In a game that saw the Seattle Seahawks suiting up without stars/impact performers Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch and very little of Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and the rest of the starters, the Hawks’ youngsters showed well.
Rookies Step Up
Tyler Lockett showed exactly why the Seahawks used a third-round pick on him. The receiver was electric on kick-returns, racking up 186 yards on the day, including a 103-yard touchdown return. He also added 18 yards on a punt return while displaying the speed and elusiveness that will make him such a vital part of the Seahawks’ receiving corps not only this season, but for years to come.
In addition to Lockett, fellow high draft pick Frank Clark (2nd round-pick) looked sharp up along the defensive line. Clark accumulated a team-high nine tackles, while constantly causing problems along the line. At the very least, he’ll be part of the rotation, if not playing a bigger role as the season progresses.
Thomas Rawls wasn’t drafted, but had almost as much an impact as Lockett and Clark. The running back brought a physicality to the running game that reaffirms the Seahawks preference for hard runners. Rawls scored on a 19-yard reception while also adding 31 yards on nine carries.
Pete Carroll’s Referee Collision Course
If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is worth significantly more.
Versatility, Versatility, Versatility
The Seahawks coaches are famous for their experimentation with players’ positions. J.R. Sweezy switched from defensive line to offensive line, and now it seems that B.J. Daniels is making the switch. The now-former quarterback is transitioning to wide receiver/offensive weapon. Daniels caught two passes for 15 yards and returned a pair of punts for 50 yards, including a long return of 35 yards. In addition to his offensive contributions he also contributed a tackle on special teams.
While not playing another position, Rod Smith showed an ability to contribute in both the running and passing game. Smith ran for 18 yards on two carries and hauled in four catches for an additional 29 yards. He’s got an uphill battle with both Rawls and Christine Michael also in the mix for backfield roster spots, but running backs who are receiving threats carry a certain usefulness on rosters. Smith’s definitely got a chance to make the Hawks’ final roster, if not the practice squad.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was the Patriots’ head coach from 1997 to 1999. His predecessor was/is current Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick.
It is probably safe to say teams have a tough time containing New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk has 82 catches for 1124 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. It’s also safe to say that he’s a matchup nightmare at 6’6 and 265 lbs.
Most teams don’t have the personnel to match up, but the Seahawks do. Kam Chancellor and KJ Wright will be tasked with shutting down one of the best tight ends in the league. Seattle held Denver’s Julius Thomas to four catches on 27 yards during last year’s Super Bowl, so they aren’t exactly inexperienced when it comes to shutting down elite tight ends.
Russell Wilson vs Tom Brady
Russell Wilson has beaten Tom Brady before. In fact, Wilson has made a habit out of beating elite QBs. Not only has he beaten Brady, but he has also gone 2-0 vs both Eli and Peyton Manning as well as Drew Brees. He’s now 3-0 vs Aaron Rodgers. If you had to pick a quarterback to help your team take down a Hall-of-Fame worthy QB, you’re taking Russell Wilson.
Marshawn Lynch is far and away the best example of a power running back in today’s NFL. If you were to look up “power running back” in the dictionary, you’re going to get a picture of Beast Mode. Although not to Lynch’s standard, New England has power backs as well in LaGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray. It’s safe to say that power running will dominate the Super Bowl.
The Seattle Seahawks have experienced some of the usual perks of winning a Super Bowl. The parade, the sudden interest shown by media in the team’s players, etc.
Another result of the Super Bowl win has been a number of teams taking interest in the Seahawks’ free agents. Other teams are/were looking to take some of the Seahawks’ exceptional depth. The team has already lost supporting players Chris Maragos, Paul McQuistan and Clinton McDonald to free agency while key players like Golden Tate, Red Bryant, Walter Thurmond and Chris Clemons have also left town.
In addition to those players, the team also lost cornerback Brandon Browner and tackle Breno Giacomini, while players such as Sidney Rice and Michael Robinson could be brought back, but nothing is certain.
All of these losses will be felt in one way or another, but the team’s superb player development will help them sustain their winning ways.
Pete Carroll and friends find diamonds in the rough. Players like Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. Players who were late-round draft picks or undrafted. These players soon develop into starting players, as evidenced by Sherman’s meteoric rise to elite status.
Developing late-round/undrafted players also gives Seattle a huge boost in terms of the salary cap and money. These players’ rookie contracts are much cheaper than a first or second-round picks’ contract. All of this adds up, thus the team can target more players in free agency to supplement the team.
So far, some of the Seahawks’ more prominent losses in free agency are easily replaceable with much cheaper players who could develop into better players.
For example, Tate’s will be replaced by Jermaine Kearse, while a healthier Percy Harvin will improve the offense even more so. The two should more than make up for the former Notre Dame standout.
Kearse is still on his rookie deal, while Tate signed for five years and as much as 31 million dollars with Detroit. This will save the Hawks lots of cash to funnel into players like Harvin or complementary veterans on shorter contracts.
On the offensive line, McQuistan and Giacomini will be replaced by younger players like Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey. The team showed confidence in the latter pair last season and could also draft a lineman or two come April. Former first-round pick James Carpenter could also start.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell is another young player who will find himself starting again next year. The former Clemson Tiger filled in admirably for Browner during his suspension and in the process left no doubt that he was the better player for the role, as opposed to Thurmond. Maxwell, as well as young, cheap and talented corners Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead and Tharold Simon, will make up for the loss of the departed players.
All in all, players like Kearse, Bowie and Maxwell may or may not turn into star players. Their impact probably won’t be the sole reason the Seahawks turn into a dynasty. What will propel the Seahawks into a dynasty is their ability to continually find and develop under-valued players into impact performers.
The Seattle Seahawks’ most important win of the season was not the thrashing they gave the San Francisco 49ers on a wet Sunday night in mid-September. Nor was it their recent thumping of the Saints. Well, if it wasn’t two of the teams’ primetime, nationally televised games, which game was it?
It was the 12-7 victory the Seahawks opened the year with. The one that they ground out over the Carolina Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers.
Coming into the year, San Francisco was/is going to be tough. Houston was very good last year, as was Atlanta. Indianapolis and Minnesota both looked like they were on the upswing. The Giants certainly aren’t going to be an easy game. Of all the teams the Seahawks have played this year, who would have thought Carolina would be the most important?
Most people, myself included, probably thought Carolina was going to be a somewhat difficult game. Tougher than, as say, a game against Jacksonville, but nowhere near as tough as a game versus New York or Minnesota. This is all before the season, mind you.
As it stands, Seattle owns tie-breakers over projected NFC playoff teams New Orleans, San Francisco and Carolina. Regardless of what happens this Sunday, San Francisco probably isn’t going to catch Seattle for the NFC West title. That being said, the Seahawks biggest competition for home-field advantage will come from one of its’ NFC South contemporaries.
With Seattle owning a tie-breaker over both teams, it would take something truly catastrophic, and nearly impossible, for the Seahawks to lose home-field advantage. However, one of these teams could put the pressure on Pete Carroll’s squad. That team is the Panthers. If you look at it purely based on momentum, and the fact that the Panthers and Saints play twice in the next two weeks, you would pick Carolina.
New Orleans laid an egg in Seattle, which judging on the Seahawks’ play this year, isn’t too big of a deal. Still, the Saints aren’t necessarily on a hot streak. That is exactly what the Panthers are on. Cam Newton and company have won eight straight games.
At the end of the season, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will likely go through Seattle. The Seahawks should get home-field advantage without too much of a fuss, but Carolina will make it close. Thank goodness the Hawks beat them earlier in their schedule.
This isn’t going to be as plentiful as the last time I did this. Before that it was a Tigers-Rays regular season game in Tampa, a Euro 2012 semi-final where my Italians knocked off the mighty Germans 2-1 thanks to a brace from Mario Balotelli and that year’s NBA draft. This time I’m taking it a little easier. Seahawks/Titans is the only order of business.
Titans receiving the kickoff to start the game. Here comes Ryan Fitzpatrick. If these teams played last year in Seattle, it would have been interesting seeing as former UW Prodigy Jake Locker and old friend Matt Hasselbeck were the Titans options under center. Now Hasselbeck is making fun of Andrew Luck’s cellphone in Indianapolis and Jake Locker is out injured. Ergo Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Russell Wilson starts the game off with a completion to Luke Willson after Tennessee punts away. Max Unger is back in the fold, Michael Bowie starting at right tackle.
For Tennessee to have any success, the general consensus is to put pressure on Russell Wilson. Good luck in the loud noise. Honestly, good luck. It’s so loud in there you can’t think about what you want for lunch, let alone play an NFL game.
High snaps continue for the Titans as they have second and 14 inside the 10. Chris Johnson is lined up on the “H” in Seahawks in the endzone pre-snap.
Titans score first on a field goal after showing a somewhat dejected-looking Jake Locker on the sidelines. Here’s hoping they don’t continually show the Ferndale native on the sidelines unable to play in his home state. A sad drinking game for any who partake in it.
Seahawks utilizing the read-option more and more as Russell Wilson gets a first down on a run. Also concerning that the Titans moved the ball somewhat easily on their first drive. They took it from inside the 10 to a short field-goal. All this is concerning considering that the Seahawks have generally shut down Chris Johnson. It’s been all Ryan Fitzpatrick. Seahawks have to improve; teams of their quality and ambitions can’t let Ryan Fitzpatrick carve them up at home. It’s a recipe for disaster.
The Titans have nearly double the yards the Seahawks do so far, not good. As I say this, Earl Thomas picks off Fitzpatrick on a high throw. Looks like he thought 6’1 Nate Washington was as tall as Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
Supposedly the Titans repeatedly watched tape of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake against the Saints. That’s positive thinking. Also, it never gets old watching it. Go ahead, indulge yourself.
CBS graphic shows Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the fourth most giveaways by a quarterback since 2011 with an astounding 50. Fifty. Titans backed into a corner with turnover-happy Fitzpatrick in Seattle against a team that forces a lot of turnovers. Going to be a long day if the Titans’ QB can’t buck his recent trend of turnovers.
Another semi-dejected Locker sideline shot. That’s two.
Fitzpatrick throws another high pass on a completed slant rout on third down. You have to wonder if the noise is a factor with all the high snaps and throws. Meanwhile Chris Johnson runs into another wall running the ball.
Titans left tackle Michael Roos went to college at Eastern Washington. So that’s fun.
Golden Tate gets hit in the head on his way out of bounds during a tackle. Multiple penalties not called by the refs.
“We’re in Seattle. It’s not raining.” This the latest from the commentators.IT DOESN’T RAIN EVERY DAY!
Seahawks going to run into money problems at some point in time. They will have to give Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, etc. The Seahawks should have money to spend long term with Sidney Rice and Zach Miller’s respective contracts coming off the books. ‘Hawks have long-term replacements lined up with Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson, Jermaine Kerse and Doug Baldwin respectively.
Beast Mode slams it into the endzone for his fourth rushing score of the year. Incidentally, also on fourth and one on the goal line.
Steven Hauschka being tested for concussion-like symptoms on the sidelines. Or at least that’s what it looks like. Not a good thing to see, let alone from your kicker, important position that. Also carries more importance considering how superb Hauschka has been this year on kicks.
Jon Ryan warming as if to kick a late field goal. Have to wonder who emergency holder is. Was previously Ryan’s gig.
Ryan lines up for the late field goal, bad hold, botched play results in a turnover. Tennessee returns it for touchdown. The importance of special teams, and even holding, becomes clearer than ever.
Potential 10-3 lead turns into 10-7 deficit. Sighs heavily. Also Houston lost again. They could have at least been helpful and beat St. Louis for us.
So far no semi-dejected Jake Locker sightings in the second half. On a non-related note, Seahawks have to get into a more consistent flow on offense. Too much stop and go. Tennessee is much better than advertised.
Everything goes wrong for Seattle. Sidney Rice sticks the ball forward for no apparent reason after a catch for a first down. Titans knock the unprotected ball out and recover the fumble. In the ensuing pile-up to get the ball, ‘Hawks called for a flag. Extra 15 yards added on after Tennessee recovers the fumble. Fun times indeed.
Seahawks lose the challenge on the play. Why on earth did Sidney Rice reach the ball out? I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Fitzpatrick continues to make throws that look antsy. Lots of high snaps and throws.
Derek Coleman fumbles on a catch out of the backfield, ball gets knocked strait out of bounds. Seahawks catch somewhat of a break. Second down.
Who would have thought that Russell Wilson and Ryan Fitzpatrick would be out-rushing Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson? Strange times.
Titans have the ball after a Hauschka field goal. Great to see the kicker back out on the field. And another Locker sighting. That’s three if you’re playing along at home. Chris Johnson continually getting stopped on nearly every run. Only 33 yards so far. At least it’s a step up from last week’s 17 yards.
Seahawks got somewhat lucky with their scheduling this year. They got the AFC South in terms of another division they had to play outside of their own. It would have been easier if Seattle got Indy and Houston, the division’s best teams at home and had to travel to the two lesser teams on the road. However, it’s better for the team going forward to face the adversity on the road. The Seahawks are always going to be favored at home. Might as well face adversity, and gain from it, on the road than win some cupcake games. This will likely help the team in the playoffs and moving forward. Also the telecast just showed a seagull flying across the field. Strange.
Chris Johnson looks shaken up after a long screen play. Titans look short after Darius Reynaud tried to slam it in there for a first down on third and short. Titans going for it.
Tight end Luke Willson makes a nice block on a long run from Robert Turbin. The rookie has shown well in the running and passing game so far. Boy can Pete Carroll and friends draft ‘em.
Hauschka kicks a field goal to put the team up 13-10. 11:23 left in the game. Seahawks will get a test here in terms of closing out a close game.
RICHARD SHERMAN YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. The league’s best cornerback gets another pick. No dejected Locker shots following the pick. Seahawks back to work on offense.
The Seahawks outgaining the Titans 188 to 33 in terms of total yards. A huge turnaround from first half when they only outgained the Titans 153 to 121. Another example of Pete Carroll’s ability to make adjustments at half time. Not a terrible thing to have in your back pocket.
Sidney Rice makes a ridiculous catch on the sidelines, keeping both feet in bounds while falling out of bounds. That and a Beast Mode touchdown the next play equals a 20-10 lead for Seattle.
After signing Sidney Rice and trading for Percy Harvin, the team has now taken the Vikings top two offensive weapons, at the time, not named Adrian Peterson. Watch out Minnesota, we’re coming for Cordarelle Paterson in 2015.
Earl Thomas absolutely losing it after applying a big hit on Damian Williams. Sprints 30 yards and then knocks over Kam Chancellor. Did I mention all this was on an incompletion?
Another dejected Locker shot. That’s four.
Five on the dejected Locker shots.
A field goal pulls Tennessee within a score. Tennessee now has a dilemma whether to kick off and play the timeout game or to onside it. They kick it long and Jermaine Kearse rips off a big return.
Seahawks have to keep getting first downs and run down the clock. As I say this, Lynch rips off a big game. Six is the count on the Locker shots.
Seattle lines up in victory formation, runs the clock out. Game over. Seahawks move to 5-1. Next up for Seattle is Thursday in Arizona. Yikes. Crowd chanting “hey, hey, hey goodbye.” Got to love it.
You can see the post in it’s entirety over at knowhitter as well. That can be seen here.