Week Fourteen: Wilson Rules.
The Seahawks are firing on all cylinders as they toyed with a Ravens team on the brink of implosion. Sporting another five TD pass performance, his second in three games, Russell Wilson continued on a hot steak that began with his TD/INT ratio at 10:7 and now stands at 25:7. While some of his efficiency number came back down into our atmosphere, 9.1 yards per attempt and 12.7 yards per completion, they are still stellar numbers that are reserved for some of the top quarterbacks in the league. It isn’t the touchdowns or yards themselves, it’s how Wilson generates them, it’s the efficiency and precision. When the Hawks were at 2-4, it was reasonable to question the soul of this team, but Wilson has answered. This guy is the QB for the Seahawks and will be for the next ten years (at the minimum).
The loss of Thomas Rawls for the season is concerning. His speed and cuts will not be replicated by anyone of the Hawks roster, and the flexibility he was giving the passing game will be missed. This is football, however. Key guys get hurt all the time. Nothing left to do but focus on the positive and there is one big positive. Marshawn Lynch has been week-to-week after having a surgery to repair a sports hernia, or something similar to it in his abdominal area. It’s hard to make your cuts and lower your shoulder when your guts are coming out of your body, so if this surgery can heal up, Lynch should return to the Seahawks with fresh legs for an improbable playoff run. If Beast Mode can channel some magic, and the Hawks keep the ball moving with the passing game, the team can remain competitive; however, missing Rawls, everyone will have to contribute to prevent this offense from regressing.
Doug Baldwin may not only be on the greatest hot streak of his life, he is perhaps making a case for being elected to the Pro Bowl. The guy is on fire right now. It’s not his speed and athleticism, although he did severely break the ankles of a Raven’s defender (Sorry…. I couldn’t write down his name. An attractive woman sat next to me at the bar and, well, I’m single, so I gotta do what I gotta do.), it’s how he is defeating defenses with his mind. He is recognizing what the defense is giving him. He knows pre-snap the exact spot he needs to run to so he will be wide open–repeat: WIDE OPEN–without another jersey within an arm’s length of him. Baldwin is not a prototypical wide receiver but it’s disgenuious to criticize him any further.
The dude is straight up balling and it’s a joy to watch.
The Seahawks defense is devastating, suffocating, annihilating–I can’t say enough words to describe it–against the run. These opposing tailbacks run into a wall of guys on every cut they make. Bobby Wagner is in another universe. He was all over the field. Some of the solo tackles he made were beautiful in their execution and ferocity. The entire defense had a great day tackling. A lot of big time tackles happened one-on-one in space, where a defender can easily be humiliated. The front seven on the defense deserves way more love than it is getting. They are dominating in the trenches and turning teams into one-dimensional passing squads; of course, herein lies the issue with that…
The Legion of Boom is still struggling. I’m hoping for the best, I really am, but Shead was terrible in this game. He hung out guys to dry a few times, and he got confused on some coverages, giving up on his assignment. It’s hard to know what to do when guys are running at you at the speed of light but if you cannot identify which receiver is your assignment, you’ve put the defense in a vulnerable position. Lane built off Shead’s inconsistency. While he didn’t quite make the same amount of mistakes, and they were hardly as dramatic, he was caught out of position a few times. Jimmy Clausen and a set of scrubs were able to get some big passes off on Shead and Lane, and so the secondary remains the biggest problem on this Seahawk’s squad. After two weeks of praising their incremental progress, I’d have to say they regressed. A Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Tom Brady quarterback will not allow these mistakes to go unpunished, and so this secondary has three more games to figure this mess out.
Richard Sherman is the sole bright spot from the Legion of Boom. Outside of whiffing on a coverage hand-off in the first quarter for a big gain, he was lock-down and came up with a big interception–his second in three weeks–that set up a touchdown. The guy is one of the best again, and one of the most reliable again. Thank Heavens because we ask a lot from him, as he lines up left, right, in the slot–everywhere. He has expanded his game and his responsibilities, doing more with less insurance on his backside.
The Seahawks concluded their consecutive cross-country 10AM games at 2-0, a lofty achievement. Winners of six of their last seven, the Seahawks sit in the fifth seed for the playoffs, which would put them up against the NFC East winner for the wildcard round, a definite advantage any team would desire. Next week is back at Century Link for a Brown’s squad that is trying to figure out how many times they can start and bench Johnny Manziel in one season. There’s nothing the Browns love more than psychologically toruturing their quarterbacks–word is, they get the Clockwork Orange treatment at night–so expect to see some of the worst coaching you will ever encounter. That said, it is an NFL game and the Seahawks want to focus on continuing their improvement. It will be key for Shead and Lane to get this figured out against Manziel, who should not be able to light up the Hawks with his arm.
8-5 is their record. 8-5. Just read that. Just breathe that. Ladies and gentleman, we have a team, and we have our ticket to the playoffs with a late season push to greatness.