Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
“Oh yes, right on time. Come in, remove your shoes and lie on this couch. I am going to read off a statement and you will tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. —ahem—-‘The Seattle Seahawks will beat the New Orleans Saints 34-7, hold Drew Brees to 147 yards of passing and Jimmy Graham to 42 yards of receiving’.” ….Preposterous you say? You think I am a quack? Well time to live in the here and now because that is what happened on MNF.
This is the game that I have been anticipating since the Seahawks demolished San Francisco in week 2. It was a complete game, but more importantly, it was a complete game against a perceived dominant foe. Nothing like beating back your competition into submission. It is one thing to beat up on teams you are supposed to demolish but it is something entirely different to do it to the team that is arguably the second best in the NFC.
From the opening series the Seahawks were flying to the ball (…see what I did there). The defense was stellar in all aspects. I talked in my previous article about how Drew Brees likes to step up into the pocket in order to throw the ball, but in this game our defensive line did not give him that opportunity. They collapsed the pocket forcing him to get rid of the ball prematurely. Our defense only had 1 sack but they put enough pressure on Brees to force him out of his comfort zone. This was highlighted with Cliff Avril getting his paw on Brees’ arm and forcing the ball loose, landing ever so softly into the waiting arms of Michael Bennett after which he rumbled to the promised land….and then a small earthquake was registered. All in a days work for these Seahawks.
Our secondary was impenetrable, despite missing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. Our replacements, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell, did not miss a beat. The fact that I didn’t hear their names most of the evening meant that they were doing their job. What really stands out is the fact that we were going against one of the most prolific passers in the game today and we held him to 144 yards, his least amount in many years. Couple that with holding Jimmy Graham, one of the best receivers/TE’s in the game, to 42 yards receiving…that is a victorious recipe in anybody’s book.
The Saint’s collective running backs were equaled in output by Marshawn Lynch and beaten by Russell Wilson…the game’s leading rusher. The Saints moved away from the running attack very quickly when it was apparent that that course of action was going to prove fruitless against our stout line. They turned their attention fully to the passing game, the 3rd best in the NFL, and they were held without any big plays or quick strikes. In fact, their longest pass was 20 yards and their longest run was 12 yards. I still can’t believe I am typing those numbers when you think of the kind of numbers New Orleans has put up this season. New Orleans only scoring drive took over 8 minutes and needed several key 3rd down completions/penalties to keep it going.
Seattle’s offense showed a lot of variety throughout the game, showcasing the read option, roll outs, screens, misdirections, big plays, scrambles, straight runs, slants and even a pin-ball drill resulting in a touchdown. And why did all of these plays work? Our offensive line provided time. We had a completely healthy line that provided a pocket to pass from, not to mention guards pulling and holes opening to add variety to our offense. The Saints best lineman, Cameron Jordan, had three tackles and didn’t hit Wilson once, not bad for an offensive line that has taken a lot of heat this year.
Defensively, New Orleans threw a multitude of looks at Seattle and tried to rattle Wilson with Blitz packages…which seemed to backfire on New Orleans as Wilson was just as good, if not better when blitzes were headed his way. It was one of these blitzes that Wilson connected with Baldwin for a huge completion. If the other team’s offense can do that a couple of times to negate the blitzes then, defensively, you suddenly become gun shy.
It was nice to see Wilson spread the wealth to 9 different receivers. Our receivers are so diverse you have no idea who will lead in receiving yards from week to week. Case in point, Zach Miller led it on Monday, making it the second time he has led all season, Lynch twice, Tate four times and Baldwin four times, that is a pretty balanced attack. From a winning perspective I would much rather have a balanced team; one where I don’t know who will lead in receiving yards from week to week vs one go to guy. Defensively you can’t hone in on any one receiver to shut this group down, those are the makings of an offensive juggernaut.
Seattle dominated the time of possession, which is easy to do with several long Seattle scores and the fact that New Orleans had several ‘3 and outs’. The only perceived negative in this game were the number of penalties the Seahawks committed. I understand that that is part of an aggressive team, but please in the name of all that is holy, can we cut back on the penalties?
And not to add insult to injury but the Saints couldn’t leave Seattle Monday night because their plane had mechanical trouble, thus forcing them to stay an extra night at the scene of the carnage. They already had a short week in preparation for Carolina, a rather important game, this coming Sunday, now their week got even shorter. I am sure there are no conspiracy theories being conjured up.
“Okay, your time is up. I think that was a good session. We still need to work on a few things however. Next time we will use Rorschach cards and word association, where I might say something like ‘superbowl’ and you would say ‘Seahawks’.”
Oh and just for fun we’ll take back that loudest stadium thing…thanks KC for holding onto it for a few weeks but it is now safely back where it belongs. Go Hawks!