I wish I had the time and resources to go back and watch yesterday's performance with a fine-tooth comb. Alas, I don't-- but anyone who watched Sunday's game against the 49ers and compared it against last week's match up with Arizona would be hard pressed to deny that the play calling yesterday was tremendously better than the previous week. It was arguably Darrell Bevell's best game of the season as far as play calling is concerned.
I'm not trying to take anything away from the outstanding performance of Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett or Russell Wilson. Those guys played with serious intensity and a sense of urgency that this team needs to rely on as the Seahawks attempt to win out.
As much as I have dogged Bevell for our losses, I have to give the man his due for yesterday's win.
He figured it out. He kept the tempo up when he needed to and controlled the clock when we had to. The incorporation of slants and screen passes from formations that play to the team's strengths was spot on. Everything I bitched about in the previous game was addressed and corrected yesterday. Hats of to Bevell for showing he's not as stubborn as I thought he was.
With all those adjustments, Seattle was still able to play to their identity. They ran the ball with authority (255 yards total) and they closed out with their defense. They opened up the run with the short pass game, softened them up with the pure physical rushing of Rawls and they took shots down field when they could. They didn't turn the ball over and they got everyone involved on offense.
This was a huge game for the guys we consider the future of this team. Thomas Rawls, an undrafted rookie who showed enough in camp to push Christine Michael and Robert Turbin off the roster, had not only his career best performance-- but one of the best rushing performances by a rookie in NFL history.
Rawls had 209 yards rushing on 30 carries with a touchdown and added 46 yards receiving with another TD. Lockett had 4 grabs for 48 yards and a pair of touchdowns with Wilson throwing for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns with no turnovers. Wilson completed 83% of his passes and was only sacked twice.
This is the style and production we will need to see out of our offense every week until the season is over. If we end up losing Marshawn Lynch to season ending hernia surgery-- that is going to be extremely difficult to pull off.
Rawls has shown that he has the skills and passion to be a big part of this team's future. His post game press conference was refreshing to watch. I saw a player who was simply thrilled to be there. Thrilled to be an NFL running back. Grateful for the opportunity and aware of what it takes to make it last. After each question of the press conference, he flashed a smile that almost said "This is so cool! I've made it to the podium!" This kid relishes every aspect and every opportunity of this game. It's hard not to root for him.
We're not goldfish-- we can't dismiss everything Marshawn has done for this team, year in and year out. The identity that he built. The culture he promoted here. No one has done it like Lynch, and were we to lose him, those would be incredible shoes to fill. I wouldn't expect Rawls to be able to do it on his own. There's not much we can do this season, so we will have to wait and see. Hopefully Rawls emergence will buy some time for Lynch to get healthy for a playoff run. Let's not look too far ahead right now.
After the Cardinals pulled off a comeback win last night against the Bengals, it's pretty safe to bet that Seattle will be vying for a Wild Card spot. The slow start to the season cost Seattle any real shot at winning the division, but a strong finish could certainly punch our ticket to the playoffs. The Seahawks are 5-5, their remaining six opponents are 30-30 and they'll be home for half of those games.
The defense has to improve down the stretch. Carey Williams has been such a liability, he was finally benched and replaced by a reserve safety. Seattle has been abysmal when it comes to creating turnovers on defense.
There were at least 3 interceptions that were dropped in that game with Blaine Gabbert having the best game of his career. Big Ben and Carson Palmer are the only decent QBs this team has left to face, but if you're letting a former bust like Gabbert come in to your house and ball out-- its obvious you need to tighten up the screws and shake things up a bit.
December is going to be an exciting month for these Seahawks. They may have had some bad breaks early this season, but they'll be catching some down the stretch. The Ravens lost Joe Flacco and Justin Forsett for the year. Pittsburgh is coming in here banged up. The Vikings were brought back to reality by the Packers and the Browns are Johnny Football's team for the rest of the year.
Seattle just needs to handle their business to get in.