Monday, November 25, 2013

The Final Stretch

Five games remain until the playoffs are upon us.

For the Seahawks, three of those five games will be played at CenturyLink Field where they haven't lost since #3 took the reins. When the Saints come marching in next Monday night-- they'll be looking to leapfrog the NFC-leading Seahawks in the standings.

Seattle will do battle with two Wild Card threats, both division rivals, when they take on Arizona (at home) and San Francisco (on the road). With the Rams playing well in the absence of Sam Bradford and the Giants technically still in contention for the NFC East-- Seattle has its work cut out for them.

Don't forget-- Seattle has the best record in the NFL.  The Seahawks are number one for a reason. They've repeatedly demonstrated that they can beat their opponents by any means necessary. But just as Seattle was beginning to gel and get everyone back from injury-- things went down.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Walter Thurmond is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.  It wasn't a performance enhancing substance and Thurmond was appealing the ban but has since dropped the appeal in hopes of serving out his punishment in time to return for the playoffs.

Not long after that news made the rounds, Michael Silver reported that Brandon Browner is facing a one-year suspension for violating the league's P.E.D. policy, as well. Although Browner denied the allegations on Twitter, Silver reported that he's facing a year suspension and went as far as to say the Seahawks were ready to move on without him. Let's hold out hope that Browner is being sincere.
Silver also said that Seattle is in negotiations to bring back Antoine Winfield and mentioned that Marcus Trufant worked out for the team today.  Perrish Cox may be brought back as well, but I'd like to see what we have in Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell, DeShawn Shead and Tharold Simon first.

You might remember, it was right about this time last year when Seattle faced an eerily similar situation involving their secondary and suspensions.  Seattle managed to hold it together with what they had left on the roster before their lack of pass rush put an end to their post season run.

Seattle is a more complete team this year and I don't expect these distractions to have any dramatic affect on the momentum they have going.  If Winfield returns, it's gravy.  If the allegations against Browner are true, then it might be the end of his time in Seattle. No matter what happens-- Seattle will overcome.

Monday, November 18, 2013

SeahawksFTW on The Pregame Show

This week Adam, Ally and I had the privilege of being part of a segment aired on FOX NFL Sunday's pregame show.  It was really fun and we were grateful for the opportunity to praise our 'hawks before a national audience. For those of you that missed it, here it is!

-- Chris

Alone at the Top

Seahawks    41
Vikings       20

The Seahawks look like they're ready for playoff football.  As it stands today, they have the best record in the NFL. I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that the 49ers share the same record as the Cardinals-- it feels good typing that out.

The new toy finally came out of the garage on Sunday.  Percy Harvin made his Seahawks debut against his former team and despite being used in a limited role, he looked spectacular.  Specifically, he made a tremendous one handed catch and had an electric kickoff return for 58 yards.

We also got to see the healthy return of Seattle's offensive line.  Their presence allowed Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson to have outstanding performances. Lynch had 63 all purpose yards and 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving) and Wilson threw a pair of touchdowns while amassing 230 yards through the air.

The defense was led by Bobby Wagner who had 6 tackles, a sack and an interception.  Clinton McDonald, arguably the most underrated player on this defensive unit, had a spectacular performance with 2 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.  When Walter Thurmond intercepted a Matt Cassel pass for a touchdown, Seattle cemented it's defense as the best in the NFL.  No other team in the league has this much depth and talent.

Seattle put on tape exactly what we needed to see-- a complete team with enough depth to beat you regardless of circumstance.  They are now 10-1 for the first time in NFL history and have a commanding lead in the NFC for the #1 seed in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for us fans, we're going to have to do without Seahawks football for the rest of the month. The Seahawks have a bye this week and won't play their next game until Monday Night Football on December 2nd against New Orleans, the second-best team in the NFC.

The Seahawks just need to handle their business for the remaining 5 games of the regular season. The first two of those five games are against their stiffest competition.  After facing the Saints, the Seahawks then travel to San Francisco to face the, dare I say 'reeling', 49ers. After watching the Seahawks on Sunday, I can confidently say that these last 5 games are absolutely winnable.  I won't be shocked at all if the Seahawks head into the playoffs with a commanding 15-1 record.

One last thing I wanted to mention-- if you watched the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show, you may have seen the SeahawksFTW staff (Myself, Adam and his dog Ally) on a pre-recorded segment on the 12th Man.  Rainn Wilson, of 'The Office' fame, was also among the clip montage. It was incredibly fun and an awesome experience for us.  I can't seem to find the video online anywhere.  If you're able to track it down, please send it our way.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Seahawks road woes put to rest

Seahawks       33
Falcons          10

For the first time all season, the Seahawks looked like the team that rolled through the latter half of the 2012 schedule. From start to finish they were gelling in all phases.  On the road and on the very same field where there season ended last year.

Marshawn Lynch was in true Beastmode form, rushing for 145 and a touchdown.  Russell Wilson was red hot going 19 for 26, throwing a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions.  The receiving group, which is supposed to be decimated by injuries, played remarkably. Golden Tate had 106 yards receiving with a touchdown, Jermaine Kearse had 75 yards and a touchdown and Doug Baldwin had 5 catches for 76 yards.

The most impressive group for me, though, was the offensive line.

With all that offensive production, it's worth mentioning that Wilson was only sacked once all game.  Not only that, but the team was once again without Pro Bowl center, Max Unger. Both Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie caught my eye-- and this time, not because they looked like a turnstile.

Atlanta has inexplicably struggled this season, but they're not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination.  Like us, they've been hit hard by injuries.  Unlike us, they haven't been able to find ways to stay in games.

Despite losing Brandon Browner to a groin injury early in the game, our defense shut down the Falcons offense.   This game showed us that, when our offense is firing on all cylinders, our defense can keep us in any game.

With the cornucopia of offensive highlights from this game, without a doubt my favorite play was when the Seahawks ran a flea flicker that resulted in a 43-yard touchdown pass to Kearse.  When you are able to pull off plays like that-- you know your offense is getting the job done.

Another great point of emphasis was the brief appearance of Christine Michael-- boy, is that guy going to be good!

The only thing that made that win even better was the fact that the 49ers lost at home to the Panthers.  Not only does that give us another game of separation from the 49ers-- it also helps us further because it was a common opponent for both teams. As you may well remember, Seattle opened the season by beating the Panthers on their home field.  Now that they've beaten the 49ers on their turf, we have another factor padding our chances of winning the division and securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

There is only 6 games remaining in the regular season.  Seahawks are certainly playoff bound but have two games remaining on their schedule that will determine their path to the Super Bowl.  Seattle faces the Vikings at the CLink this weekend and follow up that game with their bye week.  After that, they host the second-best team in the NFC (New Orleans Saints) on Monday night football and play the 49ers in San Francisco on a short week. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween is over but Seattle still scares it's fans

Seahawks    27
Buccaneers  24

Halloween might be over but the Seahawks had one last 'scare' in store for their fans.

Just before the first half's two-minute warning, the Seahawks found themselves down 21-0 against the winless Buccaneers.  Two things had never happened before this game:  Seattle hadn't lost a home game in it's last 11 contests and Seattle had never overcome a 21 point deficit in franchise history.

Yet, did anyone really ever think that the Seahawks were out of it?

Despite the fact that, for a second consecutive game, Seattle had let a rookie running back run for over 130 yards on them, victory never felt out of reach.  By now, it seems like we've all come to grips with the fact that our offensive line is unable to pass block-- and this game only solidified what we already knew about that group. Nevertheless, that didn't rattle our confidence.

After all, we have Russell Wilson.

For the most part, our defense had a bad game. As well as they've played to this point-- they've earned the right to have a bad game! We can't keep dismissing the atrocious state of our offensive line week after week and not grant the same leniency to our defense for one game.

Marshawn Lynch stepped it up big, rushing for 125 yards and carrying the offense on his back when they needed it most. Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate filled in admirably with the loss of Sidney Rice and in the continued absence of Percy Harvin.
With the Seahawks now perched atop of the NFC with home field advantage theirs for the taking, it is clear that they will need to continue to get better down the stretch.  The past 4 games have been against inferior teams where Seattle should have put up high-scoring statement games.  Instead, the team delivered Houdini-esqe escapes to victory.

I totally understand that being 8-1, panicking seems not only unnecessary, but even dangerous at this point. On the other hand, seeing how thin our offensive line is and given how poorly they've performed through the first half of the season, I think it'd be willfully ignorant to assume that things are only going to get better.  Believe it or not, things could actually get worse.

I understand that it's extremely difficult to find competent linemen at this point in the season but you'd think there would've been some attempt to acquire some additional security at the trade deadline. I obviously don't have the answer, but I'm curious what Carroll and Schneider would do if, say, Paul McQuistan were suddenly lost for the year?