Military Sea Hawkers! You are invited to attend the annual Sea Hawker banquet. Since it is also Armed Forces Day, our military men and women will be honored throughout the evening.
Have a great time, meeting other Sea Hawkers, meet Seahawks Alumni, Blue Thunder drumline, Sea Gals, Blitz, and win prizes!
Saturday, May 20, 2017
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7:00 p.m. Program
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The Seahawks turned a scoreless first quarter into a second and fourth quarter scoring extravaganza, revitalizing the run game and nearly shutting out the Detroit Lions as they rumbled to a 26-6 win on Saturday night.
Thomas Rawls rushed for 161 yards on 27 carries (5.96 ypc). The offensive line- a constant source of frustration, threw key blocks, and fullback Marcel Reece blew the doors off of Detroits’ defensive linemen while the Rawls train kept churning up yards. Rawls added a rushing score on the ground, and even when Alex Collins carried in relief of Rawls, the Seahawks ate the clock up. Rawls’ longest carry came on a 32 yard run that looked like he could find the end zone. He appeared rejuvenated, coming off of multiple games with less than 50 rushing yards/game.
Russell Wilson looked energized, his first game ditching his knee brace (even if he ended up with negative yards rushing). He fluidly moved in and out the pocket, finding Doug Baldwin for 11 times on 12 targets for 104 yards and a touchdown. One of those targets was an unbelievable sight, with Baldwin pinning the ball to his butt cheek as he went to the ground. It was called an incomplete pass, but Baldwin pleaded with Pete Carroll, who challenged the call and got it overturned. The touchdown was a byproduct of two Lions defenders getting beat simultaneously by Jermaine Kearse and Baldwins double moves. Wilsons intended receiver was Kearse, but Baldwin and him arrived in the same spot, with Baldwin reaching out and tipping the ball to himself. Jimmy Graham caught 3 of his 4 targets for 37 yards. Grahams’ numbers may seem low (target wise), but he averaged 12.3 yards per reception.
The darling of the night though, was Paul Richardson. Richardson caught his second touchdown of the season, (his first coming at home versus Arizona two weeks ago). He caught 3 of his 4 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a thing of pure beauty, a leaping left handed catch (on 4th down from the two yard line!) that was marred instantly by his placement of his right hand, which got caught in a Lions cornerbacks face mask, as the cornerback was trying to push him sideways. The refs initially called pass interference on the Lions, when it appeared it should have likely been offsetting penalties and a replay of downs. He also made another spectacular catch near the sideline with (you guessed it!) one hand. He seems to be filling in seamlessly for Tyler Lockett.
Even if you take the Richardson touchdown away, the ‘Hawks would still have won this game handily. Detroit never got closer than the Seattle 35 yard line, and only crossed midfield twice to kick two field goals. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett teed off on Matt Stafford for three sacks total. DeShawn Shead defensed 3 passes (Bennett had one as well), but smothered receivers that he was assigned all game long. Most of Detroits receivers struggled to get momentum, as quick passing drives backed the only option available after Zach Zenners 11 rushes for 34 yards didn’t give them much spark (he did catch all six of his targets in the passing game for 59 yards receiving). Seattle destroyed a Detroit 4th down attempt for a loss, giving them prime field location.
Ziggy Ansah and Haloti Ngata combined for three sacks, but the Detroit defense only recorded one pass defensed of Russell Wilson, further cementing what we already knew: Wilson was on fire in regards to passing.
Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals, and missed just one of his three PAT kicks. Newly signed long snapper Tyler Ott seemed to fit in just fine in his first game as a Seahawk, as did veteran kick and punt returner Devin Hester. That will be essential going forward, as now the ‘Hawks go on the road to face a well rested Atlanta Falcons team fresh off of a bye week for the divisional round of the playoffs.
Seattle returns to Atlanta for divisional round, the first time since 2012 when a furious Russell Wilson comeback (to take the lead in the fourth quarter after the ‘Hawks were down big) saw Atlanta march down the field and kick a field goal to win the game. This game comes after the hotly contested Seattle victory at home in Week 6, where we first witnessed Richard Sherman’s outburst on the sidelines after blown coverages allowed the Falcons to score 21 points in the third quarter. Atlanta tried to get in position to deliver the fatal Field Goal, but the pass fell incomplete to Julio Jones as he got tangled up in Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.
Atlanta’s fan base felt they were robbed of a pass interference call, when there was a missed illegal hands to the face committed by Jones on Sherman. One thing is for sure-Atlanta has whipped most of the teams they have faced handily by running up the score early due to a dual rushing attack by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Their receiving corps has benefitted greatly from their offseason additions, and there is the potential that this is a shootout game, similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers matchup of last season. Seattle finds themselves without Earl Thomas this time, but was missing Kam Chancellor then. Both Michael Bennett and Thomas Rawls were both injured in that game, and Seattle still put up a worthy fight.
After the game, head coach Pete Carroll said that: “Boy that one really felt good. That was the game that we’ve been looking for, style wise, fit wise.” He also added, when asked if Doug Baldwin was the best receiver he’s had that: “He’s the quickest that I’ve ever coached. I’ve never seen anybody that can change direction so quickly, and abruptly control his body, at the line of scrimmage, or down the field.” With back to back 1,000 yard seasons, the praise just seems to write itself. Seattle will need another big game out of him, Graham, Kearse, and Richardson if the new found run game cannot find footing against Atlanta S 29th ranked run defense. The game is on FOX, Saturday at 4:35pm.
– GO ‘HAWKS!
The storyline should be a familiar one by now- the 49ers imminent collapse when facing the men in Blue and Green. That wouldn’t be the case in this game, in which the 49ers refused to go into the offseason quietly.
Seattle started out strong, with Bobby Wagner recovering a Colin Kaepernick fumble at the 25. The Seahawks could advance no further than he 13, and settled for a Steven Hauschka Field Goal. The 49ers would get the ball back, and set from the shotgun, Kapernick led a no huddle drive to take four minutes off of the clock and hand the ball to Shaun Draughn for the first of two rushing touchdowns he would score on the day. On the second touchdown, the Niners converted two fourth downs, one from the Seattle 1-yard line, and it was 14-3, San Francisco less than one minute into the second quarter. Seattle would keep it close with another Hauschka Field Goal from 32 yards out.
On the very next drive, (ex-Seahawk) DuJuan Harris fumbled the ball, which Frank Clark recovered near mid field. Russell Wilson found Luke Wilson for an 11 yard strike a few plays later. The defense quickly forced a three and out, and Richard Sherman called for a fair catch at the Seattle 9-yard line. Russell Wilson handed off to Thomas Rawls for a 7-yard run, than threaded a deep pass (41-yards!) to Doug Baldwin, who landed awkwardly on top of a 49ers player, who appeared to break his ankle. After firing a short incomplete pass to Baldwin on the next play, Wilson found Jimmy Graham for an incredible jump ball near the goal line for 42-yards. Rawls rumbled in for the touchdown, but Hauschka’s PAT kick was blocked by the 49ers. Seattle 19, San Francisco 14.
Seattle stalled again twice in the red zone, settling for Field Goals once in the third and fourth quarter, but once again the Special Teams component of the ‘Hawks nearly doomed them. An errant snap by Nolan Freese sailed far over Jon Ryan’s head for a safety, and a 9-yard bullet from Kaepernick to Garrett Celek in the end zone brought the 49ers to within two points of tying the game.
As is seemingly customary, the wonkiness of these games reared its ugly head, and in a highly unusual turn of events, Pete Carroll pulled most of the starters and put Trevone Boykin in with just over 5:00 to go, as Atlanta was steam rolling the Saints en route to locking up the #2 seed in the NFC. A couple of incomplete passes stopped many hearts in Candlestick Park and watching from afar, but Boykin easily moved out of the pocket under pressure and kept the drive alive with a pair of 1st down conversions to go into victory formation and close the nail biter out.
The defense, after giving up the two early rushing TDs, came alive, with Bobby Wagner and Frank Clark both notching fumble recoveries, while Clark and Ahtyba Rubin forced two. There were five sacks recorded against San Francisco, with Wagner having two by himself. Michael Bennett, K.J. Wright, and Frank Clark all tallied one apiece as well.
How about the offensive line? They gave up no sacks, for the first time in recent memory. Russell Wilson was 19/32 for 258 yards passing and the one TD, with no INTs. Wilson found six different receivers for gains of 15 yards or more, with Graham, Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse all catching passes in excess of 30-yards. The running game struggled again, with Thomas Rawls and Alex Collins combining for 69 yards (on 15 attempts for a 4.6 ypc average). This was largely inflated by one long rush from Collins of 26 yards (which would drop the ypc to 3.01). When Wilson had time, he consistently made precise throws into coverage, and even though the final score was close, the Seahawks coaches trusted their defense to stop the 49ers progress before Boykin wound down the clock to victory formation. What’s awesome, is that they did.
Seattle now welcomes the Detroit Lions back to Century Link Field for a matchup on Saturday night in primetime. The Lions are 0-3 in their last five games, but snuck into the playoffs with a Redskins loss on Sunday. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing with a dislocated middle finger, but has still shown the prowess to throw some touchdowns. Golden Tate will return to Seattle as the team’s #1 wide receiver, with Calvin Johnson retiring at the end of last season. Most fans will remember the Monday Night Football thriller between both of these teams last season, where Kam Chancellor (in one of his first games post contract holdout) made a superhuman play at the goal line, punching the ball out of Johnson’s hands in the waning seconds of the game. K.J. Wright was the subject of much post game grief, as he unintentionally batted the loose ball out of the back of the end zone.
What’s changed this time is a more diverse passing attack, with Marvin Jones coming from the Cincinnati Bengals and being and outside speed threat. They have a progressing tight end in Eric Ebron, and the aforementioned Tate is finding ways to make spectacular catches all of the time. The running game in anchored by Zack Zenner, a former college standout ho rushed for 2,000+ yards in three of his four collegiate seasons. He represents as much of a receiving threat as he does running the ball. Where the advantage lies for the Seahawks is the Lions inability to mount any sort of pass rush. They will need the noise of the 12s, a consistent running game, and clean pockets all day long to win this game and set up a rematch of the 2012 divisional round versus the Atlanta Falcons.
After the came, Pete Carroll said that he felt: “We got done what we had to get done today. We got a win, got out of here (Candlestick Park) and we’re real proud of the statement of winning 10+ games five years in a row. I think that’s pretty darn good.” He also later said in his press conference (in response to a question about whether he had second thoughts about putting Russell Wilson back in after he pulled him with over 5:00 to play in the 4th quarter: “No. We were going to finish it the way we went in.” Carroll also praised Wilson for both of his 40+yard completions, remarking that: “I loved that Wilson saw Jimmy down there and threw the ball up to him to make a play. Doug’s catch was ridiculous, and it was fantastic for him to get the franchise record for receptions.” Indeed, Baldwin did tie the franchise record for receptions in a single season at 94, with Bobby Engram. He also posted back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons for the first time in his career.
The game is on NBC, Saturday night at 8:15 P.M EST.
Christmas Eve was supposed to bring a Seahawks victory at home over a hated divisional rival, and tighten the vice grip on the #2 seed in the playoff race for the NFC. Instead, Hawks fans were attributed to some of the worst first half football that Seattle has played all year. The effort was so poor that fans at Century Link field actually booed. The fourth quarter was a thrilling example of what kind of expectations one can have about the offensive prowess of a Russell Wilson led team, while also reminding us of some of last seasons fourth quarter defensive struggles.
If you were looking for as weird of a game as the 6-6 tie in Arizona earlier this season, this game had plenty of that going on. Russell Wilson looked like he was being guarded by gingerbread men on the offensive line, getting sacked an alarming six times, five alone in the first half. Injuries once again played a role, with Thomas Rawls (shoulder) leaving after compiling 8-yards on 8 carries, Kam Chancellor (ankle) out for the majority of one quarter, and Tyler Lockett (leg) broken on the 1-yd. line. The ‘Hawks had a FG, PAT, and Punt blocked. It was a nerve wracking time indeed.
The ‘Hawks early offensive struggles were set up by a busted handoff from Wilson to Marcel Reese, which Arizona’s Calais Campbell recovered. David Johnson would rumble for one of his three rushing touchdowns a few plays later. Johnson had a field day against the Seahawks, rushing for 95-yds (longest 33), and adding another 41 through the air. Hasuchka’s first Field Goal attempt was blocked at :38 in the 1st Quarter, adding insult to (actual) injury. Johnson was expected to be the focal point of the Cardinal offense, but JJ Nelson erupted for a 3 reception, 132 yard, one touchdown receiving line. The touchdown came in the 2nd quarter on an 80-yard catch and go that found Steven Terrell and Jeremy Lane running into each other within the ten yard line. Arizona was up 14-0 almost in the blink of an eye.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the ‘Hawks got down on the goal line and failed four consecutive times to score points, with both Wilson attempting a sneak and Thomas Rawls trying to force his way on the ground. On 4th and goal, the Cardinals sensed play action, and sacked Wilson for a loss of 7-yards. David Johnson fumbled and K.J. Wright recovered it, giving Seattle another three cracks at the goal line They ultimately settled for another FG attempt, this one good from 27 yards, and the first points of the half, ironically right before halftime.
In the third quarter, the ‘Hawks started out strong, with rookie Alex Collins deftly running in space, and catching passes along with Doug Baldwin. That drive consisted of running plays by Collins, and bailout catches by Baldwin. After an early incompletion in the series, Wilson found Jermaine Kearse in the back of the end zone for a fantastic leaping touchdown, Seattle clawing their way back in to make it 14-10. Jeremy Lane did (technically) intercept Carson Palmer on the next play, but it was negated by a defensive pass interference penalty. Chandler Catanzaro’s FG attempt from 53 was just short, and the ‘Hawks squandered away another chance to score, with rookie tight end Brandon Maxwell getting tossed aside as Arizona blocked Jon Ryan’s punt and got the ball back at it’s own 57-yard line.
In the 4th quarter, Seattle’s offensive line stopped playing as offensively (word play, here obviously) as it did in the first half, and Wilson threw three touchdown passes. The first was to Doug Baldwin for 42-yards in which he fleetly out moved and embarrassed Arizonas’ closing corners and safeties. Wilson then later found Jimmy Graham in traffic for 37-yards, a run that took five Cardinals players with him into the end zone. After a heroic defensive stand by the ‘Hawks, Wilson again drove them back down the field and hit Paul Richardson wide open in the left corner, which tied the game at 31. Hasuchka would miss the ensuing PAT, and the ball went back to the Cardinals with 1:00 to go (and a timeout) to attempt a field goal to win the game.
Unfortunately, what many of us viewed as an ‘easily winnable’ game (versus the eliminated from playoff contention Arizona Cardinals) the Cardinals improved to 3-0 at Century Link Field. Carson Palmer succinctly found receivers and Johnson for enough yardage to set up two of Johnson’s three rushing TDs in the 4th and a pair of field goals by Catanzaro. On the last drive, big plays by Nelson and Johnson set up the field goal going through the uprights as time expired to give the Cardinals the final score of 34-31.
In spite of this, Seattle out gained Arizona in 1st downs (24-21), third down efficiency (AZ, 1 for 9, Seattle 8 for 17), total yards (313-276), and time of possession (33:42 for Seattle, 26:18 for Arizona). Both teams turned the ball over only once, on fumbles to running backs, and Arizona actually had more penalties (7 for 85, Seattle 5 for 40). Arizonas six sacks, blocked field goal, PAT and punt had an effect that even 4th quarter wizardry couldn’t overcome. Wilson looked to be pleading with Darrell Bevell to go for 2 a second time, just as Hauschka missed his PAT kick. It was a cruel irony, as Bevell’s play calling was directly responsible for the offensive juggernaut that Seattle looked like in the final quarter of the game, yet also the reason it started out so slow.
Though a casual observer would blame the struggles in the penultimate seconds on the defense, a characteristically slow and bumbling offense in the first half most likely laid the groundwork for the points cushion to not be larger. Scoring 3 points after getting seven cracks at the goal line in the span of just over 1:30 highlighted the below average play that we’ve come to know as typical.
Wilson would end the day with 350 passings yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs, and did some serious damage on an overworked and injury ridden Cardinals defense. The Cardinals knew this would happen, and set D.J. Swearinger, Calais Campbell, Marcus Golden, Chandler Jones, Alex Okafor, and Rodney Gunter at Wilson all day long with their ears pinned back. If you had to take a few seconds to read all of those names, just think that in the time it took you to finish reading THIS sentence, Wilson was sacked. He was constantly under pressure, and it appeared to work. The post halftime adjustments on the offensive line saved Seattle from repeating their egregious mistakes of earlier in the day. Doug Baldwin totaled 171 yards on a career outing, as all of the other receivers ate up double coverages and hovered around 40 receiving yards on average.
The defensive mantra of ‘bend, don’t break’, the mentality appeared to not work. Yes, Richard Sherman traveled with Nelson for most of the game, but on the 80 yard touchdown play, Nelson was the responsibility of Steven Terrell and Jeremy Lane. So when Nelson took off for the goal line again, Sherman closed in and pushed Nelson out at the 2-yard line. Michael Bennett notched the only sack for the ‘Hawks, but if you look at the tackle numbers, the players that jump out the most are those that you would expect to step up: Wagner with 10, Chancellor with 7, Wright with 6, and Sherman/Clark with 5.
Twice the defense killed key drives of the Cardinals, with arguably the most important of them coming with just over 2:00 remaining in the game. You cannot pin this totally on the defense, and after seeing the offense put up a ton of points in the final quarter, you may not totally put this on them either. That leaves special teams, whose level of play has been downright scary in a few instances this year. But for some reason, even that doesn’t seem to be like a popular culprit. It seems them, on Christmas day, all three aspects of the game gave us lumps of coal instead of the W we hoped to be wrapped under the tree.
At 9-5-1, the ‘Hawks need to win at San Francisco to have a chance to regain the #2 seed (and a crucial bye week). If Seattle can win and the Atlanta Falcons (current #2 seed) lose to the New Orleans Saints, they will drop to 10-6, and Seattle’s earlier season tie with the Cardinals will give them the slightest of advantages in the W/L record to sneak back into a first round bye at 10-5-1. Both teams play at the same time, adding nerves to an already suspicious game.
The 49ers have recently rediscovered some offense, sweeping the L.A. Rams last week. Seattle cannot afford a loss here. Another sobering note- Seattle’s chance to be the #1 scoring defense for the 5th year in a row rests on them shutting out the 49ers and hoping the New England Patriots get 33+ points hung on them when they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins, currently playing with a backup quarterback. The game is on FOX at 4:25.
A not so fun fact: the L.A. (formerly St. Louis) Rams are one of the only teams that possess a winning record against the Russell Wilson led Seahawks. After a dismal showing Week 2 of this NFL Season where both teams failed to score a touchdown, there was a lot riding on this game with the Arizona Cardinals reeling and the Dallas Cowboys surging towards the #1 seed in the NFC. This Thursday night was one of the last installments of the NFL’s season long ‘Color Rush’ uniform, with the ‘Hawks sporting Action Green.Another fun fact- the Rams recently fired their head coach, Jeff Fisher, after a 42-14 drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. With the #2 seed up for grabs again after the Detroit Lions lost, the boys in blue and green needed to show up, and show out.
The ‘Hawks did not disappoint, putting on a defensive clinic (with Cliff Avril, Frank Clark, and Cassius Marsh tallying 4 sacks in the process), holding the Rams to a lone field goal in the second quarter. For a team looking to be the #1 scoring defense five years in a row, it’s a step in the right direction. The offense came to play too, with Russell Wilson throwing three touchdowns (one to Doug Baldwin, one to Tyler Lockett, and another to Luke Willson). Wilson had a possible fourth touchdown negated due to an incomplete pass (almost interception) of Jimmy Graham in the back of the end zone. The referees decided that neither Graham nor the defender had complete control of the balls, even with the defender toe tapping three times.
Tyler Lockett was the breakout star of this game- 7 receptions for 130 receiving yards, the longest coming off of a 57 yard catch-and-go score. Doug Baldwin’s juke move on a Rams cornerback in the end zone was easily one of his best highlights of the year, with the corner biting so hard on Baldwin’s fake to the inside that his ankles nearly broke. Jimmy Graham had a few targets, but turned one of those targets into a 31 yard gain.
The only spot for the ‘Hawks in this game that gave pause were the running game (72 total yards), 34 of those coming from Thomas Rawls 21 carries (1.61 yards per carry- YIKES!). The number of carries was a bright spot though, as it demonstrated persistence and faith in a balanced game plan, even when big rushing numbers weren’t coming. Another 26 yards came from a fake punt run by John Ryan. Ryan would sustain a concussion after bobbling the ball and barely recovering before a Rams player crashed him down into the turf. Michael Bennett would sustain an extremely scary neck injury after shedding a block and receiving the full brunt of Todd Gurley. He would leave the game but practiced all this week.
Rams rookie QB Jared Goff critically under threw at least two receivers, one in the end zone, and another who was streaking down the field past Steven Terrell. Goff passed for 135 yards, and at one point took off a full sprint when facing pressure. He nearly scored a rushing touchdown, but Richard Sherman came from the opposite sideline at full speed, hitting Goff with his shoulder so hard that Goff had to leave the game. It was a good thing Sherman got there first, as Kam Chancellor was hot on his heels waiting at the 1 yard line. Save for those mistakes, this game had a chance to be closer. Goff was strip sacked by Avril deep in Rams territory, but recovered. It was not a good day at the office for the face of the L.A. franchise.
Sherman took a lot of spotlight in this game, particularly when Wilsons’ throw to Graham in the end zone was nearly intercepted. Sherman became so animated that he found Darrell Bevell on the sidelines and let him know how displeased he was with the play call. Bevell returned the favor to Sherman after Wilson threw the one yard score to Baldwin.
The ‘Hawks offense went 7/15 on 3rd down, and 1/1 on 4th down. The defense though, held the Rams to convert only 3 of their 12 3rd down attempts, and 0 for 4 on 4th down. Todd Gurley went absolutely nowhere in this game, rushing 14 times for 38 yards, with 22 yards coming from one play. Simply put, once the ‘Hawks defense forced the Rams into being one dimensional, their game plan (authored by their interim head coach- previous special teams coach John Fassel) fell apart.
After the game, Pete Carroll told the press that: “I thought it was a nice bounce back night for Russ. I know last week you all had some questions about him, but he did a great job for us tonight.” When asked about Sherman’s outburst on the sidelines, Carroll said “Yeah, Sherman and I spoke on the sidelines. He went out and played a really good series after that. What was said out there (referring to the sideline dispute), I’m not going to say more. You’ll probably figure out more. Right now, that is one of our guys who has as much emotion and passion for this game as you could ever want. Sometimes it goes one way, and you gotta reel it back in.”
Next up for the ‘Hawks is their final home game against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve. The Cardinals have had a knack for beating the Seahawks on their home turf, and the chance for Seattle to go 8-0 at home looms large while trying to secure the #2 seed, and a much needed bye week before hosting a divisional playoff game. Dallas has since clinched home field advantage throughout. It appears the road to Super Bowl 51 goes through Jerry Jones’ stadium. The last time the Cardinals and the ‘Hawks met, it was a 6-6 tie in the Desert that required multiple Seattle players getting IVs. The weather for this game is forecasted to be partly cloudy with a high of 37. Prime football weather in the PNW, I think. The game is on FOX at 4:25 Christmas Eve.
In the 2014 NFC Championship game, Russell Wilson threw four interceptions. The Seahawks came to life in the fourth quarter and won the game in overtime on a walkout touchdown.
In frigid Green Bay this past week, Wilson threw five interceptions. Two were directly the result of either overthrowing or under throwing his receivers. The other three were extra wonky bounce passes reminiscent of the 2014 NFCCG. The running game worked well enough, but was all but abandoned in the third quarter as the ‘Hawks feel behind by 25 points.
It started off with a 67 yard catch and go score from Davonte Adams off of a broken tackle and loft pass from Aaron Rodgers. The ‘Hawks would get down the field on the next drive, but settle for a FG. Wilson would be intercepted on the next play, and Ty Montgomery would rumble in for a rushing TD. A pair of Jordy Nelson scores, one before halftime and one deep in the third quarter threatened to put the game fully out of reach.
With Aaron Rodgers limping most of the game, he threaded passes from the pocket and relentlessly picked on Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead. With little pressure coming from the defensive front of Seattle, Rodgers had all day to wait for coverages to come into play down the field. He found them early and often.The defense did manage to sack Rodgers once, but the ‘Pack defense put Wilson on the ground three times. The defensive front of Green Bay consistently hit, hurried, or knocked Wilson down on the majority of his drop backs.
Let’s be honest, by about halfway through the third quarter, many of us who saw replays of the 2014 NFCCG during the game outright believed that a limping Rodgers could make for the second greatest comeback of all time. It was all for naught, as the punts and hits kept coming. By early in the fourth quarter, the ‘Hawks looked like they were remiss to call it a day, before Wilson found Tanner McEvoy for a 21 yard score. A 21 yard rushing TD by Jeff Janis would be the final nail in the coffin.
Whatever defensive communications occurred last week at the Clink versus the Panthers was simply nonexistent in this game. K.J. Wright and Thomas Rawls were both taken down by the turf monster, and the aforementioned struggles of Shead and Lane only compounded things.
The biggest storylines were of course the five INTs by Wilson, but also the consistent pre and post snap scuffles between the teams. Unfortunately, it just looked like Seattle was on the ropes for the majority of the contest. When you add this in with thrown balls literally bouncing off of helmets, pads and players chests, this game demonstrated that the ‘tip drill’ at full speed is not always the ‘Hawks best friend.
Though there were a few bright spots in the outing (like the stability of the running game), the numbers don’t tell such a rosy story. Seattle actually had more first downs than Green Bay did (24-18), but Green Bay had three first downs for penalties, which extended drives and kept the ‘Pack in the drivers seat to burn the clock and move down the field. Seattle rushed for more yards (and narrowly lost the passing game battle) but a lost fumble (and zero for the ‘Pack). Just before the half Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse collided while both going for a pass near the 2 yard line of Green Bay. Wilson would throw another pick on the next pass after narrowly under throwing Doug Baldwin in the end zone.
That really was the pace of the game- Seattle would compile decent drives and squall them away before they could capitalize on them. Rodgers posted a 150.8 passer rating, the highest allowed in the Pete Carroll era, and was 18 for 25 and 237 yards passing, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. Wilson went 22 for 39 and 218 yards, with 1 TD and 5 INTs, for (what must be) a career low 43.7 passer rating. It was certainly a game to forget.
After the game, Pete Carrol remarked that: “Steven (Terrell, the free safety playing in place of Earl Thomas now) didn’t have a play to make all night long. The ball never went there.” He followed it up with questions about the field (which was supposed to be kinda like a snow globe. Indeed, 5 inches did fall during the day, but the snow stopped before the game and the field was bare.), saying that “The field was fine… It was a great night to play football. The conditions, we anticipated it was going to be much more challenging than it was. And it wasn’t a problem at all.”
It was a keen move by the veteran coach, deftly deflecting ill placed blame on a backup free safety who had little to do with the damage Green Bay inflicted on the ‘Hawks corners and linebackers. It also demonstrated the resiliency Carroll has and leads the team with. Up next, the ‘Hawks welcome the L.A.Rams at the Clink for Thursday Night Football. The team will be wearing their ‘Color Rush’ jerseys, and looks to regain the #2 seed they lost this weekend by dropping to 8-4-1 (they are currently #3). With the NFC Playoff picture coming clearer into picture with dwindling games, the onus is on the ‘Hawks to win out in an effort to secure a first round bye. The game is at 8:25 PM Thursday night on CBS, the NFL Network, and Twitter.
The game started with the backup QB of the Panthers trying to throw a screen pass to a fullback. It would be tipped and intercepted by Mike Morgan, and the Hawks had a turnover less than 2:00 into the game. The bizarre antics continued, as Russell Wilson tried to shovel a pass to Jermaine Kearse in the end zone, but a near interception ensued. The Hawks would settle for a Field Goad and begin their scoring onslaught.
Michael Bennett, Mike Morgan, Earl Thomas and DeShawn Shead all returned from injury this week, and Bennett welcomed himself back by getting an offside penalty on Carolina’s second drive.
Thomas Rawls returned to form, looking every bit like a runaway train as he rushed for two TDs (at 6:42 in the 1st and 9:44 in the 2nd), and 106 yards. On Rawls 1st TD run, he leapt over a defender, and on the second one he broke free for 45 yards and looked every bit of the bruising ‘back we’ve come to expect.
Rawls wasn’t the only offensive star in this game. Tyler Lockett absolutely worked over an injury riddled Carolina defense, notching a 75-yd sweep handoff for a TD, getting loose for a 40-yd reception, and a 46-yd kick return. The Panthers (sans arguably their best linebacker Luke Kuechly) did not have many defensive answers for Seattle as the game wore on. The final score (40-7) readily demonstrated that, even if the total yards (543, Seattle, 271 Carolina) didn’t immediately tell you.
Steven Haushcka booted four FGs, and Jimmy Graham grabbed a 1-yd TD in the 4th quarter that totally put the game out of reach. Graham would tally 60+ receiving yards, being one of four different Seahawks players totaling 60+ yards a piece: Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, and Doug Baldwin. Trevone Boykin would relieve Wilson and toss 3 pass attempts, connecting on two for 38 yds.
Russell Wilson would finish the night with 1 TD, 1 INT, for 277 Passing Yards. He would also add 30 Rushing Yards on the ground. He looked a lot better this week than last, especially when he converted a 3rd and 7 with his legs in the first half, or successfully stiff armed a Carolina defender on the way to the sideline.
The only points for Carolina in this game came after Seattle paid a heavy price. Kam Chancellor collided with Earl Thomas on a would be interception of Cam Newton. Thomas had to be lifted off of the field, and it was confirmed later on that he broke a bone in his leg. Newton and company attacked Thomas’s replacement, Steven Terrell, immediately for a 55-yd bomb that Ted Ginn Jr. caught and slid into the endzone on the very next play. It would be the only points that Carolina would score all night.
In relief of Thomas, Terrell made some key tackles after giving up the TD. The defense did not notch a sack again in this game, but K.J. Wright forced a Jonathan Stewart fumble, which Cassius Marsh recovered. Wilson would throw his lone interception on the ensuing drive. Seattle’s zone defense allowed the Panthers to move around the field, but never deep enough to get close enough to field goal range. For a squad that didn’t record a sack at all, that is a monumental accomplishment.
Thomas is now on IR, so his season is done no matter how far the Hawks make it in the playoffs. The severity of this cannot be understated, but look for Seattle to bring as much pressure as possible now that Michael Bennett is healthy and back alongside Cliff Avril and Cassius Marsh. That should leave Bobby Wagner, K.J.Wright and Mike Morgan plenty of sidelines to cover while Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, and DeShawn Shead do what they do best – keep the deep thirds of the feel out of play.
Up next, the Hawks travel to Wisconsin and face a resurgent Green Bay Packers team that desperately needs a signature win to get above .500, and prove to the NFC and the rest of the NFL that they deserve to be in post season contention. The Pack has turned on their explosive plays as of late, and also has cut Seattle running back Christine Michael Sr. on their roster as a starter. In the last three games, the Pack defense has given up 1,107 yards (515 yards to the Redskins, 292 to the Eagles, and 300 to the Texans), while Seattle’s defense has given up 909 total yards (300 yards to the Eagles, 338 to the Bucs, and 271 to the Panthers).
This game sneakily feels like it could be a shootout, but also has the chance to be a low scoring affair. Maybe there will be a fake FG attempt thrown for a TD, or maybe it will be one sided. The #2 seed in the NFC is up for grabs as few teams look like they will catch the Dallas Cowboys (currently at 11-1), and this is a critical ‘win’ game for the Hawks. The forecast for Green Bay on Sunday afternoon calls for snow and low 30’s, so it may come down to clock management, field goals, and winning in the trenches. The game is on FOX at 4:25.
The Seahawks traveled to Tampa Bay to square off against the Buccaneers, who were fresh from a win in Kansas City. Michael Bennett, DeShawn Shead and Earl Thomas were all missing in this game due to injury. Recently waived defensive tackle Sealver Siliga suited up to play for the Bucs. Three rookies started on the offensive line for Seattle in this game. With Justin Britt out due to an ankle issue, Joey Hunt started at center for the ‘Hawks, and communication problems seemed to be found everywhere you looked. It showed up in the stats sheet, with Tampa Bay totaling 6.0 sacks on Russell Wilson.
With the Bucs bringing pressure on just about every play, Wilson’s improvisation skills were desperately needed, and he finished the game with 80 rushing yards (season high). It also turned into two interceptions, with plaster coverage down field making for little throwing windows. Wilson would go 17 for 33 and only amass 151 passing yards on the day. He wouldn’t throw a single touchdown, or get the offense close enough to run it in either (Thomas Rawls looked good in spurts running the football, but ended the day with 38 yards on 12 carries). The only offensive points came from a Stephen Hauschka FG in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay forced two fumbles, one that Wilson recovered after Noah Spence punched it out during a sack, and another by Lavonte David when tackling Jimmy Graham, which David returned for 53 yards. This wiped out over three minutes of play ,the drive accumulating over thirty yards of scrimmage, including a first down conversion by Graham.
Steven Terrell (in relief of Earl Thomas) teamed up with Atyba Rubin and Cliff Avril to scoop up a fumble forced by the aforementioned two when Doug Martin tried running up the middle around mid field. The defense allowed Martin to tally 87 yards on the ground, and 5 receiving yards. They also conceded 104 yards and the two scores to Mike Evans, but slowed down Cameron Brate, holding him to just 49 total yards. Cecil Shorts, their wideout speedster, was held to only 1 reception for 6 yards, after a pair of incomplete passes (1 deep and 1 short) threatened to give the Buccaneers better field positions.
What is noticeable and worth talking about, is that there were no recorded sacks for the ‘Hawks defense in this game. Try as they might, they were unable to close in on Winston, who eluded coverage time and time again on scramble plays. His 12 yards rushing for the game are a deceiving stat when you consider that Winston went 21 for 28 and 220 passing yards. Lateral movement accounted for his ability to find players down the field. For what it’s worth, the defense did rack up five tackles for a combined loss of 11 yards. When they needed big stops, they again bailed out the ‘Hawks.
The Bucs were hurt big time by penalties (7 for 68 yards), with a Safety early in the second quarter giving Seattle its first points of the game. They also had a touchdown nullified on Cameron Brate due to illegal use of hands to the face by a Tampa Bay O-lineman. Seattle had a low amount of penalties (2-27), with one of them being a chop block by Joey Hunt. Seattle (on offense) was abysmal on third down, converting only 1 of 11 third downs, and 1 for 1 fourth down conversion deep in the fourth quarter. On defense, they only allowed Tampa Bay to convert 4 of 11 third downs.
Ultimately, this game was gut wrenching for ‘Hawks fans to watch, with the Bucs drawing blood on two separate first quarter drives resulting in touchdowns to Mike Evans, one of which was the result of a questionable offensive pass interference non-call. Kam Chancellor picked off Winston in the end zone with just over 4:00 to go. Even with a significant number of defensive players sitting out of this game, the ‘Hawks defense held the Bucs to only 14 points (though if the Bucs kicker didn’t miss a field goal, it could have been 17). They adjusted well for the majority of the game, but overall watched the offense flame out on repeated drives.
It reminded fans a lot of the first game that Seattle played against the Rams this year, and even a little bit of the Sunday Night Football between the Cardinals that resulted in a tie. Frustrating, but the ‘Hawks were fortunate that all of the teams in the NFC West lost this week, keeping the three game lead for the division crown solidified. A surging Dallas Cowboys teams threaten to clinch the #1 seed in the NFC, and a host of teams are now beginning their late season pushes (Lions, Falcons, Giants). Seattle has the slimmest of margins available to try and clinch the #2 seed and a first round bye with five games to go.
After the game, head coach Pete Carroll said that: “It was a really good showing by Tampa Bay today, and they beat us up front… We had a number of chances to get back in the game, and they just didn’t open up the door for us. We did not play like we play, and it starts right with me.” He later remarked that “The defense played great throughout the rest of the game to keep us close, a couple turnovers were huge, because we gave them the ball three times today.”
Next, the ‘Hawks host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday Night Football. The Panthers may not currently represent a playoff threat to Seattle at 4-7, but likely view this game as a must win to keep their hopes alive for a wild card spot, and will bring out the big guns. In their last game (a last seconds loss to the Oakland Raiders), Cam Newton brought the Panthers to within a FG of tying, leading to 25 points in the third and fourth quarters combined.
This Panthers team will take on the role of many teams that Seattle will face over the next few weeks, with a road trip to Green Bay as well; that teams may see themselves as spoiler hopefuls. Michael Bennett, DeShawn Shead and Earl Thomas are all expected to suit up and play this week, which is a huge gain for a defense that could use the ability to buy Wilson and the offense a little breathing room. Sunday Night Football starts at 8:30 on NBC.
Fresh off of handing the New England Patriots their second loss of the season, the Seahawks hosted the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field. The Eagles, led by rookie QB Carson Wentz, had hoped to stop their three game losing streak with an impressive road win against Seattle in the home of the screaming 12s. That wouldn’t happen. Wentz would throw two TDs, two interceptions and get sacked twice, but the Eagles were unable to get a lot of offensive plays going throughout most of the game to bring it close enough.
After a pair of three and outs by both teams, C.J. Prosise ripped off a 72 yard run (on 2nd and 2) that resulted in a touchdown and put Seattle up 6-0. Stephen Hauschka’s point after kick was blocked, and Seattle clung to the 6-0 lead for most of first quarter. Philly actually moved the ball beyond center field and found a way to score at the beginning of second quarter to go up 7-6.
On the next Seattle drive, a pair of false start penalties by the offensive line made the completions come from the likes of 1st and 15 and 2nd and 20. The ‘Hawks benefitted from the return of Thomas Rawls, whose 18 yard run led to a crucial 3rd down conversion on 3rd and 11, in which Russell Wilson scrambled out and found Jimmy Graham on a naked bootleg that went for 35 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles would seemingly come back and take the lead off of a 57 yard touchdown run by tight end Zach Ertz, but it was nullified by an illegal formation penalty, which head coach Doug Pederson was livid about. He tried fruitlessly to get his bunched receivers attention to move up to the line of scrimmage before the snap on 3rd and 6. An ensuing punt two plays later gave Seattle the ball back at 5:30 to play in the first half.
On the next possession, Seattle moved 70 yards on two plays, one 44-yarder by Doug Baldwin and a 30-yarder by Tyler Lockett. From the Philly 3 yard line, they were unable to score a touchdown, instead settling for a Stephen Hauschka Field Goal with 3:00 to go. The ‘Hawks would go into halftime with a 16-7 lead.
During the 3rd quarter, Darell Bevell decided to dial up a trick play, having Wilson toss a backwards pass to Doug Baldwin, who promptly found Wilson untouched and running free for a 15 yard receiving touchdown. When Baldwin discovered the call was to toss the TD to Wilson in place of him making an attempt at a receiving TD in the red zone, promptly flipped Bevell ‘the bird’ on the sidelines. The NFL later fined him over $12,000 for what they defined as an ‘inappropriate gesture’ By the time the 4th quarter had arrived, Seattle was holding onto a 26-7 lead.
Injuries, though, plagued both teams throughout this game. C.J. Prosise would leave the game with a fractured scalpula after his day of totaling 76 yards and a score on the ground. Thomas Rawls rushed in relief of Prosise for 57 yards on 14 carries, but appeared gassed out by later in the game. With Alex Collins a healthy scratch, recent re-signee Troymaine Pope rushed for three yards before exiting the game with a high ankle injury. The injuries got to be so bad that backup QB Trevor Boykin came in to rush for for two plays, finishing with -5 yards and taking a massive hit from an Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox as soon as the ball was in his hands. Earl Thomas left the game with a hamstring injury earlier that he would not return from, and DeShawn Shead did as well. Towards the end of the game, both teams were wincing with regards to injury.
Despite injuries to two starters, the Seattle defense came up huge in this game, twice intercepting Carson Wentz (one by Kam Chancellor before halftime and Richard Sherman in the third quarter). Cliff Avril and Bobby Wagner sacked Wentz twice (yet ANOTHER house to be built in Haiti!), and even with Wentz scrambling abilities, the ‘Hawks line was converging upon him just about every play. Wagner tallied 15 total tackles, further pushing his stellar season along. The next Seattle player had 10 tackles, and that was K.J. Wright. Seattle’s defense kept Philly’s offense to convert 6 for 16 on third down, and 1 for 3 on fourth down. Particularly once the injuries caught up to the ‘Hawks, the Eagles found it easier to travel down the field, but even with a touchdown drive at 3:46, they weren’t able to come close enough back into contention.
Seattle was out-gained slightly by Philly in 1st downs (20-18), but Philly was crushed in relation to total yards (439-308), total passing yards (287-195), and barely held on for time of possession (31:06-28:04). Of interesting note, both teams had similar number of penalty yards (48) and no fumbles.
This game seemed to cement a particularly troubling trend of missed PAT kicks and Field Goals. In a time where many kickers are routinely missing kicks, Stephen Hauschka seems to miss at least once a game now. Without trying to immediately place blame, head coach Pete Carroll has said over many postgame press conferences that some kicks “trajectory was too low”, or that an ‘errant snap or hold’ is to blame. Upon further review of the last two games, center Nolan Friese appears to have immense trouble staying upright after snapping the ball, either being bull rushed back into his teammates or thrown to the ground entirely. In this game, Seattle left 4 points on the board. With Carolina, Green Bay and three straight division games to end the regular season, hopefully this isn’t a trend that continues.
Next, the ‘Hawks travel to Tampa Bay to face a Buccaneers squad that beat the Kansas City Chiefs in their own stadium. While Tampa Bay has a suspect secondary and lackluster running game as of late, they possess big play ability in the Jameis Winston to Mike Evans connection, and tight end Cameron Brate, who has stood out as another viable passing option since the Bucs’ original tight end was released after poor early season play. Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, and DeShawn Shead lead a list a of doubtful to players listed as out. Though the ‘Hawks have plenty of firepower to outright win this game on offense, their kicking struggles as of late add a measure of uncertainty and a legitimate question mark to see if the special teams unit can stand up to keep the game out of Tampa Bays grasp.
Seattle currently enjoys a 3 game lead on Arizona for the NFC West title, and the Dallas Cowboys are the #1 seed in the NFC at 10-1. In a rather odd turn of events, no team that Seattle faces from here on out has a winning record currently. The resolving of Russell Wilsons health couldn’t have come at a better time.