Thursday, 31 January 2013

Cornerbacks Worth Getting A Look in Free Agency

Greg Toler might be the perfect fit in the slot.

    Count this position as the least of the Seahawks worries on defense. Assuming Jeremy Lane continues to get better and Walter Thurmond is healthy there's almost no need to pursue a nickel corner in free agency. Hedging your bets on a former 6th round pick and somebody who has only played 22 of a possible 48 regular season games though just doesn't seem like all that good a plan. They don't need to break the bank to improve their personnel at corner either. As a matter of fact, that might even have a negative effect on their current starters Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner as they are only making a combined 1.2 million. Not sure they'd feel to great about the Seahawks giving somebody else a big pay day to handle a slot receiver. Here's my list of frugal options for the Seahawks at corner.

CB, Greg Toler: This pick may seem odd based on his injury history, and the fact that the only reason the Seahawks would add another corner is due to concern about Thurmond's injury history, but it makes sense if you think about. For a few reasons. Greg Toler may have starter potential, but he's never been able to show it for extended periods due to his awful run of luck with injuries. You combine the fact that he didn't even play in 2011 with his relegation to nickelback when he did return and he might be available at a very affordable rate. 

CB, Sheldon Brown: A little experience in our secondary wouldn't hurt, and Sheldon Brown would provide just that. Brown is the kind of physical corner that Pete Carroll would love to add to this roster, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that he is added. It's very doubtful the Browns will re-sign him, and with the amount of good corners set to hit free agency there is a good chance a lot of teams take a pass on the 33 year old corner. His age might lead him to sign for a very affordable contract with a Super Bowl contender to make maybe one last run. Could the Seahawks be that contender he is looking for?

CB, Cedric Griffin: Count this as the potential Carroll restoration project of 2013. A career under achiever, with a serious knack for getting in trouble. Can't forget the health concerns as well. When he's not suspended or injured though Cedric Griffin is generally a pretty good corner. He also gained experience as a nickel corner last season in Washington. He's an alright pass defender, but very good in run defense. Definitely worth getting a look.

J.D. Burke

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Interior Defensive Linemen Worth Getting A Look

Acquiring Randy Starks certainly wouldn't hurt the Seahawks.

    As important as shoring up the pass rush is for the Seahawks, becoming more consistent in their run defense is just as necessary. Especially with Alan Branch set to hit free agency. Luck would have it for the Seahawks that as with all their positional needs, there is no shortage of options on the market. Below I will list some of the best available options.

DT/DE, Henry Melton: Probably the best interior lineman available in free agency. Very powerful with great size and the ability to play either defensive end or tackle. Has had two very good seasons now, compiling a combined 13 sacks over them. My only qualm would be the kind of contract he is going to get. Players like Melton don't make it to free agency very often and that in combination with his age (26) will land him a very large pay cheque.

DT, Randy Starks: My favourite of all the available options. His 4.5 sacks this season matched his sacks total from last year, even though he was switching to a new scheme with Joe Philbin taking over in Miami. Like Melton he has the ability to play end or defensive tackle. Based on how well he played defensive tackle this season though, he'll be just fine as a replacement for Alan Branch. I think upgrade is a more appropriate way of putting it. He does his best work defending the run, an area that definitely needs improvement. Best of all he might be a very affordable option based on his age. He is now 29. Hoping the Seahawks give him a long hard look.

DT, Dwan Edwards: There is a little risk involved with pursuing Edwards. He is 31 years old and just had the best season of his career with the Panthers. He registered 6 sacks which is 3.5 more than his previous season high. Will this flash in the pan season result in somebody over paying for Edwards, or did he rise to the occasion when given an opportunity with the Panthers and earn a big pay day? Who knows... Might be worth taking a chance on Edwards with the right contract.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Why The Seahawks Shouldn't Pursue Darrelle Revis

Why they trading me?

    As word got out that the New York Jets are considering trading Darrelle Revis, there wasn't a fan base in the league that didn't get excited at the prospect of Revis joining their favorite team. No matter how unrealistic, no matter how many hoops would have to be jumped through and no matter how high the cost. If Darrelle Revis is available, he must be had. Even with his massive eleven million cap hit.

    The reaction was no different in Seattle. The twitter-verse was afire with wishes for the league's best cornerback to come on board and form possibly the best duo in league history with Richard Sherman. Rumour has it Seahawks management is interested in pursuing the elite corner too. Is Darrelle Revis really necessary for the Seahawks though? No, not in the slightest.

    The Seahawks have a lot of needs, but corner isn't one of them. Wouldn't hurt if we got another corner to play the nickel, but you don't need to give up high draft picks and eleven million in cap space to do it. Another corner would be great. A pass rush, would put the Seahawks over the top.

    Darrell Revis may be the best corner in the league, but Richard Sherman isn't all that far behind. He is a better tackler, and allows only around 6% more throws caught his way to be completed. Sherman`s eight interceptions last season are also two more than Revis has ever had in a single season. They are only seven interceptions apart in terms of their respective careers, with Revis having the edge. Revis has also been in the league four more seasons. By that same token, he`d have way more interceptions if there were enough quarterbacks stupid enough to throw the ball in his direction. His reputation really does precede him.

    There is no denying Darrelle Revis is a better cornerback than Richard Sherman. No statistic out there can convince me otherwise. Or anyone else for that matter. Fortunately for the Seahawks though, acquiring Revis would be about as excessive as it gets. It would also hinder their ability to bolster the defensive line and acquire help for the pass rush. I wouldn't be overcome with grief if the Seahawks acquired Revis, but it just seems unnecessary is all.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Defensive Ends Worth Getting A Look In Free Agency

Wouldn't mind seeing him in a Seahawks jersey. I mean, the jersey I would mind, but him in it not so much.

    The speculation continues; this time with regards to one of Seattle's more glaring needs. The pass rush. It became all too obvious what a one man show the pass rush had become in the Seahawk's final game in Atlanta. Which I still have nightmares about. I originally thought the Seahawks would continue to develop their defense through the draft, then Chris Clemons got injured. There is a lot more urgency in Seattle to fix the pass rush now, especially with Clemons probably missing a chunk of next season with his torn ACL. Not that his play showed it, but he is also getting kind of long in the tooth. Replacements are needed, and they are needed now. Let's look at some of Seattle's options for defensive ends in the upcoming free agent frenzy.

DE, Cliff Avril: Avril is the best pass rusher available this off-season. As a result, you can expect one hell of a bidding war. Thing is, he is probably worth every penny. He is only 26 years old and when at his best bordering on unblock-able. This year was a bit of a step back for Avril with his sacks dropping from 11 to 9.5, but that's practically negligible. He was also very dissatisfied with his contract situation and eventual franchise tagging, which could have had something to do with that. The perfect replacement for Chris Clemons? I think so, be it short term or long.

DE, Michael Johnson: Often overlooked due to sharing a defensive line with all pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, the stats speak to his abilities as a pass rusher. This one is more or less a pipe dream, as all signs point to the Bengals tagging him if they don't work out an extension. If Pete Carroll loves height, as much as indicated by everyone on the planet (self included) they should be selling the farm to somehow land this kid. He's only 25 years old and 6'7, but at the end of the day extremely unlikely to go anywhere this off season. Tis a crying shame.

DE, Usi Umenyora: All but a given he'll be hitting free agency, and one of the more likely targets on Seattle's radar. Personally speaking, I've never been all that fond of Umenyora. The stats don't lie though. Even if they are in decline, there is something to be said for reputation and I think based on stats alone, he's earned his. Having a 14.5 sack season to his name doesn't hurt. He's getting on in age though at 31 and may be looking for his one last massive contract. If that's the case, hope the Seahawks aren't the team adding to his retirement fund.

DE, Dwight Freeney: Here's a player I can get behind. His age (32), in combination with how ineffective he was last season as he struggled to play in Pagano's 3-4 defense might result in some team, maybe the Seahawks, getting him at a discounted price. Don't let his five sacks this season fool you. He's got at least another year or two of good football left in the tank, so long as he's back at defensive end.

Good options aplenty. Can't go wrong with any of these players - depending on the price. Of all the options I've listed though, my favorite for the Seahawks, with their cap situation, other needs etc. etc. has to be Freeney. He'll come cheaper than any of the other players listed, and could perform at an almost similar level. Wouldn't complain if we landed Cliff Avril either though...

J.D. Burke

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wide Receivers Worth Getting a Look in Free Agency

Now wouldn't he look good in a Seahawks jersey?

    Let the off-season speculation continue. This has little do with the players currently on the roster, but entirely to do with those the Seahawks should be trying to add to it. At the wide receiver position more specifically. There is no shortage of big name talent in this years free agent class, and the Seahawks haven't exactly been shy when it comes to handing out big pay cheques to wide receivers. Sure, some of them haven't worked out (T.J. Houshmandzadeh) or have, just not nearly as well as planned i.e. Sidney Rice. That being said, this is the year to dish out big money at wide receiver. So many worthy candidates. Below I'll list some targets that should be on the Seahawks radar, or preferably be signed. In some cases...

Dwayne Bowe: He'll command a lot of coin, but he'll be worth every penny. He fits the Pete Carroll mold as a tall receiver being 6'2. Not necessarily towering, but tall enough. His last season was the second least productive of his career, but he did only play thirteen games. All thirteen with either Brady Quinn or Matt Cassell throwing him the ball, keep that in mind folks. There's a lot to like about Dwayne Bowe, he has great hands he's fast and he's a red zone machine. He led the league in touchdown receptions just two seasons ago. Really hoping the Seahawks pursue Bowe.

Greg Jennings: More likely to hit free agency than Dwayne Bowe, as a matter of fact it's all but guaranteed. Only problem is he'll want around the same amount of money, and I'm not sure he can produce at the same level as Dwayne Bowe. Also have to wonder how fond he is of Seattle following fail gate, and the hail mary that never was. Another red flag regarding Greg Jennings is his health. Lingering groin issues kept him out of action for a big chunk of last season, and made him much less effective when he did come back. Wouldn't be upset if the Seahawks signed him, would rather they took a pass though.

Mike Wallace: Count Wallace as somewhat of a wild card. Word out of Pittsburgh during training camp was that he was trying to get Larry Fitzgerald kind of money, which I beg the Seahawks not to give him. If his demands have dropped to something more commensurate with his production, which saw a steep decline this season, he might be worth a look. He could very well be the fastest wide receiver in the league; maybe even the fastest player period. He would definitely stretch the field for the Seahawks and create a lot more space for every other receiver. He has a hard time making catches in traffic though, and disappears for long stretches of time. Would be happy with Wallace coming to town, with the right contract.

Below you will find a few less obvious, maybe less costly options at wide receiver in free agency. There are some... dare I say it, peculiar picks down here. These players might at the very least be worth an invite to training camp though, or a really cheap short contract.

Mike Williams: Probably going to get a lot of raised eyebrows, and scratched heads for this one, but hear me out. With less pressure, a smaller contract and a better quarterback Mike Williams might be able to thrive, and revive his career a second time with these Seahawks. His last season as a Seahawk was just awful, but how could you expect any less with Tarvaris Jackson throwing the football? His average yardage per catch actually went up that season though, if you do want to try and find positives. If he can get invited to training camp and show up in good shape, unlike last season where he was blimp esque, why not give him a look? Their was no falling out between him and Pete Carroll, and oddly enough he still has that height thing Carroll is so fond of.

Plaxico Burress: If Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant could land a training camp tryout last season, then why not somebody who's taller than both and probably has more left in the tank this season? I had no problems with bringing either of those two in last year, but couldn't help but wonder why Burress didn't get an invite. He didn't have a great first season coming out of jail, but then again, Mark Sanchez was his quarterback. The biggest issue with his game in New York was the fact that he couldn't get separation from opposing defenders. It was his first season back from jail though, so maybe he's in better shape now. He did help the Jets with their red zone efficiency, and Russell Wilson is amazing in the red zone. Why not give him an extra target, especially one that's 6'5?

Mohamed Massaquoi: Probably the sketchiest of all my suggestions, I'm sure there aren't many of you who want the Seahawks to pick him up. Based on the stats, I can't really blame you. He only averages 437 yards a season, but I think that has a lot to do with awful quarterbacking more than anything else. Not only has poor quarterback play held him back for most of his career, but there has been way too much asked of him from day one. He has the potential to develop into an almost capable wide receiver, but turning him into your number one in his first season with nobody to get him the ball? Not so smart. Maybe he could contribute in a better way with much less asked of him. A reliable depth option at the very least.

I feel that Dwayne Bowe is a cut above every option I've listed, and every option in free agency. Only problem is there are rumblings that Kansas City might resign him, so other options might have to be explored. Hope you enjoyed getting a look at the players that I think either are on the Seahawks radar, or maybe should be.

J.D. Burke

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Jim Harbaugh, So Very Crazy

Well, we all know about the infamous "what's your deal" incident when Pete Carroll called Harbaugh out for running up the score and then some in college. One quick look at this and I'm still left wondering, what exactly his deal is? Guy's done great work with the 49ers, sure. He's still bat shit crazy though. Here is video proof! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Off-Season Analysis: Should Flynn Stay or Should He Go?

The dust has settled and only two teams remain. Super Bowl Sunday is only two short weeks away for the Niners and Ravens and were not for a few bad bounces, maybe the Seahawks could be there in the Niners place. But they aren’t.

They’ve felt both the pros and cons of becoming a legitimate threat for the Super Bowl this season. It cost them two very highly regarded members of the Seahawks organization in former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and former vice-president of football operations John Idzik. Both were integral in building this defense through the draft and although I’m confident their departure won’t be disastrous, I’d be a heck of a lot happier if they had stuck around.

I guess now that the hiring frenzy is done we can all breath again, and get back to the rampant speculation that makes the off season manageable for us. Nothing get’s me going like playing armchair general manager, and don’t try and tell me some of you aren’t guilty of that too. Where are player’s going? who’s coming back? who are we drafting? Realistically, there isn’t one blogger or analyst who can give you a guaranteed answer but, educated guesses, oh I’ve plenty of those. Let’s break em down, starting with the one question that’s on everyone’s mind: What does the future hold for Matt Flynn?

I’m thinking the Seahawks best and oddly enough least used free agent signing from last off season will have a new home come training camp. For a few reasons, and not just because of his 7 million dollar contract. Below I’ll list said reasons.

  • The guy deserves a chance to start, and he’s not getting that in Seattle. I shouldn’t need to explain why. He’s more than good enough to have a starting gig in the NFL, and I think will shine if given the opportunity.
  • The quarterback market has never been so good for a seller. Can’t remember the last time this many teams desperately needed help at the quarterback position. Worst of all for them - or best of all for us, all about perspective really - there’s not a whole lot of options be it in free agency or the draft.
  • As good as having Matt Flynn for a backup option is, at 7 million dollars that’s a little too steep for my liking and probably John Schneider too. An extra 7 mil in leeway never hurt, especially with all the work this team has to do to get a pass rush going.
  • Not that he was entitled to the starting job, but I’m pretty sure he thought he had it when he signed here. Not accusing us of false advertisement, but I’m sure Matt Flynn is a little sick of being a backup. He’s not getting any younger either.

You can’t go wrong with keeping Flynn on as a backup, as the importance of having a good one simply can’t be understated. That being said I think it’s best for both sides if he goes elsewhere. He’s not a bad quarterback, but he’s not Russell Wilson good either. Best of luck to Flynn wherever he does end up going, assuming he is moved.

Friday, 18 January 2013

No Reason to Question Carroll

Two playoff appearances, three years. Get at me.

The general mood regarding this year’s Seattle Seahawks and all that they give us to look forward to is generally a positive, warm and fuzzy feeling of joy. Hell, sprinkle in a little pride too why don’t you. Count me among those feeling all of the above and then some. I genuinely can not, for the life of me, remember a game that had me screaming, crying, jumping, shouting, drinking, and fist pumping quite like last Sundays heartbreaker in Atlanta. It was that good. Calling it a roller coaster ride of emotions is as horrid an understatement as can be made. Still sad about that outcome.

Now, about that outcome. Pete Carroll hasn’t been taking a lot of flack, but he took some following that game. Although the general consensus seems to be we are lucky as it gets to have this man coaching our team, twitter had quite a few people calling him out. Questioning his decisions, etc. etc. Trust me when I say I am more than aware of the fact that a post coming out in defense of Pete Carroll really isn’t necessary. That being said, my appreciation for all he’s accomplished in such a short span kind of lends itself to this type of thing. I got Irish in me too which makes me extra emotional, and susceptible to over reacting unnecessarily. Where was I?

Ah yes, a response to foolish criticism of Pete Carroll, although there really isn’t much of it. Most of the criticism directed at Pete Carroll relates to his decisions with both the travel schedule, and a deflating failed fourth down conversion in the second quarter. You could make the case for both decisions having been questionable, just not if you know anything about how Pete Carroll does business, or how good a pulse he has on this team.

Following his team's comeback win in Washington he did something that many people attributed to Seattle’s horrible start. He had the team travel all the way across the continent back to Seattle, then about five days later back to Atlanta. Personally speaking, I would go from Washington to Atlanta. That being said Pete Carroll is a player’s coach; nobody has a better pulse on this team than him. If anybody knows this squads physical capabilities, and adaptability with regards to rough travel it’s him. If Pete Carroll felt this was the right move, that’s good enough for me. How’s about this for a reason for Seattle’s slow start: This was the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl, they started like bats out of hell and played with a fiery conviction. They were the first seed after all folks, not all that hard to conceive them coming out on fire. Especially with that offense. I also heard that Russell Wilson was battling the flu. Not sure how true that is, and I’ve heard nothing from the Seahawks to indicate that was the case but food for thought nonetheless. He did look sort of out of it in that first half.

The decision that is drawing the most criticism though has to be his going for it on fourth and one with Michael Robinson. I once again have no problem with that decision. Conventional wisdom says take the three points of course, but they were only down by thirteen at that point. That move is about as high risk high reward as it gets, just a shame it didn’t work out really. Michael Robinson has been a stud for the Seahawks in short yardage situations all season long so there was really no reason to believe he’d falter when they needed him most. Unfortunately for the Seahawks the Falcons 21st ranked rushing defense decided to show up for a game. If they convert that fourth down who know’s, maybe it leads to a touchdown. You have to believe that would be a huge momentum boost for the Hawks. Unfortunately though it was one of the more deflating moments of the game. I nearly wept like a helpless infant as Robinson was swarmed by Atlanta defenders.

I think more than anything though the 12th man was angry about who ran the ball. They gave it to Turbin on 3rd and 1, to no avail. Then it was Robinson’s turn, also to no avail. As much as I’d like to think going with Lynch would have made more sense, maybe I’m wrong. He hadn’t put together a great game up to that point, and was clearly feeling the effects of that sprained foot. He also had a fumble in that game. Don’t know how, but the Falcons had found a way to keep Lynch in check. Going with Turbin and Robinson is kind of justifiable when you take that into account.

Even the best of em have off days, and I still don’t count last Sunday as one for Pete Carroll. Simply put, if he converts that fourth and one he’s a genius. The line is that thin. This is the second youngest team in the league, is it really that hard to imagine them not being ready for gameday? Even Russell Wilson looked human, I mean come on! Not gonna blame that one on travel. If for reasons beyond me you can still point the finger at Carroll, just remember it was Carroll who built this team that has us all so very excited; from the ground up. It’s his drafting, his personnel decisions, and his constant risk taking that has got us to this point. How many secondaries have three player’s all 6’3 or higher? Whatever he’s doing is clearly working and I couldn’t feel any better about our coaching staff than I do now. Even after Bradley’s departure.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Bradley to the Jaguars; Dan Quinn to the Rescue.

As the post firing - new hiring frenzy was coming to a close, Seahawks fans everywhere were starting to feel secure with the thought they’d be able to keep both their coordinators. Chip Kelly had just come from out of nowhere, and pulled a Nick Saban on Oregon by accepting the job in Philly. We collectively let out a sigh of relief. We now know if Kelly didn’t take the Eagles job, it is very likely Gus Bradley would have. Jeff Lurie said something to the effect of “if we didn’t get Kelly we were going to get Bradley”. Crisis was averted. Or so we thought.

The Jaguars were supposedly looking to hire Greg Roman, who is currently the offensive coordinator with the 49ers. He’s busy with the conference finals or something like that, and from seemingly out of nowhere Bradley emerged as the Jaguars head coach. The move makes sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is a painful loss for the Seahawks. Such is life. With seven coaches being fired on “Black Monday” and another one about a week later in Jacksonville; that’s eight head coaching vacancies to be filled, and everyone was in a rush to do it. Nevermind all the coordinator openings...

These are the growing pains that come along with developing into a contender. Especially if you’ve helped in a successful rebuild, and Pete Carroll’s Seahawks definitely qualify. What they did with this defense over the last three years has been nothing short of amazing, and for Bradley’s sake I’m glad the Jaguars took notice and offered him the job. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, but he just might be up to the task. In his three years with the Seattle Seahawks, he steadily brought their yards allowed from 27th in the league, to 9th, and this year 4th. I think he knows what he’s doing.

One of the main reasons I can be happy for Bradley is that as good as he is, the Seahawks are going to be more than able to handle this loss. Pete Carroll is still there, and so is (for the most part) the personnel. Contrary to what I said earlier, no crisis there to avert really.

As a matter of fact, we’ve replaced him already. With an all too familiar face I might add. Dan Quinn, who left the team in 2011 to be a defensive coordinator with the Florida Gators is back. He had been with the team as an assistant head coach and defensive line coach in 2009, and was kept around for the beginning of the Pete Carroll era in 2010. He left the team to join the Gators because of his strong desire to be a coordinator. His Gators finished in the top 10 in defense both years he was at the helm. I’m thinking he’s learned a thing or two since leaving the Seahawks.

As qualified as he is, and as good as the personnel is, this team still has a few things to fix up on defense. The task now falls on Quinn’s lap. Most importantly Quinn will have to find a way to get this team’s pass rush going. It won’t be easy. Clemons’ ACL tear could have him out for a chunk of next year, and make him a less effective rusher when he does come back. Another thing that’s a little harder to notice, except when it happens, are the late game collapses by the secondary. The defense as a whole was 6th in passing yards given up but they always have a hard time closing out games. Maybe a pass rush could fix both issues though. That’s up to the new guy to figure out, and figure out I’m sure he shall.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Russell Wilson's Great Year Summed Up

A lot has been made of Russell Wilson’s amazing first season in the NFL, but was it really deserving of the hype? Part of me wants to believe that Wilson is getting Tebow-esque adoration for similar reasons. Although not as vocal or nearly as public about his religion, Wilson loves him some bible. Just follow him on twitter @DangeRussWilson and you’ll find out what I’m talking about. He - like Tebow - is also famed for his great work ethic, and rumour has it he’s already training for next season and spending time in the film room. Yes I’m serious. He plans to take a break for his honeymoon with his wife, but one has to wonder if he’ll even let it last a week. He also had to overcome physical setbacks to succeed in the NFL. Tebow can’t throw, and Wilson can’t ride roller coasters. Too short and all that. One major difference though, Russell Wilson is good. Really, really damn good. Nope, other than overcoming physical setbacks, being very vocal about their spirituality and having the ability to run, there is nothing in common between the two.

When you check out Russell Wilson’s stats it becomes clear the Seahawks really do have something special with this kid. To the point that I feel bad for having even mentioned him in the same paragraph as Tebow, and will refrain from the comparison for the rest of the article, but I digress. Without going too in depth, and getting all Elias or Football Outsiders here let’s just point out the obvious.

Nobody expected Wilson to land the starting job after the Seahawks drafted him in the 3rd round, and I mean it when I say nobody. Tried thinking of one analyst, but none came to mind. Although there may be some unknown pundit who did predict Wilson becoming the starter, so help me god if anyone tries to tell me they predicted he’d be a candidate, and - as far as I’m concerned - the front-runner for both Rookie of the Year, and Offensive Rookie of the Year you can find another blog to read.

In true leader like fashion, these personal accolades aren’t what he was going for and you can point to this team having made the playoffs as a result of Wilson’s play, in combination with team first attitude. Marshawn Lynch and the defense were great and all, but it’s a quarterback's league folks. Don’t even try to tell me the Seahawks make the playoffs with Matt Flynn or Tarvaris “three and out” Jackson.

Getting into the playoffs was just one more thing that Russell Wilson wasn’t supposed to accomplish though. Apparently. Just about everybody recognized this years version of the Seahawks as a huge improvement on last years; I mean, no Tarvaris Jackson certainly can’t hurt. The consensus seemed to be that this team was still on the cusp of being a playoff contender. Not quite there yet, but just good enough to make San Francisco’s run at the division title a little more difficult. Nobody predicted that they would go 11-5 and embarrass the 49ers on national television in week 16. The thought of them actually winning a playoff game? Now that was crazy talk.

In proving all his doubters wrong, again, Wilson put up some amazing stats and shattered some records along the way. The only unimpressive number with regards to Wilson’s stats is the 3,118 yards. Even less impressive though, he only threw the ball 393 times. Not his fault the attempts were so low, but such is life. Seeing as he draws frequent comparisons to Drew Brees based on, you guessed it, height lets see how many yards he could hypothetically put up with as many attempts as Brees. With 650 pass attempts, based on his average yards per attempt, he would hit 5,154 yards. I put about as little stock in that though, as people should his actual yardage. Miracle he put up as many yards as he did with the paltry 393 pass attempts he had to work with. His 26 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions, now that’s one stat worth paying attention to. Here’s another great one, he also had the 4th best passer rating in the entire league at 100.0. On top of all that, he also ran for 489 yards. Now that’s none too shabby for a hobbit who shouldn’t have won the starting job right? Wait until you see what he did in the postseason.

Aside from winning his first playoff game in the NFL with a 4th quarter comeback, after being down 14-0 and almost finishing a comeback from a 20-0 deficit he also set a few records along the way. His playoff passer rating of 102.4 is 9.7 ahead of the previous record held by none other than Mark Sanchez. Best of all though, he was averaging 9.23 yards an attempt, also a rookie record. Another rookie record is his 572 yards through the air during the postseason. Wilson’s 385 passing yards are also, you guessed it, the rookie record for yards in a game. To top it all off, Russell Wilson is the only rookie quarterback with 2 4th quarter comebacks under his belt. There is just something different about this Wilson kid I tells ya. The scariest part for the rest of the league, he’s only going to get better.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Final Call: Seahawks vs. Falcons

That’s about as heart wrenching, gut hurting, mentally straining and emotionally draining as a football game can get if you’re a Seahawks fan. If you just so happen to be a Falcons fan, it’s all of those with a hint of relief. This had to be the most exciting game of these NFL playoffs so far, and I think it’s safe to say fans on both sides are still asking themselves what exactly just happened. I suppose that’s where I come in.

The Seahawks got off to a horrible start. As a matter of fact, that had to be the worst first half this teams played probably all year. The mistakes were never ending, as was the offensive onslaught at the hands of the perennial playoff failure Atlanta Falcons. They looked ready to buck the trend, and the Seahawks seemed content to try and pull off a repeat of last weeks performance in Washington. Only difference, the Falcons were a lot healthier on offense, and a lot hungrier as a team. They came out swinging and the Seattle defense didn’t have an answer. Save for an ineffectual interception by Bobby Wagner. The momentum grab by the Seahawks vanished as quickly as they had snatched it. Marshawn Lynch would fumble the ball only 3 plays later, and that’s not where the mistakes ended for the Seahawks on Sunday.

Richard Sherman, who had just been named to the all-pro team didn’t have an answer for Roddy White in the first half. He may have held him to under 100 yards on the day, which is fantastic really, but in that first half he got lit up. I had been saying all week whoever won this matchup would win the game, and hard to say Roddy didn’t. One play in particular stands out though. Ryan got Chancellor to bite to the left side eye balling the receiver opposite White the entire play; when Chancellor made his move, Ryan made his. He threw a 47 yard bomb to White in the endzone, and Sherman was left behind having tripped on himself. In case you're wondering, yes Sherman chirped him even after getting burned.

Things only seemed to get worse from there. At least for the rest of the first half. They had 2 golden opportunities to put up points before halftime, and questionable play calling followed by a human moment by Russell Wilson killed two drives that should have led to - at the very least - field goals. The first of those two drives was probably the hardest pill to swallow. The Seahawks had taken the ball downfield with a few bombs from Wilson, and eventually found themselves at the Falcons 20. From there it eventually became 3rd and 1. The obvious move would have been a run with Marshawn Lynch; as we all know too well though, Carroll seems to have a thing for the unconventional and he stuck by his guns on this one. They ran it with Robert Turbin for no gain, then followed that up with a run by fullback Michael Robinson for no gain. That was a turnover on downs, and just heartbreaking to watch. Don’t know what to call out really. Running the ball twice with one yard to go and not using Marshawn Lynch, or not taking the easy 3 points. The real killer though, Russell Wilson getting sacked with less than five seconds to go with no timeouts left as the half ended. They tried to get a play off, but not only was the snap late but none of the players were set. Another 3 points they should have had, but didn’t get.

Then the second half happened, and oh what I would give to hear the half time speech by one Mr. Pete Carroll. Or maybe Wilson gave it? Wouldn’t catch me off guard. Maybe it was stellar adjustments made by both coordinators? whatever they did or said during half time though, the Seahawks came out a new team. They came out as the dominant team we saw last week in Washington.

They scored on the first drive with a 20 yard strike to Golden Tate, and you could feel the momentum shift. Just a little, but you still felt the Seahawks were starting to get back into it. The Falcons would score on the next drive, but at least the Seahawks defense put up some sort of a fight. Sort of. Then Russell Wilson took over. He led the Seahawks downfield another 3 times, and the Falcons 27-7 lead evaporated. The combination of Russell Wilson and Zach Miller was too much for the Falcons to handle, and with 0:31 left in the game it looked like it was Seattle’s to lose with a 28-27 lead. All they had to do was keep Atlanta out of field goal range, what could go wrong? Well, a lot. The Seahawks gave up 41 yards in two plays, and Matt Bryant kicked a 49 yard field goal to send the Falcons to the NFC Championship. The absolute worst part about that Falcons drive though, was that in an attempt to ice the kicker Pete Carroll called a timeout. Bryant kicked the ball regardless of the whistles, and missed. If no timeout had been called, Seattle’s going to San Francisco next week. They got the ball back with great field position, but on the final play of the game Russell Wilson was picked off by of all people Julio Jones on the hail mary. So close, yet so far.

They showed a lot of character, and I think all 2 people who weren’t already in love with Russell Wilson now are, but it still wasn’t enough to win. Wilson’s day was record shattering and it’s a real shame he wasn’t able to get the win, but how can you complain if on the other end it’s Tony Gonzalez’s first playoff win ever? Both teams showed great resiliency, toughness, and heart. They put on the best game of the postseason, and by a country mile. They may not be moving on this year, but these Seahawks have given the entire city something to be excited about anyways. Nobody thought they would get this far and if it weren’t for a few bad bounces they’d be going even further. Better luck next year Seahawks, lord knows we couldn't be more excited for it if we tried.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Little Something to Help Get You Pumped

If you are having a hard time getting stoked for today's game between the Seahawks and the Falcons, first of all you suck. Both as a person and a Seahawks fan. Maybe not so much the first one, but anyways. Here's a collection of videos that'll help, dare I say it, set the mood for this 10am showdown. Enjoy, #GoHawks and 12's stand up.

Look at this N**** doe! I never seen a ***** put a team on his back like this doe! So much determination doe.

Yes, yes they are good. So very very good. Some of these hits are just sick.

This is one is just plain old mean. See you next week Vernon.

Seahawks Vs. Falcons: Divisional Round Preview

I keep telling myself the Falcons are going to win a playoff game, and they keep getting extremely unfavorable matchups. Count this one among them. As if it weren’t tough enough for the Falcons, they also carry the burden of expectation. After finishing the season 13-3, many fans and commentators still aren’t convinced. They did so playing one of the easiest schedules in the league, and even then had some really ugly wins against teams they should have destroyed. It was enough to get them home field advantage through the playoffs as the number one seed. They were 7-1 at home this season, and even if some of those wins were about as sketchy as it gets, they were still wins. They now host the league’s hottest team, in the Seattle Seahawks. All I keep hearing is how different this year’s Atlanta Falcons are, and oh what better chance to prove it than against these Seahawks.

Following the Seahawks 24-12 drubbing of the Washington Redskins they went back to Seattle, and left for Atlanta over the weekend. How much of an effect this will have, no one knows. It’s also going to be a 10am start for the Seahawks based on the difference in time zone. Much is being made of the ridiculous amount of travel Pete Carroll has inflicted upon his team, but based on what we’ve all seen up to this point I think it almost seems foolish to question anything Carroll does. His team will be ready.

All football games are a series of isolated battles between opposing positions, but never has that been so obviously the case as it will be on Sunday. You’ve got the league’s best secondary against )arguably) the league’s best group of receivers. The Legion of Boom features two all pro members in Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, and one has to think they are up to the task. In all 3 of Matt Ryan’s playoff losses he didn’t reach the 200 yard mark, and if the Seattle secondary can keep him below 200 on Sunday, consider this game as good as lost for the Falcons.

Since just about everybody in the football world is anticipating Roddy White and Julio Jones to at the very least run into considerable difficulty with the Seahawks corners, many are saying Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas are going to have to pick up the slack. Count me among them. Harry Douglas’ stats don’t necessarily jump off the screen at you, but if you watch enough Falcons game tape you realize this guy ain’t no slouch either. He’s about as fast as they get, and runs a pretty good route. He might put up some half decent numbers if he didn’t have players like Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez to share the ball with but since he does he kind of flies under the radar. Speaking of Gonzalez, he had his best season as a Falcon this year and saying he’s all kinds of pumped to make one last run at the Super Bowl is one hell of an understatement. Expect him to have a future hall of famer type performance, as the Falcons have never needed it from him as much as they will Sunday.

Both teams are relatively injury free, save both clubs best pass rushers. Kind of funny how that worked out... Not the injury, but the whole both teams losing their best defensive ends part... John Abraham sprained his ankle in the last game of the season, when Mike Smith had all his starters out in the league’s most meaningless game all year. A decision that could come back to haunt him. Abraham is listed as questionable as of Friday, after being probable all week. Sounds to me like he’s not going to be in top form, assuming he plays. There is a lot less uncertainty surrounding the Seahawks injury report. Chris Clemons is out for the rest of the season, and probably a big chunk of the next one too. Fortunately for the Seahawks they have Bruce Irvin to step in for Clemons. If Abraham doesn’t suit up however, the talent drop off will be massive. It would be a huge loss for the Falcons to be sure.

The Falcons struggled mightily against the read option all season, and this will only improve Seattle’s already good chances of coming out of this one on top. The only two times the Falcons ever really faced a team committed to the read option, in a similar fashion to the Seahawks, was against the Carolina Panthers. They also faced Washington once but believe it or not they didn’t use the read option once against the Falcons. Back to the Falcons difficulties with the Panthers utilization of the read option though. They went 1-1 in the two games against them, and shouldn’t have even won the one game they did. They got ran all over, and even their linebacking corps which I consider to be one of the faster one’s in the league, looked all kinds of out of place and sluggish. They gave up 394 yards rushing in those two games. One can only hope the Seahawks can work the read option with as much success as the Panthers did.

This is about as even a matchup as I’ve seen in a long time. Two very different teams, that play football two very different ways. It should be fun to watch that much I can guarantee. Looking at the two teams on paper and their stats and the game tape I can’t help but consider the Seahawks the better team. They destroy teams they should beat, and beat teams they shouldn’t. The Falcons, not so much. Even taking all that into account though, something tells me Matty Ice and these Atlanta Falcons are ready to put their 0-3 playoff record behind them and move forward. If the team as a whole doesn’t, expect Mike Smith to be left behind.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Five Key Match Ups for Sunday's Tilt

If the Seahawks are going to find a way to win in Atlanta, they’re going to need to win the majority of these five key match-ups to do so. It’s a battle of ideologies in Atlanta, and the Seahawks need to validate theirs. The Falcons high flying, deep throwing, vertical offense couldn’t be more different than the Seahawks. The Seahawks hard hitting, turnover forcing, physically dominant defense couldn’t be more different than the Falcons. This will be a fun game to watch, and the players involved in these match-ups will make it so.

  1. Julio Jones and Roddy White vs. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner

This has to be the most important match-up to watch for. No question. Far as I’m concerned the Falcons have the best receiver tandem in the NFL, fortunately for the Seahawks though they have the best corner tandem. I think the physicality of the Seahawks cornerbacks will be too much for the Atlanta receivers to handle, and they will be forced to get the ball to Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas a little more often than they’d like to. My biggest concern with this match-up though has to be Brandon Browners ability to stay in coverage. Nobody shuts down the receiver screen like Browner, but I am worried about his ability to stay with receivers downfield. I love Browner as much as the next guy, but there were several occasions last week where he either lost his footing entirely or was completely out of place in “coverage” or whatever it was he was doing. He got better as the game went on, but a healthy RG3 could have torn him apart. I’m going to attribute this mostly to rust though as he had just finished him four game suspension for using adderall. Allegedly. Richard Sherman will do just fine, methinks. As far as I’m concerned this guy is the best cornerback left in the playoffs. The loquacious corner always finds a way to get under opposing player’s skin, and he’s gonna have to find a way to do that on Sunday too. If Roddy White and Julio Jones aren’t taking swings at him post-game, hell, I’ll be some kind of disappointed. If the Seahawks win this match-up, they win the game.

2. John Abraham vs Breno Giacomini and Russell Okung

When people heard Mike Smith was playing his starters in the season finale against the Buccaneers, many pundits, analysts, etc. were left shaking their collective heads. Why risk injury in a game that couldn’t be more meaningless? He paid the price with injuries to arguably his two best players on defense, and one of those is defensive end John Abraham. He suffered an ankle injury that now has him questionable for Sunday’s game. I’m thinking he plays. The Falcons have serious depth issues in the pass rush, and Abraham not playing would be nothing short of disastrous. He accounts for over a third of the Falcons sacks, with ten in the regular season. Assuming he plays, he has one hell of a personnel match-up awaiting him. Abraham has the ability to line up just about anywhere, but seeing as he spends most of his time on the right side he will be greeted frequently by the Seahawks best linemen, and pro bowler and Russell Okung. If he can’t find a way to get past Okung, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least, he might get shifted to the left side for a much more favorable match-up with Giacomini. Giacomini has struggled with fast pass rushers in the past, so this could become an issue. My bet though, is Abraham isn’t nearly as effective being hobbled by his ankle injury. King of hard to push off, or get any speed with a taped up, banged up ankle.

3. Russell Wilson vs. The Falcons Secondary

The Falcons defense doesn’t get a whole lot of credit or recognition in this league, and that’s probably because they give up yards like nobodys business. What the Falcons do well though, and the secondary in particular, is force turnovers. They are tied with the Seahawks for the fourth best turnover differential at +13 and are also at fourth with the Seahawks (and Redskins) in forced turnovers with 31 in the NFC. This is the same group that intercepted Peyton Manning three times in one quarter, so Russell Wilson had best be careful with the football. The two players in the Atlanta secondary that really stick out for me though, are William Moore and Asante Samuel. Calling these two ball hawking is somewhat of an understatement. I’ve seen William Moore make interceptions that required across field sprints, and few in the game jump routes better than Asante Samuel. Keeping the ball away from these guys is probably the best idea.

4. Tony Gonzalez vs Seahawks Defense

Putting Tony Gonzalez against the entire Seahawks defense seems like a bit of a stretch, to be sure, but nobody seems all that sure as to who will end up covering the future hall of famer. Kam Chancellor seems like a good option, but then again, it almost seems suicidal not having a safety over the top against the Falcons. My bet is that he’ll get a heavy dose of Bobby Wagner and Jeremy Lane. Maybe even at the same time for most of the game. If Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner can find a way to contain the Falcons best receivers, expect this passing game to go through Tony Gonzalez. The all-pro tight end still has it at the ripe young age of 36, and nearly hit 1,000 yards on the season (his best with the Falcons). He is motivated, and still one of the best in the game. He’s going to need to have a hall of famer type of performance for the Falcons to win, and I wouldn’t put it past him for a second. Malcolm Smith is an intriguing option in coverage against Gonzalez. He runs a 4.4, and his tackling ability shouldn’t be too much of an issue in the ground game because, to put this nicely, Michael Turner sucks. Smith has also been getting better as the season’s gone on. It’s a leap of faith, but I wouldn’t be all that shocked if you see him on Tony Gonzalez on occasion. Hopefully not alone though.

5. Bruce Irvin vs Atlanta’s Offensive Tackles

I wrote earlier this week on Bruce Irvin, and still stand by everything I said. The kids got game. Only problem, so does the Falcons offensive line. They are one of the most physical groups in the league, and they’ve also been called out a few times for being the dirtiest. Filling Chris Clemons shoes is no easy thing to do, but having your first start against an offensive line of this caliber is some kind of daunting. Bruce Irvin, like the aforementioned John Abraham can line up just about anywhere, but plays mostly on the right side. That means he’ll get a healthy heaping of Sam Baker. He’s going to need to find a way to beat him, and get to the quarterback, because if “Matty Ice” has time in the pocket things get a whole lot more difficult for the rest of the defense. He had one sack last week filling in for Clemons, and set a Seattle rookie record with eight. I’m guessing he’s up to the task.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Chris Clemons ACL Injury presents opportunity for Irvin

I think I speak for everyone in Seattle, especially Chris Clemons when I say the Redskins should be fined and then some for the field conditions on Sunday. If you told me they had a monster truck race there on Saturday, I wouldn’t even be the least bit surprised. The horrendous field conditions, in combination with what seemed like a harmless play led to the Seahawks best pass rusher, Chris Clemons, tearing his ACL. He is now out for the rest of the post season, and could potentially miss a big chunk of next year too. At 31 years old, you also have to wonder how effective he’ll be once he does come back from this injury too.

Nevermind next season though, what does this mean for the Seahawks of now? They lose their best pass rusher, and arguably one of the best in the game. Many are calling this loss huge, me not so much. Depth is becoming somewhat of an issue at this point, especially with Jason Jones having already been put on IR, but this loss is far from unmanageable. Especially against the Atlanta Falcons. That’s not to say losing Chris Clemons is a non factor, but this is a matchup that should play well to Bruce Irvin’s skill set anyways.

The 15th overall pick in the draft is second on Seattle for sacks, and leads all rookies with 8. He’s not as good as Clemons yet, but I don’t see a huge dropoff between the two. Different skill sets maybe. Whereas Clemons - although generally a pure pass rusher - has the ability to chip in with run defense, Irvin is about as one dimensional as it gets. That led to him only getting playing time on obvious passing downs, but did he ever take advantage of the few snaps he’d play. The good news, Atlanta doesn’t have a run game. Even better news, what little ground game the Falcons do have tends to run through the guards, and with Alan Branch playing as well as he is lately, good luck with that. Only 11% of Atlanta’s running plays are behind the left tackle (as per and with the Falcons averaging under four yards a carry, I’m not seeing any reasons to get nervous about Irvin starting.

Where Irvin might actually be an upgrade is in the pass rush. If Atlanta is going to win this game, it’s going to be through the air. Matt Ryan absolutely destroys opposing defenses when he has time in the pocket. The Seahawks have the corners for man coverage on the outside, but if they don’t get help from the pass rush it could be a very long day. Bruce Irvin just might be the guy to help out. He’s arguably the fastest defensive end in the league, but can still work the bull rush quite well for someone his size. He just might have the speed to get to Matt Ryan, and maybe force some plays in the backfield. Lord knows, Seattle’s gonna need him to.

Richard Sherman vs Trent Williams - Sort of?

    Big issue, or over blown media pseudo-conflict? The simple answer, non-issue. As a hockey player who plays in a similar fashion to Richard Sherman (oh, how I get under people's skin) I simply couldn't understand the media hype surrounding this. Believe it or not folks, this is exactly what Richard Sherman is going for. I would know. I'm sure he would prefer it happened during the game, but he probably got a good kick out of this regardless. Just two passionate, and extremely talented athletes letting their emotions get the best of them. Nothing to see here. Trent Williams even sent a "very classy" apologetic text to Richard Sherman, who now says he harbors no ill will towards Williams. For what it's worth, I'll be upset if Roddy White or Julio Jones AREN'T taking shots at Sherman by the time it's all said and done on Sunday. That's how these Seahawks cornerbacks play, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wild Card Seahawks Game Ball

The Seahawks got off to another well documented slow start this weekend. The entire defensive line was just awful for the most part in the early going, and it was starting to look like Alfred Morris was going to follow up his Week 17 performance with another dominant outing.
Chris Clemons was more or less invisible for most of the game, excluding the strip of Griffin in the second, and Red Bryant has never looked so slow. Brandon Mebane who is supposed to be the anchor in the middle, and the key cog in Seattle’s run defense was nowhere to be found. If the Seahawks didn’t find a way to stop the run, there was no way they were going to win this game.
Ultimately, Alan Branch stepped up, the run was stopped, and Seattle went on to win in dominant fashion. That is why Alan Branch gets the game ball.

He doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he deserves, but that’s all about to change. Alan Branch started to really turn it on in the 2nd quarter, and Will Montgomery who many thought deserved a pro bowl nod, couldn’t find an answer for the massive defensive tackle. He followed up a great second quarter, with a dominant third. He registered his first sack since week 4 against the Rams, and had another two tackles. On one of them he acted as a brick wall as soon as Alfred Morris hit the line of scrimmage. No gain was had on the play.

He would only get one more tackle in the game, a combined effort with Kam Chancellor, once again on Alfred Morris, but it was still a great day for Branch. His five tackles were his highest single game total of the season, and he’s matched his regular season sacks, just one game into the postseason. Granted, it only took one sack, but let’s not take away from what he did.
If Branch can lead the charge in shutting down the league’s second best rusher (per yardage), one has to wonder what hope the Falcons have of getting anything going on the ground. The Seahawks are going to need another performance like this from Branch next week, and don’t count it as out of the realm of possibility. The Seahawks are becoming perilously thin on the defensive line, especially with the tear to Chris Clemons’ ACL, and are going to need increased production by committee. I expect Branch will do his share.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Final Call: Seahawks vs Redskins Wild Card

A tough road victory and on to Atlanta these young Seahawks go. You could hear people tainting the win with mention of Robert Griffin’s knee injury before they even took the lead, but a win's a win, and who isn’t playing hurt at this point? Injured quarterback or not, the Seattle Seahawks came back from a 14 point deficit and won by 10. On the road, no less. That’s impressive.

Things didn't start well for the Seahawks. The Redskins came out running, and the Seahawks didn’t have an answer. Facing an offense very similar to the one Seattle works so masterfully, they just couldn't stop the read option. Morris had 35 yards rushing on the first drive alone, and Robert Griffin would eventually find Evan Royster in the end zone for his first receiving touchdown of the season. The Seahawks followed that up with a three and out on offense, and Seahawks fans were starting to get very antsy. The second Skins possession didn’t go any better for the Seahawks. The defense, once again, looked all kinds of average and gave up a short touchdown pass to Paulsen. After that it was all Seahawks though.

Many Redskins fans will point to keeping Robert Griffin in the game following their jump to a 14-0 lead as the reason their team lost, but let’s be realistic here: the Seahawks just dominated from the beginning of the second quarter forward. In every aspect of the game. Not all that sure a healthy Griffin could’ve beat this squad. The Seahawks were able to shut down the run, and take control of this game. It started with a field goal, and you began to get a sense that Seattle had shaken off the jitters. Then a touchdown pass to Michael Robinson, and then the final nail in the coffin, Earl Thomas’ interception of Robert Griffin.
For me, that interception was the real turning point in this game. Washington still had the lead, they still had life, and most of all the team still had confidence in Robert Griffin’s ability to compete at a high level up to that point. The Seahawks would settle for a field goal on the ensuing drive to take the game to halftime.

Going into the second half one could already see the pendulum swinging in Seattle’s favour, but nobody could have expected the Skins to be as flat as they were. Washington couldn’t get anything going on offense, and had a hard time stopping the Seahawks. The Skins were saved on a few occasions by Steven Hauschka’s left calf injury, that led to odd play calls in Redskins territory and a punt that, were Hauschka healthy, would have been a field goal. It wasn’t enough to keep the Seahawks at bay though. They just kept on coming, and Lynch would eventually give the Seahawks the lead with a 27 yard touchdown run, with Russell Wilson acting as his lead blocker. They would make the 2 point conversion, and get the desired 7 point lead. The Skins next possession would prove to be Robert Griffin’s last, and he was forced to leave the game (well overdue really) with a knee injury that left anybody who’s ever suffered one grimacing from the couch. Count me among them. On the same play that the Skins lost Griffin, they would lose the football, and the Seahawks got a field goal for a little bit of far from necessary insurance. Kirk Cousins came in and looked like a fourth round pick going 3 for 10, and getting 31 yards. Far from enough to rally his team, the Seahawks were able to defend their 10 point lead and move on to the next round.

Say what you will about Robert Griffin’s injury, but the better team won. Plain and simple. Yes it played a factor in this game, but it wasn’t the determining factor. Seattle out-gained the Redskins in yards 371 to 68 for the final three quarters of the game, and the dominance was systemic. In every aspect of the game the Seahawks looked better. Be it throwing the ball, running the ball, defense or coaching. Pete Carroll summed this victory up perfectly in saying “it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters” and with these Seahawks, I think it’s a broader statement that could apply to a long playoff run ahead.