Monday, December 29, 2014

NFC KINGS -- Seahawks 20 Rams 6

It's once again official: the road to the Super Bowl will come through Seattle. In a season where the Seahawks experienced it's fair share of turmoil, seeing this group return to championship form to finish out the final 6 games of the season gives 12s everywhere serious déjà vu. 

It's abundantly clear-- we have a dynasty here in the pacific northwest.

I'm not basing that on the fact that these Seahawks managed to leapfrog an Arizona team that seemed to be stronger than any loss it was handed. It's not because they beat a talented 49er team so badly that they've decided to blow it up and go back to the drawing board. Even securing the #1 seed in the NFC seems unimportant.

I can't imagine any team beating this team in the playoffs. Home or Away.

Peyton Manning doesn't scare me.   We kicked his ass in the Super Bowl and beat them again in the 3rd week of this season. We've swept the Cardinals this season, beating them by a combined 54-9.  Cam Newton has been outmatched every time he's faced off against Russell Wilson. The closest thing to a concern is Aaron Rodgers and he's pretty well beat up.

The way this team is playing right now, how could you expect anything less than a Super Bowl repeat?

This defense will be one we speak of for the rest of our lives.  Every player is playing spectacularly unselfishly for one another. Most of them have their ring and their contract but complacency is the furthest thing from their minds. It begins at the top with Earl Thomas and extends all the way to the practice squad.

Late in yesterday's game, with a secure lead, the Rams began to move the ball down field. Shaun Hill (who bears a striking resemblance to SNL's Taran Killam) hit Benny Cunningham in the flat on a swing pass that was all but certain to score a touchdown. As Cunningham lunged toward the goal line, Earl Thomas came in flying out of nowhere with a karate chop at the inch-line that knocked the ball into the endzone, giving the Seahawks possession at the 20 yard line.

Sure, it was a phenomenal physical exhibition by Thomas-- but it was the mental aspect that was most impressive to me.  Had St. Louis scored, Seattle would've still been up by a touchdown and had plenty of time to win the game. He didn't have to be excellent-- he chose to be.

It's plays like that, or Jordan Hill's interception of a pass thrown into the dirt, that exemplify the Seahawks defense of 2014. They're playing for each other.  They're playing for the love of the game. Most exceptionally, as they've gone on record numerous times saying, they're playing for their own legacy.
Yesterday's performance was yet another reminder that the lion's share of credit belongs to Pete Carroll for the way he prepares his team for the long, arduous season. Considering how much criticism this team's receiver group was subjected to going back as far as last season, to see rookie wide out Paul Richardson lead the team in receptions and yards in his first start, is truly remarkable. 

The Seahawks are once again NFC West Champions in control of their own Super Bowl destiny. Seattle will play at CenturyLink Field in the NFC Divisional Playoffs on Saturday, January 10th, against either Detroit, Arizona or Carolina. 

It's time for fans to adjust their mind frame from "Why not us?" to "Dynasty or Bust". 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pure Dominance-- Seahawks 35 @ Cardinals 6

The Seahawks completed their sweep of the division rival Cardinals last night with a display of pure dominance in all phases of the game.  As unbalanced as the final score looks, it doesn't even begin to tell the story of what happened on the field when the Seahawks secured control of their destiny in locking up the NFC's #1 seed.

Top to bottom, the Seahawks roster played at a Championship level. It all begins and ends with the quarterback, Russell Wilson. His statistical numbers may never earn him the recognition he deserves, but one needs only to watch him in action to see that this guy is more than worthy of MVP consideration.

Wilson threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for an additional 88 yards and another touchdown. He simply made the Cardinals top ranked defense look foolish all night long.

Marshawn Lynch missed the opening of the game with an upset stomach, but he returned in time to put up

While everyone acknowledges the greatness of the run, what's not getting its due praise is the down field blocking efforts of Ricardo Lockette.  Lockette, who has made tremendous strides as a depth receiver and a special teams standout this season, sprang several key blocks for Lynch on the way to the endzone on that phenomenal play.
113 yards, two touchdowns and one of the most incredible plays from scrimmage anyone has ever seen.  In what's being dubbed 'Beastquake 2.0', Lynch smashes his way past a bevy of Cardinals defenders en route to a 79-yard touchdown run.

Lynch's fantastic performance was supplemented by an additional 66 yards on the ground from his stablemates Christine Michael and Robert Turbin.

If you weren't going to give Wilson or Lynch the offensive MVP of this game, you'd have to give that credit to Seahawks tight end, Luke Willson, who had the performance of his young career last night.  Willson finished the night with 3 receptions for 139 yards and a pair of scores.

Willson wasn't the only pass catcher that stepped up into a larger role yesterday.  Paul Richardson was superb, netting 5 grabs for 52 yards.  Doug Baldwin continued to prove he has what it takes to be this teams number one wide out. Baldwin had several key receptions and finished with 113 yards receiving.

The only puzzling part of the evening was Steven Hauschka's trio of missed field goals.  Considering how great he's been this season in particular (and the fact he was a close second in all-time field goal percentage going into this game) it was perplexing to see him miss three kicks indoors, even if they were from long range.

The question everyone needs to be asking themselves this morning is "How in the Hell are we supposed to stop Seattle's defense?"  Right now, the answer has to be "You can't, so don't bother trying."

If you had to describe this defensive unit in one word, it would almost have to be 'suffocating'.  They're number one in defensive points allowed and defensive yards allowed.  They held the Cardinals to a net 29 rushing yards, 187 passing yards and a measly 6 points.

With so many outstanding individual performances, you can't just single out one player. Richard Sherman had another interception and the Seahawks had sacks coming from Michael Bennett, Jordan Hill, David King and O'Brien Schofield.  Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were making plays all over the field and Bobby Wagner lead the team in tackles with 8.

Consistency has been key for these Seahawks, but the one consistency they could do with out is the disproportionate amount of penalties being called against the Seahawks versus those called on their opponents.  Sure, there were a lot of justifiable calls made, but there was more than a handful of ticky-tacky calls that could've been made against the opponent that were seemingly only applicable to the Seahawks.

Fortunately, while this drives us 12s absolutely insane, it never seems to get in the players heads.

Seattle will finish out the regular season at home against the Rams. The Seahawks could use another dominating performance to fuel their momentum heading into the playoffs. They must make sure they don't sleep on the Rams, however.  Honestly, the Rams scare me more than any of the teams we'll be facing in the playoffs because of their scrappy nature and unrecognized talent.

Listen to any of the players interviews of the past few weeks and you'll find a common theme in their comments-- these guys are all playing for each other.The front office continues to make sure that great effort is rewarded with long term contracts and most of these guys have already earned a ring.  While that can very easily lead to complacency, the Seahawks seemed to have found a way around that.  They're playing for their legacy.  They're playing for one another.  Just watch them on the sidelines-- they're playing for fun.

Christmas came early for the 12s this year.  Our Seahawks have guaranteed a playoff birth and are in control of their own fate when it comes to securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Given how well this team has played over the past 6 games, you have to feel good about that.

Monday, December 15, 2014

SWEPT-- Seahawks 17 49ers 7

As Russell Wilson took a knee on the final play of yesterday's game, the clock expired along with the 49ers playoff hopes-- and perhaps the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco, as well.

The first half of the game proved a gentle reminder that this 49er team has no shortage of talent and potential. San Francisco came out the gate playing much better than they did in Santa Clara on Thanksgiving, but Seattle got it together in the second half and stepped on their throats.

 The Seahawks are showing the world that they are more than prepared to defend their world title. 

The defense is elite and the offense is once again finding its rhythm. Rookie receiver, Paul Richardson, has emerged as a reliable third down target.

While they haven't really given Richardson any opportunities to showcase his remarkable speed, he has exhibited talents that remind me of former Seahawk Bobby Engram. Richardson caught his first NFL touchdown in the 4th quarter.

San Francisco, meanwhile, looks to be on the verge of implosion.  By the end of yesterday's game, the 49ers were down to their 3rd string running back-- and he was banged up. Besides a handful of explosive plays, Seattle smothered the 49ers offense, sacking Kaepernick six times and stifling the run game after halftime.

With the unexpected loss of Green Bay to the Buffalo Bills, Seattle is now comfortably in the driver's seat of their destiny. This coming Sunday's battle in the desert of Arizona will decide the champion of the NFC West, though both teams will likely make it to the playoffs.

Although its worth mentioning that Arizona has once again found themselves in quarterback trouble for Sunday, that's been the narrative all season for the Cardinals and it hasn't seemed to stop the team from winning games.

Seattle is in a great position to once again have the playoffs run through the CLink, but even if that's not the case, I'd take this team against anyone in the playoffs on any field. The Seahawks have proven that their formula works and this team is built sustainably.

However, looking ahead to next year, it's anybody's guess where our greatest competition will come from.  Harbaugh's inevitable departure will undoubtedly impact the Seahawks/Niners rivalry.  Harbaugh made San Francisco continually competitive and he is the kind of guy opponents love to hate. The worst thing that could possibly happen would be seeing Coach Holmgren pacing the 49ers sidelines next season.

Nevertheless, I fully expect the 49ers to take another step back in 2015. As I said at the end of last season, the window for them to win a championship with that team closed when they lost to the Ravens in the Super Bowl-- and that window was nailed shut with "The Tip".

The question of whether the Rams or the Cardinals will emerge as the next NFC West threat comes down entirely on who is able to find their franchise quarterback in the coming offseason. Both teams are expertly coached and have rosters chocked full of potential.  Both also have glaring holes behind center.

Would it surprise you to see either of these teams attempt to trade up in the draft to grab a Marcus Mariota or Dak Prescott? Unlike the Redskins with the RGIII trade, both the Rams and the Cardinals have the depth to risk trading away the resources needed to snag the Heisman winning quarterback-- but will they feel the reward outweighs the risk?

It's a scary thought to imagine Mariota taking the reigns for either Coach Fischer or Arians next season.  Still, barring an Eli Manning-move, he'll more than likely find him self on a rebuilding team like the Jets, Titans or Buccaneers.

But I digress-- we still have to play both of those teams this season before the title defense truly begins. Right now, the Seahawks are only focused on Arizona.  If they play their cards right-- and they play these Card's right -- this Sunday won't be the last time they play in Glendale this season.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Always Compete for World Records

Earlier this morning, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was on ESPN 710 Seattle with Brock & Salk with his weekly recap segment.  Among the topics covered today was the crowd noise record that currently belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs fans of Arrowhead Stadium.

"Isn't it time to start breaking some records again? What are we waiting for, I mean, are we going to rest on our laurels?" challenged coach Carroll.

When the Chiefs reclaimed the title, I remember thinking this:

However, coach makes a great point.  We must ALWAYS compete!  Hell, that's about the only 'bragging rights' claim that fans can legitimately say they contributed to earning.

I agree with the coach here.  A good Guinness Record attempt could be a great way to make sure Sunday's game against the 49ers ends San Francisco's playoff chances completely while closing the door on the Harbaugh era. Perhaps the final game against the Rams would be a great opportunity to send the team into the playoffs.

Either way we need to get the record back where it belongs. I'd love to see a speedy recovery to Chiefs safety Eric Berry and the noise title returned to the Pacific Northwest.

Seahawks Ready to Soar into Playoffs

San Francisco wasn't the only ones to suffer a devastating blow on Thanksgiving-- I separated my shoulder in our annual Turkey Bowl game and subsequently haven't been able to write about these last two displays of dominance from our Seahawks.

While my shoulder has been all but inoperable, my eyes continue to work just fine.  What I've seen out of our Seahawks in the past two performances gives me plenty of confidence with regard to our Super Bowl title defense.

Starting with the Cardinals game before Thanksgiving, Seattle's defense seems to have come alive.  They continued to appear to be in Super Bowl form on Thanksgiving against the 49ers where they damn near held Kaepernick under 100 yards while reducing the Niners once coveted run game to a mere afterthought. The highlight of the holiday was seeing Wilson and Sherman feasting on turkey legs right on top of the 49ers logo at the 50-yard line.

After handling two tough divisional opponents, the true test came yesterday when they faced the red hot Eagles in Philadelphia.  After all, as good as we know the Cardinals and 49ers can be, we have to acknowledge the free fall both teams have found themselves in the latter part of this season. The Eagles, on the other hand, had just decimated a Cowboys team that had their way with our Seahawks in Seattle just a few short weeks ago.

However, not unlike last season's 4th quarter of the regular season, it seems like it doesn't matter who the opponent is-- Seattle is gonna do Seattle.

Wilson continues to be a magician on offense.  He thew for 263 yards and a pair of touchdowns while rushing for another 48 yards and a touchdown. Lynch had a hard earned 86 yards against an Eagles team that held the NFL's leading rusher (DeMarco Murray) to a paltry 73 rushing yards on Thanksgiving. Seattle's championship-ready defense held Chip Kelly's offense to 61 yards less than their previous all-time low under the revolutionary head coach.

Chip's got a history of complaining to the refs when his team isn't performing.
Despite the ups and downs of this season, everybody should feel great about where the Seahawks are at.  If they can manage to handle the 49ers at next week, who are coming off a loss to the NFL's worst franchise of the past decade, they should be playing Arizona for the division title on December 21st.  All signs currently point to both opponents continuing to trend downward, despite Arizona's comeback win against the Chiefs yesterday, which bodes well for the skyrocketing Seahawks.

The 49ers are a mess.  The Cardinals are on their 3rd quarterback and just put their best running back on IR for the remainder of the season. Seattle, meanwhile, is clicking everywhere.  The receivers are making great plays when their number is called, we're getting production from every running back, Russell Wilson gets better with every game, the LOB is back to form, Bobby Wagner is back to health and the defensive line is getting production from a committee of young players and veterans in the absence of Brandon Mebane.

Add to all of that the fact that most of the guys on this roster have been here before.  They have experienced what it takes to maintain focus down the stretch into a Super Bowl run.  Last night's victory has me fired up for these last few games.  I don't think there's a team in the NFL that can beat these Seahawks if they're playing their best football.  Unlike last year, I'm not the least bit worried if the Seahawks have to hit the road for the playoffs-- these guys can win anywhere.

Still, the Seahawks need to make sure they don't sleep on St. Louis for that final game of the season.  That match up could hold playoff seeding implications and the Rams might be the best .500 football team of all time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Acting out with Doug & Sherm

Seahawks teammates Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin treated us to a mock press conference skit to shine some light on the hypocrisy of the NFL's media policies.

The two reminded us of the $100,000 fine levied against their teammate Marshawn Lynch by the NFL for refusing to speak with the media while pointing out that they would not have given him that money had he spoke.

Sherman snuck in a few plugs for products he endorses (Beats by Dre, Campbell's Soup and Neff) as did Baldwin (Subway Restaurants, Martinelli's) slyly while making their points.

Sherman implied that the NFL tells players they cannot endorse alcohol while pointing out that the NFL's largest sponsor is an alcohol company.

These two Stanford grads have the smarts to recognize that the best way to raise awareness for issues is through comedy.  This brief video manages to get you thinking while making you laugh.  Time will tell if this video can spark up national debate on the subject.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Defense Rises-- Seahawks 19 Cardinals 3

The Seahawks defense came to play.  They were healthy, they were hungry and they knew their backs were against the wall.  We saw a Seahawks defense this Sunday that looks like they can be relied on for a playoff run. Arizona's defense looked pretty damn good, too.

Still, there's a glaring problem that looks like it could derail this team's chance at repeating.  The offensive line needs to figure itself out-- and they have to get it done by Thursday.

Russell Wilson was sacked 7 times yesterday.  Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin were held to 51 yards on 19 carries. Wilson was able to carry the team against this top ranked defense, but you have to wonder if that's a strategy that can be maintained throughout the playoffs-- especially since he may not have the 12s backing him up.

No disrespect to the Cardinals-- their defense is absolutely legit.  But so is San Francisco, St. Louis and Philadelphia's units.  We've got to get passed all of them en route to a repeat.

Rather than gripe about the areas of concern, let's highlight some of the areas where the team improved.

* Jordan Hill stepped up big to fill the vacancy left by Brandon Mebane.  Let's hope he continues to improve in his second season.

* Tony Moeaki proved that he can be a big-bodied receiving target as well as helping out as a blocker. This is a tremendous addition considering we won't be getting Zach Miller back.

* If you haven't already, go vote for Jon Ryan and Steven Hauschka for the Pro Bowl-- they've both earned it.

* Russell Wilson completed passes to 9 different receivers yesterday. 

* Marshawn Lynch is quickly becoming my all-time favorite player. 

Despite almost losing to a miserable Washington team yesterday, the 49ers are still 1 point favorites to beat Seattle in Santa Clara on Thanksgiving.  If Seattle can make the proper offensive line adjustments, they shouldn't have any problems handling their business. I am looking forward to seeing them whoop the Niners in their new home after my friends and I beat up on each other in our own game.  Enjoy the video below from last year.

Turkey Bowl Sixteen - The Tradition Continues from Egan El Rancho on Vimeo.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Something's Missing-- Seahawks 20 @ Chiefs 24

Between my Seahawks and my UW Huskies, this was an incredibly disappointing football weekend for me. Two games, lost by a combined total of 5 points, riddled with missed opportunities and bad breaks. Both games left me questioning what the future holds for these teams and whether or not they're on the right track.

The Seahawks lost on the road to a really good Kansas City team that seemed to be custom-built to beat them.  Alex Smith played his patented brand of mistake-free (and typically excitement-free) football as they hammered us with a mulch-faceted run game that Seattle wishes they had.

While there were plenty of disappointments from the Seahawks offense-- they really didn't have that terrible of a game.  Ultimately, they had opportunities to put the game away, but three times they went for it on 4th down and failed late in the game.

The Seahawks offense never turned the ball over, Russell Wilson threw a pair of touchdowns and they rushed for over 200 yards on a notoriously stingy run defense. That's usually more than enough to secure a victory when your team is predicated on it's ferocious defense.

But it wasn't.  And as close as this game looked by the box score-- it felt like the Seahawks never really had a chance.

The Seahawks defense had no answers for the rushing attack of Jamal Charles, Knile Davis and De'Anthony Thomas. They managed to take away the ball twice on fumbles, but it wasn't enough to offset how poorly they played upfront.

This team, as expected, sorely misses Brandon Mebane.  They still miss Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, for that matter.  The front line depth, on both sides of the ball, that carried this team to a Super Bowl just last year is simply not there anymore. 

I haven't been very critical of Pete Carroll and John Schneider because of the success they established so quickly, but this year has given me reason to be critical.  They have gotten too carried away with running this team like a college football program. The 'next man up' philosophy is a great premise, but it absolutely has its limits.

It's hard not to think about what this team's record might be today if they held on to just a few of the players that departed last season. The offensive line is clearly struggling without Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini.  The defensive line would love to have Clinton McDonald and/or Red Bryant right now. Chris Maragos would've been tremendously helpful in the games we were without Kam Chancellor.  Hell, even Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond would be nice to have as we prepare to take on the NFL's best team in the 9-1 Cardinals.

Something is missing.  Maybe it's a lot of things.  The Seahawks aren't out of it, but it's definitely getting dangerously close to panic mode. The Seahawks are currently tied with the 49ers for 2nd place in the NFC West-- three games behind the Cardinals.  If the season ended today (I hate that phrase, but still) Seattle would miss the playoffs altogether.

Every game for the rest of the season is going to be a challenge.  This is where the Seahawks need to figure out how to get the best out of what they have and find a way to make it work. The big question going into this season was how they were going to keep the nucleus of players from the Championship team in tact down the stretch-- but now that question needs to be who deserves to be in that nucleus of players.

The Marshawn Lynch rumors will only get louder with each loss and heartbreakers like yesterday's game will only intensify the emotions behind those rumors.'s Michael Silver interviewed Lynch after the loss to the Chiefs and his piece only fanned the flames of the situation.

My advice to the Seahawks front office is to take it easy on running this team like a college program. If there is any truth to the Silver column in the sense that Carroll and the Seahawks brass is feeding these stories to the media-- you're only putting your team in a bad spot by doing so.  If they sincerely feel that paying Lynch would inhibit them from getting extensions done with players like Wilson, Wagner, Wright and Maxwell-- they need to watch some extra film this week.

Anyone can see the problems that have arisen from the departures on the front lines and how that has created a domino effect of problems for the other position groups.  The lack of offensive line depth has created problems in both the pass and rush attacks just as the lack of defensive line depth has exposed weaknesses in the linebacking group and in the secondary.

With that in mind-- could you imagine the difficulties that would come from not having Lynch in the stable for next season?  It would put incredible pressure on Wilson to carry the team as a passer, which we have neither the receivers, tight ends or linemen depth to accommodate. Furthermore, it would likely force the team to rely on its defense just like they did in the Super Bowl season-- which we're proving we cannot do today, much less next season.

If you're not going to, at the very least, let Marshawn play out the last year of his contract next season, you're going to have to spend a draft pick on a running back.  If not to start, then at best they'll have to fill the spot on the running back chart vacated by Lynch.  You'd also have to spend a high pick on a playmaking wide receiver, because without the threat of a violent rushing attack, you'll be leaning on Wilson to make big plays down field.  As much as I love Baldwin and Kearse, we'd be asking them to step outside of their current roles that they are excelling at.

You'd have to then expect to invest in at least two offensive line draft choices.  I can't imagine Carpenter will be brought back after an inconsistent career riddled with injury.  Plus, you've gotta rebuild the depth. Factor in Zach Miller's situation with injuries and a high salary and you have to assume he's not long for this team.  I'd argue that you need to draft a blocking tight end to compensate for not having Lynch. That's 5 mandatory picks before you even begin to address the defense!

I hate to be focusing on next year when its clearly far too early to give up on this year, but apparently the Seahawks have been looking to the future ever since they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.  Whatever the end game for this season might be, the Seahawks better look long and hard at what happened this season before they make any drastic moves in/for the future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Seahawks Run Wild-- Seahawks 38 Giants 17

Who needs Percy-- or any receivers for that matter!

In Seattle's 38-17 victory over the Giants at CenturyLink on Sunday, they amassed 350 yards on the ground-- a franchise record.  Marshawn Lynch led the way with 140 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns. Russell Wilson added another 107 and a touchdown, Christine Michael had another 71 yards and Robert Turbin piled on an additional 32 yards.

Wilson didn't start off sharp. He threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.  Seattle is still struggling to find their offensive rhythm, but the difference in this game was how they leaned heavily on their greatest strength-- their dynamic rushing attack.

The defense was perhaps it's most crisp on Sunday.  The depth players are getting some valuable experience that will lend itself tremendously to having success through the playoffs and having guys like Byron Maxwell back-- who had an incredible pass defensed late in the game.

Unfortunately, the Seahawks were dealt a devastating blow in yesterday's game when they lost standout defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to a season-ending hamstring tear.

The Seahawks are in a great position to defend their Super Bowl title-- but it's not going to be easy. The final 7 games of this season can be won just as easily as they could be lost. Seattle must go on the road to the loudest stadium in the NFL to take on the Chiefs, who are built almost identically.

They then must return home to take on the league's best team (by record) in division rival Arizona, then 4 days later play the 49ers in Santa Clara, then head to Philadelphia to take on the red hot Eagles before returning home again to face the 49ers in Seattle. They wrap up the season with games against the Cardinals (on the road) and Rams (at home) in games that could have powerful playoff implications.

Since every game counts and you can't control the health of your players, Seattle will have to continue to build their game plan around the strengths of their roster. Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette must get more involved with the offense as they continue to slowly acclimate Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood.

Additionally, it might be wise to try to add another young tight end to the practice squad to get him familiar with the season in case we suffer more losses to the already thin tight end group.  Perhaps their might even be a big body available to shore up the defensive line in Mebane's absence.

It would've been nice to see San Francisco get eliminated in Sunday's game where they won despite doing everything they could to blow that game against the Saints, but now we have to hope that the Giants can get right after losing in Seattle to finish them off for us.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thank Your Stars for Lynch-- Seahawks 30 Raiders 24

I have to admit-- there's a part of me that wants to see Marshawn Lynch miss a game or two this year.

Not because I want to see more of what we have in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael-- but to have a full display for everyone to see just how much Lynch means to the success of this team.

Think about it:  There was a point in yesterday's victory over Oakland where Seattle was without it's starting Pro Bowl Left Tackle, their starting Left Guard, their starting Pro Bowl Center and left with only their converted defensive lineman at Right Guard and a rookie Right Tackle.

That's enough of an excuse for any team to lose a game-- but not a team that has Marshawn Lynch.

Despite the injury woes and the Percy Harvin blowback, Lynch finished the game with 143 all-purpose yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.  Don't get me started on how much more impressive his stats could have been if the offense could've shown an iota of restraint and execution.  Lynch had gains of 43, 20 and 11 yards wiped out by dumb penalties yesterday and many other such examples throughout this season.

Richard Sherman is the mouth of the organization that brings the swagger the defense is predicated on.  Russell Wilson is the face of the franchise that embodies excellence, hard work and competition. Marshawn Lynch is the best player on this team. Period.

At this point, Seattle would be foolish to not make an effort to ensure that Lynch finishes his career here.  Perhaps his cap number doesn't fit for next season-- but I assure you, he's not yet done being an elite back.  It's unlikely Michael or Turbin will ever come close to Lynch's level of production and reliability based on what we've seen.  That's not to say they won't be good franchise running backs-- we certainly haven't seen enough of them to make any concrete judgments.  Lynch is simply extraordinary.

Now that I have that rant out of my system, let me explain why I feel Seattle is in a great position to not only make the playoffs, but win the division.

I know what you're thinking:  Seattle barely defeated the lowly Raiders!  How can we possibly be getting that far ahead of ourselves to talk about winning the division?

Let's start with the Cardinals, who are an impressive 7-1.   They've suffered some tremendous setbacks with injuries-- but they've also caught a lot of breaks. They have a favorable schedule and squeaked out some wins that they might not have if not for a few plays.  It remains to be seen whether the Cards have the depth to make a serious push.  It's only a matter of time before the wheels come off, if you ask me. Bruce Arians is a helluva coach, though, and once he gets a few seasons to build his roster-- we'll need to be on high alert.  As for this season, I'm not sweating the Cardinals.

The 49ers are sitting at .500 right now.  That's right-- the 49ers are MEDIOCRE.  I love that!  Best of all, they're not in nearly the same injury predicament that the rest of the NFC West teams are. They're just plain choking right now and on pace to miss the playoffs. Unfortunately, after this weekend's game against the Saints, they've got a pretty weak schedule outside of the divisional games.

Still, Seattle is going to be in the driver's seat.  They'll start getting key players back from injury as soon as this weekend.  It's going to be on Pete Carroll and his staff to make the best of what they have while playing to the strengths of the players available.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coach says "We're Fine"-- Seahawks 13 @ Panthers 9

In his post game press conference, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll assured the media that all is well in the team's locker room. He went on to say that he cautioned the team heading into this season that there would be distractions of this kind and that they were prepared to handle them going forward.

Hopefully this tough road victory will squash the majority of these stories so the team can continue to work on the actual issues they continue to struggle with on the field.

The Seahawks went into Carolina for the 3rd consecutive year to face a talented-but-struggling young team.  Just like the previous two match ups-- Seattle squeaked out a victory.

The Seahawks continue to struggle with capitalizing on turnover opportunities. Tharold Simon dropped an easy interception and the first punt of the game was muffed, but recovered by the Panthers.

Kelvin Benjamin, who Seattle could've drafted had they not acquired Percy Harvin, had an
outstanding game against Seattle's defense.  Richard Sherman did an excellent job covering him, but Benjamin made a few plays in spite of the great coverage. You could tell there was a mutual respect between the two given the lack of any obvious trash talking.

The key difference in this game was Seattle's pass rush coming to life.  Seattle was much more aggressive in this game than they had been.  Bruce Irvin came up with 2 of Seattle's 3 sacks on crucial drives while Brandon Mebane added another.  Marcus Burley had a key interception as well.

Carolina has a great run defense-- which may have skewed the numbers Seattle's rushing attack was able to put up yesterday.  The Seahawks offense was able to generate enough of a run game to open up the pass.  Unlike almost every other game this season, Seattle took some shots down field which kept Carolina on its toes.

It was nice to see our backup tight ends step up in Zach Miller's absence and to see our two rookie receivers get involved in the pass game.  Both Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet should've had touchdown receptions yesterday, but the pass to Helfet was admittedly poorly thrown by Wilson and missed its mark. Willson had a go ahead TD in the 4th quarter of the game.

Seattle stands to make up ground within the division as Arizona travels to Dallas and the 49ers face off against the Rams.  The Seahawks will need to continue to build upon the improvements we saw yesterday when they face off against Oakland this Sunday in Seattle.  This should be a statement game for the Seahawks where they hang 40+ points on the lowly Raiders to remind the world of their championship status.

We're also coming up on the trade deadline and their are rumors of Seattle attempting to obtain a veteran wide receiver-- specifically Andre Johnson of the Texans or Vincent Jackson of the Buccaneers. Personally, I don't think that the Wide Receiver group is where we need to be concerned.  Seattle needs to be most concerned with defensive depth-- specifically linebacker and defensive backs -- along with offensive line depth and maybe another pass rusher to stir up some competition.

I suppose of the two, I'd be most satisfied with seeing Johnson join the Seahawks.  He's been one of the most solid, productive receivers of the last decade.  Jackson has been great-- when he's healthy, which seems rare.

I'm sincerely worried about the defensive depth down the stretch of the season.  Is Brandon Browner being used in New England? I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back given our DB woes.  Perhaps we could add a versatile veteran linebacker to patch up things while Wagner rehabs? We're a KJ Wright injury away from being in deep trouble.

I'm curious as to the feeling internally about the offensive line depth going forward.  Our starters haven't played well for much of this season and they're struggling to stay healthy as it is. Do we have the depth to make a big playoff run as we are or do we need help?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Time to panic? Seahawks 26 @ Rams 28

Just days before the game, word came out that Percy Harvin was being shipped to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick. At the time, it seemed shocking to most Seahawks fans that they would part ways with a dynamic player that they'd given up so much just to acquire-- only to receive so little in return. In the few days since the move was announced, it became more clear as to why the team was so anxious to admit their mistakes and move on from the Percy Harvin era in Seattle before he had a full season with the team.

There are numerous reports citing people close to the situation claiming that, in short, Percy Harvin was a real asshole.  Dating as far back as his high school days, Harvin was not well thought of with regard to his locker room demeanor. He fought with teammates and coaches alike, including a story that says he body slammed Golden Tate before the Super Bowl, giving him a black eye that is visible in post-game pictures.

It seems like the first few games of the season were spent kissing up to Harvin in an attempt to pacify him at the expense of the team. With Harvin out, hopefully the locker room will find peace, but getting rid of that headache doesn't begin solve the myriad of issues the Seahawks seem to have this season.

For starters, the team absolutely has a target on it's back.  Not just from every opponent they encounter that can't wait to get the best of the defending champs, but also from every official as well. This Rams game was a perfect example.

My opinion with officiating is pretty simple-- either let the teams play or call every possible penalty.  All I ask is that you be fair about it.  Calling every miniscule infraction slows the game down and kills momentum, which is detrimental to both players and fans. Letting the teams go at it is great unless it starts to get ugly. Whatever you do, just be consistent.

The officials yesterday were anything but consistent.  The Seahawks offensive line has been sloppy all year and clearly misses Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini, but there were some awful calls against them on Sunday.  The Rams had similar penalties, as well as more flagrant examples, that went unpenalized. 

The game ended with another horrible exhibition of poor officiating that rivaled the incompetence of what we see regularly in the PAC12.  Rams running back Tre Mason clearly fumbled the ball before going to the ground and from what we could see in the replay, Richard Sherman recovered it.

The officials moved the ball to the spot of the fumble and returned possession back to the Rams.  The Seahawks had no time outs and the refs refused to review the play.  The Rams quickly took a knee and ended the game.

Still, even if the poor officiating was removed, the issues with the Seahawks would continue to persist.

This team simply doesn't have the depth of talent it had on its Super Bowl run.  Because of that, we seem to be lacking the swagger displayed last season and we cannot seem to overcome key injuries.  Furthermore, we seem to have lost or forgotten our identity.

Seattle finally tried to get back to running the football, but injuries to Derrick Coleman and Max Unger affected that.  Add in the penalties and absence of swagger and you basically have Marshawn Lynch out there alone.  Lynch finished with 18 carries for 53 yards.  At times, the offense moved swiftly and efficiently at times, but something always caused them to stray.  Wilson ran too much and opened himself up to far too much unnecessary harm.

Special teams was absolutely horrendous yesterday.  Ultimately, they blew it for the team. For the second time in two years, Jeff Fischer burned us on a fake punt.  Now, I am not an X's and O's type guy, but I'd like to think that it wouldn't hurt your return coverage that much to keep someone in the middle to spy specifically for a fake. Same goes with the punt returned for a touchdown-- how do you not discuss in the huddle which corner you plan to kick the ball to before the play? That was embarrassing.

Our defense, which is supposed to be the heart and soul of this team, looks a shadow of its former self. Sherman looks like the only reliable cornerback on the roster, Cliff Avril has been a complete non factor, our linebackers cant cover and aren't pass rushing either. Injuries have been a factor, but not enough to be an excuse.

Seahawks have another tough road game against Carolina next week before they get two winnable home games against the Raiders and Giants.  In order to right the ship, this team needs to have a serious Tell The Truth Monday today.  They need to remind themselves that it's once again, them against the world.  They gotta get scrappy.  Defensively, they must pressure the quarterback early.  Offensively, they need to go back to what has always worked best for them-- keep the defense guessing.

Seattle was never more dominant than when opponents weren't sure what they were going to do.  Are they going to pick you apart with short passes to Baldwin and Kearse?  Are they gonna stretch the field with Harvin?  Are they going to run Lynch right at you or is Russell going to keep it and go the other way? 

Seattle excelled when they mixed it up and moved quickly.  They need to get back to that and before they find themselves playing for a Wildcard instead of repeating as Division Champions. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tell the Truth Monday: Seahawks 23 Cowboys 30

I was particularly excited about this game against the Cowboys.  I had the good fortune of being given a pair of club tickets right on the 50-yard line.  I took my girlfriend, an Oregon Ducks alum who had never been to an NFL game before.  I had told her that, while I was sure the crowds at Autzen Stadium were impressive, nothing could match the atmosphere of CenturyLink Field.

To tell the truth this Monday morning-- the Seahawks performance yesterday wasn't the only thing that disappointing me.

It had been a while since I'd made it out to a Seahawks game. As I said in an earlier post, because it's a pretty pricey experience, it's usually a once-a-year special event for me. The last game I had attended in person was Seahawks against the Patriots in 2012.  To let you know how long ago that was-- Earl Thomas still had dreads.

To tell the truth, 12s-- your performance yesterday was sub par.

I was incredibly disappointed with the lack of noise. I thought that maybe time had clouded my memory of what the 12s can bring to the CLink, but the fact that the Cowboys didn't have a single false start backs up my claim.

I know that its silly to fault the fans for a loss-- that's not at all the claim I'm making.  Perhaps it could've helped. Ultimately, Seattle's game plan was what lost this game for them.

Doug Baldwin complained after the game that there was too much talent on this team for them not to advance the ball better. While I agree, I have felt that the coaching staff, particularly Darrell Bevel, have been misusing their talent and putting them in unfavorable situations because of it.

Dallas did exactly what they have done all season.  Dennis Green would argue "They are who we thought they were!" They pounded the football on the ground to open up the passing game.  Why Seattle doesn't implement more of that in their offense is beyond me.

Instead, we've continued to run Percy Harvin up the middle with extremely limited results.  In fact, I can't think of a single play where we've ran Harvin inside that has resulted in more than maybe 6 yards.  Not only is it markedly ineffective, it subjects one of our highest paid, most talented players to unnecessary potential harm.

While 3 carries for -1 yards doesn't seem like much to attribute to a loss, Marshawn Lynch's 10 touches is grossly insufficient. It's as if Bevel has somehow forgotten how much Lynch's bruising run style had opened up their play action pass game over the past 3 seasons.

Dallas  possessed the ball an entire quarter of the game longer than Seattle.  To suggest that this had no impact on the outcome, as Baldwin did in the post game, is disingenuous. Had Seattle controlled the clock behind a steady Marshawn Lynch rushing attack and short, quick passes to his athletic receivers, they would've not only kept the game firmly in their control, but they could've opened up the playbook for more shots downfield and worked in some Harvin runs with success.

It wasn't just the Seahawks offense that looked overwhelmed Sunday.  Seattle's defense looked like they had no relation to the unit that led them to the Super Bowl the year before. Injuries definitely had an impact. Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas all shied away from the type of hits that have become their identity.

While I feel that there were tons of holding calls that were overlooked in the Cowboys favor, Seattle appears to sorely miss the production of Chris Clemons and the run stuffing of Red Bryant.  Even still, the defensive play calling had me pulling out my hair.  Whenever a running back would peel off his block and catch a pass in the flats, there was never a linebacker spying him.

Seattle must find away to get the best from the guys they have and put them in position to succeed. With the bye week behind them, Seattle must lean on its ground attack to take some of the pressure off its ailing defense.

Quick 3-and-outs are going to keep your defense on the field. If you're not getting any pass rush, your inexperienced and injured secondary will quickly be exposed. When that happens, you find yourself behind late in games, forcing you to throw the ball.  When defenses know you have to throw the ball, the can blitz at will.  When your most talented veteran offensive linemen are the ones drawing the bulk of the penalties, its hard to expect your line to play cohesively.

Seattle better rethink its strategy before they head to St. Louis next week or they will find themselves playing from behind in the division.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

MNF: Seahawks 27 @ Washington 17

After the game, Trent Dilfer referred to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as 'Magical'. He's been constantly referred to as 'special', 'gifted' and 'unique' by all factions of the media. Lots of creative adjectives have been used in an attempt to describe the play of number three, but there is one word constantly left off that list.


After last night's performance, wherein Wilson set the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback on Monday Night Football, you're going to have a difficult time accurately describing the game without that word.

Russell was simply spectacular last night.  He threw for 201 yards with a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 122 yards and adding another TD with his feet. Seattle's offense played unusually sloppy while the officials appeared to be on loan from the PAC12.

Percy Harvin had not one, not two, but THREE touchdowns called back due to penalties.  Seattle's Pro Bowl linemen, Max Unger and Russell Okung, were spotlighted all night and not because of their usual dominance at the line of scrimmage. False starts and holding penalties plagued the Seahawks all game. Unger left temporarily with an injury but returned to finish out the game.

Richard Sherman exchanged pleasantries with Washington receiver, Pierre Garcon  throughout the match. He said to reporters after the game, "Pierre doesn't matter in this league." When asked to clarify his statement, Sherman added "I mean exactly what I said."

Normally, this would be filed under Richard-being-Richard, but I think the Seahawks defense needed this.  Despite solid play through the first 5 weeks, they do seem to be a little Swag-deficient.

The play of the night for most people would likely be the miraculous, direction-changing scramble by Wilson where he floated a ball to Marshawn Lynch for a victory-solidifying first down. That was a spectacular play, but you got to save a game ball for Seahawks punter, Jon Ryan. Not only did Ryan continuously pin Washington back in their own territory, he had an electrifying fake field goal run that kept the Seahawks late drive alive.

Seattle returns home on the short week to take on the seemingly red hot Dallas Cowboys.  I, for one, am not the least bit sold on the Cowboys this season.  The Seahawks will have their way with them at CenturyLink, putting an end to DeMarco Murray's streak of 100yard rushing games and sending the Cowboys promptly back on track to the 8-8ish record they always own.

I know its really early, but I wanted to put this out there.  Despite the suspensions of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson and the injuries to Jamal Charles and Arian Foster early on, I'm still not confident that Marshawn Lynch will capture the rushing title this season-- simply based on how he's used in this system. 

BUT-- Mark my words -- Lynch will be in the consideration for league MVP when all is said and done. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday Night Crystal Ball

With a quarter of the NFL season already in the books, it's fairly safe to say that this will be an interesting year.  The lone unbeaten teams are perennial disappointments (Bengals, Cardinals) and we've been underwhelmed by teams that were supposed to challenge us for the Lombardi (Saints, Patriots).

The NFL is set up beautifully, allowing for teams in the cellar to climb their way out if they make the right moves in the draft and free agency.  The NFL doesn't have it's version of the Yankees and Red Sox because teams cannot buy a winning roster. You have to find the right coaching staff, the right players and keep it all together under the salary cap.  This gives every fan base hope at the beginning of each season that it could be their year-- unless you're a Raiders fan.

The one team that has managed to remain dominant in the salary cap era is the New England Patriots.  Since Bill Belichick took the reins from Pete Carroll in 2000, the Patriots have amassed an astonishing 165-63 record.  Only two of those seasons saw Belichick & company finish with less than 10 wins-- his inaugural season (5-11) and 2002 (9-7).  That's incredible.

What has made and kept the Patriots atop the NFL food chain for the past 14 years? They've had a lot of great players in that time.  They've had great coaching staffs that have moved on to teams of their own.  Still, with all of that, there's only 2 constants over that period: quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.

When it comes to two of the most important components of an NFL team, the Patriots have had two of the all-time greats for almost 15 years. Sure, they've had some great supporting casts around them over the years, but as great players have come and gone-- Belichick, Brady and success have always been there.

Seattle seems to be on the right path.  They've got their coach in Pete Carroll.  A proven winner just beginning his dynasty with Seattle.   They've got their quarterback in Russell Wilson-- who, like Brady, began his career as a late draft pick that found success almost immediately. The immediate future looks incredibly bright for our Seahawks.

However, after watching last nights match up of the Patriots and Chiefs, the distant future has me a little concerned.

Here's the dilemma: Tom Brady is still a great quarterback, but he is old.  He's not quite as great as he once was.  As he ages, his cap hit tends to increase.  While Brady is irrefutably deserving to be among the highest paid players in the league, tying up so much of your team's salary cap to one player makes it difficult to field a solid team from top to bottom. This has forced the Patriots to rely on a bevy of young, unproven players to fill a lot of the holes left in their roster by players that have earned a big contract through consecutive years of success.

Clearly, this hasn't seemed to have affected the Patriots much over the past nearly 15 years, but it looks as though the balance of experience and inexperience is wearing on them.  It was on full display Monday night.

This got me to thinking:  what if I'm looking at the future of the Seahawks?  We all know that when Russell Wilson's contract comes due-- he's getting paid.  Likely top-3-in-the-league-type money.  With Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas, Lynch, Wagner and more either earning or coming up on a big payday, you have to wonder at what point to we begin to see the band break up.

At some point, to some degree, it will inevitably happen.  The Seahawks built an incredibly skilled, young team and were very fortunate to have it all come together so quickly. However, as rookie contracts begin to expire, the pool of funds known as the salary cap begins to rapidly dry up.

Given that the quarterback is the most important position on the field, one would think that Wilson will probably be the last chip to fall. Will he be able to carry a team like Brady when/if the talent pool isn't so rich? Will the Seahawks find themselves in the position the Patriots are currently in?

I think we're safe, 12s.

After all-- how did we get here in the first place?  If you look back at the key ingredient in the Seahawks transition from a 5 win team to Super Bowl champions, you'll plainly see that it was Pete Carroll and John Schneider's remarkable ability to find diamond-in-the-rough talent in the late rounds of the draft and through free agency.

This was no fluke.  They didn't simply stumble into drafting Russell Wilson in the 3rd round.  It wasn't just the draft day acquisition of Marshawn Lynch for merely a 5th round pick.  It wasn't the Sherman's, Chancellor's and Maxwell's found in the late rounds or the home run early round selections of Thomas, Okung or Wagner.  It's all of it.

As long as we retain the services of Pete & John, this team will always be competitive.  The dynasty won't end when we cut Lynch to preserve cap space or when we have to trade a beloved commodity like Earl Thomas in his later years because we can't pay him what he's worth.  No, this dynasty will sparkle and fade the day the dynamic duo of Carroll and Schneider eventually part ways.

That will be a sad day, indeed.  Here's hoping that the trophy shelf is well-decorated before that day comes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Super Rematch: Seahawks 26 v. Broncos 20 OT

The Broncos made it their mission to bolster their roster this offseason in the aftermath of the shellacking they received from the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.  They improved their defense by adding guys like DeMarcus Ware and provided additional weapons for Peyton Manning such as speedster Emmanuel Sanders. While they definitely improved as a team, ultimately it wasn't enough to overcome Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

The game that was held in Seattle yesterday afternoon wasn't nearly as close as the final score would have you believe.  The Seahawks dominated for most of the game before Peyton Manning executed a touchdown scoring drive and the game tying two-point conversion.  There was a brief moment of concern for us Seahawks fans, but it was quelled when Seattle won the overtime coin toss and Russell Wilson lead his team on a game winning drive that was capped by a Marshawn Lynch touchdown.

Like the Broncos, the Seahawks made moves to improve their roster this offseason, too.  The difference was in the fact that the Seahawks didn't add marquee names to their roster and instead looked to better themselves through the draft and within the guys they already had.

While the Seahawks have certainly looked good through all 3 games this season, they've yet to really impose their will on teams like they had in previous seasons. This leads me to think that we've yet to see our team really hit its stride. With an early bye week coming next week Seattle will be forced to do this down the stretch.

While its still way too early to talk about playoffs, Super Bowls and end of the year awards, I want to say this publicly so you all can keep it on your radar: Marshawn Lynch will be an MVP candidate.  As spectacular as our defense has been, it'll be too difficult to discern a single standout player from that group.  Russell Wilson will continue his brilliance, but at the end of the year, his numbers won't hold up against pass-happy players like Brees, Stafford and Rodgers. Lynch, on the other hand, will continue to be the staple of our offense and he looks like he's more than up for the challenge.

I abhor the fact that Seattle has their bye week so early in the season.  Fortunately, we appear to be in good health through the first quarter of the season.  The Cardinals stand atop the NFC West, but like their previous hot start, you know its going to be unsustainable.  The Rams are preparing themselves for the Marcus Mariota sweepstakes while the 49ers are just one or two losses away from a total catastrophic meltdown.  Despite the early bye, you have to feel really good about how your Seahawks look and where they are right now.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Majesty of Gameday

There is nothing quite like going to a Seahawks game. The atmosphere of CenturyLink Field, the camaraderie among strangers and the possibility of witnessing history first-hand is worth the cost of admission.

The problem is-- the cost of admission ain't cheap.

I'm not getting on a soap box to chastise the NFL for gouging its fans, nor am I supporting the poorly contrived (albeit, well intentioned) argument that school teachers, firemen and police officers should switch salaries with professional athletes. Supply and Demand: I get it. 

The cost of attending an NFL game is both perfectly reasonable and absurdly exorbitant at the same
time. It makes sense given the limited amount of games, the incredible popularity and the tremendous production costs that make the games so great. However, for many of us, attending a game is a rare treat if not completely out of the question all together.

I've been fortunate enough to attend my share of Seahawks games.  I remember times when you couldn't give them away and periods like the Holmgren era and the present where they are as scarce as they are spendy.

I have memories that I will cherish forever involving the Kingdome, Husky Stadium and Centurylink.  I love being able to tell people that I was at the game where Tony Romo botched the place hold-- or simply having had the opportunity to have witnessed legends like Largent, Kennedy, Jones and Moon in action.

I was there, man.  I was there.

Times have certainly changed, though.  As admission prices, concession and parking rates have exponentially risen-- so has the production quality of the games and the technology of televisions and home theater systems.

Now, while I still make an effort to try to get out to one game each season, I prefer to instead gather with my friends, family and loved ones to watch together on a 60" Plasma television with abundant food and beverages from the comfort of a familiar living room.

However, the ultimate deciding factor in how I choose to spend my game day experience is the obscene difference in price between seeing the game live and watching it at home.

Let's say I wanted to take my girlfriend to the assuredly spectacular match up this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.  A quick search at shows the cheapest available pair of tickets for this sold out game going for $175-- and here's the kicker-- they're upper level endzone standing room only seats!

Right off the bat, we're out $350, and we're only getting started.

The next issue is transportation.  The cheapest and most preferable option, in my opinion, is to park and take the Link Light Rail.  Parking is free at the Light Rail stations, but it is extremely limited.   Even for Mariners games, I've found you have to get to the station about an hour and a half before the game starts.  I imagine it's even worse for Seahawks games.

So, the light rail will only set us back about $10 bucks, but isn't a guarantee by any means.  Most likely you'll have to pay for parking.  That can cost you anywhere between $10 and $100 plus gas used in transit. We'll meet in the middle and say $40-- bringing us to $390.

Now, because attending a game has become a special occasion, I've found that I have a tendency to almost always pick up some sort of souvenir to commemorate the experience.  It could be anything from a toy for my daughter, picking up your new jersey for the season or something simple like a program.  Depending on your budget and your restraint, you're probably going to drop about $50 on some form of a keepsake.

We've already spent $440 and we haven't eaten anything yet!

Mind you, there are thriftier ways to enjoy a game, but if you're one of 'those guys' you're probably going to skip out on the excursion to the CLink altogether. So, if you're not going to stuff a PB&J into your pocket, chances are you're spending about $35 to feed two people.  Don't kid yourself into thinking that you'll be fine foregoing sustenance for 3 and 1/2 hours-- that ain't happening. You owe it to your fellow 12s to maintain your energy to cheer throughout the game!

If we each enjoy a single $9 Miller Lite during the game, we'll have spent just shy of $500 for the experience. That's a lot of money for a lot of people. Still, it's an amazing, worthwhile experience for any fan, irrespective of your income level. Just as I'm sure Lamborghini makes terrific cars and they're probably well worth the price-- it's unlikely that you'll ever find my name on the title of such a fine luxury car.

For $500, you could host a KILLER party for you and your close friends to watch the game together.  You could even charge for parking or premium seating-- but I wouldn't recommend it. I watch the games with about a dozen of my dearest friends and we spend maybe $100 on food and drinks collectively. 

There's seldom a line for the bathroom, the seats are substantially more comfortable and you can converse with the people sitting near you without screaming.  As great as seeing our favorite team live is, it's pretty hard to equal the personalized game day experience.

There's definitely more than one way to enjoy the game.  Tweet @SeahawksFTW your favorite tips for the perfect game day at home with the hashtag #MyKindofGameday and I'll share them on Friday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Can't Get Right: Seahawks 21 @ Chargers 30

The Seattle Seahawks suffered their first meaningful loss since winning the Super Bowl and, boy, does it hurt.

The Chargers, a playoff team last season, looked extremely sharp and well prepared.  They didn't overpower the Seahawks by any means--- hell, the Seahawks looked like they were going to wake up and put the game away at any moment. Alas, that moment never came.

There were a lot of factors that contributed to this loss.  Just looking at the box score, you could easily point to Marshawn Lynch's measly 6 carries to being a factor. At one point early in the broadcast, there was speculation that perhaps Lynch was injured because of his absence from the field, but Carroll cleared that up with the sideline reporter by saying "We can't give him the ball if the defense can't get off the field."

The Seahawks simply had no answer for the future Hall of Fame tight end, Antonio Gates.  Kam Chancellor, KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner were all burned at one point or another by the former college basketball standout. Gates finished the game with all 3 of Phillip Rivers touchdowns and some crucial first down conversions.

The heat may have been a factor.  It was reported that it was as hot as 120 degrees in certain spots on the field.  Seattle was forced to wear their home blue jerseys which had to draw in the heat more than their usual white road uniforms.  Nevertheless, you can't hide behind that excuse.

San Diego dominated the Seahawks in time of possession throughout the game.  They systematically took advantage of the injuries in Seattle's secondary by picking them apart with dink-and-dunk passes and short but effective runs. Seattle couldn't adjust and their offense never made up for the lost time.

Mistakes plagued the Seahawks on both sides of the ball and certainly had an affect on the outcome. Zach Miller had 3 costly mistake that were the only reason his name was mentioned during the game's broadcast. Percy Harvin coughed up the ball on a kick return which completely killed any momentum the Seahawks may have had.  Ryan Matthews had 2 fumbles that could've swung things the other direction, but they were both retained by San Diego. Bruce Irvin added a stupid late hit penalty late in the game.

There was some controversy surrounding the 51-yard touchdown run by Percy Harvin in the first half.  The replay showed that he may have stepped out after the last defender dove at him.  Deion Sanders argued that his heel never went down out of bounds, and since the original ruling was a touchdown, they would've needed conclusive evidence to overturn the call. Whether it was conclusive or not was irrelevant the instant the PAT was kicked, but the broadcast crew hoped with all their might that the Seahawks would pull this win out so that it would be a controversy-- but it ultimately had no impact on the game outcome.

This was a win Seattle should've had. They were the better team and they had opportunities but they were all squandered. They might be coming home this weekend but it's not going to get any easier with the defending AFC Champions coming into town.  You have to hope that this loss will motivate them.

Judging from the preseason matchup against Denver, I expect them to use same high-efficiency, dink-and-dunk strategy employed by the Chargers yesterday.  Seattle must revert back to their mantra "If we Man up, we Stand up" if they want to put an abrupt end to that exploitation of their overly aggressive, high-flying defense.

The Seahawks need to get Marshawn Lynch established early and often while mixing in a few shots down field and trick plays-- none of these were utilized Sunday.  As much as every game matters, this loss is still just one game. Maybe Seattle needed this reminder that teams are going to get up for them every week.  The Super Bowl rematch is going down at CenturyLink Field next week.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ready to Re-Pete: Seahawks 36 Packers 16

What an incredible start to the NFL season!

The city of Seattle and our Seahawks were once again under the national microscope as they faced the Green Bay Packers in the NFL regular season opener. The pregame included performances from superstar Pharrell Williams and Seattle's own Soundgarden-- who was my favorite band among those that spawned from Seattle's grunge explosion in the 1990s.

Adding to the pre-kickoff frenzy was the ceremonial revealing of the World Champions banner and the raising of the 12th Man flag by the three of the greatest Seahawks of all time: Hall of Famers Walter Jones, Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy. Before a single second of actual NFL football had transpired-- the city was on fire with enthusiasm.

Then, the game happened.

Now, I'd have to believe that every serious football fan and analyst was watching last night.  After all, it was the first taste of 'real' football since the Super Bowl and there wasn't any other games on that night. That being said, hopefully all of this ignorance of Seattle Seahawks football will go away for a while.

Remember how the 'experts' were telling us that Russell Wilson still isn't an elite quarterback?  Remember hearing how he was merely a product of a solid running game and an excellent defense?

How about these guys on the message boards shouting in all caps about how Marshawn Lynch is selfish and we'd be just fine without him?  Remember them?

I'm curious as to what will be the first words from their mouths once they remove their foot from it.

Marshawn Lynch was spectacular. He finished with 124 all-purpose yards and a pair of hard earned touchdowns.

Wilson was great as well going 19 for 28 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air,
adding 29 more yards on the ground. Despite the loss of BJ Raji, the Packers defense looked much improved. All said and told, Seattle amassed 207 yards rushing on the Packers.

We finally saw the intended use for Percy Harvin-- and it was spectacular!  Harvin was electric whether he was returning kicks, catching passes or taking hand-offs in the backfield.

There was a lot of questions regarding the Seahawks decision to keep 8 receivers on the roster but after last night, we found out why.  Wilson completed passes to 8 different receivers last night.

Mistakes were few and far between for the Seahawks.  They played surprisingly clean by only having 4 penalties levied against them-- half as many as the Packers had.  Earl Thomas's toughness cost the team a turnover when he refused to call for a fair catch and subsequently coughed up the ball after being bumped by an opposing player while fielding a punt. Wilson also underthrew a pass that would've surely been a huge touchdown in the first half.

With the exception of those minor issues, Seattle was flawless and looks primed for a repeat.  If they're not #1 in the power rankings by Tuesday morning it will be a travesty. Byron Maxwell proved that, if your'e going to avoid throwing on Sherman, he's not going to make it any easier. Not a single pass was thrown Sherman's way but Maxwell managed an interception in his extra opportunities.

The competition won't decrease much next week.  Seattle is headed to San Diego next week to face the Chargers who were a playoff team just last year. If Seattle plays like they did last night, there will be no stopping them.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Seahawks 31 Raiders 41

Well, the Seahawks finished their exhibition schedule with a .500 record-- but that's certainly no cause for alarm.

Losing last night to one of the worst franchises of the past decade might seem potentially concerning, but given the circumstances, the Seahawks are more or less right where they want to be. It's not indicative of a lack of effort or 'playing down' to opponents.  I think it can be attributed to the coaching staff giving more playing time to players on the roster bubble than guys we know we can count on.

Offensively, my eyes were on Terrelle Pryor last night.  I'm very curious to see how his situation will play out.  Seattle will have to cut down to 53 players on Saturday and I cannot remember the last time they kept 3 quarterbacks on the roster.

Knowing that Seattle will most likely only keep a pair of quarterbacks, that boils down the question to who will back up Russell Wilson?  BJ Daniels should have no problem getting through waivers and onto the practice squad, but the same cannot be said for Tarvaris Jackson or Pryor.  Should we cut either of those two, they will definitely get scooped up by another team.

So do we go with Pryor or Jackson as Wilson's backup?  My head says Jackson while my heart says Pryor.  I feel like Jackson would win more games than Pryor as a starter.  Not many more, but even one more could spell the difference between making or missing the playoffs.

Jackson is more accurate of a passer, a better leader and more comfortable in the pocket.  Pryor is a much better athlete, can run for yards (with the size to take some hits) and has the benefit of youth on his side.  I want Jackson for this season, but I want Pryor for next year-- and cutting him doesn't guarantee his availability for next season.

If Jackson is cut, it will be sad to see him go, but he got a ring with us and is plenty capable of continuing his career as a spot-starting backup  or a stop-gap for developing a rookie on another roster.  If we cut Pryor, it will be disappointing having given up a pick to acquire him and without trying to fit him in at another position.

Look at us-- we're speculating, hemming and hawing over backup quarterbacks.  I think its safe to say that we're ready to begin the title!  Let the (regular season) games begin!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seahawks 34 Bears 6

The Bears had made such terrific additions to their roster this offseason that I was prepared to pick Chicago as the NFC North Champions this season. After the thorough shellacking the Seahawks handed them, you might think that my prediction was perhaps foolish or at the very least, premature, but I stand by that decision.

It's not that the Bears are bad-- its that the Seahawks are that good.

Russell Wilson is looking like a legitimate MVP candidate.  He was 15 for 20 with 202 yards through the air and a pair of passing TDs.  He added another rushing touchdown as did Marshawn Lynch in his limited action. The offense doesn't so much look 'improved' as it does polished. Golden Tate's absence was entirely unnoticed with Jermaine Kearse looking ready to take the next step along side a healthy Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin.

The defense lost a lot more than the offensive side of the ball in the offseason-- but you wouldn't know it from watching this game.  Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell are official, card-carrying members of the L.O.B. by now and Tharold Simon just needs more opportunities before he joins them.

Earl Thomas might be the best fit for return duties.  He had a spectacular punt return that should have been taken to the house, if not for a particularly athletic Bears punter making a last minute save. Rookie Cassius Marsh continued to impress.  Marsh along with O'Brien Schofield and Heath Farwell recorded sacks.  

I was left with only one question in the aftermath of this game:  will the Seahawks keep 3 quarterbacks on their roster? Terrelle Pryor has looked promising, although inaccurate at times.  He has tremendous athletic ability and is young enough to expect continued growth under Darrell Bevell's tutelage.  Let's not forget-- we gave up a draft pick for him.  A seventh round draft pick, but a pick nonetheless.

Still, Tarvaris Jackson probably gives you the best chance to win between the two.  We'd like to believe that we know what we have in Jackson and we seem to like what he offers as a back up.  His coaches like him, his teammates like him and the fans like him-- so long as he remains the back up.

Ideally, you'd want to keep both on the roster, but that would mean taking depth away from another position. I don't think that would be a wise move.  Do you try to trade one of them?  I would've preferred that we tried to convert Pryor to another position in hopes of getting more out of his size and ability but the front office obviously sees something in him as a quarterback and we've learned to trust their judgment. 

UPDATE: The Seahawks made mandatory cuts to reduce their roster to 75 players: OT Wade Smith, CB Terrell Thomas, OT Cory Brandon, RB Demitrius Bronson, S Mike Dobson, DE Jackson Jeffcoat, WR Kevin Smith, CB Thomas Wolfe were the casualties.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Seahawks 41 Chargers 14

After an uncharacteristic preseason loss to the Denver Broncos last week, the Seattle Seahawks seem to have been on the receiving end of a chewing out from Coach Carroll wherein I can only imagine the phrase "Always Compete" was reiterated ad nauseum. 

The team that took the field in Denver last week seemed a little rusty, if not completely unconcerned for the game's outcome all together.  

This week, however, looked a helluva lot more like the team that dominated teams heading into the playoffs. Russell Wilson looked remarkable, completing 11 of 13 passes while rushing for 31 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Collectively, the Seahawks rushed for an impressive 243 yards including a 44 yard sprint to the endzone by 3rd string quarterback, Terrelle Pryor.  

The defense continues to exhibit tremendous depth despite having some key personnel losses.  The Seahawks sacked the Chargers 5 times throughout the night. There was a little rust on display, but ultimately the defense looks ready to defend their title. 

Steven Hauschka was solid yet again-- he might be the most underrated/under-appreciated player on this roster.

The main area of concern  for me in the wake of this game is the question of who exactly will be the Seahawks return man this season.  The coverage units look outstanding, Hauschka and Ryan are Pro Bowl-level talents but who will be the return stud?  Please don't tell me it's Bryan Walters.  Having Earl Thomas back there makes me a bit nervous, too-- but for safety purposes as opposed to production concerns.  I think Percy Harvin is the best bet.  Sure, he's an injury liability, but we paid him big money to be an explosive playmaker.  We've got the receiver depth to overcome a potential injury scenario so I say let him loose!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Seahawks 16 @ Broncos 21

The Seahawks preseason opener was pretty underwhelming. The 45-minute lightning delay may have had a hand in that.  Maybe it was the fact that the Seahawks lost-- or all of the above.

I think the best answer for why I wasn't all that interested in this game is simple:  I'm ready to see these guys defend their title.

Typically, I'm one of those people that fervently defends the preseason as an integral part of the NFL season. For the fans, I think of it like getting into a hot tub.  You gotta ease yourself into it to truly appreciate it.  You wouldn't cannonball into a hot tub, would you?

For coaches and GM's, it helps to prepare you for the long season ahead. Depth charts are established in games that don't count against your quest for the Super Bowl. Playbooks are hammered out and mettle is tested.

But this year, it's different.

We're World Champions.  What few personnel losses we suffered this offsesason were immediately addressed in the draft or filled by guys already on the roster.  We know what we have and we know what we're capable of achieving.

I will try my best to offer insight and analysis throughout the preseason-- but I'm ready to see this dynasty unfold.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let's ease up on the 'Next Man Up' Kool Aid a bit

Preseason has yet to commence and there's still very little football news of note but one particular story is drawing plenty of chatter amongst Seahawks fans.

Marshawn Lynch is holding out of training camp in hopes of restructuring his contract.  Lynch, who has two years remaining on his current contract, is looking for some sort of new deal.

We don't know what exactly Lynch's demands are, but I don't think anyone is suggesting we give him a Shaun Alexander-type deal. It would appear Lynch simply wants more money and not necessarily more years on his contract. Quite frankly, he's earned a bonus.

The overwhelming majority of fans see this as a selfish move on Lynch's part, citing that by holding out of training camp, he's not a team player. Even Pete Carroll suggested that Lynch should 'honor his contract'.

Did we 'honor' Sidney Rice's contract last season?

Did we 'honor' Shaun Alexander's contract? 

Was Walter Jones not a 'team player' for all of his hold outs?

Carroll and Schneider have been nothing short of brilliant in their design and implementation of the roster since their arrival with few exceptions. We have every reason to trust them to keep this roster full of potential talent, but lets not get too drunk off of the Super Bowl and Carroll's buzz phrases that we lose sight of the fact that Marshawn Lynch is a one of a kind player.  Without Lynch's incredible, unique talent and remarkable durability, I can't imagine we'd have made it to the Super Bowl without him.

Keep in mind-- we've lost two starters from our Super Bowl offensive line.  We've also lost one of our biggest playmakers in Golden Tate.  We've seen a small sample of Robert Turbin and almost nothing from Christine Michael.  To assume that the 'next man up' will effortlessly take over Lynch's workload and production is dangerously foolish. If we suffer any sort of injuries on offense, be it linemen or receivers, that's going to create tremendous pressure for Russell Wilson.

We need Marshawn Lynch for this season if we hope to defend our world title. In reality, he'll likely get cut in the final year of his deal anyway-- will the same fans who think he's not being a team player voice their concern for the team not honoring his contract?

But we must remember this is a business, but also that for fans, the only thing that matters is winning.  If the team wins a Super Bowl, who gives a shit if the team's payroll is $10 million or $10 billion?  I can assure you that there will be no loyalty rebate check in your mailbox next season.  So what do you care if the Seahawks give a little extra money to its best offensive player?