As the Seahawks prepare for the Indianapois Colts this weekend, here are a look at a few things the Seahawks reminded us of on Sunday. These four things are concepts to keep in mind as the season progresses further.
1. The Seahawks defense has vulnerability.
The Seahawks defense is one of the best in the NFL — no one is questioning that. What is, however, questionable is the fact that they allowed the Texans to break through for 20 points in the second quarter on Sunday. Matt Schaub threw for 355 yards and went 31 for 45 over the course of the game. In that second quarter, he threw two touchdown passes and picked apart the Seahawks secondary, which had been dominant all year.
The defense also allowed 151 rush yards, which needs to be improved when they visit Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.
On the flip side, the Seahawks defense was dominant in the second half against the Texans, keeping them scoreless and taking an interception to the house to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. In overtime, it was the same story as the Texans failed to get near midfield.
2. The offensive line needs to improve — fast.
Russell Wilson only threw for 123 yards, partially because he was rushed for most of the game. He picked up 77 yards on the ground, though most of those yards came because he was running away from defensive lineman who had broken through the offensive line. ESPN Stats & Information noted that Wilson was “hit while throwing or sacked on 16-of-34 dropbacks (47% of total dropbacks)”.
Marshawn Lynch only ran for 98 yards, nearly half of which came on a 43-yard run in the first quarter. He had trouble finding holes the entire game, which can’t be entirely blamed on the O-line, but they certainly didn’t help as much as they could have.
3. Steven Hauschka has proven his worth, one again.
Hauschka is one of the most clutch kickers in the game that no one knows about. He was 3-for-3 on Sunday, including hitting the game winner from 45 yards out in overtime. Adding to his resume, he is a perfect 8-for-8 on the year and has hit all 11 extra point attempts.
Since joining Seattle in 2011, he has made nearly 88 percent of his field goal attempts, going 57 of 65 with a long of 52 yards, which he made in 2011 and again in 2012.
4. The Seahawks can beat a good team on the road.
For the first half of Sunday’s game, the Seahawks looked like they were going to prove all of the haters right. Down 20-3 at the half and outplayed in nearly every aspect of the game, it looked like the Seahawks would drop to 3-1 and show everyone that they could not win a game against a decent opponent away from the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field.
Then they proved everyone wrong.
The Texans are a good team, having gone 12-4 last season in a fairly competitive division. When everyone lost hope in the Seahawks, they remained strong and absolutely dominated Houston in the second half. Remind you a little of their tango with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Division game last season? This time, however, they got the job done. Everyone was clutch, focused and ready to give Seahawks fans the first 4-0 start they had ever seen.
And they did.
The Seahawks/Redskins game left me with a number of observations, mostly positive. However, there are a few scenarios that simply left me baffled with the Redskins ball club. Let’s start with those…
I’m really puzzled at who is actually in charge in DC because it certainly doesn’t appear to be Shanahan. In his post-game interview, RG3 made 2 telling statements regarding who is really in charge on the Redskin team.
- “I’m the quarterback of this team,” Griffin said. “My job is to be out there if I can play. … I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way. I’m the best option for this team, and that’s why I’m the starter.”
- He was then asked what would his reaction have been had Shanahan pulled him against his will for Kirk Cousins. His answer? “I probably would have been right back out there on the field,” he said. “You respect authority and I respect Coach Shanahan, but at the same time you have to step up and be a man sometimes, and there was no way I was coming out of that game.”
Either Robert Griffin the Third believed all the hype and praise heaped on him throughout the regular season made him the expert or Shanahan never utilized his authority at any time since drafting him. You don’t get this far into the post season race with this being the first indicator that the coach doesn’t have his hand on the wheel. Imagine Russell Wilson making a statement like this… yeah, I can’t either. One of the hallmark components of a champion is humility, something RG3 seems to lack and something RW3 has in abundance.
Secondly, who’s asleep at the switch with the field condition? I watched the Mike Robinson cell phone video of the field during the Seahawk walk through and found it appalling, not only the dirt, but the divots and holes in the field. And this isn’t an observation about the Seahawks, but about the field in general. Why would you ask your own players to play on that nonsense? Why would you spend all that money on RG3 and then give him that crap surface to play on? And he wasn’t the only Redskin player that had leg issues… A quick check of the Redskins 1/4/13 injury report, showed 11 of 15 players had foot, ankle or knee injuries. Coincidence?
Perhaps because of this field? This picture was seen on the internet post game showing the comparison between the Redskins and Ravens field just a few miles apart. (Redskins on the right, Ravens on the left) I submit that if owner, Dan Snyder, was concerned enough to travel to Florida with his star QB to get the scoop on his knee, perhaps he should have been concerned enough not to send him out to play in an eroded cow pasture to begin with!
Enough about the Redskins. Now Seahawks!!
So proud of our team for winning yet another road game! So proud of our Hawks for coming back from 14-0 and shutting down the Redskins for the next 3 quarters! There are too many players to mention and I think that’s a great sign that the Hawks are not one dimensional or overly reliant on one player! Lots of weapons, lots of energy!
I think the single most important component to this game is one that we’ve seen all year. I asked Pete Carroll about it midseason and you can read his answers here. I’m referring to the ability of the Seahawks to make adjustments. It hasn’t been that long ago that we had a Hawks team that seemed to script the entire game and either couldn’t implement adjustments or made them too late in the game to win. The fact that this team can make them throughout the game, not just at halftime, is a testament to the coaching staff and bodes well for their plans to continue through the playoffs.
Just a quick note to acknowledge the contributions of Chris Clemons and Steven Hauschka this season. Both were injured in the cow pasture at Fed Ex field and moved to the Injured Reserve list. Additional thanks to Jon Ryan for stepping up to do kick offs. Our special teams squad has been amazing this year!
Off to Atlanta!
The Seahawks did it again. The made sure that they at least have a solid chance at making the playoffs. All they have to do is win one of their remaining two games against San Francisco and St. Louis. And if Seattle is able to beat Saint Harbaugh and Arizona beats San Francisco in the final week with Seattle winning out , the Seahawks are the NFC West division champs. Basically the situation is in flux and very fluid at this point. Chance of playoff berth is high, with a smaller chance of division championship. Either way, Seattle would be playing in the first week. It’s just whether it’s home or away.
I know everybody not in Seattle has their panties in a twist over “douche” “idiot” Pete Carroll “running up the score” on poor little Buffalo, but I’m going to be covering that in another piece. For now, I’ll just say there were two other games, both shut-outs, on the same day that higher spreads in the score. Food for thought.
Onto some more meaningful thoughts. First, why the hell does Pete Carroll keep starting Leroy Hill over Malcolm Smith? Maybe there is a reason. I don’t know what it is, but I’d really like to hear it. With Hill on the field, I feel like the opportunity for the opponent to open up a big play is greatly increased (ex. CJ Spiller’s touchdown run). Smith is a better tackler, a headier player, and is able to back up his team mates. Hill often times looks lost and has an uncanny ability to get run over.
Russell Wilson continues to grow and lead the team. It is clear that Pete Carroll made the correct choice for quarterback. I wish he’d have opened the playbook up sooner, but nothing can be changed now. I just hope Seattle’s success continues into next season. The NFC West is getting much stronger and Arizona could resurge without much changing.
Marshawn Lynch is a stud. I wish Wilson had shared some of his rushing touchdowns with Lynch because it would have helped me in the fantasy playoffs. Now I have to hope that Shonn Green somehow scores 20 points tonight against the Titans. With Lynch able to get rest and Robert Turbin able to step in for the second half of the last two games, it means Lynch will be rested for the 49ers and hopefully the playoffs.
Steven Hauschka really stresses me out. I’ve thought the trajectory of his extra point kicks is really low for a long time and now he’s had two of them blocked in the last 23 attempts. I’m not sold on Hauschka as Seattle’s long term kicker. He doesn’t have great range and no real credibility in crunch time. If somebody becomes available in the off season I hope Pete Carroll takes a look.
The defense seemed very lackadaisical for the first half. Seattle built a quick lead but the defense had a difficult time stopping CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson was able to make some nice catches (one of which there was nothing that could be done about). The second half was much better and made the overall game statistics for the defense look good. I just wish they’d play a whole four quarters that way. It will be needed against San Francisco. I’m worried about Colin Kaepernick’s running ability and Seattle needs to be able to shut that down early. If Seattle can stop Kaepernick and Frank Gore on the ground, San Francisco will become very one-dimensional and I think our secondary would eat Kaepernick’s arm alive.
Which brings me to Seattle’s pass-rush, or lack thereof. The defensive line was finally able to wear down Buffalo’s offensive line but there was no real pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick until later in the game. Seattle needs to pressure the quarterback early and often. Then they’ll hopefully get more plays like Bruce Irvin’s hilarious recovery and run. He might have the best happy-face in the NFL.
My final thought is something I encountered on Twitter during the game. Seahawks fans are very proud and defensive of their team. I know I am; especially to outsiders. However, I don’t think Seattle is perfect and there is still a lot of legitimate criticism and areas for improvement to be focused on. I’ve outlined some of them above. It isn’t because I’m “not a true fan” or will never be happy. It’s because I have high expectations and I believe that Seattle can live up to them. If I was completely satisfied and had no qualms whatsoever, that would mean that I’d expect another 7-9 or 8-8 season and be happy with just missing the playoffs. Instead, I see a lot of potential in Seattle to be 50% better than they are now. They could be a team that San Francisco fears playing instead of the other way around. Seattle can certainly beat San Francisco, but I in no way feel confident about the game. I’d rather be on the other side of that equation – feeling confident, but not certain. I’d rather have the 60% in a 60-40 split.
I have no problem giving a compliment or celebrating when something is done well. But I don’t believe in focusing on the good at the expense of the improvable. If something is already done well – Seattle’s running game for instance – then I don’t think I need to talk about it as much. Just keep doing what they’re doing. I am strong believer in hanging a lantern on your problems and then working like hell to fix them. It’s not traitorous. It’s simply improving the foundation upon which the franchise is built.
Those are all my immediate gut-related thoughts for this week. Until next week, I’ll be breathing deep and removing throwable objects from my living room in preparation for this Sunday’s game.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Inconsistent and The Silly
After the Seahawks loss to the Cards on Sunday, I wanted to share a few thoughts on our opening game…
The Good: Russell Wilson. Wilson, despite looking nervous in the last drive toward the goal, did show a lot of poise throughout the game. The secondary played well. Our special teams were better than last year. Leon Washington was a definite stand out. And a shout out to our receivers, particularly Braylon Edwards and Doug Baldwin who went above and beyond to catch some of Wilson’s passes when he had to lead the receivers to avoid coverage.
The Bad: The Oline. They were unable to pick up a blitz or even a strong pass rush. This inability lead to over usage of either the RB or the TE to assist in blocking and limited our offensive threat. Further, the off sides calls on Okung were maddening. He’s not a rookie and it’s not excusable any longer. One is excusable, but more than that is just sloppy. JR Sweezy, despite his fabulous preseason did a poor job on game one of the regular season.
The Ugly: Hauschka. Sorry to say it, but missing that first field goal killed us. It may seem unimportant, but had he made that, our final drive down the field would have been for a field goal and we wouldn’t have had to push in for a touchdown to win the game. Granted there were other issues during the game, but this one really stood out for me, as I also saw him miss a field goal in the Oakland preseason game. Hopefully he can recover his equilibrium, because he’s had a rough start this season in my opinion.
The Inconsistent: The Replacement Refs win this award. They are actually better than I thought they would be in many regards. They are getting a lot of calls right. But their calls on pass interference are a challenge for them and I think the one call on Sherman late in the game was a perfect example. Since the strike doesn’t look to resolve soon, hopefully they’re watching a lot of tape this week in an effort to improve this call.
The Silly: Any Quarterback controversy at this point. Yes, the preseason honeymoon with Russell Wilson is over, but that’s no reason to file for divorce. It’s time to get down to the hard work of making the marriage a productive one. If the offensive line comes back together with the exit of Sweezy (who we’re not divorcing either, just taking a break from) and the return of John Moffit, then we’re on the right track. Let’s not make Flynn “the other woman” who always looks better than who you slipped the ring on in the first place.
Our analysis of each position group on the Seahawks continues, this time with the special teams players. We still have two defensive groups left to finish, so look for those in the next couple days.
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I apologize for being late with this article. I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
I originally planned to write a more in-depth look at the offensive line focusing on one player in … [visit site to read more]