Seahawks’ Defense Does It Again. Curse Against Rams Finally Broken.

Seahawks’ Defense Does It Again. Curse Against Rams Finally Broken.

The Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1) defeated the Los Angeles Rams (4-10), their first win against the Rams since December 28th, 2014. This long-time-coming win also sealed the NFC West title for the Seahawks, their third division championship in four years. The Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1) will play the New Orleans Saints, and the San Francisco 49ers (1-12) will play the Atlanta Falcons, on Sunday, December 17th. The Defense Brings The Heat Again In 14 opening drives this season, the Seahawks’ offense has…

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The Seahawks Are A Dark Horse To Win The Super Bowl. They Probably Like It That Way.

The Seahawks Are A Dark Horse To Win The Super Bowl. They Probably Like It That Way.

The Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1) lost to the Green Bay Packers. The Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1) lost to the Miami Dolphins. The Los Angeles Rams (4-9) lost to the Atlanta Falcons. The San Francisco 49ers (1-12) lost to the New York Jets. Tough Sledding Despite having the easiest final six games for all division leaders in the NFC, the Seahawks are 1-2 at the midway point, highlighted by pretty disastrous outings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Packers. Earlier in the…

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18to40 One-Off: Chiefs Face Big Time Thursday Night Game, Four Keys To Victory

18to40 One-Off: Chiefs Face Big Time Thursday Night Game, Four Keys To Victory

Thursday night, December 7th, the Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) will attempt to break the Oakland Raiders (10-2) six-game winning streak. Owning the superior division record, a Chiefs victory would move the team into either the one or two seed, a title filled with so many tie-breakers that it’s difficult to make sense out of it. Here are four aspects to a Chiefs victory. Houston, We Have A Problem. A pass rushing extraordinary with a knack for deflecting passes and forcing…

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Redemption Win Against Panthers Proves Bittersweet; Minus Thomas, Team Must Overcome Greatest Challenge Yet

Redemption Win Against Panthers Proves Bittersweet; Minus Thomas, Team Must Overcome Greatest Challenge Yet

The Seahawks hand a beat down to the Panthers. Everything is right with the universe.

No position on the Seahawks was of greater concern and uncertainty than that of running back, where a string of injuries cost the offense its versatility. The backfield carnage started with CJ Prosise’s wrist injury and was followed by Russell Wilson’s ankle, Thomas Rawl’s leg, Wilson’s knee, Prosise’s shoulder, Troymaine Pope’s ankle, and then, momentarily on Sunday, Rawls in the concussion protocol. Finally, on Sunday, the offense played its first game with both Wilson and Rawls at full strength since week 14 of the 2015 season. What resulted was a running explosion of 240 yards, the strongest performance of the season and a rebound from a season-low 33 yards only a month prior. This dramatic improvement has hardly been formulaic. Against the Patriots and the Eagles, Prosise was the leading rusher. Against the Buccaneers, it was Wilson. Against the Panthers, it was Rawls. This running game is not only resurfacing but is no longer built for one specific person or one specific philosophy. It wants lots of weapons with lots of options and the personnel is there, if these guys can stay on the field.

Prosise’s and Wilson’s performances almost feel like slow motion juxtaposed to the eye-popping displays of instinct and speed from Rawls.

Seahawks’ Offense Was Outgunned And Outcoached, Did Buccaneers Call Psychic Hotline?

Seahawks’ Offense Was Outgunned And Outcoached, Did Buccaneers Call Psychic Hotline?

Outside of the first quarter, a thin defensive unit—missing Pro Bowlers Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett, starting cornerback DeShawn Shead, and fill-in linebacker Brock Coyle—used physicality to force Tampa Bay out of their offense. Frank Clark drew a holding penalty in the end zone for a safety. Kam Chancellor made an incredible open field tackle on Doug Martin to (probably) save a touchdown. Cassius Marsh got underneath tight end Cameron Brate to take down Doug Martin for a loss. Ahtyba Rubin reached in to strip the ball from Doug Martin. Yet, no one contributed in the same manner as KJ Wright. North of three minutes left in the half, with the Buccaneers on the Seahawks’ 33-yard line, Wright blew up a screen pass to Martin, tackling Martin for a two-yard loss. Minutes later, Wright dropped a shoulder so hard into Brate that Brate was knocked backward before going out of bounds, causing the quarter to expire before the Buccaneers could attempt a field goal.

Wright’s best play was early in the third quarter, on 3rd and 1. The Buccaneers had committed to the run all afternoon and this short yardage situation was no different. The offense brought in an extra offensive lineman and lined up in the eye formation with a tight end acting as a fullback. Despite these big bodies, Wright got antsy, approaching the line. He flinched his left leg in a step toward the bottom side of the line. He knew where to attack this run, and he knew why he needed a quick step to the outside. At the snap, offensive guard Kevin Pamphile (64) headed upfield to take out Wright, but Wright’s step down caused Pamphile to slide past him. By the time Wright made his move, Bobby Wagner (54) was being taken out by Brate. Wright split the remaining run blocking in two.

Seahawks Dash Eagles Playoff Aspirations, Red Hot November Continues

Seahawks Dash Eagles Playoff Aspirations, Red Hot November Continues

During these last two weekends, this team surpassed the greatness of the 2014 and 2015 squads. This unit has had injuries, tons of injuries, yet it still sits at 7-2-1, and that’s because its bench players can play. The depth on this squad is what separates it from others. Also, this team can win ugly, and it has had to win a few ugly games this year, and that was something the 2015 squad lacked in particular. If this team can get enough bodies on the field for the playoffs, their biggest challenge will be the Dallas Cowboys, who are by no means having a fluke season. Dax Prescott should go to the Pro Bowl this year, that’s how good he is, but I’ve never seen a rookie who was ready for the Legion of Boom. Those guys just make inexperienced quarterbacks see ghosts.

Anyhow, the rest of the regular season puts the Hawks in an incredible position to run the table and put some heat on the Cowboys for the one-seed. The remaining win/loss record for the Hawks’ opponents is 22-37-1, a 38% win percentage. Here are the remaining records for the other division leaders.

Bam Bam Kam Is Prosise-ly What The Hawks Need, Finally Time To Put The Hurt On The NFC

Bam Bam Kam Is Prosise-ly What The Hawks Need, Finally Time To Put The Hurt On The NFC

After nursing an injured groin for a month, the late announcement that safety Kam Chancellor would start may have been some gamesmanship on Pete Carroll’s part. To say the Patriots were unprepared for Kam would be a grave understatement. Having seen the Seahawks defense give up a hundred yard rusher to the Cardinals and the Saints, plus 128-yards to the Bills’ LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor, whizkid offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels clearly thought LeGarrette Blount could exploit this soft run defensive. My, oh, my was he wrong. As a run defender, Kam is second to none as far as safeties are concerned, and the man was everything this defense had been missing. Mean and ferocious, fast and decisive, Kam pushed blockers back, broke free of their blocks, and was always there for the second effort.

While essential to Seattle’s run-stuffing effort, Kam’s pass coverage skills, in recent years, had come under fire, especially when tight ends were involved. Against Ron Gronkowski, Kam’s two goal line opportunities split the difference. The first time he was on Gronk, he drew a flag, but the second time, he held his ground in a way few defensive backs could duplicate. Instead of bouncing back like a pinball when Gronk went into him, Kam managed to jam Gronk and then hold that jam long enough to disturb the route.

The Hawks Deal Blows To The AFC East, Real Test Comes This Sunday

The Hawks Deal Blows To The AFC East, Real Test Comes This Sunday

Due to the size mismatch, Coyle did not attack offensive lineman Ryan Groy’s upper body. He went low, taking out Groy’s knees. In a remarkable display of energy, once free, Coyle moved inside for a potential rush on quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor attempted to flush out of the pocket, and Brock sprung to the outside. Taylor adjusted, moving inside, where Coyle caught him. In terms of football IQ, Brock has some gains to make, but like many of the Carroll-era players, the guy is a baller and has some real meat on his bones.

Beyond that, third down has become difficult because Jeremy Lane has disappeared. Last year, Lane was far and away the better cover corner to Deshawn Shead. This year? Week after week, you see Lane, hell, you see Sherman, getting owned, but when does it happen to Shead? When does he get burned? When does his lack of discipline cost the team a touchdown? It’s hard to explain because defensive backs don’t take a leap like Shead has. The job is a hunter position. Sometimes hunting requires a DB to go for the kill. Sometimes it requires patience. But, the hunter always knows. And, right now, Sherman is giving yards and touchdowns, Kelcie McCray is struggling, even Earl Thomas is occasionally missing tackles, but Deshawn Shead?

As Injuries Mount, Seahawks Still Poised For A Super Bowl Run

As Injuries Mount, Seahawks Still Poised For A Super Bowl Run

Russell Wilson has a step again. Wilson’s three rushes for 11 yards may sound modest, but it represented a huge leap in productivity. (He had rushed for only 33 yards all season). On an early third down in the second half, the play called for Wilson to roll out to find a well-covered Prosise. Wilson turned upfield for the first down. His second rush picked up four yards on the edge, setting up a 3rd and 2. Both drives resulted in a field goal. His final rush kick-started a potential game-winning drive by getting the offense in a 2nd and reasonable situation. Free from his ankle tape, Wilson found a spring in his step. His healing knee did not seriously impede his north/south speed, but when forced to make a cut, he immediately slowed. So long as Wilson only runs north/south and then slides or dives, the offense should continue to open up.

It will take more than Wilson. Fullback Will Tukuafu was brought back before week 8 and he did make a big block to get Christine Michael in the end zone, but like Michael, Tukuafu is not a long term solution. This system wants flexibility out of the backfield and neither can provide it.

The offense is first and goal from the five-yard line. Despite Jimmy Graham lining up as a blocker, the Saints have only four rushers at the line of scrimmage and none of their linebackers seem concerned. Why are the Saints not playing the run? Instead of Michael in the backfield, it’s Tukuafu, who is not a threat to run the ball. Why is Tukuafu in the backfield solo? Because Michael is terrible at pass protection. At the snap, the Saints only send four; meanwhile, the Seahawks have six players committed to protecting Wilson, leaving seven defenders to cover four receivers.

Defense Wins Championships, But This Vanilla Offense Needs An Attitude

Defense Wins Championships, But This Vanilla Offense Needs An Attitude

Minutes into the first quarter, safety Tony Jefferson hunted down Wilson on an option that Wilson had kept. Wilson attempted a stiff arm to fend off Jefferson but Wilson’s lower body strength (an underrated aspect of a successful stiff arm) was so absent that instead of repelling Jefferson, Jefferson used Wilson’s arm to scale him. If that sounds familiar, it’s because 49ers linebacker Eli Harold did the same thing to Wilson’s attempted stiff-arm in week 3 and subsequently landed on Wilson’s leg.

These facts should dismiss any thoughts of having Wilson scramble, but an easy conclusion quickly becomes a paradox. The state of the Seahawks running game is such that, if Wilson does not immediately start contributing, the passing attack could face further regression, especially from the wide-outs. While Wilson’s scrambling threat could give the offense some pop, it leaves Wilson vulnerable to injury. Wilson cannot run laterally, so his traditional toolset, the zone-read or those bootlegs that have him take off if no one is open, are off the table. The only option is to turn Wilson into a north/south runner.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell needs to get a handful of plays where the offensive line directs rushers to overpursue on Wilson, Christine Michael stays home for extra protection, and Wilson escapes between the tackles. The goal is four yards per attempt, with a target of twenty yards per game.