Archive | October, 2012

Review: Lions 28, Seahawks 24

29 Oct

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Of all of our losses so far this season, this was the most frustrating to watch. This was a game the Seahawks definitely should have won. Unfortunately, bad defense doomed Seattle this weekend and the Lions scored a go-ahead touchdown with 20 seconds remaining to beat the Seahawks 28-24. The Seahawks fall to 4-4 on the season while the Lions improve to 3-4. Let’s jump right in to what I saw out of the team on Sunday.

3rd Down Defense Was Pitiful: Detroit converted 75% of their 3rd down attempts and it always seemed like they would just squeak the ball over the line to gain. On one of the Lions touchdown drives in the second half, the Lions converted two 3rd and 8’s and a 3rd and 11. The short passing game is what torched the Seahawks the most in this game. I give Detroit credit as they were successfully able to use both of their tight ends in a short passing scheme that the Seahawks just could not adjust to. Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew hurt the Seahawks short and Titus Young hurt the Seahawks long and on the outside. Young ended the game with 99 yards and the game-winning touchdown. If the Seahawks would have been able to limit the Lions 3rd down efficiency, I believe we could have taken at least 10 points off of Detroit’s score.

Wilson Shows His True Potential: The Seahawks scored 24 points on Sunday which is the most points they have scored in a single game on the road this season. Russell Wilson played a key role in making this happen. Wilson finished 25/35 for 236 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception. The scoring drives he led were all done with good length in terms of distance and time consumed and most of his throws were incredibly accurate. The only knock I have on Wilson coming out of this game is his lobs. A lot of his swing passes and screen passes are lob passes that spend too much time floating in the air. His one interception on Sunday may have had a chance to be a completed pass if he put more zip on the ball. That and the fact that if he would have thrown a second or two sooner. Nevertheless Wilson has not proved that he maturing at a rapid rate and that he can play with some of the best defenses in the league. I understand that the Lions are now only 3-4, but they have great talent on defense that make it hard for opposing quarterbacks to function successfully.

Beast Is Back: Marshawn Lynch ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on Sunday; the first touchdown he has scored since the Rams game in week 4. I understand that minus the 77-yard touchdown run, Lynch only had 28 yards on 11 carries but we were successfully able to expose Detroit’s run defense to an extent. I think that the Seahawks offensive line struggled mightily against the run and were overmatched because they were going up against Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Lynch running for over 100 yards and scoring a touchdown is a step in the right direction in regards to getting a consistent running game going. We need to get Lynch into the endzone more often. Hopefully this performance will get some momentum going, especially since our next two games are at home.

Detroit’s Offense Can Get Them Back Into Playoff Contention: One of the knocks on the Lions offense is that although they can successfully move the ball, they turn the ball over deep into their opponent’s territory at the most inopportune times. Matthew Stafford only threw one interception on Sunday and the Lions did not fumble at any point. It is always about the ball. The Lions with Stafford and Calvin Johnson can gain some ground in the NFC playoff picture if they can limit turnovers like they did on Sunday. As you can see, taking care of the ball helped lift Detroit to the win. If this trend continues, do not be surprised to see the Detroit Lions in the playoff race come December.

Random Thoughts: I was running on 3 hours sleep on Sunday. I had just enough energy to make it through the Seahawks game then I napped at my dad’s house through the majority of the afternoon games. Even though I am disappointed the Seahawks lost, a nap definitely helped take my mind off of the game… The Seahawks wore the white jersey/blue pants combination for the first time since playing in Denver during the preseason. I actually like this look the best on the road. Still waiting for an appearance by the white pants though… The broadcast crew of Chris Myers and Tim Ryan made several errors during their broadcast. Also impressively, I made statistical comments to my dad right before they did on the broadcast. I seriously need to start looking for a sports radio internship… The FOX cameras kept showing defensive line coach Todd Wash thinking that it was defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. It was funny that they made that mistake several times during the game… I really thought stupid penalties by Detroit were going to launch us to an easy win. They were caught offsides three times on our first offense drive. The undisciplined defense of the Lions improved in a hurry though which was unfortunate to see… We are now halfway through the season and we ended the first half at 4-4. In our next 8 games we play 5 at home and 3 of our last 4 games are against division opponents all at home. Last year we were 2-6 after the first half of the season and we got hot enough to be in playoff contention in week 16. I think we still have a great chance to make a run at a playoff spot… Yeah, just did the math. The combined record of our opponents in the second half of the season is currently 33-26. Of that record, the teams that we play at home are a combined 20-18. I think we are in great shape… It would have been fun to go to Detroit for my road trip only because it would have been really cool to go to a World Series game as well as the Seahawks game… Tomorrow night’s Monday Night Football game is going to be huge. I think it would be in the 12th Man’s best interest to be rooting like crazy for the Arizona Cardinals. I do not believe the Cardinals can hang in the division race in the long term. Therefore, any loss by San Francisco would greatly benefit us. If we can escape this week and remain only one game back of first place in the NFC West, I will feel even more comfortable about our chances of taking the division going forward.

The Seahawks will go over film on Monday, take a day off on Tuesday and start game planning for next Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday. I hope to have my preview of the Vikings game up next Saturday afternoon. Have a good week everybody. Go Seahawks!

Seahawks/Lions Preview

27 Oct

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions

Site: Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)

Kickoff: 10:00am

After a long break the Seahawks head back to the scene of the crime to take on the Detroit Lions. This is the second time the Seahawks have been to Detroit since that dreary February evening in 2006. The last time these two teams played was in 2009 in Seattle where the Seahawks came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Lions 32-20. The Seahawks lead the all-time series against Detroit 7-4. The 4-3 Seahawks are looking to end the first half of the season with a victory while the 2-4 Lions are looking to gain momentum and regain some ground in the surprisingly deep NFC North. Here is what I will be looking for from both teams this Sunday.

It is no surprise by now that Russell Wilson struggles mightily on the road. In 4 road contests so far this season, Wilson has 7 interceptions. Limiting turnovers will be crucial this week but the biggest key on offense this week will be to control time of possession. The Seahawks do a good job of scoring points and taking time off of the clock in the first half but in the second half we struggle to do these two things. If we can establish long possessions in the second half, it will be likely that we will be able to put up points later on in the game. Just like what the 49ers were able to do last week, long possessions will tire out the Lions defense which will also be to our benefit.

In order for us to maintain long possessions we have to be able to effectively run the football. I feel Marshawn Lynch is overdue for a big game. He has not scored multiple touchdowns in any game so far this season and I think he could break off for a few decent size runs and he can get into the endzone more than once. If Lynch can do this Russell Wilson will not be forced to throw the ball late in the game and the pressure on Wilson’s shoulders will be limited.

This week the Seahawks will be without wide receiver Doug Baldwin who is nursing an ankle injury. Charly Martin will take Baldwin’s place in the lineup. My prediction for our leading receiver this week is Sidney Rice. Russell Wilson looked Rice’s direction a lot in San Francisco last Thursday and he will be targeted a lot again this week. Rice will go up against Lions cornerback Chris Houston. Houston is coming off his most productive game so far this season, making 6 tackles on Monday night against Chicago. Although I am predicting Rice will be the most productive receiver this week, do not be surprised if the catches, targets, and yardage numbers are close together this week among all of the wide receivers since both Russell Wilson and Coach Carroll have talked about spreading the ball around more in practice this week.

The one-on-one matchup I am looking forward to the most this weekend is Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner. Browner is definitely the tallest defender Johnson has had to face this season and Browner may turn out to be the most physical defender also. After last week’s game 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh claimed that the Seahawks defensive backs were playing unnecessarily physical against his receivers. After fueling their fire with those comments, I would expect both Browner and Richard Sherman to try to jam their receivers frequently. As a matter of fact, I am worried that this may lead to stupid penalties this week. If illegal contact and pass interference is called against the Seahawks defense this week, the game plan may change and the Lions may try to take advantage of our looser play on defense.

Although the Detroit Lions are only 2-4, they possess some talented players on both sides of the football. On offense the Lions field general is 4th year quarterback Matthew Stafford. After a 5,000+ passing yard season last year, Stafford has struggled this year. Stafford is averaging 293 yards per game and has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5). Stafford’s biggest target is the previously mentioned Calvin Johnson, who also has not been producing as well as previous seasons. Johnson has only one touchdown so far this season. If the Seahawks are successful in shutting Johnson down the Lions may be in trouble. They lost receiver Nate Burleson to a season-ending leg injury last week and their other receivers include Titus Young and rookie Ryan Broyles. Young is a fast, talented receiver who can make plays happen but the Lions depth at receiver is not good overall.

The Lions running game is my focus this week when they have the ball. Much like San Francisco, Detroit runs with a trap-blocking scheme. This style of blocking makes it difficult for the defense to detect where the ball carrier is between the holes and tackles. Frank Gore was able to run for over 130 yards last week against the Seahawks and if nothing has been done to improve the run defense, I am afraid Mikel Leshoure will have his way with the Seahawks run defense this week. Leshoure is a physical back who will not go down easily. We must make sure our tackling is on point this week. If Leshoure can consistently get going, the Seahawks defense will give up points and will put added pressure on our own offense.

The Lions defense is led by tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. The Lions average just fewer than 3 sacks per game on defense which is good news for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line. The talent on defense for Detroit leaves me questioning how effective Marshawn Lynch will be this week. Overall, I do not think the Lions defense will have as big of an impact as a lot of people think.

One final note on the Lions, they had trouble with punt returns against Chicago. Stefan Logan may be pulled from his punt return duties this week. If he is not however, look for Jon Ryan to sky some punts to see if we can get Logan to cough up the ball again.

Random Thoughts: I love the fact that Richard Sherman changed his Twitter name to “Optimus Prime” this week. Megatron does not know what is coming his way… The last time we played in Detroit we barely escaped with a win. I understand it is hard to win on the road in a different time zone but I wouldn’t be surprised if we struggle… Uniform prediction of the week: once again, white jerseys and grey pants… It is looking like I’ll be watching the game back in Bellevue at my dad’s house. I haven’t watched a game with him since we went to the Arizona game on the road last month. I’m looking forward to spending the day watching football over there… I lost my dinner bet last week. I’m leaning towards my pasta specialty: Angel hair with homemade meat sauce. Maybe I’ll experiment with a pesto sauce as well. Date and time TBD… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call this week for FOX. This duo calls a pretty good game so I’m not too disappointed about the play-by-play assignment this week… I need a win in fantasy football this week. I can’t afford to fall to 3-5… I consider this game to be the last of our “tough” games on our schedule. At the beginning of the season I predicted that we would be 3-5 at the halfway point. We have a chance to be 5-3. That is incredible to me. Even if we lose and go to 4-4, I’ll be satisfied overall but I’ll be disappointed about this one game after the fact.

Prediction: The Seahawks are now averaging just under 13 points per game on the road. Unfortunately, I think that the trap-blocking scheme the Lions have in place will be tough for the Seahawks defense to handle. Mikel Leshoure will run for more yards than Marshawn Lynch and the Lions success running the ball puts pressure on Russell Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense. I expect this game to once again be close nearing the end of the game, but I don’t think we have enough fire power on offense to pull this one out.

Lions 23, Seahawks 17

Look for my review of this game on the blog sometime Monday. Enjoy the game everybody and as always, thank you so much for reading. Go Hawks!

“NOT Detroit. How many times do I have to go to that city?!”- One of the guys I go on my annual Seahawks road trip with when asked about which game he wanted to go to this season.

Gameday In San Francisco

23 Oct

On Thursday I broke a record for the earliest I have woken up on a Seahawks gameday. My previous record of 4:15am was broken by my 3:30am alarm at my house in Wallingford. The only reason why I was up that early is because of my flight to San Francisco the morning of the game. After showering, dressing up in my Seahawks jersey and other attire, and doing some final packing, my roommate Jake gave me a ride to the airport. My flight left at 6:15am and I checked in and got through security with just enough time to grab my Sea-Tac airport signature meal, breakfast from Wendy’s, and head to the gate.

I had never flown Virgin America prior to this trip. I must say I was incredibly impressed with the luxury and the features that came with the flight which included satellite television, a map showing where you were, a full beverage service, and lighting that made every passenger feel like they were sitting in first class. Aaron Levine of Q13 Fox was seated in the front of the plane and before we took off we engaged in a friendly Twitter chat.

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You can see part of the plane’s interior lighting at the bottom of the screen picture just to give you an idea of what it was like on my flight down.

I landed in San Francisco at around 8:30am. After de-boarding the plane I headed for the SFO tram which connected me to the airport BART station. I had never traveled via the BART before and at first I was confused how everything worked from getting your pass to knowing which train to get on and where to get off. After a good half an hour train ride I arrived in downtown San Francisco. I had a hard time figuring out the streets at first but I finally found my hotel after doing about a 4-mile loop walk. After checking in to the hotel I headed down to the Embarcadero (The street that runs along the San Francisco waterfront) and took a walk to Fisherman’s Wharf. I had not been to the Wharf since I went to San Francisco with my dad in 2007 so it was a treat to hang out and see what had changed and what was still the same from 5 years earlier. After taking some pictures and looking through some shops (which included a huge sports apparel/memorabilia store on Pier 39) I had an early lunch at In-N-Out.

After picking up some beer at a downtown Safeway, my friend Josh and I took a cab to Candlestick Park and arrived in the massive parking lot shortly after 2:30pm. After looking around for a group of Seahawks fans, we found a group of 5 Seahawks fans currently living in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle who had flown down the previous day for the game. One of the guys works in the suites at CenturyLink Field and was in the Red Zone Suites during the Monday Night Miracle in week 3. He showed us a couple pictures of the ESPN broadcast with him in the background. We joked that he got to see himself on television thousands of times in the days following and he agreed while laughing along. Josh and I drank 3 Pyramid Hefeweizen’s and a shot of Crown Royal each (which I struggled with, since all I’ve been drinking recently is Fireball…). I was not heckled much outside the stadium during the tailgate. The only thing possibly worth noting is that a couple of 49ers fans were playing catch and the ball was overthrown and dribbled over towards where we were. The 49er fan chasing after the ball got close and screamed to us “don’t touch it!!” No worries though man, I wouldn’t touch your red and gold ball with a fifty foot pole.

After tailgating for about an hour and a half we decided to head into the stadium. We sat on an aisle with a family of Seahawks fans to our left and friendly San Francisco fans sitting in the row above us. The site from my seats was nostalgic because last season I sat in the exact same spot only one section over to the left. Here is the view from my seats at Candlestick Park; Section 51, Row 1, Seat 3.

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The game got off to a good start but the Seahawks got tired and fell apart in the second half. There were chants of “Seahawks suck!” multiple times in the second half but nothing too bad was said in my direction. The best heckling story I have is when I was having my picture taken at halftime. I knelt down at the staircase in front of our section and as I was getting my picture taken, a 49ers fan in my section screamed “Ginger on three! ONE, TWO, THREE!” Of course I just laughed it off and kept on cheering for the Seahawks. No beers were thrown in my face and no threats of physical harm were sent my way. Most importantly, I was not shot or stabbed as I was leaving the stadium. Great success in staying alive. Of course I was disappointed that we had lost and I did my best not to let it get into my head too badly but I ultimately failed, as I was unable to shake off the loss in order to have a good time for the duration of my trip. We got out of the Candlestick Park parking lot relatively slowly and got back to the hotel pretty late.

Among other stops on my trip to San Francisco was a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, and we ate at well-known San Francisco restaurants such as Taqueria La Cumbre, Boudin Bakery, and Capurro’s, which was recommended by Coach Carroll during his Seahawks press conference the day before Thursday night’s game. I also had the opportunity to buy a standing-room only ticket for game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday afternoon between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants but I decided to turn the opportunity down.

I flew back to Seattle on Sunday night and it was the shortest flight I have ever been on. We took off from SFO at about 10:45pm and we landed at Sea-Tac at roughly 12:15am Monday morning. I might be flying United more often! After getting a ride back home I unloaded my bags and went to bed, thus ending my long weekend in San Francisco.

Next year is the final season of San Francisco 49ers football at Candlestick Park before they move into their new state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara. There is no doubt I will make one last visit to the Stick next season to see the Seahawks play. It will surely be a special trip and hopefully I can make the trip with many of my friends.

Programming Note: Look for my preview of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions most likely on Saturday afternoon. Go Seahawks!

Review: 49ers 13, Seahawks 6

22 Oct

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I am finally back from San Francisco. I apologize for how late this review post is but I did not have the chance to write while I was down in the Bay Area. The Seahawks fell to 4-3 over the weekend after losing to the San Francisco 49ers 13-6 in a well fought game. Let me jump right in to what I took from Thursday night’s game.

What Both Defenses Proved: Both defenses proved that they deserve to be among the best units in the National Football League. The Seahawks held the 49ers to 138 passing yards but were unable to stop Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. After holding San Francisco to only 3 points in the first half, they gave up a long drive which resulted in a touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Delanie Walker and a short time after that San Francisco was able to put together another decent drive which resulted in 3 more points. The biggest thing I saw from the Seahawks defense was that they got tired late in the game. These two long second half scoring drives wore them down and the inability for the offense to stay on the field to give the defense a rest also hurt. The Seahawks were able to sack Smith twice and Brandon Browner also picked Smith off in the endzone which kept the team in the entire game which was great. The Seahawks are now giving up an average of 16 points per game on the road which should be enough to win ballgames. Unfortunately, especially on Thursday night at Candlestick, this was not the case. As far as the 49ers are concerned, their defense played great coming off their loss to the New York Giants the previous week. The pressure they were able to put on Russell Wilson late in the game was the deciding factor in the outcome. They have some extremely talented playmakers on that side of the ball.

Home Wilson vs. Road Wilson: Get used to the sight of two different Russell Wilson’s Seahawks fans. The road version of Russell Wilson is a lot uglier than the home version. Russell Wilson struggled on Thursday night. Wilson ended the night 9/23 for 122 yards and one interception. As a fan it is frustrating to watch Wilson on the road because most of this completed throws look so good but then when it matters the most the offense cannot get the ball into appropriate scoring range. Why does Wilson play poorer on the road? My only thought regarding this is that the home-field advantage of wherever Wilson is playing against hypes up the defense and they are more able to force him into bad decisions. Next week will be tough for Wilson playing on the road once again. At this point if Wilson cannot throw for at least 215 yards and a touchdown next week in Detroit, the Seahawks could very well be looking at a .500 record after next week’s game.

Dropped Passes Could Have Changed The Outcome: My last point is the most crucial of all. There were three crucial passes that were dropped by the Seahawks receivers that either would have been points, or would have put the ball in field position where points would have been automatic. The first of these passes, a streak down the sidelines intended for running back Robert Turbin which bounced off his hands. The pass was thrown perfectly and Turbin could not bring in in. The play would have gone for 30+ yards and Turbin may have been able to score on the pass, as he would have caught in roughly 8 yards shy of the endzone. Unfortunately, Turbin did not catch the ball and the Seahawks had to settle for a Steven Hauschka 52-yard field goal. The second dropped pass occurred in the second quarter. 3rd and 5 from the San Francisco 17 yard line, Wilson fired into double coverage and seemed to have hit Braylon Edwards in the chest but the former 49er could not hang on to the ball. The Seahawks had to settle for another Hauschka field goal, this time from 35 yards. The third dropped pass came in the first drive of the second half. The Seahawks had put together a solid drive and had taken 4 minutes off the clock when on 3rd and 2, Wilson tried to hit Golden Tate on a slant to the right and Tate took off running before he controlled the ball. The play would have gone for at least 20 more yards because the only other defender in the area (San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson) was playing deep. The completion would have definitely put the Seahawks in field goal range but instead Jon Ryan punted on the very next play. In my eyes the first two dropped passes would have resulted in touchdowns. I’ll figure the third pass would have been a field goal. The Seahawks would have come away with 11 more points off those drive than they actually did, giving them a total of 17. That would have been enough to beat the 49ers.

Random Thoughts: Most of my random thoughts this week are about my trip to San Francisco. I will post about my trip to the Seahawks game coming up soon. Look for my post about my gameday experience tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for reading everybody. It’s time to get ready for the Detroit Lions next week. Go Seahawks!

Seahawks/49ers Preview

17 Oct

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

Site: Candlestick Park (San Francisco, California)

Kickoff: 5:20pm

The Seahawks conclude their road slate of division games on Thursday night against the defending NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks enter the game with a 4-2 record and are coming off a thrilling 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots last Sunday. The 49ers are also 4-2 and are coming off an embarrassing loss to the New York Giants 26-3 in what was a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game. The all-time series between these two teams is tied 13-13. Here is what I will be looking for down in San Francisco on Thursday night in this crucial game.

This biggest key for Russell Wilson this week will be limiting turnovers. The Seahawks will be going up against the best defense they have faced all season and much like the guys we have on defense, the 49ers have a lot of talented weapons that can do everything from rushing the passer, stopping the run, and intercepting passes thrown into the secondary. Honestly, I expect Wilson to struggle this week. Wilson always preaches preparation and how being prepared translates to how well he performs on the field. The Seahawks have only had 4 days to prepare for San Francisco, and I don’t think the factors of this game such as limited preparation, travel, and tough opponent are in Wilson’s favor. I think Wilson will take chances down the field like he did last week but he will not have the same success rate. I will predict Russell Wilson will throw for one touchdown and one interception against this tough 49ers defensive unit.

I hope the Seahawks will try to establish the running game early and if Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin are unable to get things going consistently, Russell Wilson will be forced to throw more than the coaching staff would like him to. If Lynch can put up numbers like he did in the first couple weeks of the season, our offense will be in good shape. I get this feeling that Lynch is due to burst out and run for a couple gains of at least 40 yards. It may be tough this week but I would never count it against him. There was a drive against New England where the Seahawks used Robert Turbin for four straight plays. I do not know if it was a package specifically designed for Turbin or if we were just giving Lynch a rest but I liked switching up the personnel. I think if the Seahawks use Turbin in a more expanded role, we can confuse the 49ers defense and we will have more success running the ball in this game.

Something that I think needs to be preached that may be overlooked by other fans is the fact that this game is a primetime game on the road. Why do Seahawks fans love going to Sunday Night, Monday Night and Thursday Night games so much? It is because we are the only game going on at that time, we are being broadcast all around the country, and we want to prove to the rest of the country that we have the best fans and the best home-field advantage in the National Football League. This time however, the Seahawks are on the road which means it is the “49er Faithful” that has all of these things on their side. To be effective on the road in primetime, we need to make a statement early. Whether this means we convert a big play or we score we need to keep the 49ers fans silent early and often. If we can do this, we will have an even greater chance of coming home 5-2.

The San Francisco 49ers have gotten off to a strong start this season after a surprising 13-3 campaign in 2011. At the forefront is the 49ers defense led by middle linebacker Patrick Willis and pass-rush extraordinaire Aldon Smith. San Francisco is giving up an average of just under 16 points per game and has given up an average of only 9.7 points in their last three games. If the Seahawks offensive line has trouble pass blocking, especially since James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan will play left guard and right guard respectively, the 49ers may have their way with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. I think a successful game for the Seahawks would be to limit San Francisco to three sacks or less. To be honest, I think a more reasonable estimate and prediction would be that the 49ers will sack Russell Wilson 5 or 6 times on Thursday night. The man I will be keeping the keenest eye on this week will be NaVarro Bowman. Bowman leads San Francisco in tackles with 60 on the season, averaging 10 per game. As an outside linebacker, Bowman does an exceptional job of scouting out where the play is developing, especially when the Seahawks line up in packages sporting slot receivers or multiple tight ends. If we can get Bowman stuck in traffic, the Seahawks could put together decent sized chunks of yardage on their drives.

The San Francisco offense is the biggest question mark in my eyes. Quarterback Alex Smith is having another solid season so far, completing 67.7 percent of his passes and throwing 4 more touchdowns than interceptions (8 touchdowns, 4 interceptions). I think the biggest threat on offense for the 49ers is their cornucopia of wide receivers. Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Randy Moss all have the potential to make big plays but the man I am scared most of is their offseason acquisition Mario Manningham. Manningham will most likely line up against Richard Sherman this week and because of all of the chatter that Sherman has stirred this week, I would not be surprised to see Smith try to test him by throwing to Manningham. Having said this, I have full confidence that the “Legion of Boom” will be able to handle the 49ers receivers. Smith will complete passes and make solid gains from time to time, but I fully expect the Seahawks secondary to make sure that there are no gains of 25+ yards this week.

One more brief note, 49ers kicker David Akers has been struggling recently. If the 49ers are stuck in long field goal range, Akers may not be as effective. The Seahawks must take advantage of these opportunities and the field position given to them, especially if Akers struggles.

Random Thoughts: This will be my second Seahawks road trip of the season. I have seen 5 straight road losses live… The weather is supposed to be nice on Thursday night with a game-time temperature in the mid to high 70’s. Even though it’s a night game maybe I’ll come back home with one of my famous redhead sunburns… Candlestick is the worst stadium I have ever been to. Having said this I am tagging along for the Jaguars/Raiders game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland on Sunday with my best friend Josh, so maybe that opinion will change soon… Let me make this point very clear. If there is one thing I hate more than the San Francisco 49ers it is the fans of the San Francisco 49ers. They are hands down the rudest fans in the NFL; at least that I have witnessed and dealt with live. I expect way more drunks in the stands at the Stick on Thursday night since they’ve had all day to drink in the parking lot… My weekly uniform prediction: I have heard rumblings on Twitter that the Seahawks are going to wait to wear their grey alternate uniforms until December. With this in mind, my guess is white jersey/grey pants… If I don’t make it back home assume I’m in a San Francisco hospital recovering from stab wounds or gunshot wounds. Another person got hurt attending a 49ers home game last week. I am astonished these incidents keep on happening. For as sad as they are it is almost laughable to me that security cannot do the one job they are trained to do… If you have not seen the hilarious picture of Richard Sherman trash talking Tom Brady after last week’s game here it is:

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I looked at this picture and laughed out loud for a good while. Something about Sherman’s facial expression cracks me up. Just another reason why he is my favorite Seahawk… I’ve got a dinner bet on this game. Although I love to cook it’d be nice to actually win a bet for once. Your move, Seahawks. Help me out here… Hopefully I can get on national NFL Network broadcast this week. That would be pretty cool. Keep an eye out for me ;).

Prediction: I am 1-1 seeing the Seahawks play live in San Francisco. Here are the scores of the games I’ve seen:

2007: Seahawks 23, 49ers 3

2011: 49ers 33, Seahawks 17

This game will be a defensive duel. The Seahawks have been in every game at the end all season long and that will not change on Thursday night. One of the primary reasons why the Seahawks struggled in San Francisco last season was they could not put pressure on Alex Smith and force him to commit turnovers. The winner of the turnover battle wins this game and with this being a defensive duel, there will be multiple turnovers. At the end of the day the Seahawks win the turnover battle 3-2 and come home with sole possession of first place in the NFC West.

Seahawks 16, 49ers 10

I will not have access to a computer until late Sunday night when I get home from the Bay Area. Expect two posts early next week. I will post my review of the Seahawks/49ers game most likely Monday afternoon. Also, just like I did with my trip to Arizona last month I will chronicle my weekend in San Francisco in a detailed post. It will surely be a must-read. Look for that post most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Thanks for reading everybody. Go Seahawks!

“SEATTLE SEAHAWKS GINGER FROOOO!!!”- Drunk 49ers fan at Candlestick in awe of my afro from last year’s game.

Review: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23

15 Oct

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Arguably the three toughest home games this season were the first three. The Seahawks have survived the gauntlet. The Seahawks beat the New England Patriots 24-23 on Sunday, improving their record to 4-2 and are now in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West. The Seahawks are also 3-0 at home. This was yet another incredible game to be in attendance for. Here are my thoughts about Sunday’s victory.

Defense Showed Up When It Absolutely Needed To: The Seahawks defense came into this game as the top defensive unit in the NFL. After giving up 475 yards to New England that will most likely change. With the exception of the final Patriots drive of the first half and the last two at the end of the game, the Seahawks defense was virtually nonexistent. The no-huddle offense Tom Brady called worked extremely well, especially the running plays called on first and second down. However, the stops the Seahawks made in the periods previously mentioned ultimately determined the outcome of the game. With 6 seconds left in the first half, the Seahawks pass rush forced Brady to throw the ball out of the endzone. The officials called intentional grounding on Brady which required a ten-second runoff to end the half. The Patriots took a gamble and missed out on 3-7 points. After the Seahawks scored with 1:16 left in the game, I was worried that we left too much time for Brady since all the Patriots needed to do was get into field goal range. The sack on Brady on second down was huge and that backed them up enough for the Seahawks to make sure the Patriots would not convert. The pass rush as a whole was disappointing but the Patriots offensive line did a great job. Holding the Patriots to 23 points is great but the yardage given up needs to be improved.

Finally!: Russell Wilson threw for more yards in this game than any other game this season. Wilson ended the day 16/27 for 293 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions although he turned the ball over once on a fumble. Wilson showed that he can fire down the field with no hesitation. This was proved with two 45+ yard throws; one to Doug Baldwin which set up Baldwin’s touchdown reception and the bomb to Sidney Rice with 1:16 left in the game. Wilson throws a beautiful deep ball and he did a great job exploiting the Patriots pass defense which is ranked among the worst in the NFL. A game like this against a legitimate super bowl contender should prove that Wilson is drastically improving and that he is going to be a star caliber quarterback really soon. I was incredibly impressed with Wilson on Sunday. I am convinced now that Coach Carroll made the right choice naming Wilson the starting quarterback.

Richard Sherman Is Gary Payton With Shoulder Pads: I have talked about how much I love Richard Sherman. He is a nice, intelligent, and witty person and a hard-hitting, trash-talking, confident football player. Sherman loves to get into his opponent’s head and his best challenge yet was to Tom Brady on Sunday. Brady told Sherman to meet him after the game after the Patriots won. Sherman challenged Brady to throw against him. With Tom Brady always wanting to prove to his opponent that he is better than them, Brady did in fact throw in Sherman’s direction. Sherman made him pay. He intercepted a pass intended for Deion Branch. After the game, a picture surfaced online of Sherman appearing to continue trash talking to Brady. Sherman already has 3 interceptions and is on pace for 9 or 10 on the season. The performance by Sherman is a tip of the cap to not only him but to the playing style of the rest of the secondary. He is developing an on-the-field “bad boy” image much like Gary Payton was with the SuperSonics during his career. I look forward to see what Sherman will do or who he will call out on Thursday against San Francisco.

A New Number In The Rafters: At halftime, the Seahawks retired #96 for Pro Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy. The Seahawks presented him with his Hall of Fame ring, a framed jersey from Kennedy’s playing days, a video montage of his career highlights, and then took a cover off his number in the rafters at CenturyLink Field. It was an incredible ceremony and I got emotional to be honest. Kennedy definitely deserves the honor he received on Sunday afternoon. I am so proud that he is a Seattle Seahawk and now the rafters are completely full with all the numbers that should be retired by this organization. The best part about the ceremony was that it was done at halftime; not at the two-minute warning like Walter Jones’s number. It was nice to see everybody close to Kennedy be here to help celebrate this amazing achievement. And I also think the ceremony may have given the fans the extra juice to scream and get excited during the second half.

Random Thoughts: I have now been asked to sit down at every regular season game so far. Once again, I stood up; not to piss them off, but because I couldn’t see due to everyone standing below me. At the next game, I am seriously considering wearing a sign on the back of my jersey that says something like “I don’t sit. Deal with it”… Bill Belichick wore his famous hoodie. What is funny is that Coach Carroll also wore the same style hoodie… I am so glad I got to see Tom Brady play live. I’m even happier that I got to see the Seahawks beat him… Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead are so short. Even from the upper deck they look like hobbits… The starting defense was introduced this week. Fitting considering that we have the best unit in the league… This was one of those games where the weather is so borderline I didn’t know whether to wear shorts and a sweatshirt. That is exactly what I decided to wear with my jersey… Thank God for undercover seats. It poured throughout the entire game… Russell Wilson had trouble throwing the wet football. He should practice with the wet ball a lot in practice for the duration of the season… The Seahawks uniform combination was blue jersey/blue pants. That is probably going to be our look at home for the remainder of the season… I tailgated in a parking lot in Pioneer Square across from the Last Supper Club. Super fun, especially when Fireball is present… Walter Jones raised the 12th Man flag this weekend. I was kind of disappointed however because the video they played for Jones prior to him raising the play was the exact same video they played before he rose it at the NFC Wild-Card Playoff against New Orleans in 2010… It was Canada Day this week. Kind of ironic however, because the Seahawks were playing the Patriots… Free stuff counter: IHOP pancakes and beef jerky and Slurpee’s from 7-Eleven. Almost got a free doughnut from Top Pot but Sidney Rice came 19 yards shy of 100… The post-game party took me to 88 Keys where one of my roommates and I watched the first part of Sunday Night Football, drank a bucket of beer, and celebrated our amazing win with dozens of Seahawks fans… I think the Seahawks have a really good chance of going 8-0 at home for the first time since 2005; the year we went to the super bowl.

The Seahawks now face a short week in preparation for the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. This means I also have a short week to write my preview post for Thursday’s game. Look for my preview of our game against San Francisco on either Wednesday night or early Thursday morning before my flight takes off for San Francisco. Thanks for reading everybody! Go Seahawks!

Patriots/Seahawks Preview

13 Oct

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Matchup: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

Tom Brady faces off against the Seahawks in Seattle for the first time in his career this Sunday as the Patriots come to town in a huge test of top offense vs. top defense. The Patriots enter the game 3-2 and they are coming off a 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks return home from Carolina where they beat the Panthers 16-12 last week. The Patriots lead the all-time series 8-7. The last time these two teams played was in 2008. The Patriots defeated the 2-win Seahawks 24-21 on December 7th, 2008 with Matt Cassel at quarterback for the Patriots. Here are the storylines I will be looking at this week in arguably the most anticipated home game this season.

Russell Wilson has continued to improve each week despite lackluster statistics. This week he faces the Patriots and their 30th ranked pass defense. With a beastly front four which includes Vince Wilfork, it may be difficult to run the ball this week. If this is the case, Wilson will be on the spot to make plays. I would definitely look for Wilson to scramble if given the opportunity. This may be a week where Wilson runs for close to 50 yards. One of the biggest keys this week, just like any other week is to limit turnovers. If the Seahawks can keep the ball for as long as they can and limit the time Tom Brady is in control of the Patriots offense, we will have more room to breathe and will put increasing pressure on New England. The longer we have the ball, the more pressure put on Brady and the Patriots.

The Seahawks boast the number one overall defense in the National Football League. This year especially, the Seahawks defense has done a great job of making opposing quarterbacks look silly. Aaron Rodgers was sacked 8 times in the first half alone and the explosive Packers offense was only able to score 12 points. With a beat up offensive line including a hurt Logan Mankins, the Seahawks have the potential to have a stellar day. Behind the roar of the 12th Man, expect the defense to put immense pressure on Tom Brady to flush him out of the pocket or make snap decisions. Bruce Irvin is the man to watch this week. In 5 games this season Irvin has 4.5 sacks. He is on pace for 14.5 sacks on the season. After a multi-sack game during the last home game I would not be surprised at all to see him repeat those numbers this weekend.

Expect the nickel package to be used more this weekend. The Patriots like to use all of their weapons in different packages and formations. The Patriots will use Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Danny Woodhead all throughout the game. The only set matchup I see is Lloyd vs. Brandon Browner; the number one cornerback. Marcus Trufant may have a big role this week. Trufant is the number three cornerback on the depth chart and is used primarily in the nickel package. With the cornucopia of receivers the Patriots have at their disposal, we may see more secondary players on the field at irregular times. With the difference in normality within certain defensive packages against this complex New England offense, players that normally do not make an impact may be able to make plays this week if the rush can force Brady into bad decisions.

The Patriots have the number one ranked offense in the National Football League. The Patriots are averaging close to 35 points per game yet they have already lost two games on the road. Tom Brady is Tom Brady. There is no debating that. However keep in mind the following facts: This is the farthest trip for the Patriots this season and their only cross-country trip. Tom Brady has never played at CenturyLink Field before. He is facing the number one defense in the league. I do not expect Brady to have as bad of a game as Tony Romo or Aaron Rodgers but he has the capability to do effective things that will frustrate the Seahawks defense. For example…

The no-huddle offense has become a staple of the New England offense this season. According to Coach Carroll, the no-huddle offense is difficult to run with a roaring crowd; mainly due to the difficulty of communication between coach and quarterback. If the Patriots can put up some points early and put the Seahawks in a disadvantage, I would expect to see no-huddle called to sink us even further.

Random Thoughts: This is the first time I will be back at CenturyLink Field since Monday Night Football against the Packers. We are coming off a win and are in striking distance of the Cardinals and 49ers. I expect the crowd to be in their seats early and be as loud as the past two games… It is the only home game during the month of October for breast cancer awareness… This will be the best halftime ceremony I have ever been a part of. Cortez Kennedy will have his #96 jersey retired. I’ll have to remember to bring a couple tissues. I teared up during Walter Jones’s jersey retirement… I am super excited to see Tom Brady play live for the first time. This will be one of those games where I look back and can tell my kids “I got to see one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time play”… Don’t sleep on the Patriots running game. Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden are two great backs that can both have a big impact this weekend for New England… I have 30.5 ounces worth of Skittles ready to throw on Sunday. Don’t let me down Marshawn… Tailgating will be done in a parking lot like before the Cowboys game. Very excited… There is a Washington Huskies home game the day before against the USC Trojans. Looks like I’ll have to save my voice for Sunday… Might have to break out the sweatshirt and jeans for the first time this week. Only supposed to get up to 60 degrees on Sunday… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue this week. They’ve worn the blue practice jersey’s all week during practice… Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts have the call for CBS this week. Words cannot express how happy I am that I won’t have to sit through THAT commentary… The pregame giveaway is a lanyard. Was hoping for something a little bit cooler for a game against a team like the New England Patriots… I predict that Bill Belichick will wear his famous gray hoodie… The Seahawks are looking to get to 4-2 for the first time since 2010. A win would be huge going forward, especially since we play the San Francisco 49ers on the road next on five days rest.

Prediction: Bear Bryant once said “defense wins championships.” This is not a championship game by any means but it may feel like it. The Seahawks will prove that this statement is true. Tom Brady will be sacked 6 times. The offense will not be spectacular but we will do a good enough job in the red zone to put up points and put continued pressure on the Patriots. I have seen the Seahawks beat iconic quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner live. By Sunday night, Tom Brady will be added to this list.

Seahawks 26, Patriots 21

My review will be up on Monday Afternoon. I will be working on my preview for next week’s Thursday night game against San Francisco in a crammed timeframe so bear with me. Enjoy the game everybody. Go Seahawks!

“God bless America and God bless the Seattle Seahawks.”- Cortez Kennedy