Not Winners & Losers Of The Seahawks’ Game At Arizona

It was the usual brand of ugly down in Glendale, but the Seahawks prevailed in the end to beat the winless Cardinals 20-17.  The defense looked good enough, the run game was fine, but the offense as a whole was pretty bad once again.  There just isn’t going to be an overnight fix on this thing; it’s going to take a lot of baby stepping to get this thing where it needs to be.

What I’m Geeked Out About After Four Games

Shout out to the offensive line!  I never thought I’d see them in this section so soon, but here we are!

I don’t have them here just because every other element about the Seahawks struggled (though that’s true), but because they actually looked good.  Dominant even!  We were all whacked across the face Sunday afternoon with the news that Chris Carson was sitting out with some nagging injury, so you could be forgiven if you feared for the life of our run game.  It came as a further shock to see Mike Davis getting the starter’s reps, with a fully healthy Rashaad Penny returning kicks and getting the backup’s reps.

But, Davis came out guns blazing!  21 carries, 101 yards, 2 TDs, to go along with 4 catches for 23 more yards!  While Davis is fully capable of having these types of games, it was hard not to notice how wide open those running lanes were, thanks to this O-line (backed up, once again, on the strength of D.J. Fluker on the right side).  With Sweezy holding down the left guard spot, things have really started to gel with these guys (though, I still hope to see Pocic win that job back at some point, for the long-term future of the unit).

Furthermore, Russell Wilson only took 2 sacks, and often had all day to throw the ball.  It was just a great game for a maligned group of guys and I’m happy for them.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)

Speaking of Penny, he only ran the ball 9 times, but gained 49 yards in the process.  He looked more decisive and powerful than I’ve ever seen him.  This was a nice stepping stone game for him, as he acclimates to the speed and ferocity of the league.

Lots of props for the defense, particularly the front seven.

Bobby Wagner, of course, led the team in tackles.  Jarran Reed made his presence felt in the backfield, with a sack and a couple tackles for loss.  Mychal Kendricks had a couple tackles in the backfield, as did Branden Jackson.  These guys also did a pretty good job of holding Arizona’s running game in check.  David Johnson only averaged 3.2 yards per carry (22 for 71, with a TD).

Offensively for the Seahawks, not a lot there.  David Moore had a solid game (2 for 39).  Tyler Lockett continued to show up on the stat sheet (5 for 53 to lead the way).

Let’s Talk About Competitions Injuries

We just can’t play a game in that fucking stadium without losing guys to devastating injuries!  I can’t even keep it straight in my head anymore, all I know it’s been a lot.

Well, throw Will Dissly’s corpse onto the pile, because he went out on the second drive of the game with a season-ending knee injury.  Fucking terrific.  Just what I want to see from a promising rookie.  Let’s cut his first year short in the first month of the season; wouldn’t want to let him get TOO experienced!

Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, Earl Thomas appears to have re-fractured his broken leg from a couple years back, on just a nothing of a play (looks like it broke just with him running on it and maybe stepping down awkwardly).

These injuries are obviously devastating, for both the short term and the long term.  For Dissly, we’re already pretty thin at tight end (Vannett was the only other one suited up for the game yesterday).  Ed Dickson can’t return until after week 6, so we’ll have some practice squad guys coming in.  And, from what I’ve been told, this is a lot like Jimmy Graham’s injury from a few years back, so we’re talking surgery and a full year’s rehab.  If everything breaks right, Dissly could be back for the start of next year, or he could land on the PUP.  Either way, it’s probably best to expect a slow start to his 2019 season, which just sucks, because Dissly really looks like a bona fide #1 starting tight end for this team.

And, with Earl, I mean, what can you say?  He’s the best free safety in the league.  So, obviously, the downgrade to Tedric Thompson or Delano Hill (at strong safety, with McDougald moving over to replace Earl) is pretty severe.  On top of that, there’s no longer the potential to trade Earl for draft picks, which was obviously in our back pocket as the trade deadline approaches.

If the Seahawks were never serious about extending him, I can understand everyone’s frustrations with this team for not trading him and getting back whatever value we could get.  You run the risk – hoping other teams’ injuries force them into giving us more in trade – and you get burned when your own guy goes down.  It’s doubly painful when you start to think about how we almost certainly won’t get a compensatory pick back for him.  There’s just too many things going against us:

  1. Earl’s injury might make other teams wary to give him a huge, long-term contract.  He might have to go somewhere on an incentive-laden, 1-year prove-it deal.  The value of the contract determines the possible compensatory pick, and a deal like that wouldn’t be worth much more than a 6th or 7th rounder.
  2. Even if Earl does get a max deal, that’s not a guarantee that the Seahawks get that possible 3rd round pick in return.  The Seahawks are going to have a lot of money to spend in 2019, with a bunch of veterans coming off the books.  As the Seahawks have a lot of holes to fill in 2019, I would expect we sign more incoming free agents than we lose our own guys to other teams.  If that’s the case, Earl Thomas could sign the biggest contract in NFL history and the Seahawks still won’t get any picks back for him.

All that being said, if you’re mad about Earl Thomas flipping off the Seahawks, you need to calm the fuck down.  He’s an emotional guy, and that’s an emotional situation.  This thing was never going to end well.  Stop clutching your pearls about a middle finger; I’m sure he’s said things a million times worse about this organization away from the media.  He’s an elite player in the final year of his deal and all he wanted was to get paid what he feels he’s worth, as well as have that financial security going forward to protect against this VERY scenario.  To see his worst nightmares come to fruition has to be the most enraging thing for him to experience; I think he’s a model of restraint for ONLY flipping off the sideline.

Earl Thomas is one of the most talented football player to ever don a Seahawks uniform, that’s never going to change.  Kenny Easley walked away from this organization with hurt feelings too.  When his career is over and cooler heads prevail, Earl Thomas will be back one day to raise that 12 Flag and see his name go up in that Ring of Honor.  And, when he becomes a first-ballot hall of famer, he’ll see his number retired.  It’s all out there waiting for him.  Just give it time for the heat to die down.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)

It doesn’t get any worse than 0 for 10 on third downs.  You can thank Doug Baldwin for coming up short on two of them (combined with Russell for throwing short of the sticks on both of those), you can thank Brandon Marshall for one glaring drop, and you can thank penalties all over the place (you weren’t perfect, O-line, so don’t think you get off easy on this one).

The play calling also left a lot to be desired.  3rd & long draw plays were the name of the game in this one.  Which, normally, whatever.  But, they also ran the ball on the outskirts of field goal position, when throwing for a nice chunk gain – even if those passes would’ve come short of first down territory – would’ve been the better move.  It’s the worst part of a conservative coaching staff to see your offense get down to the opponent’s 30 yard line and then coast to the field goal try, as if it’s fucking automatic.  NOTHING IS AUTOMATIC!  And, of course, Janikowski missed 2 more very-makeable field goals.  The fact that he made it at the end of the game is irrelevant; the fact that we kept settling for LONG field goals – when it would’ve been better to hurry up and try for shorter ones – is the issue here.  That’s on the coaching staff, and it fucking needs to stop.

Paul Allen, hear my plea!  When it’s time to replace Pete Carroll, go find the next hot-shot offensive mind to get this unit humming!  And then bring the Brink’s truck to Wade Phillips’ house and pay him whatever he wants to coach up the defense!

I won’t totally kill the coaching staff, because they did turn around the running game like they said they would.  Listen, I get the ire from the fans; 0/10 on third down is unacceptable.  At the same time, this running game IS looking good again, so you can’t bemoan the Seahawks for not running the ball … and then complain when they DO run the ball and run it well!

The fact of the matter is, the Seahawks have 2 good run games out of the 4 we’ve played, and it’s no coincidence that the team is 2-0 in those weeks.  We have to help our defense by running clock, and we have to help our O-line by limiting the number of drop-backs for Russell Wilson.  No turnovers, good punting, and it spells out a hard-fought road victory within our division.  That’s how this team is going to win football games.

Finally, before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Josh Rosen’s day.  He looked, dare I say it, somewhat competent?  Even bordering on *gulp* GOOD!?  The Cardinals had at least 4 crucial drops, and he was fitting some beautiful passes into some tight windows.  That’s just what we need, another team in our division with their quarterback issues completely solved.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Week 1

See my Intro to understand what this is all about.

See my Draft Recap to see where we are heading into the first week of the season.

I’ll be the first to admit I obsess WAY TOO MUCH about fantasy football.  Thinking about my roster, listening to podcasts, reading articles, pouring over the rankings of other people, scouring the waiver wire for potential pick-ups, conjuring trades to try and swindle my friends out of their elite players.  My productivity in general takes a HUGE hit during the football season for those reasons and many others, but I’m no more insane than I am in the lead-up to Week 1.

It’s no more or less important than any other regular season week, but it FEELS like the most important game of the season.  At the same time, I’ve been trying my best in recent years not to tinker too much with my roster before I’ve actually had a chance to see these guys play.  I mean, if I liked these guys enough to draft them a week ago, why am I sitting here second-guessing myself before they’ve done anything to convince me they’re no good?

Last year, I think I managed to go all the way through the first week before making a roster change; this year I wasn’t as strong.  But, I feel I had a good reason:  the Bears made a huge trade for Khalil Mack over the weekend – the day AFTER I drafted Baltimore’s defense – so I used my relatively high waiver priority (3rd in the league) to swap defenses.

My draft strategy this year was simple:  wait until the very last minute to draft a defense.  There are a few you have to feel good about – the Rams, the Jags, the Vikings, maybe the Eagles – but a lot of the time, defense is about matchups.  Likewise, there are countless stories of defenses that came out of nowhere to lead the fantasy league in points, just as there are countless stories of supposedly-elite defenses succumbing to age or injury or simple over-rating.  Why get caught up in the fervor of taking one of the top pre-season defenses early in the draft when you can get one pretty close to just as good at the end of the draft or on waivers after the first week.  So, in this league, I picked up the Ravens’ defense, because they’re going up against Buffalo in Week 1, and that felt like a good one to stream against until some other team popped out as one to go with from Week 2 onward (or, if I got lucky, and the Ravens’ defense was really good in general – and not just against the Bills – then I just got them in the next-to-last round while the suckers in my league wasted precious earlier draft picks on the same quality).

The thing is, even heading into the draft, I liked Chicago’s defense as a possible sleeper.  I think Vic Fangio is an excellent defensive coordinator – on a tier just below Wade Phillips – and I seemed to remember them really going hard after young talent in the draft on this side of the ball.  They seemed poised like a breakout candidate BEFORE trading for Mack; now that they have him, and his sack potential, I like the Bears enough to make them my ONLY defense.

Also, not for nothing, but I like my bench players an awful lot (heading into Week 1, my bench includes:  Greg Olsen, Carson Wentz, Robert Woods, Adrian Peterson, and Kenny Stills).  I don’t want to drop ANY of those guys at the moment, as I feel like they could all play important roles on my team this year.  If I did have to drop someone, it would likely be one of those two receivers, so seeing how they both look in the first week is going to be critical in my line of thinking going forward (gun to my head:  I’d probably choose Woods over Stills, as I like the Rams’ offense more than Miami’s; but Stills could end up as the Dolphins’ best receiver this year, while the Rams have a lot of guys who will divide Goff’s attention).

Anyway, how I plan to do this is I’m going to write up my thought process heading into the week ahead of time, that way my rationale won’t be tainted by events that already happened.  You’re going to know exactly what I’m thinking heading into this week, because I’m writing it before the games start.  Then, I’m going to write a section after the fact, letting you know how my week went.  So, without further ado:

My Rationale Beforehand

Here’s my roster for Week 1:

  • QB1 – Derek Carr vs. LAR
  • QB2 – Andy Dalton @ IND
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ LAC
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen vs. SF
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott @ CAR
  • RB2 – Leonard Fournette @ NYG
  • TE – Jordan Reed @ AZ
  • FLEX – Demaryius Thomas vs. SEA
  • K – Robbie Gould @ MIN
  • DEF – Chicago @ GB

Obviously, if Wentz was healthy, he’d be my QB1 and I’d probably end up sitting Carr this week.  On waivers, the available QBs (at the time of this writing) are Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and both Bills quarterbacks.  Of those guys, I might marginally prefer Taylor to Carr based on matchups (I could see Carr getting in trouble against that Rams defense, while Taylor is always careful with the football and the Steelers don’t really pose much of a threat to make his life miserable), but not enough to make a roster change.  I have a lot riding on Carr this year, based on the fact that I drafted him so high and because I believe the Raiders will be throwing a lot, so I kinda need him to work out for me early in the season.

I don’t have a lot to say about my starting WRs and RBs; they seem pretty self-explanatory.  I will say that I’m pretty confident about my FLEX guy as well, as I think Thomas could have a field day against this Seahawks defense.  For what it’s worth, I like Emmanuel Sanders a lot this year, but not particularly in this game.  The Broncos tend to move Thomas around quite a bit, and honestly I don’t see him going to Griffin’s side as much as Sanders.  I don’t think they play Thomas in the slot very much, so that negates Justin Coleman’s impact.  If I’m right, and Thomas is lining up opposite of Griffin’s side on the other end, I think 150 yards and a TD or two is well within his capabilities.  If I wasn’t playing Thomas, I would’ve gone with AP, but I’d like to take a wait-and-see approach with the veteran running back before I commit to giving him regular time in my fantasy lineup.

My biggest sticking point is in my TE spot, where I’ve already waffled once and it wouldn’t shock me if I waffled again.

Here’s the deal:  I drafted Olsen in the 8th round.  As I noted previously, I didn’t intend to use that high of a pick on a tight end this year, seemingly content with taking the leftover scraps.  But, Olsen was sitting there, and I would’ve felt like a fool if I’d let him drop any further.  He’s obviously a tremendous talent, both in fantasy and in real life, and in a usual circumstance, I’d be happy to start him against the Cowboys.  But, then in the 12th round, Jordan Reed was sitting there.  He’s got Alex Smith throwing to him.  He’s in an offense that utilizes the tight end to a great extent even before Alex Smith got there.  And, it’s week 1.  He’s healthy!  He’s probably as healthy as he’s ever going to be.  Indeed, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was the last chance I got to start him, that’s how fragile he is!  He’s going up against the Cardinals, which feels like a juicy matchup, and they’re on the road, so I expect the Redskins will need to throw the ball more than they would if they were at home and more likely to be sitting on a lead in the 4th quarter.  Ultimately, I feel like there’s better touchdown potential for someone like Reed over someone like Olsen, factoring in everything around both players.  The Panthers just have more weapons on offense, and I don’t believe Cam will be as inclined to look for his TE in the red zone as Smith will be.  We’ll see; I have a feeling I’m going to regret whatever I do here.

Also, thinking long term, I fucked up when I took Reed, because both players have Week 4 byes, which means if they both stay healthy between now and then, I either have to drop a really productive guy, or I’ll have to roster a third tight end for a week (or I guess I could take a 0 at that spot for one game, but that seems idiotic that early in the season).

Anyway, that’s that.  Below, read about how my fantasy week went.

***

Week 1 Results

Well, I didn’t want to believe it, but Derek Carr fucked me ALREADY!

I had a 20-point lead heading into Monday Night.  I had Carr left to go; usually, when you’re winning and you have a quarterback still to play, you’re in pretty excellent shape.  I want to say I was an 80% favorite heading into the night.  My opponent, Crazy N8’s Prostates, had Marvin Jones and the Rams’ kicker.  It was a lock, right?

Not so fucking fast.

If Carr had just thrown a single TD, I would’ve won.  If he’d just thrown TWO interceptions – instead of three – I would’ve won.  If Legatron had just missed one of those field goals (he ended up with 17 points in total), I would’ve won.  Instead, I’m a 3-point loser and everything is meaningless.

For a while there, I was looking like a genius with the Bears defense.  I also looked like a fucking boner, because remember how I had to drop Baltimore’s defense to pick up the Bears?  Well, not only did they go off (to the tune of 31 points in our league, way over their expected 17.12), but they went off FOR MY OPPONENT (who picked them up and played them against me!).  At one time, with Aaron Rodgers out of the game, the Bears had 35 points, but then the Packers started scoring, so that total fell to 20 (still well above the expected 9.06 Yahoo projected).

My big decision of Jordan Reed over Greg Olsen ended up panning out somewhat, with Olsen being the one to leave his game with an injury.  Reed beat Olsen by 9.5 points, so bully for me.

That Fournette injury is obviously a concern.  He was on his way to a monster day, but I guess his injury woes aren’t behind him.  Now, every time I have him in my lineup, I have to wonder if he’s going to get me 30 points or 3 points.  As long as Adrian Peterson is healthy – and in a plus matchup – I really have to consider putting him in there more often.

Demaryius Thomas acquitted himself well as my FLEX guy.  Predictably, the Seahawks’ defense posed little threat.  The bigger threat is Keenum’s rapport with Emmanuel Sanders, who went OFF in that game.  Still, my value pick is looking solid so far.

My biggest shining star was Tyreek Hill, who blew up to the tune of 46.10 points this week (he led all non-Fitzmagic players in my league).  He almost pulled my ass out of the fire, but you just can’t overcome a 3-point week out of your top available QB.

Crazy N8’s Prostates’ lineup looked like this:

  • QB1 – Kirk Cousins vs. SF
  • QB2 – Alex Smith @ AZ
  • WR1 – ODB vs. JAX
  • WR2 – Keenan Allen vs. KC
  • RB1 – Shady McCoy @ BAL
  • RB2 – David Johnson vs. WAS
  • TE – Travis Kelce @ LAC
  • FLEX – Marvin Jones vs. NYJ
  • K – Greg Zuerlein @ OAK
  • DEF – Baltimore vs. BUF

I ended up being the highest scorer of all the losers and had the third-highest points in the league this week.  Pretty sad state of affairs, all things considered.  Carson Wentz can’t come back soon enough.  Starting to think about picking up Fitzpatrick.  Things are looking bleak already!

The Seahawks Made and Didn’t Make Other Moves

The Seahawks signed Ed Dickson for 3 years and $14 million, though only the first year is guaranteed.  He’s played 4 seasons with Baltimore, then 4 more with Carolina, and since he doesn’t produce much on the offensive side of the ball, people think he’s more of a “blocking” tight end.  Of course, his metrics in that area aren’t spectacular, so many fans are wondering what the fuck he DOES do well, to which I would respond:  he’s not Jimmy Graham, so automatically he’s 1,000% better at blocking than anyone we’ve had the last three years.

Let’s see, then the Seahawks signed Maurice Alexander, a safety who was with the Rams for the last four years, released in the middle of last season, apparently after Wade Phillips deemed him unworthy of a roster spot.  I guess the Seahawks know more than the best defensive coordinator in the game.  Either that, or we just signed a nobody who will suck for us.  One or the other.

Since Kam likely won’t play for us again, and the team is apparently shopping Earl Thomas to recoup some draft picks, and the two or three safeties we drafted last year are all unworthy to be starting for us, I’d expect Mo Alexander to be back there giving up 40+ yard touchdowns in no time.

To cap off the free agent spree, the Seahawks signed Jaron Brown – middling wide receiver with the Arizona Cardinals – to a deal of unknown length, and unknown cost.  He immediately slots in as the #3 receiver behind Baldwin and Lockett, and is the default Paul Richardson replacement for the time being.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

These deals obviously don’t really move the needle for me; they all stand as evidence that this team is nowhere near contending for anything in 2018, and quite frankly if you think otherwise, you probably need to have your head examined.  I like Russell Wilson as much as the next guy, but if he couldn’t do it all by himself the last couple years, what makes you think he can do it all by himself now, only with a significantly worse group of players around him?  With the Seahawks either unwilling or unable to spend significant cap dollars to improve this team, you’re putting a lot of hope in a draft class that so far doesn’t feature any picks in the second or third rounds.  Either that, or you’re banking on an insane amount of improvement on roster holdovers – a roster that hasn’t been close to good enough, nor remotely healthy, in the last three years.

Oh, and the perfect capper to the weekend?  Sheldon Richardson decided to take a ridiculously lowball offer from the Vikings on a 1-year deal, WELL below his actual value on the football field.  So, the one constant we could count upon – getting a 3rd round comp pick if/when Sheldon Richardson was poached by another team – just got downgraded to a 4th or 5th rounder, depending on where the dust settles in the whole comp pick formula.  If it isn’t one thing, it’s a-fucking-nother for one of the unluckiest teams in the NFL in the last few years.

I hate sports.  Wake me up when everyone’s dead.

The Seahawks Just Got Destroyed By The Rams

You could see a game like this coming; I certainly did.  The best the Seahawks could’ve hoped for was a high-scoring shootout, because you knew with all the injuries to the defense, the Rams would have no trouble moving the ball.  It was only a matter of whether or not the Seahawks’ offense would show up.  Would this be another slow start for Russell Wilson and the boys?  Well, again, given how this Rams defense – anchored by Aaron Donald and Co. – has always been really tough against us, and that was BEFORE Wade Phillips The Greatest Defensive Coordinator Of All Time took the helm, yeah, a slow start was pretty likely.  Things just kept piling up and piling up and before you knew it, the Seahawks lost 42-7 at home.

The one thing that did surprise me a little bit was how poorly the special teams played, giving up long punt return after long punt return.  But, I think that’s an indication of how banged up this team is.  You get hurt on defense, you pull from special teams to fill the holes, and now you’re weaker everywhere as a result.

There isn’t anything good to say about any of the Seahawks in this game, so I’ll spare you some half-assed attempt at regurgitating the stats.  Every single person was terrible.  I will point out that Bobby Wagner ended up starting, even though he was clearly limited, and looked terrible until he was mercifully pulled from the game after it had gotten out of hand.  Earl Thomas said something to the effect that he probably shouldn’t have been out there, followed by Wagner going on Twitter to call him out.  So, that’s how it’s going in Seahawksland, everyone.

The Seahawks are now 8-6 and in the 8th spot in the NFC playoffs.  And yet, they still have a chance – however remote – to sneak into the playoffs as a 6-seed.  First and foremost, they need to win out (obviously).  That’s next week, in Dallas, with Ezekiel Elliott returning from suspension to rush for 200+ yards on us, and then in the finale, at home, against the hapless Cardinals.  The Rams may be elite, the 49ers may be on the fast track for immediate success, but at least we’re not Cardinals fans, you guys.  That may be the silverest of linings I can think of.

Anyway, on top of winning out, the Seahawks need the Falcons to go 1-2, because of their head-to-head loss to them on Monday Night.  The Falcons play in Tampa tonight, which means they need to lose their final two games:  at New Orleans and vs. Carolina.

Then, because of tie-breakers, the Seahawks need the Lions to finish 1-1.  They play at Cincinnati and vs. Green Bay.  So, either we hope for a miracle in Cincy, or we hope Aaron Rodgers is still playing in a meaningless football game (for the Packers) two weeks from now.

So, as you can see, it’s not a great set of odds, but the Seahawks haven’t been officially eliminated.

But, I mean, why would you root for that?  If you’re a Seahawks fan, why would you want to see THIS team make the playoffs?  Just so they can get destroyed again against the Rams in the Wild Card round?  What does that get you?

For what it’s worth, I believe the point is moot, because I think the Seahawks will lose down in Dallas next week.  And I think it’s a coin flip that we beat the Cards in Week 17.  8-8 is still very much a possibility, which is a total bummer.

There’s going to be a lot of talk about blowing it up and rebuilding this week, and in the weeks ahead.  It’s not going to be fun.  Then, it’ll be baseball season and that won’t be fun either.  Sports around here are going to be pretty hard to watch for a while.  Happy Monday, everyone.

I Don’t Know Why We Should Expect The Seahawks To Win This Weekend

My world is a little upside down right now, when it comes to the Seahawks.  I was pretty sure they were going to lose to the Jags, but they were supposed to lose a 14-9 slugfest (that would, of course, assume Blair Walsh could actually make three fucking field goals, so right there the faulty logic bit me in the ass).  Under no circumstances, however, should Blake Bortles have out-played Russell Wilson in damn near every facet of the game!  And, to a lesser extent, the Seahawks’ defensive line should’ve probably done SOMETHING aside from bend over and take the ol’ dick in the ass, but that’s neither here nor there.

What am I supposed to make of a defense that couldn’t stop The Bort?  Just a matter of flying across the country and playing on the road?  Bullshit!  That shouldn’t matter.  Hangover from the big Philly win?  Bullshit!  With so much on the line, and so many losses already under our belt, they could ill afford to give away yet another game.

Ergo, I have to assume that the Seahawks’ defense just isn’t very good.  I mean, Cleveland held the Jags to 19 points.  The Chargers held them to 20.  The fucking RAMS went to Jacksonville and limited them to 17!  The Jets held them to 20, the Titans held them to 16.  I mean, aside from the Rams and Chargers, we’re not talking about world-beating defenses here.

So, if the Seahawks’ defense isn’t very good, and the Jags were able to rack up 30 points … and if we assume the Rams’ offense is better than Jacksonville’s (which it very much is), I can only believe that the Rams should have no problem whatsoever coming into Seattle and moving the ball at will.

And don’t you DARE give me this 12th Man bullshit.  CenturyLink Field is not what it once was!  We’ve already suffered 2 losses at home.  The Falcons came in here and put up 34, the Texans put up 38; and on the road we have the aforementioned 30 from Jacksonville, and 33 from Tennessee.  That’s 4 teams so far – including two teams when we were pretty much at full strength – who have dropped 30+.  So, no, I’m not gonna buy the It’s Loud In Seattle argument.

You could maybe remind me that we held the Rams to 10 points, but I’ll again remind you of all the injuries we have now, and double down on the fact that the Rams had their fair share of drops in that game.  By all accounts, they should’ve WON that game, if Kupp had held onto the ball in the endzone at the end of the game.  Plus, there was the Earl Thomas forced fumble that hit the pylon.  That game was more fluke than anything else.  On top of that, the Rams have played a bunch more games since then, and have to be more comfortable in their offense.

That doesn’t factor in how great the Rams’ defense is.  They’ve ALWAYS been great against the Seahawks, and this year they’ve got Wade Phillips, the best defensive coordinator in the league.  You can’t tell me that defense isn’t vastly improved over where it was at the beginning of the year.

Again, I’ll reiterate, I just don’t know why we should expect the Seahawks to win this weekend.  From here on out, with all the nothing we’re getting defensively, I think you have to require the Seahawks to score 30+ to win, and I just don’t think they’re capable of doing that, ESPECIALLY against the Rams, and regardless of how money Russell Wilson is playing this year.

I’ll do you one better:  unless we see some serious magic the rest of the way, I can easily envision a scenario where the Seahawks finish the year 8-8.  I’m already calling this Rams game a loss, which will drop us to 8-6.  At that point, we’d need to win out and get help to make the Wild Card, which makes that game in Dallas all-important (because I fully expect them to beat the Raiders this weekend).  Dallas will have Zeke Elliott back, which will make their offense whole again.  And, if we can’t stop the Jags or Rams, I don’t see why we should stop the Cowboys at full strength.  There’s a possible record of 8-7, at which point we’re officially eliminated from the playoffs.  By then, you figure anyone playing through injuries will just go on the IR and call it a season.  And, with nothing left to play for, I’ve heard of crazier things than the Cardinals winning in Seattle (like, for instance, last year on Christmas Eve).

I’m not necessarily guaranteeing an 8-8 record, but I’m also not poo-pooing the idea either.

The Seahawks are broken, and it really feels like the championship window is slamming shut right before our eyes.  I fucking HATE it when the Seahawks’ defense is bad; it literally ruins my whole life.  You know what my vision of Hell is?  All those bad New Orleans Saints teams we’ve seen under Drew Brees.  You know the ones:  where he’s great, throwing for 5,000+ yards and the offense is tops in the league, but the defense is the very fucking worst and they end up anywhere from 7-9 to 8-8.  Bad enough to consistently miss out on the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a draft pick that’s actually worth a fucking damn.

That’s what I see in the Seahawks’ immediate future, as we continue to try to lean on aging veterans on the defensive side of the ball, who can’t help but get injured every fucking year.  Sometimes, it’s the usual suspects, like Kam Chancellor, Jeremy Lane, and to a lesser extent Bobby Wagner; sometimes it’s someone you never expected, like Earl Thomas, Cliff Avril, or Richard Sherman, and your season goes down the toilet as a result.  If you keep those guys and ride them out, then yeah, you’ll be pretty good, but your seasons will end disasterously as one by one they get picked off in the annual churn that is NFL injuries; if you dump everyone and start over, then you’ve got to suffer through a rebuild, and there’s no guarantees that the next crop of draft picks will be able to return this defense to its Top 5 form.  Plus, given Pete Carroll’s age and personality, there’s no way in a million years I see them blowing this team up.

What a miserable time to be alive.  Oh sure, Russell Wilson will be in the MVP discussion every year, but the rest of the team will be mediocre so what’s the point?

At least we still get to enjoy fantasy football.  That’s certainly not a huge bundle of agitation and disappointment waiting to happen every fucking year.

The Seahawks Beat A Bad Colts Team At Home In Primetime

I’m not gonna lie to you, I couldn’t make it past halftime of this game.  Maybe if I had some incentive; maybe if the Colts and Seahawks were both good this year.  Maybe if the Seahawks showed me ANYTHING in the way of competence through the first three and a half weeks of the season.  But, I saw that first half (where the Colts went in leading 15-10, with the last taste in my mouth being a missed field goal from a very make-able distance – 37 yards – out of Blair Walsh), I saw my impending Monday morning workday coming (where I’d have to wake up at the crack of 4am), and I made a business decision.  I decided this game wasn’t worth my being exhausted the following day.  And I’m pretty sure that’s the only time that’s ever happened with me and a Seahawks game; that’s something I do ROUTINELY with the Mariners though!

Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m equating the Seahawks with the Mariners.  That’s how bad this season has been.

I mean, there was no upside to staying up and watching that second half.  Either I sit there, miserable, as the Seahawks continue to suck dick against a terrible Colts team; or they scratch and claw to a meager victory; or they do what they did last night, which is outscore the Colts 36-3 (which, not for nothing, is something they should’ve done from the opening fucking kickoff).  Any way you slice it, I would’ve been too keyed up to go right to bed afterward, and I’d be sitting here on 5-6 hours of sleep.  Fuck that; I have DVR.  I’ll watch the second half tonight!

Russell Wilson had a pretty good game.  He was 21/26 passing, though two of those misses went for interceptions.  He threw 2 TDs and ran for a third.  He apparently looked MUCH better in the second half, though he did look sharper in the first half than we’ve seen from him in recent weeks.

I’ll say this, last night’s game was not without consequences.  Jeremy Lane strained a groin on the opening series of the game.  Cliff Avril has a neck injury that will keep him out for an indeterminate amount of time (the fact that he was shaking his hands, as if he had no feeling in them, is certainly a frightening sight).  Rees Odhiambo was taken to the hopsital with a chest injury, as he was having trouble breathing after the game after a hard hit.  Frank Clark missed a few snaps; Naz Jones missed a few snaps.  And, of course, Chris Carson was carted off the field with an ankle injury that could be minor, or could keep him out for a month or more.  Just what we needed in a running back room that already features C.J. Prosise (who missed this game with injury) and Thomas Rawls (who was apparently a healthy scratch and probably watched this game smothered in bubble wrap).  So, that’s neat.

At least the team around them stepped up.  Eddie Lacy got his first significant work of the season, running the ball 11 times for 52 yards.  J.D. McKissic ran the ball 4 times for 38 yards and a TD, as well as caught a 27-yard TD pass to close out the game.  That makes me VERY happy, as I’m tired of seeing Prosise’s name in the news for all these injuries.  If McKissic can keep that up, we can cut or trade Prosise after the season and move on with our lives!

Marcus Smith apparently had a whale of a game!  He had 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 2 QB hits, all in place of Avril.  We got him in a minor deal with the Eagles before the season, and that could be HUGE if Avril has to miss a lot of time.  Then, there was the Pick-Six by Justin Coleman, who took over the nickel role from Lane after he went down.  It was a nifty jumping of an out-route that he had no trouble taking back to the house.  He had another pass breakup in there for good measure.

I thought Shaq Griffin looked pretty good, though he got beat on that touchdown in the second quarter.  It wasn’t the worst coverage I’ve ever seen, but there’s a better way to play that ball and he looks like he’ll get the hang of it before too long.  He definitely looks better than some of the guys we’ve had over there opposite Richard Sherman, and that’s okay in my book.

Bobby Wagner also had a game, with 6 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 0.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble return for a touchdown.

All in all, not too shabby, but again, the Colts are terrible.  Don’t think all of our problems are fixed.  This might as well have been a pre-season game.

The real test comes next week in L.A., against the Rams, who are apparently legit now that they went on the road and out-scored the Cowboys 35-30.  Jared Goff looks like he’s for real, they finally have a competent receiving corps, Todd Gurley looks rejuvenated, and their offensive line is no longer a total liability.  Tack onto that they have the same defense that always fucking destroys us, with Wade Phillips of all people now pulling the strings, and this one has the makings of an ugly blowout.

The Rams are 3-1; the Seahawks are 2-2.  Lose next week, and the Rams are 4-1 and running away with the division, while the Seahawks are 2-3 and trying to cling for dear life to a meaningless Wild Card spot.

God I hate professional football.

Seattle Sports Hell NFL Power Rankings, Vol. 13

Running up the score.  It almost always evokes a visceral reaction, one way or the other.  Either you’re rabidly against it and wish nothing but the illest of harm upon the perpetrators, or you’re proudly FOR it, decrying those on the other side of the fence as having the pantiest of waists.

I don’t know that I have a strong reaction either way.  I know what it feels like when the team I root for is losing by dozens of points – especially when I’m confined to the same stadium as that team, forced to watch because I already spent all that money on the ticket and tailgating.  I feel bad.  Who wouldn’t?  I feel angry.  Again, who wouldn’t?  But, mostly I feel angry with my own team.  If we didn’t suck so hard, we wouldn’t be in this position!  Likewise, if we didn’t make all these mistakes (because you don’t lose by 40+ points without making some pretty egregious errors), this game wouldn’t be so ugly.

Usually, though, you’re dealing with coaching staffs who are sensible.  Every once in a while, you’ll be confronted with some prick who leaves his starters in through the fourth quarter, throwing deep bombs long after it’s been decided.  Those guys are assholes and should be tarred and feathered.  But, if you’re like most head coaches, when you’ve got a 30- or 40-point lead, you take your starters out and you try to milk the clock.

At that point, at the point where you have a new quarterback on the field and most of the supporting players are primarily reserves, the game is over.  You have essentially conceded that game, pushed the re-set button, and have started a new game.  And whatever you choose to do with your backups is fair game.

You want to throw Matt Flynn in there and start chucking it into the endzone for Jermaine Kearse?  Be my guest!  Because, at this point, the regular season game is over, and the 5th pre-season game has just begun.  You’re never going to have a better opportunity to get your backups some serious reps (aside from, you know, actually playing them in a game that’s NOT already a laugher) than by having them go hard in a game like last Sunday’s.  At that point, if I’m Arizona, I WANT the other team to do that.  Because, likewise, I want MY reserves to experience some real game-type situations (even if the game has already been decided).

So, if you’re upset with Seattle for “running up the score”, don’t be.  I’m not even trotting out the manly-man argument of, “It’s your job to stop us.”  Fuck that.  Once the game is that out-of-hand, the score is irrelevant.  Does it really matter if you lose 38-0 or 58-0?  Those are both embarrassing scores!

Also, not for nothing, but if you’re mad at us, why don’t you look at your own team?  I’m not just talking about how much the Cardinals suck at offense.  I’m not talking about how their front office has neglected the most important position on the team ever since Kurt Warner passed away, trying to fill his void with rejects from the draft or other teams.  I’m not even talking about their offensive coordinator’s inability to get their best football player (Fitzgerald) the ball when that should be priority number 1 (seriously, run some bubble screens, end-arounds, SOMETHING, ANYTHING).

I’m talking about when the game is 38-0, or 45-0, or 48-0, or 51-0, or 58-0 … WHY ARE YOU STILL THROWING THE BALL?  OK, obviously, you’re doing what I was just talking about above:  getting your reserves some live-action reps in a setting that’s more than just practice.  But, if you’re a Cards fan and you’re upset with the Seahawks for running up the score, then you have to ask, “Why is my team still trying to throw the ball?”  Arizona could have just as easily ran the ball three times and punted on every drive in the second half if they so chose.  It would’ve kept the clock running and ended the game sooner.  But, they didn’t do that; yet they expected us to do that?  They expected us to keep giving the ball back to them … for what?  So we could let them eventually score?  So their feelings wouldn’t be hurt so bad?

I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit and you know it.  Quite frankly, if I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan, I would much rather have this game end 58-0 than 45-14 or something along those lines.  Because, if I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan, I want nothing more than a total and complete housecleaning.  I want that GM shitcanned YESTERDAY.  I want this coaching staff to get their walking papers.  I want all the quarterbacks on that team eliminated and I want some young, up-and-coming stud from a winning organization to take over and do for us what John Schneider is doing for Seattle.

You know, if I was a Cardinals fan.  Thank Christ for small miracles …

On to the rankings:

  1. Denver Broncos (10-3):  An 8-game winning streak is an 8-game winning streak, but when was the last time the Broncos beat someone really good?  The best win of the 8-game bunch?  Cincinnati at 7-6.  Best win all season?  Pittsburgh in week 1.  They still have an outside shot at a top-2 seed, but they absolutely MUST beat Baltimore this week.  (Last Week:  3)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1):  It’s still pretty hard to peg this team, but one thing’s for certain:  this defense is no joke.  It shouldn’t take much for Kaepernick to simply get a small lead in a game and have that defense wear the other team down.  By the way, I know I’m rooting for the exact opposite, but I’ve got a huge gut feeling the 49ers go into New England and find a way to win.  (Last Week:  5)
  3. Green Bay Packers (9-4):  Keep in mind:  they are 2-4 against teams that would currently be in the playoffs right now.  I wouldn’t say this team has been seriously tested, exactly, but either way they’re getting like a D- on this test so far.  (Last Week:  6)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (11-2):  The Falcons have lost two games all season, both on the road, both against divisional opponents.  And their bandwagon is a fucking GHOST TOWN.  I can’t remember the last time a 14-2 team had such a lack of respect (I think it was that year Jacksonville did it and lost both of their games – and once again in the playoffs – to the Titans in 1999).  Granted, their running game is kaput, but there’s still too much talent for this team to NOT go far in the playoffs.  (Last Week:  1)
  5. New England Patriots (10-3):  Do you realize how close this team is to being undefeated?  A meltdown against Arizona, an unlucky break against Baltimore, and a late-game defensive lapse against the Seahawks.  And, here we are, overlooking them all over the place.  Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say; But nothin’ comes out when they move their lips; Just a buncha gibberish; And muthafuckas act like they forgot about Dre New England.  (Last Week:  7)
  6. Houston Texans (11-2):  Remember when the Texans had a good defense?  What the fuck happened Wade Phillips???  You God damn toolbag!  (Last Week:  2)
  7. Baltimore Ravens (9-4):  Back-to-back losses and suddenly look who’s going to be playing on Wild Card Weekend.  Now you fucked up!  (Last Week:  4)
  8. Seattle Seahawks (8-5):  There’s no reason why our defense shouldn’t be that good the rest of the regular season.  Maybe not 8 turnovers good, but some nice happy medium that gets us to 11-5.  (Last Week:  8)
  9. New York Giants (8-5):  This NFC is so up in the air, it’s out of control.  A win in Atlanta next week will REALLY make things interesting.  Of course, a loss in Atlanta will still make things pretty interesting (if you find the NFC East interesting, which I do, but only a very small amount).  (Last Week:  10)
  10. Indianapolis Colts (9-4):  I can’t even understand a fucking world where the Colts control their own destiny for the division.  They are 2-2 against teams with winning records (and one of those wins was against Minnesota), meaning they’ve played a whopping NINE games against teams with losing records!  They have to have the easiest strength of schedule by 10,000 moons!  (Last Week:  11)
  11. Chicago Bears (8-5):  Well, thanks to their ineptitude against the Vikings, this game against the Packers is now Must Win.  I don’t just mean for the division title, but I mean for a playoff spot!  (Last Week:  9)
  12. Washington Redskins (7-6):  Because the Redskins are hot on their heels, and RGIII is apparently inde-fucking-structible.  Hell, their offense might be good enough without RGIII to win out!  They play at Cleveland, at Philly, and at home against Dallas.  That’s a 10-6 team you’ve got in D.C.  (Last Week:  13)
  13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6):  No, Cincinnati, I’m sorry.  8-8 won’t get you in the playoffs this year.  Thanks for playing.  (Last Week:  12)
  14. Dallas Cowboys (7-6):  If this team isn’t Michael Myers, then I give up.  Will you just DIE already???  (Last Week:  16)
  15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7):  The Bucs were more than happy to die!  See how easy it is, Dallas?  (Last Week:  14)
  16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6):  I would consider that first-game-back malaise for Roethlisberger.  They still have a cakewalk of a schedule the rest of the way; look for the Steelers to make up the ground they lost and make a serious run at a Wild Card spot.  (Last Week:  15)
  17. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1):  I kind of want to make fun of them, but they have a better road record than we do.  It’s inane!  Stop being so unpredictable!  (Last Week:  18)
  18. Minnesota Vikings (7-6):  There we go, a team with a worse showing on the road than Seattle.  Hope you like 8-8.  (Last Week:  20)
  19. New Orleans (5-8):  On the one hand, this team is VERY streaky.  On the other hand, aside from Atlanta, they have beaten no one of note.  And their defense is the God damn devil.  (Last Week:  17)
  20. Miami Dolphins (5-8):  Pity you couldn’t have done better against the 49ers this week.  (Last Week:  19)
  21. Buffalo Bills (5-8):  Way to lose at home against the Rams you idiots!  Someone check their ownership group for rigor mortis.  (Last Week:  21)
  22. Cleveland Browns (58):  Yeah, you beat the Chiefs, BFD.  (Last Week:  23)
  23. San Diego Chargers (5-8):  So, is this the win that saves Norv’s job?  Boy do I hope so; hating this organization is starting to be fun.  (Last Week:  24)
  24. Detroit Lions (4-9):  Still.  Falling.  Apart.  (Last Week:  22)
  25. Carolina Panthers (4-9):  I kinda wish the NFL would give up and schedule the Lions against the Panthers every week.  The Over couldn’t be high enough for me!  (Last Week:  27)
  26. Tennessee Titans (4-9):  Wow, the Titans vs. the Jets next Monday Night.  That’s a dog more worthy of a Thursday Night scheduling!  (Last Week:  25)
  27. New York Jets (6-7):  Worst 6-7 team ever.  (Last Week:  26)
  28. Philadelphia Eagles (4-9):  You know this past week was fucked when San Diego, Carolina, and Philly all won.  It’s like that little encouraging heartbeat before flatline.  (Last Week:  31)
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11):  Oh, you mean Chad Henne?  My mistake, yes, he IS terrible.  Carry on.  (Last Week:  28)
  30. Arizona Cardinals (4-9):  Wow.  Just … wow.  (Last Week:  29)
  31. Oakland Raiders (3-10):  The AFC West has officially earned “Worst Division In Football”.  Why does it ALWAYS have to be a western division?  (Last Week:  30)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (2-11):  I mean, it’s not like you can even blame East Coast Bias.  I live in Seattle and I can CLEARLY see this is the worst division in football.  Holy fucking frijoles.  (Last Week:  32)