The 2015 Seahawks Re-Watch, Week 4: Kam’s Big Comeback
Week four brought the Detroit Lions, the Hawk’s third straight game against an NFC North opponent. Thus far, they had split the difference, going 1-1. The Detroit Lions had had a heartbreaking start, as the franchise’s inability to bank road wins continued. Quarterback Matt Stafford had yet to win a road game against a team with a winning record; that said, the Seahawks were 1-2, so this had the stuff of a hard-fought battle. Working for the Seahawks was the game being on Monday Night Football, where they sported an incredible 21-8 record, for the highest winning percentage ever at .724.
Both teams needed this victory. At 0-3, the Lion’s season was slipping away. At 1-2, the Seahawks were trailing the red-hot Arizona Cardinals, who stood at 3-1. This was an opportunity to bring the NFC West Championship back into play and to make up ground on the one seed in the playoffs, an honor Seattle had held three times in its history, all three leading to Super Bowl births.
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The Lions were well aware of Seattle’s offensive struggles, and minus Marshawn Lynch, who did not dress due to injury, the Lions knew whom to attack, Russell Wilson. They came at the young signal caller, breaking the offensive line to pieces. Without Lynch’s threat in the read-option, or his ability to pick up the blitz, or his ability to make catches out of the backfield, the suddenly one-dimensional Seahawks stalled. While the game was a mess of poor play, Wilson’s calm temperament guided the team, staying focused despite intense pressure. In the second quarter, Wilson’s growing reputation would reach new heights, culminating in one of the greatest plays of the NFL season.
With defensive end Jason Jones in his grill, Wilson used his short stature to go low, spinning on his feet as the powerless Jones slid over him. On the move, Wilson was nearly consumed by another giant body in blue and silver, Ezekiel Ansah. Wilson cut inside, circumventing the diving tackle. Standing tall, Wilson barely let off a pass before a third Lion, Devin Taylor, dropped a shoulder into him. The ball found Jermaine Kearse, who had drifted to the sidelines. Kearse took off for a thirty-five yard gain. The result of the drive would be a touchdown, the first first-half touchdown of the season.
The Seahawk D was too fast, too intense, and too smart for the hapless Lions. Bobby Wagner crashed into the backfield for several key tackles while Michael Bennett continued his reign of terror, pushing lineman so far off their positions that key lanes were opened for easy takedowns. The Legion of Boom worked together to nag superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Soon, the Lions could do nothing but chuck it to Johnson, who was unable to connect on any of the desperation heaves. Even with this Herculean effort, the defense would need some of its magic. When Russell Wilson lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, the Lions were driving, down 13-10. Finally, Stafford connected with Johnson near the goal line. Johnson was free to turn up field and, at the sight of a man of his size and his velocity, it was a clear touchdown… Until a launching Kam Chancellor dislodged the ball moments before it crossed the plane.
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Safety Kam Chancellor had ended his holdout in week 3, and nobody needed a big play more. Fans expect football players to be “team first” far more than they expect in any other sport. Only in the NFL could being a “bad teammate” sink a reputation all by itself. When Kam held out, many fans were so betrayed they felt he should be cut or traded. Others were welcoming but slow to forgive. The week one overtime loss had a lot to do with a missing Kam, this was no secret. And for all anyone knew, Dion Bailey had been cut for giving up the critical touchdown in a situation where Kam’s experience and talent were required. Kam’s punch fumble was what many needed to breathe a sigh of relief. Kam was “back in the family,” so to speak.
The Seahawks and Lions had a recent history of shared players. The Seahawks had lost receiver Golden Tate, a key contributor to the 2013 season, to the Lions as a free agent deal. Defensive end Jason Jones joined the Lions after the 2011-2012 season. The Seahawks had poached Cliff Avril from Detroit, for some nice depth at defensive end. Also, Lion’s nickelback Josh Wilson was a former Seahawk, who served as an occasionally electric defensive back from 2007-2009.
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What started as a beautiful afternoon at kickoff turned into an exciting duel due in large part to Russell Wilson’s elusiveness and his chemistry with Jermaine Kearse. Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin netted their second pass/catch touchdown. With so many great plays, it was hard to understand how Seattle had scored only 13 points. It was the fourth straight game where the offense had failed to score above twenty points. The Hawks were lacking offensive production, and they would need to find a way to produce some. Week 5 was against the Cincinnati Bengals, who were one of the hottest teams in the AFC, having jumped to a 4-0 start. The Seahawks were now 2-2. Fans and players wanted to believe the team was ready to go on a run, but this was another difficult road game, once again at 10:00AM. Only time would tell if these Hawks were ready to reassume their place as the top team in the league.
Week 5 will post next Tuesday, April 5th. Stay cool.