Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Approaching this Sunday there was much that could go wrong, all that we had worked so hard for this season came down to one game. A first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs hung in the balance…for the third time this season. I guess what they say, ‘third time’s a charm’ came true for Seattle on this evening. Seattle, a team that is typically known as the aggressors, the bullies, were outdone by the Rams as they attempted to take that role against Seattle on our own turf…it backfired. In a rare display Seattle used some composure to let the Rams spiral out of control, highlighted by the rare feat of having four penalties called on one play, two by the same individual.
A Seahawks offense that has left much to be desired in two of the last three games finally found enough rhythm to hush the critics…at least for two weeks. The offense still had many issues passing the ball. The offensive line gave up four sacks, only one each to Robert Quinn and Chris Long…compare that to three apiece the first time they met this season. Russell Wilson looked sharper this week than he did last; he had less overthrown balls to his receivers, showing he felt more comfortable in the pocket. His stat line still wasn’t great, 15-23 for 158 yards, but when Marshawn Lynch can have a (nearly) 100 yard game rushing we can take that sort of stat line from Russell.
It is interesting to note that Baldwin did not catch a single pass and was only targeted once. Tate had 8 receptions with 129 yards including his 47 yard touchdown reception, which looked surprisingly similar to his catch during the last game against the Rams…minus the hand gestures and taunting. Zach Miller contributed nicely and it looks like he will have to continue to do so with Luke Willson looking like he may be out for a long time (still to be determined as of this writing).
It was nice to see Darrell Bevell use a little variety in his play calling, however I still think that many times it is pretty stagnant. Can we use a bubble screen once in a while? How about roll the pocket out? We have not used the read option in so long that it now seems like a foreign term. One thing they did well was running on the edge. They didn’t continually pound it into the heart of the offensive line but instead ran off-center, allowing Lynch to get a few carries longer than 3 yards.
The Seahawk defense was spec….tacular! I can’t list any superlative that hasn’t already been written about this team and do them justice. They held Zac Stacy to 15 total yards, which kept him under 1,000 yards for the season. This was a major feat considering that St. Louis had 200 total rushing yards, 134 to Zac Stacy during their last meeting with the Seahawks. Seattle’s defensive line had one job to do…create pressure, whether on the quarterback or running back. They did a good job of collapsing the pocket and taking away any running holes for Stacy. Although they only got two sacks on Clemens they were around him a lot.
Our secondary continues to prove why they are the best. Even the re-instatement of our previous starting cornerback, Walter Thurmond, couldn’t make it into the starting line up because his back up, Byron Maxwell, has been playing well. This secondary is deep. Nice pressure up front led to Clemens throwing an errant pass into the waiting arms of Malcolm Smith giving Seattle 7 points early in the 1st quarter. We had a chance for a third interception, but in this case of ‘hawking’ to the ball we had three defenders all going for the ball, each canceling the other out, and nobody coming down with it.
Finally! Finally a team that had more penalties than we did. St Louis had a total of 12 penalties for 87 yards compared to our 7 penalties for 65 yards, although this is akin to cheering because your friend lost his job before you did…they are both bad. I am tempted to break out some old school witch’s spell to break this hex…just not sure where to get eye of newt.
Seattle did what they originally set out to do, win the NFC West, secure the number one seed in the NFC along with a first round bye and home field advantage. They got out to a tremendous start to the season and then limped offensively into the the last few weeks, they now have two weeks to figure things out. If you would have told me the Seahawks would be 13-3 this season I would have been ecstatic after having looked at their schedule. All in all what a fun season to root for our beloved Seahawks. Now the debates begin, who is the best match up for Seattle? In all honesty I have my opinion and could open this up for debate, but I am going to take this opportunity to just relish in the moment and let this accomplishment sink in before I have to start thinking about who we will be seeing at the CLink.