nice to get it out of the way.  You also don’t really want to be the last game of the weekend either; the mounting pressure becomes too much to handle.  But, that first game?  Doesn’t it always seem like something weird happens in that first playoff game of the weekend?  It would’ve been nice to have been that overlooked second game of the Saturday slate.  Get in, get out, and you’re already forgotten by the time Sunday rolls around.

I don’t want anything weird to happen.  I want a regular, boring ol’ game with the expected outcome and no aggravation at the end.  The Seahawks are expected to win this game.  They’re favored by a good 8 points.  But, more than that, they’re a 1-seed playing a 6-seed.  They’re at home, with probably the best Home Field Advantage in the game.  They’re playing a team whose defense can be scored upon.  They’ve got the best secondary in the game (to combat New Orleans and their awesome passing attack).  This is, in short, the perfect playoff matchup.  We couldn’t have expected anything better.  There’s no reason why we should lose this game.

Then again, there’s no reason why we should have lost ANY of the games we’ve played this year!  We’re the best team in football!  Yet, the best teams don’t always end up winning it all.  And that’s what we’ve got left to worry about.

It’s that time of year.  You’ve got to play every single game like it’s your last, because a single loss will MAKE it your last.  This is what we’ve been looking forward to all this time.  When the season started, we expected the Seahawks to be great.  Through the regular season, the Seahawks HAVE been great.  Now, it’s up to these last three games.  But, really, it’s up to this game on Saturday.  All that stuff we’ve been hearing all season long, about how the Seahawks just want to go 1-0 every week, and about how every game is a “championship opportunity” … well, those chickens are coming home to roost.  That shit’s just a lot of filler.  It’s things athletes say to make it sound like they’re saying the right things.  It’s also something athletes say to stay focused.  These guys read all the press just like we do.  But, they need mantras to see past all that.  To keep their eyes on the prize, as it were.

There’s no reason for the Seahawks to EVER lose, but some losses are easier to understand than others.  Losing to the 49ers makes some sense, because their defense is great and their offense can do just enough to get the job done.  They’re like the evil, bizarro Seahawks.  But, to lose to the Saints?  That just sounds too absurd to compute.

I don’t necessarily expect it to be as easy as it was in Week 13 when we played the Saints last.  Then again, I have no reasoning behind that statement.  Why WOULDN’T we beat them by four touchdowns again?  Everyone points to the elite quarterback, as if that’s just the great equalizer.  In a sense, yeah, it is.  You’re not going to go anywhere in this league without an elite quarterback.  Just look at the remaining teams in this year’s playoffs:  Wilson, Newton, Kaepernick, and Brees in the NFC; Manning, Brady, Luck, and Rivers in the AFC.  More or less, these are 8 of the best quarterbacks in football!  But, how many times have you seen great quarterbacks get shut down in the playoffs?  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning all have one Super Bowl win apiece.  Brady has three, but none since the 2004 season.  All of these quarterbacks have been shut down by solid defensive play.  Why, just last week, Aaron Rodgers was shut down by the 49ers!  Brady was taken down twice by the Giants in the Super Bowl; Manning was taken down countless times by the Patriots back in the day.  Is Drew Brees any different?  I would argue not.  He’s no more special than any of these other elite quarterbacks.

Are the Seahawks on defense any different?  I would argue so; I would argue that they’re BETTER than the Giants, Patriots, and 49ers of recent years.

When people compare the Seahawks and the 49ers on defense, it’s common to give the secondary to Seattle and the front seven to San Francisco.  The Seahawks have three All Pro-calibre players in their secondary, and a couple others in Maxwell and Thurmond who fall just short (but would likely be Pro Bowlers elsewhere if given a chance to start); so I don’t think there’s any question that the Seahawks have the better secondary.  It’s not even close, and you’re a fool to say otherwise.  But, I don’t think the front seven is as open-and-shut as many others like to make it out to be.  The 49ers certainly have the name recognition, with guys like NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, Justin Smith, and Aldon Smith (just to name a few), but the Seahawks compare very favorably when you look at the numbers.

The Seahawks have 44 sacks this year, and another 39 tackles for loss.  The 49ers have 38 sacks and 41 tackles for loss.  The 49ers have their Pro Bowlers and their All Pros along the front seven, but the Seahawks have guys like Bobby Wagner (who led the team in tackles again with 120, and also added 5 sacks and 2 INTs), Michael Bennett (who led the team in sacks with 8.5, while being an all-around force both inside and on the end), Cliff Avril (who tacked on 8 more sacks), Chris Clemons (who came all the way back from an ACL tear to net 4.5 sacks and play very solid run defense), Clinton McDonald (who added 5.5 sacks on the inside after being cut and missing the first game of the season).  Not to mention guys like K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith getting it done at outside linebacker (combining for 134 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble).  And Bruce Irvin was quietly effective in transitioning from a pass rushing specialist in his rookie season last year to a strong-side linebacker this year.  He ended up with 40 tackles, 2 sacks, and a pick.

What you’ll notice from the Seahawks is that no one guy really stands out from a national perspective.  But, when you put them all together, and you factor in glue guys like Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane (who arguably had the most dominant season of his career), this front seven as a unit did just as good, if not better than the 49ers.

So, getting back to my original point:  even WITH Drew Brees, why would anyone even remotely consider the Saints a threat?  If elite defenses shut down elite quarterbacks with regularity, and the Seahawks have the best defense in football, are you really telling me that I should fear the Saints because they have one of the five best quarterbacks in football?

And yet, to harken back to my other main point:  anything can happen in the National Football League.

If the Seahawks are going to blow this game, it’s not going to be because we couldn’t force the Saints into a punt.  It’s going to be because our offense shit the bed.  In our two recent losses – to the 49ers and Cardinals (because I still feel like that Colts loss was an anomaly) – the Seahawks struggled to move the ball; and when they did move the ball, they struggled to get it into the endzone.

The Saints’ defense isn’t on par with that of the 49ers or Cardinals, but they do enough things well to be of concern.  They actually gave up the 4th fewest yards and points in football.  Their secondary gave up the second-fewest yards per game, which is pretty impressive when you consider that they were an 11-win team and often held leads that required their opponents to pass to get back into the game.  Of course, the Seahawks gave up the fewest passing yards, and 22.1 yards fewer per game to boot.  The Saints were 19th in rushing yards per game allowed, so that’s something we can hang our hats on (though, they did just hold the best rushing attack in football – the Eagles – to only 80 yards on the ground, in a game that was never really TOO out-of-hand).

What we really need to watch out for is the pass rush.  The Saints were fourth in sacks, which sounds about right when you think about a Rob Ryan defense.  They probably blitz a lot, which means there are big plays to be had.  If we struggle like we did against the Cardinals in hitting on the big plays, then we might be doomed.  We’ll need to watch out for the likes of Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette, who each had at least 12 sacks this past season.  I fear those two guys WAY more than I fear someone like Drew Brees.

So, yeah, we’ll lose if our offense lets us down.  That’s if all things are equal.  I don’t even want to think of how this game will turn if we have to deal with the kind of injuries the Chiefs had to deal with last week.  Or the kind of botched refereeing we’ve come to expect out of this league on its biggest stage.  It’s not quite Pac-12 Refs-bad, but it’s getting there.

Mostly, I’m just concerned because I’m a worrier.  That’s why my friends call me Whiskers.  I’ve been here too many times over the last 15 years.  I’ve endured pretty much everything you can possibly endure in the playoffs with this team.  The Trace Armstrong Game in 1999 against the Dolphins.  The “We Want The Ball & We’re Gonna Score” Overtime Game against Green Bay in 2003.  The Bobby Engram Dropped Pass Game against the Rams in 2004.  The officiating fiasco that was Super Bowl XL in 2005.  The Rex Grossman long bomb in overtime against the Bears in 2006.  The six consecutive touchdowns by the Packers in 2007 (after notching a 14-0 lead thanks to two fumbles on their side of midfield).  The 28-0 lead by the Bears in 2010 (before the Seahawks made it a marginally interesting 35-24 defeat, with 21 points in the fourth quarter).  And of course, who could forget the 20-point halftime deficit to the Falcons last year, which we made into a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left, only to lose thanks to a field goal with 13 seconds left in the game?

This is our 9th time in the playoffs in the last 15 years.  The previous eight have ended in defeat, in spectacularly embarrassing fashion.  This is the team we need to end a couple generations’ worth of losing.  It all starts on Saturday.  Take care of business and move on to the NFC Championship game.  Fail and … well, that’s something I’d rather not think about right now.

Percy Harvin vs. Deion Branch: Which Trade Was Better?

Similarities!  We’ve got ’em!

The 2005 Seattle Seahawks went 13-3, won two playoff games, and went to the Super Bowl.  Their top wide receivers were a whole bunch of nobodies (respectively, when compared to the rest of the National Football League).  Bobby Engram had the most receptions:  67 for 778 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Joe Jurevicius was a veteran on a 1-year deal who was thrust into a starting role when Darrell Jackson went down with injury for the bulk of the season from October thru December (coming back a couple games before the playoffs started).  Jurevicius caught 55 balls for 694 yards and 10 TDs.  The aforementioned Jackson was a non-factor for the most part, though he would bounce back with a quality 2006 season.  Meanwhile, Jurevicius would end up leaving in free agency to play in Cleveland for a couple of years before retiring.

The 2006 Seahawks could have opted to improve their team in a number of ways.  A sane, rational human being might have focused on an immediate upgrade along the offensive line (like, for instance, not dicking around with Steve Hutchinson and just paying the man what he was worth) or in the secondary.  Instead, Tim Ruskell thought it would be a good idea to trade our first round pick in the 2007 NFL draft – #24 overall – for a wide receiver named Deion Branch.

Branch, if you will recall, was holding out in New England for a new deal.  Like Harvin, Branch was a 4-year veteran in the final season of his rookie deal.  Unlike Harvin, Branch came over in September (9/11/2006:  never forget).  By holding out, he ended up missing the first two games of the season.  Seattle, essentially, had zero time to acclimate him to our offensive scheme.

As I stated above, Darrell Jackson bounced back to have a nice 2006 season.  Bobby Engram, however, caught the injury bug and missed over half the games.  That opened things up for a quasi-talented Deion Branch to step into our #2 receiver role.  He caught 53 balls for 725 yards and 4 touchdowns in that first season.  Not EXACTLY what we thought we’d be getting for our first round draft pick, but at least we made the playoffs and kind of stuck it to the Patriots a little bit by losing in the Divisional Round to Rex Grossman and the Chicago Bears (a day that will live in drunken infamy).

The Seahawks had one more playoff season in them, in 2007, and then everything fell to shit.  Branch stuck around until 2010 when, after four games, he was traded back to New England for a 4th round pick in the 2011 draft.  That pick ended up being K.J. Wright, so we mitigated some of that loss, but still.

With New England, Deion Branch was a quality contributer.  He returned kicks throughout his rookie season, and returned a handful of punts as well.  He was also just as injury prone as Percy Harvin (playing in 53 games over 4 seasons vs. Harvin’s 54 games over 4 seasons).  Branch’s average per-season line amounted to 53 receptions for 686 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Harvin’s average per-season line with the Vikings these past four years amoutned to 70 receptions for 826 yards and 5 touchdowns.  When you tack on Harvin’s rushing totals, though, his yards per scrimmage per season averages out to almost 1,000, with an extra touchdown tacked on.

The 2012 Seahawks went 11-5, won one playoff game, and was half a minute from going to the NFC Championship Game.  Their top receivers, again, were a bunch of nobodies (respective to the rest of the NFL).  Leading receiver Sidney Rice caught only 50 balls.  Golden Tate caught only 45.  Essentially, though, that’s where the similarities end for these two teams.

The 2005 Seahawks were at their peak.  By 2008, they were a broken down old fool of a team that needed a complete overhaul.  The 2012 Seahawks, by contrast, are only just beginning their dynasty.  They are a few small pieces away from going all the way.  The 2006 Seahawks fucked up in a multitude of ways.  The 2006 Seahawks also couldn’t get out of their own way when they drafted players.  The 2013 Seahawks have almost nothing BUT drafted players, with a large handful of new picks in the coming draft to play around with.

Deion Branch was never going to solve all of our ills.  He wasn’t the one piece we needed to go over the top.  Percy Harvin isn’t that one piece either; but I think it’s safe to say he’s a BETTER piece now than Branch was then.  I also think that his is a piece we should be able to utilize more effectively.  Because A. he’s familiar with our system, having worked under Darrell Bevell before; and B. we will have a full offseason with which to work him into our offense (as opposed to a few mid-week practices right at the start of the regular season).

So, no, this isn’t EXACTLY the Deion Branch trade.  But, then again, the cost for Percy Harvin was a lot greater.  Both in terms of money and draft picks.  Branch went for the #24 overall pick.  Harvin went for the #25 pick, a seventh rounder, and a third rounder NEXT year.  Branch signed a 6-year, $39 million deal.  Harvin has agreed to a 6-year, $67 million deal.  Ultimately, the question remains:  will Harvin live up to all this cost?

In his first four full seasons (if we count 2006 as a “full” season) with the Seattle Seahawks, Deion Branch averaged 44 receptions for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns per year.  He also never played a full 16-game season with the Seahawks, suffering injuries in every season from 2007-2009.  To say he was a bust is an understatement.  He was a final Fuck You from the Tim Ruskell regime that left us with no cap space and a shit-ton of terrible, old players.

It would take just about nothing for Percy Harvin to be a better return of investment than Deion Branch, but we can’t exactly compare them as apples to apples.  Percy Harvin has to live up to an even BIGGER investment.  With just as high of stakes:  going back to and ultimately WINNING a Super Bowl.

Obviously, it’s not all on Harvin to get us a championship, and it likely wouldn’t be his fault if we failed to reach that goal.  But, if this team starts to sputter, if he comes down with a series of nagging injuries every year, or if he forgets how to catch a football when he’s in the game, then people are going to look at Harvin, and at this deal to bring him here, as a major reason why we failed.

So, let’s not let it come to that, right?  Right.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings, Vol. 14

The last time I took a good, hard look at the overall playoff race, we’d just finished Week 11.  In the AFC, not a whole lot has changed.

It’s pretty funny that I picked San Francisco to beat New England way back when, noting, “that’s going to kill any hope they (the Pats) had of getting a BYE in the first round.”  It’s true, but not because of what I foresaw.

Baltimore has taken a big ol’ shit, losing their last three games, turning what was once a comfortable 2-game divisional lead into a 1-game lead.  Other than the Ravens, though, the rest of the divisional leaders have all clinched, with Denver taking over the #2 seed.  And I have to believe the Ravens will hold on to that division someway, somehow.

Indy is still holding strong onto the 5-seed, but it’s still not impossible for them to miss out.  I know they play KC next week, but it’s in KC, and I’m not calling that a gimme by any means.  Cincinnati is in the 6th seed for now, but who the fuck knows what they’re going to do.

My Guess?  Indy probably takes care of business, and Pittsburgh wins out (home games against Cincy & Cleveland) to squeak into the playoffs.  BFD, right?

***

The NFC is really where it’s at this season.  Obvs, Atlanta is running away with this thing and I don’t think there’s any way they lose that 1-seed (with games against the hapless Lions and the less-hapless Bucs).

In my previous prediction, I had the 49ers rolling, but get a load of what I said right here:

… it wouldn’t shock me to see them fall to a #3 seed.  None of those remaining road games are cakewalks by any stretch.  I think they fall to the Seahawks and one other (don’t sleep on those Rams who took them to the brink).  With 4 losses and the tie, I think that knocks them out of the #2 seed by a half-game.

Shit, you’re damn right, you DON’T sleep on those fucking Rams!  If the Seahawks can take care of business at home in front of a nationally-televised audience, I think the 49ers DO miss out on that 2-seed to the Packers!  After all, the Pack get a home game against the Titans and a road game against the Vikings.  Easy pickin’s, my friends.

And, if you’re any kind of Seahawks fan, even though we’ll lose the division to the 49ers, it’s a nice consolation to know that they don’t get a BYE week in the playoffs.  You know how hard it is to win three straight playoff games to get into the Super Bowl?  Pretty fucking tough; those teams who get the BYE have a terrific record in that Divisional Round.  I think they win something like 3/4 of the time; look it up, prove me wrong.

The current NFC East leader is the Washington Redskins.  They’re in a 3-way tie for first with an 8-6 record and in the driver’s seat with a 3-1 divisional record.  If they win out (@ Philly, vs. Dallas), they’re in.  The Giants have a tougher road, going to Baltimore before hosting the Eagles.  The Cowboys don’t have it much easier, hosting the Saints before going to D.C.

Before, with a gun to my head, I picked Dallas.  They already lost to the Redskins, which isn’t too good, but they get them again and if they can find a way to beat the Saints, you have to like them as much as anyone.  Will RGIII be back in time to save their season?  That was a nice little win the Redskins had in Cleveland with a less-heralded rookie at the helm, but can Cousins work his magic the next two weeks?  I guess Philly isn’t much of a test, but I wouldn’t like him going up against the Cowboys in a do-or-die game.

Fuck it, I’m sticking with the Cowboys.  That would be the prediction of all predictions, if you ask me.

As for the Wild Card teams, the Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise in some ways.  I had them going 5-1, but losing to Chicago and winning in Miami.  I don’t think there’s any way I saw the massacres that took place against the Cards & Bills, but either way it’s a favorable road to the finish line.

That just leaves the 6-seed which is now up in the air.  Minnesota has a temporary hold on the thing with an 8-6 record, but they go to Houston and finish at home against the Packers who will be playing as hard as they can to win that 2-seed.  I think they finish 8-8 and are a non-factor the rest of the way.

The Bucs really took a dump all over this season.  They’ve lost four in a row (including a heartbreaker to the Eagles) and now need two wins just to finish at .500.

The Bears are still in it and are still my team to beat.  I had them going 4-2 in their final six games; they currently need to win out just to get to 3-3.  That having been said, they play at Arizona and at Detroit to close out.  I think they win both, eliminating the Giants and Redskins.

That means *giddy laugh* the Seahawks, with the 5-seed, go to Dallas in the first round.  My God, what I wouldn’t GIVE for that to be the matchup!  I swear to Christ, if I get that matchup, I won’t masturbate for a week!

The 6-seed Bears would go to the 3-seed 49ers and get slaughtered, which would give us San Fran @ Green Bay (a rematch of a week 1 49ers victory) and Seattle @ Atlanta.  Yeah, Seattle would get two games inside two dome-like stadiums, while the 49ers get the Packers in frozen Green Bay.  Ha!

Meanwhile, in the AFC, we’re looking at 6-seed Pittsburgh at 3-seed New England.  This so isn’t Pittsburgh’s year it’s not even funny (well, actually, it’s kinda funny).  5-seed Indy goes to 4-seed Baltimore.  The Ravens, should they manage to hold on to their divisional lead, need to be thanking their lucky stars.  To collapse this bad and then get to face Indy in the first round has to be some kind of miracle.  Then again, it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see the Colts figure out a way to pull it out at the end.  I got New England and Indy winning, setting up New England at Denver and Indy at Houston.

I still can’t shake the feeling that this is San Fran’s year.  They may not totally take Green Bay apart, but I think they eke that one out.  And, I think this round marks the end of Seattle’s run.  Atlanta won’t be winless in the playoffs (with Matt Ryan) after this season, mark my words.  Nevertheless, you couldn’t ask for a better draw for the Seahawks.  If they’re beating anyone else in these playoffs, it very well might be a Falcons team that can’t run the ball.  Browner will be back, Sherman could still theoretically win his appeal, and even if he doesn’t, we still have some solid depth in the secondary.  Who knows?

In the AFC, it’s Denver and it’s Houston.  Peyton Manning is back, that team is on the roll of all rolls, and New England’s defense is still shitty.

This is all prelude to San Francisco vs. Denver in the Super Bowl.  The team Peyton chose vs. the team Peyton spurned.  That’s where the magic ends and the 49ers are annointed top dog.  That’s also where Colin Kaepernick officially becomes my worst nightmare.

On to the rankings:

  1. Denver Broncos (11-3):  9-game winning streak, home games against Cleveland and Kansas City.  Holy shit!  I would be on Cloud Fucking 9 right now if I was a Denver fan!  Of course, the only way they can get the #1 seed is to win out and have Houston lose out.  That ain’t happening, but being the #2 seed is pretty fucking good enough, if you ask me.  (Last Week:  1)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1):  Well, this is it.  If the 49ers were ever a top team, they’d find a way to win this game in Seattle this week and lock down that #2 seed.  Will they?  Good God, for whatever reason, my crystal ball is on the fritz.  Picking this game is as tough as it gets.  Magic 8 Ball keeps saying to “Ask Again Later”.  It’s all kinds of fucked up in my head right now.  (Last Week:  2)
  3. Green Bay Packers (10-4):  Hi bitter Packers fans.  How are you?  It’s been about 12 weeks since the Replacement Refs ruined your season.  Still mad at us?  Even though we took out the Bears and essentially handed you the division?  What will it take to make you forgive us?  Do we have to beat the 49ers for you too?  Because we’ll do it!  Just like us again!  PLEASE!!!  I hate it when we quarrel!  (Last Week:  3)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (12-2):  Love those Falcons.  EVERYONE wrote them off against the Giants last week, so what did they do?  Shut them the fuck out, that’s what!  Teams will keep sleeping on them, but guess what?  They won’t be playing a road game and they won’t be playing a divisional opponent once the regular season ends.  That’s gotta matter for something.  See you in the NFC Championship Game.  (Last Week:  4)
  5. Houston Texans (12-2):  Yeah, you beat the Colts, BFD.  (Last Week:  6)
  6. Seattle Seahawks (9-5):  Fake punt when you’re up 30?  Okay, you got me, that was running up the score.  I don’t know what I find more disconcerting, the fact that our head coach is kind of a dick, or the fact that he “forgot” the fake punt was an automatic call.  If I’m going to give Pete Carroll the benefit of the doubt and believe his excuse, what does that say, exactly?  What else will he be prone to forgetting?  What if he “forgets” something important in a big game?  Will that be the difference between moving on in the playoffs vs. going home?  Say what you will about Mike Holmgren, he never did “forget” the details, no matter how seemingly unimportant.  (Last Week:  8)
  7. New England Patriots (10-4):  Again, fuck you very much.  You had ONE fucking job!  And what do you do?  You go down by a 4-TD margin and don’t have enough in the tank to finish the comeback.  God, you guys are toolbags.  (Last Week:  5)
  8. Baltimore Ravens (9-5):  Did anyone tell the Ravens they haven’t locked down a playoff spot yet?  Was this the time to fire your offensive coordinator?  Good lord!  (Last Week:  7)
  9. Washington Redskins (8-6):  Smart move drafting two quarterbacks this year.  To anyone questioning why, I direct you to their third stringer:  Rex Grossman.  You do whatever it TAKES to not let that guy start for you!  (Last Week:  12)
  10. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6):  They’ve won 5 of 6, but I’ll be damned if their season isn’t over.  This team needs a breath of fresh air in the coaching department like nobody’s business.  Do the Harbaughs have another brother?  (Last Week:  13)
  11. New York Giants (8-6):  Looks like your late-season magic has run out.  Eli can suck a bag of dicks for helping destroy my fantasy season, too.  (Last Week:  9)
  12. Dallas Cowboys (8-6):  HUGE win against the Steelers.  Just when I write this team off, it keeps things interesting.  Way to try to save your head coach’s job, Cowboys!  (Last Week:  14)
  13. Indianapolis Colts (9-5):  Oh, would you look at that, the Colts lost to another good team … WEIRD!  (Last Week:  10)
  14. Minnesota Vikings (8-6):  I hope Adrian Peterson breaks the record.  That is all.  (Last Week:  18)
  15. Chicago Bears (8-6):  I hope I’m right and the Bears make the playoffs so I can gloat some more.  (Last Week:  11)
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7):  I hope I’m right and the Steelers make the playoffs so the bitter taste of defeat is all the more sour when they go out in Round 1.  (Last Week:  16)
  17. St. Louis Rams (6-7-1):  The Rams only had 7 home games because of that travesty in London, and now they finish their season with back-to-back road games.  Is it safe to assume the person who makes up the schedules is a die-hard Rams hater?  (Last Week:  17)
  18. New Orleans (6-8):  I still say 7-9 is a quality record for a team that was so wrongly decimated by the league.  (Last Week:  19)
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8):  7-9 is also a quality record when you take into account their defense has been so utterly, utterly bad.  (Last Week:  15)
  20. Miami Dolphins (6-8):  7-9 is ALSO a quality record when you consider Ryan Tannehill is the next in a long line of total quarterback flops since Dan Marino passed away.  (Last Week:  20)
  21. Carolina Panthers (5-9):  I gotta say, even though the Chargers are bad, that was an impressive fucking win on the road for the Panthers.  Enough to save their coach’s job?  Boy, I hope not.  They need to hire Chip Kelly and get him the fuck out of the Pac-12 already.  (Last Week:  25)
  22. Buffalo Bills (5-9):  Hey, thanks for playing!  Bills fans should be thanking us for classlessly running up the score too, by the way!  You know you want Chan Gailey shitcanned like yesterday!  (Last Week:  21)
  23. Cleveland Browns (59):  Coulda done us all a solid by taking out Washington when they were most vulnerable.  Instead, you had to bite the wiener.  (Last Week:  22)
  24. San Diego Chargers (5-9):  Glad I’m not a Chargers fan.  (Last Week:  23)
  25. Tennessee Titans (5-9):  At some point, Jake Locker is going to have to do more than beat the Jets to keep his starting job.  Know that I’m rooting for him, but seriously, SHOW us something!  (Last Week:  26)
  26. New York Jets (6-8):  Ha!  You got knocked out of the playoffs.  Suck it.  (Last Week:  27)
  27. Arizona Cardinals (5-9):  Way to show some pride after that shellacking in Seattle!  Still, their starting “quarterback” only managed to throw for 104 yards.  Let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.  (Last Week:  30)
  28. Detroit Lions (4-10):  Yikes.  (Last Week:  24)
  29. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10):  It’s over Johnny.  (Last Week:  28)
  30. Oakland Raiders (4-10):  It’s OVER!  (Last Week:  31)
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12):  Back in their second-to-last spot, right where they belong.  We left your room just as you left it!  (Last Week:  29)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12):  Bad year for a bad QB draft class.  Maybe you can select an offensive lineman, continue to suck next year, and draft first overall again!  Reach for the skies, Chiefs!  (Last Week:  32)

Seahawks, Don’t Be Fucking Stupid. Don’t Sign Chad Henne!

The guy is a fucking LOSER!  He sucked in Michigan, he sucked in Miami, and he’s going to continue to suck with whatever team signs him!

I don’t normally comment a lot on rumors, but this is BULLSHIT!  Are we trying to bring in every single quarterback I loathe?  Can Kyle Orton, Derek Anderson, and Rex Grossman be far behind?

Marcus Trufant Is Released As The Great Purge Continues

The following are the players currently under contract who played under Mike Holmgren (who, again, left the team after the 2008 season):

  • Ben Obomanu
  • Brandon Mebane
  • Jon Ryan

For the record, Red Bryant was drafted in Holmgren’s final season, but he isn’t currently under contract.  Ditto John Carlson, who I believe will sign elsewhere.  Ditto Justin Forsett, ditto he’s as good as gone.  Other free agents who once played for Holmgren and are likely gone include:  David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill.

When all is said and done and Red Bryant re-signs, there will be a total of 4 players on this team who were on the team back in 2008.  That’s because Marcus Trufant was released today.

Trufant has played 9 seasons in the NFL after being drafted 11th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.  We passed on such guys as Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Charles Tillman, which doesn’t even mention Dallas Clark, who sure could’ve solved our tight end woes in Super Bowl XL.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  We took Marcus Trufant, and I don’t think that was such a bad thing.

He always got a bad rap for being injured and for not generating turnovers.  Neither one of those accusations I find fair or legitimate.  Yes, it was unfortunate he was injured for the playoffs in the 2006 season, but I would hardly place all the blame on him for us getting beat by the Bears (safety play was abysmal in that game, a testament to the overtime bomb Grossman threw to get in field goal range).  Trufant only really missed significant time in 2009 and 2011, when you could argue his body started breaking down due to wear & tear.

And, as for the turnovers, it’s kinda hard to make much of an impact when quarterbacks rarely make an effort to throw in your direction.  He still managed 7 picks in the 2007 season, when he earned his first and only Pro Bowl selection.

Trufant wasn’t the greatest cornerback ever, which might make it seem like a disappointment what with him being an 11th overall draft pick, but going into 9 straight seasons, you knew exactly what you had with Trufant.  You could write him in as a starting cornerback and you didn’t have to worry about whether he could hold his own or not.  He just balled.

The question now is:  Does Marcus Trufant Belong In The Ring Of Honor?

I say yes.  He’s without a doubt the best cornerback that’s ever played for the Seahawks.  He’s a local product and a fan favorite.  And in spite of the fact that he’s being released, he’s still got some gas left in the tank.  I think the Seahawks will do the right thing eventually.  He’ll just have to wait in line behind guys like Walter Jones, Shaun Alexander, and Matt Hasselbeck.

Why I Have Very Little Confidence In The Seahawks Winning This Sunday

You wanna know why?  Because every single time I get sucked into this team one way or the other (either sucked into believing they’ll contend for a high draft pick, or sucked into believing they’ll contend for the playoffs), they proceed to FUCK me!  It goes back to the whole unpredictability thing about this team.  They beat the Giants, they lose to the Browns.  They beat the Ravens, they lose to the Redskins.

You can see this team is getting better.  Overall, we’re a deeper, more talented team.  The defense is coming on strong with huge performances in three of the last four games.  The offensive line is jelling even as we’re losing linemen hand-over-fist to season-ending injuries.  That’s a sign of good coaching, plain and simple.  From Carroll on down to Bradley and Cable, and even further down to whoever runs the secondary, the linebackers, and the running backs.  We seem to be clicking at the right time.

And yet, I still can’t get that Redskins game out of my head!  Tarvar reverted back to his usual Tarvar-self.  Our defense was getting burned left and right.  Our running game wasn’t nearly as dominant as it has been lately.  We blew that game, plain and simple.  We were coming off of an easy win in St. Louis and we were looking at three straight home games against very-beatable opponents.  And right off the bat!  Pow, our hopes were dashed.  By the fucking REDSKINS!  We were 4-6 going into that game.  We SHOULD be 7-6 now.  The ‘Skins are a terrible team, we caught the Eagles at the perfect time, and the Rams are one of the worst teams in football.  Just THINK of how excited we would all be if things went according to plan!

And, in an instant, that plan was ruined.  Oh sure, we’re still mathematically alive, but does anyone REALLY believe we’re going to take this thing all the way to Week 17 with a chance at cracking the playoffs?  Wouldn’t it be MUCH more plausible if we blew it right off the bat against the Bears?  Falling to 6-8, with yet another team ahead of us in the tiebreaker?  Doesn’t that just FEEL like the way it’s going to go down?  Then, we blow the minds of the 49ers at home, followed by winning a hard-fought battle down in Arizona to finish 8-8 … you know, the stupid way?

I know what you’re thinking.  The Bears couldn’t look any worse right now.  They were one of the very best teams in football, really clicking on all cylinders, and then they lost their starting quarterback followed by their Pro Bowl running back.  What was a great team – with nothing to write home about as far as receivers are concerned – is now a terrible offensive team with no hope in sight.  They couldn’t muster any more than 3 points against the Chiefs (in Soldier Field, no less), and they could only get 10 against Denver before absolutely falling apart. 

I get all that!  But, is Caleb Hanie any worse than Rex Grossman?  And, not for nothin’, but Marion Barber hasn’t been used a whole lot this season, so you know he’s fresh at the very least.  Yeah, he had his miscues last week, but he was still running hard and running effectively before he got Tebow’d.

And don’t discount the power of a great defense, at home, in the cold of Chicago in December.  Even though they’ve lost their last three games, all three defeats have been by 7 points or less (that KC game being the 7; that 7 being a Hail Mary caught for a touchdown).

In other words:  I wouldn’t count on Beastmode surpassing 100 yards.  I wouldn’t count on Tarvar having his best game ever.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole Seahawks offense got completely shut out!  Yeah, we put up the points against Philly and the Rams the past two weeks, but a lot of that had to do with Special Teams and Defense, with the bulk of our offensive output coming on the ground late in the game when we already had it put away.

I wouldn’t count on the Seahawks putting the Bears away anytime soon.  Don’t look now, but all this hope we’re clinging to for a mediocre football team is about to come crashing down to Earth.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why The Seahawks Will Not Be Making The Playoffs

What was THAT?

I was fully prepared to concede that the Seahawks did not look good yesterday, but they got the job done and that’s all that really matters.  5-6 is 5-6 and nobody can take that away from us.

Then, Rex Grossman fucking took it away from us!

Does it ever feel to any of you that Rex Grossman owns the Seahawks?  Well, he averages 270 yards per game against the Seahawks; against the league as a whole he averages 188 yards.  He completes 65% of his passes against the Seahawks; 55% against the entire league.  He has a quarterback rating of 94 against the Seahawks; 71.4 against the league.  I don’t know what we did to this guy, but he fucking RAPES everytime he sees our blue asses.

Yesterday was no different.  314 yards, 74% completion, 96.6 rating … you know what he’s done the rest of the year?  Pretty much jack squat!  Hence why he was benched in favor of John Beck, only to be reinstated again because John Beck is the fucking apocalypse.

I can’t BELIEVE we blew a 10-point lead with 12 minutes left in the 4th quarter!  Except, I totally can, because did anyone else notice the stat the flashed on the broadcast coming out of the break in between quarters?  I don’t, exactly, but I caught the jist:  Seahawks are undefeated in their last so-many games when they have the lead after 3 quarters.  Figures, right?  How did we not see THAT one coming?

Even though we gave up a couple touchdowns, we still had a chance.  I can’t hate on the defense too much (even though Browner is a MACHINE when it comes to not turning around to make a play on the football), because Red Bryant – once again – blocked two kicks; including that late PAT to keep it to a 3-point game.  Meaning, instead of NEEDING a touchdown to win it, we could’ve kicked for overtime.

IF our offense could’ve done anything!

As much as I respect Tarvar’s guttiness, he’s got to be put down.  Give him, like, three or four weeks off.  Or, just shut him down entirely, but you gotta get someone else in there.  Someone NOT named Charlie.

At this point, why WOULDN’T you put in Josh Portis?  We’re 4-7.  We’re not going to win out and even if we did we still probably wouldn’t have what it takes to make the playoffs.  If you were going to blow this season by not drafting a QB, then the least you can do is take a look at each and every QB you have on your roster before next year’s draft.  What if we have our quarterback of the future right now and he’s yet to play a down for us?

Maybe it’s too early to make this move.  Maybe the coaching staff will tell you that you can’t EVER give up on your season like that.  Maybe.  But I’ll tell you what, there’s no way Tarvar should be starting a THURSDAY game against those Eagles.  I don’t care how bad they are, that defense will tear us a-fucking-part!  And you sure as shit can’t start Charlie!  He’s more repulsive right now than a team full of Jerry Sandusky’s!

Josh Portis, on the other hand, is a guy this fanbase – this 12th Man – can rally behind.  He isn’t yet tainted by the stench of utter failure.  The 12th Man knows our starting quarterback is hurtin’; they know our backup is worthless; Josh Portis is the opposite of both of them!  He’s healthy, he’s got wheels, he’s got that new-car smell because he’s got nothing but hope and potential behind him.

And sure, if he starts we’ll probably still lose the game.  But, at this point, with the way this offense has performed, can you do any worse?  Maybe he’ll be the Black Tebow, you never know!  Maybe he’ll look bad for three quarters, and then look like a pretty, pretty princess when the game is on the line!

It would be interesting, if nothing else.  This team could use some Interesting in its game.  I don’t think we want to watch our team get booed at home on national television (even if it IS on the NFL Network, which nobody owns).  Do the right thing, Pete.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.