Archive | November, 2012

Review: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21

26 Nov

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Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins was once again another frustrating, nail-biting heartbreaker. After an unfortunate penalty which negated an interception, the inability to put together a game winning drive and the inability to stop the Dolphins when it mattered the most, the Seahawks fell to Miami 24-21. In this review post, you will probably get the feeling that I am just venting about our constant struggles on the road but I think that is acceptable. Here are my thoughts and frustrations about Sunday’s game.

We Couldn’t Catch a Break I: The Seahawks were called for 10 penalties totaling 59 yards on Sunday. Most of these penalties were mental mistakes such as false starts and delay of game. There was also a couple holding calls and one personal foul penalty (which I will discuss in part II). Of course penalties are always a big problem but this week it felt like the penalty yardage added on to our plays were the difference in whether we converted for a first down or not. A lot of our penalties were called in the first half and we seemed to do a good job making adjustments for the second half, but unfortunately it was not enough in the end. With another huge road test next week, these simple mistakes need to be corrected in a big hurry.

We Couldn’t Catch a Break II: The toughest penalty the Seahawks had in this game came with 8:13 left in the fourth quarter. After forcing Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill out of the pocket, while scrambling to his right he threw a pass across his body which was intercepted by linebacker Bobby Wagner in the endzone for a turnover. However, on the play, safety Earl Thomas came rushing in towards Tannehill and after Tannehill released the ball Thomas could not stop his speed and momentum, jumping and crashing into Tannehill. Thomas was flagged for roughing the passer/blow to the head and the Dolphins got the ball first and goal at the three-yard line. Daniel Thomas punched it in for a Miami touchdown on the next play. Without those points, Seattle would have held on for the win. Here are my feelings about the penalty on Thomas. According to the rules no defensive player can make contact with the quarterback’s head with any body part. Unfortunately, Thomas was running at full speed and could not avoid crashing into Tannehill. What is Thomas supposed to do in a situation like this? Running that fast, it is nearly impossible to not run in to the quarterback. One could say Thomas could have just rammed into the quarterback with his shoulder but the play happened so bang-bang that you have virtually no time to think about how to try to stop him. Technically Thomas did commit a punishable foul, but I think the rule concerning running into the quarterback should be examined before the 2013 season.

Just Like In Detroit, Defense Couldn’t Step Up When It Mattered Most: After failing to put together a game-winning drive of their own, the Seahawks punted back to the Dolphins with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins drive started at their own 10-yard line. In a minute and a half, Miami drove 65 yards to their own 25-yard line and then kicked the game winning field goal. The Seahawks defense continues to let me and the rest of the 12th Man down in crucial situations on the road. How can a unit so talented give up so many yards in such a short period of time at the end of the game? The Seahawks gave up 435 total yards of offense to the Dolphins, which is usually enough to lose a game just like what happened today. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, things do not get any easier with Chicago coming up next week.

Silver Linings: For all of the frustration and suffering that occurred on Sunday, here are some positive things I took out of the Dolphins game. After getting off to a shaky start, Russell Wilson settled down and completed 16 consecutive passes at one point in the game. If he had completed 17, he would have tied Warren Moon for the Seahawks record for consecutive passes completed in a game. Wilson ended the day 21/27 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson continues to improve but still is showing growing pains on the road. Next week Wilson and the Seahawks offense cannot afford to get off to a slow start… Jon Ryan had a great game punting this week. Ryan had 7 punts for a total of 280 yards (a 40 yard average). Six of these punts landed inside the 20-yard line. Ryan continues to show why he deserves to be the NFC punter in the pro bowl this season… Leon Washington tied Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs for the most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown which gave the Seahawks a 21-14 fourth quarter lead. One more kickoff return touchdown and Washington has the record.

Random Thoughts: The Dolphins had scored a total of 10 points in their previous two games. They scored 17 points in a 9-minute span in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Simply embarrassing… I don’t think I have seen a smaller crowd for an NFL game this season. There were TONS of empty orange seats at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday. No question I am putting bandwagon status on Miami Dolphins fans… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan I am begging you guys. Please go back to broadcasters training. It is turning into a fun game to see how many times you can screw up the play-by-play and commentary any given week… According to the Seahawks Twitter account, the team landed in Seattle Sunday night and immediately started preliminary preparations on next weekend’s game against Chicago. I like the idea. We may need all of the prep time we can get… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and grey pants this week; the same combination we wore when we beat Carolina on the road in week 5. Too bad the combination didn’t work this time around… I am sick and tired of these close losses on the road. Honestly I would much rather see us get blown out on the road than see us lose these close games. I think watching us get blown out would be easier to handle… After our loss and the San Francisco 49ers win in New Orleans, I am starting to come to the very real realization that we may not catch San Francisco for the division. At this point our first concern and priority should be locking up a wild-card berth.

Seahawks Playoff Outlook: The Seahawks are 6-5 and based on tiebreakers are currently holding onto the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings also have 6-5 records. Also in the playoff picture with 5-6 records are the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. Next Week’s matchups with potential playoff implications:

Seattle (6-3) at Chicago (8-3)

Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3)

Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4)

Like I noted in “Random Thoughts,” the Seahawks have already begun preparations for next Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Be on the lookout for my preview of the Bears game on Saturday afternoon. Tough Loss guys but we’ll bounce back. Down but not out! Go Hawks!

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Seahawks/Dolphins Preview

24 Nov

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins

Site: Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)

Kickoff: 10:00am

The Seahawks return after their bye week this week as they head to South Beach to face the Miami Dolphins. This is the first of six games to conclude the regular season for the Seahawks and the first of three road games. The Seahawks head into this game with a 6-4 record, clinging onto an NFC wild-card spot while they are trying to make up ground in the NFC West. The Miami Dolphins come into this game with a 4-6 record and they have lost their last three games. With a win, the Dolphins could get back into AFC wild-card contention. The Dolphins have a 9-4 all-time advantage against the Seahawks. In their last meeting in 2008, the Dolphins held on to beat Seattle 21-19 in Miami. The Dolphins and their newly schemed wildcat offense went on to win the AFC East that year while the Seahawks finished the season 4-12. There will be plenty to be looking for out of the Seahawks coming off the bye. Here is what I am looking for.

The number one thing I will be looking for out of the Seahawks this week is continually building offensive momentum on the road. The Dolphins are ranked 9th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, meaning Marshawn Lynch may have trouble getting going this week. On the other hand, Miami is ranked 27th in pass yards allowed. The last time the Seahawks played on the road was in Detroit four weeks ago. In that game Russell Wilson showed significant improvement passing. After two home games and an extra week of preparation, I am hoping Wilson can play another decent game this week. I do expect to see some rust being shaken off early but I do not expect it to last for an extended period of play. A good game from Wilson this week includes minimal turnovers. Wilson has made several mistakes on the road this year in terms of errant passes. If he is relaxed and does not force throws like he has in the past, I do not see a problem with the way our offense plays.

On defense, the biggest problem facing the Seahawks on the road is stopping the opposition on third down. In Detroit, the Lions were successful on third down conversions about 75 percent of the time. In order to stop Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins from moving the chains, pressure will be the main key for the Seahawks defense. Being an inexperienced rookie quarterback, Tannehill has made several mistakes over the past couple of weeks. He has thrown five interceptions in his last two games and only one touchdown. This week the Seahawks will have Jason Jones back along the inside and K.J. Wright will also be back after sitting out the Jets game with an injury. I think Chris Clemons will be the defensive player of the game for the Seahawks this week with a pair of sacks. I think four or five sacks by the defense will get the job done and Tannehill and the Dolphins will make a couple of crucial mistakes because of the pressure.

The Seahawks secondary is a group I definitely will be looking at this week. Brandon Browner will line up against Brian Hartline this week and Richard Sherman will line up with Davone Bess but keep a look out for how Seattle uses cornerback Walter Thurmond. The injury-prone Thurmond will be playing his first game this season after recovering from a broken leg which he suffered in a game against Cleveland last season. Thurmond may be used in nickel packages and may see some time in the slot. Thurmond will get a fair amount of playing time and I will be looking at his speed. Before his broken leg Thurmond was one of the fastest players on defense. If he is covering Bess or even going after Reggie Bush should the opportunity present itself, it will be fascinating to see how well Thurmond can keep up.

In all honestly to the common fan, the Miami Dolphins may be one of the most boring teams in the National Football League. The Dolphins were featured on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” during training camp and the preseason and did not give the audience the flare that the series has given in past years. The Dolphins and first year head coach Joe Philbin have done a good job in putting together a good mix of young and old talent and have proven that they can win games; they are not the pushover a lot of fans predicted them to be at the start of the season. The biggest weapon on offense for the Dolphins is running back Reggie Bush. Bush has the capability to make explosive plays if he can get out in the open. The Seahawks need to do a good job of making contact with Bush in order to slow him down. On defense, Cameron Wake continues to be one of the premier pass rushers in the league. He has 9.5 sacks so far on the season and will most likely make the pro bowl once again this season. One guy to keep an eye on this week is outside linebacker Kevin Burnett. Burnett is tied for second on the team in tackles with 44 and with Karlos Dansby dominating in the middle, positive plays to the left may come at a premium for the Seahawks this week.

Random Thoughts: The Dolphins have a home-field advantage that is continually swept under the rug; the weather. Game-time weather conditions are usually hot and humid. This week the high is supposed to be in the mid 70’s so weather hopefully is not a big issue… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue jerseys this week as the Dolphins will wear white. I hope the Seahawks debut the white pants this week… All of our remaining road games are 10am starts. Ouch… It’s too bad I didn’t make this game our road trip this year. I would not mind sipping on an ice cold beer while lying on the beach… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call once again on FOX this week. Oh joy!… Ryan Tannehill’s wife Lauren is smoking hot. Just saying… My friend James is coming over for the game this week. Super excited since he hasn’t been over for a game yet this season… McDonald’s breakfast may be a must this week before the game… It feels good to be back on the blog after this nice break!

Prediction: I feel that a lot of my friends are expecting the Seahawks to win rather easily. I think this game could be a bit sloppy. It is always hard to win on the road and the Seahawks have proven this, only winning one game on the road so far this season. We are catching the Dolphins at just the right time, as they are starting to slip away from playoff contention. I think the Seahawks will win but it will be a lot closer than most people think.

Seahawks 26, Dolphins 23

Stay tuned for my review of the Dolphins game on Monday afternoon. Thanks everybody. It is good to be back writing. Go Seahawks!

Review: Seahawks 28, Jets 7

12 Nov

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At the beginning of the season, I took a look at our schedule and I predicted we would be 5-5 going into the bye week. Instead, thanks to the Seahawks win on Sunday over the New York Jets, the Seahawks head into the bye with a 6-4 record. With the exception of one mistake by quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks played a nearly perfect game and dominated the Jets. Here is what I saw out of the Seahawks this week.

Lynch Breaks 1,000: The Jets came into Sunday’s game with one of the worst run defenses in the league. With Marshawn Lynch only needing 119 yards to get to 1,000 total on the season, it seemed reasonable that Lynch could get there this week. Lynch finished the game with 124 rushing yards and a touchdown, putting him at 1,005 yards on the season. Lynch’s 4.6 yards per carry was a good average to have this week. The Jets had a focus on stopping Lynch after contact because a great majority of his rushing yards have come after contact. There were not many big plays from Lynch this week but his 27 carries are a solid number to have to evenly spread the total play distribution. I think the bye comes at a great time for Lynch to relax and rest up so he can be fresh heading into the last six games of the season.

Wilson Makes History: Russell Wilson had another solid game this week, going 12/19 for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. His only mistake of the game was fumbling the ball in the first quarter which was recovered and returned by Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for a touchdown. Other than this one play, Wilson played another great game and he made NFL history in the process. Wilson is the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to win his first 5 home games. “There’s no place like home” Wilson stated before he started his postgame press conference and he is right. With Arizona, San Francisco, and St. Louis the only home games left this season, I would not be surprised if Wilson leads the Seahawks to an 8-0 record at home.

Trick-Or-Treat: The Seahawks opened up the playbook a little bit this week and ran two trick plays. The first was a halfback toss flea flicker. Wilson pitched the ball to Robert Turbin, who then tossed the ball back to Wilson. Wilson then threw a deep ball intended for Sidney Rice which was a little bit underthrown. Rice unfortunately could not make the play. The Seahawks were able to make up for it later on the drive, as Marshawn Lynch scored from one yard out 8 plays later. The second trick play was a beauty. 1st and goal from the Jets 23 yard line; Wilson faked a handoff to Lynch, and then pitched the ball to Golden Tate. Tate then ran to the left and tossed an incredibly slippery football which was caught in the endzone by Sidney Rice for a touchdown. The Seahawks have ran trick plays at all the right times this season it has seemed. I like throwing new wrinkles into the game plan and the coach Carroll and coach Bevell have done a great job deciding when to run these plays. I hope we keep the trick plays and run more of them but I hope we do not abuse the package. Having one or two trick plays per game would be incredibly effective moving forward in my opinion.

We Read Sanchez Like A Book: Like I predicted, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has a terrible game. Sanchez finished the game 9/22 for 124 yards and one interception. He made a lot of ill-advised throws and his biggest mistake was a triple-clutched pass that was picked off at the goal line by Richard Sherman in the second quarter. Like I predicted in my preview, if we could cover New York’s receivers well and put pressure on Sanchez, he would make unfortunate decisions. This is exactly what happened. Sanchez and the Jets as a whole played a terrible game on offense and they did not score an offensive touchdown. Shonn Greene only ran for 58 yards and Tim Tebow went 3/3 passing for 8 yards and also had 14 yards rushing on 4 carries. The Jets are going to have a difficult time the rest of the season if they perform on offense the way they did against the Seahawks. At the beginning of the season I thought the Jets would only win 5 games. They have won 3 with 7 games remaining on their schedule. I do not think the Jets are serious playoff contenders like head coach Rex Ryan says they are, and after the season they may have to reconsider Mark Sanchez’s place on their team.

Random Thoughts: I went to the Hawks Nest before the game with my dad to drink and watch football. This was the first time all season I prefunked there. Their buffalo wings were the meatiest wings I’ve had in a long time and they were delicious… I got to rock my season ticket holder knit hat this week. It did its purpose keeping my head warm… The military card stunt during the national anthem was really cool. I think there were more people in the stands at the time of the national anthem this year then there were last year… Ed Hochuli was our referee this week and he did a great job explaining all the calls like he always does… It was actually pretty cold up in the upper deck this week, although I was sporting a beer blanket through the entire game… I didn’t see one person wearing a Tim Tebow Jets jersey. I saw someone wearing a Tebow Florida Gators jersey though in my section… We had another Skittles shower after Beast Mode’s touchdown. It never gets old… The starting defense was introduced this week but only 10 players were introduced by my count. K.J. Wright’s spot which was filled this week by Mike Morgan was not announced. Therefore, only two linebackers were introduced… After the game, I had dinner with my dad at Red Robin on the waterfront. I got the whiskey river barbeque burger. It was delicious… During dinner we were tracking the Rams/49ers game which ended in a 24-24 tie. Too funny and I’ll take that over a San Francisco victory, but the Rams had ample opportunities to win. If they had, we would only be ½ game behind San Francisco for the NFC West lead. Instead, I have no idea what the standings look like now.

The Seahawks bye week is this upcoming week. I have not decided whether or not to do a post next weekend because I have two huge papers to write for my classes. If so look for it most likely Saturday. If not, look for my preview of our week 12 game against the Miami Dolphins a week from Saturday. Thanks everyone. Go Seahawks!

Jets/Seahawks Preview

10 Nov

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Matchup: New York Jets vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

The Seahawks have a chance to head into their bye week at 6-4 and on a two-game winning streak. In their way this week is the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off their bye and are sitting at 3-5 and they are looking to get back into the AFC playoff picture. The Seahawks lead the all-time series with the Jets 9-8. In their last meeting, the Seahawks defeated the Jets and their quarterback Brett Favre 13-3 in December of 2008. That game was most famous for being in the middle of the worst snowstorm stretch in Seattle history. It was also Coach Holmgren’s final home game coached for the Seahawks. There is a lot to be looking for out of both teams this week. Here is what I’ll be watching for.

Marshawn Lynch is 119 yards away from reaching the 1,000 yard plateau for the second straight year. The New York Jets defense is giving up an average of 141 rushing yards per game. It is no surprise given these numbers that running the ball will have a big impact on the productivity on offense this week. I do not think Russell Wilson will have to put up big numbers passing this week. My hope is that we can have a 55/45 mix in terms of running and passing the ball. The Jets defense is banged up and all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis is out for the season. Outside of Lynch, I think Sidney Rice will have a big game this week. Russell Wilson has been looking more towards Rice’s direction recently and I think it is only a matter of time before Rice really breaks out and puts up numbers that challenge for the best wide receiver numbers in the NFL in a given week. The key to Wilson’s play this week will not to be too eager to throw the ball, especially if he gets into a comfortable rhythm. This is the type of game could get sloppy with multiple turnovers if the Seahawks are overconfident. If the Seahawks offense has more than 2 turnovers, the game may be closer than I hope.

I watch film of the New York Jets and I see an offense and a quarterback that can get flustered fast and try to force passes. Of course one of the most important aspects of a successful defense is establishing a pass rush but if that does not work this week, the Seahawks can get off the field if they can shut down New York’s receivers. If Mark Sanchez finds an open receiver, he will make a throw. But what happens if Sanchez cannot find an open read? Sanchez will hold on to the ball and try to force throws into coverage. The faces of Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner, and Richard Sherman will not have wider smiles if this happens this week. I expect at least two interceptions thrown by Sanchez this week. Stopping Shonn Greene will also be a focus this week given our struggles in the running game the past three weeks. I think the key to victory on defense however begins with forcing Mark Sanchez into mistakes. I will even go on a limb right now and make the bold prediction that Tim Tebow will be the Jets quarterback late in the fourth quarter, as Sanchez will struggle mightily this week.

On special teams, I am interested to see if the Jets do anything differently in order to stop Leon Washington. Washington previously played for New York before being traded to Seattle on draft day 2010. Because of this, the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan would know better than anybody how to stop Washington. Leon has struggled recently, especially on punt returns. It would be nice to see him break off a couple decent returns but I am not expecting anything extraordinary.

The New York Jets have been labeled my many fans and critics as “The Circus” given the always-contending mentality of Rex Ryan and the fact that they sport the league’s most popular backup quarterback, Tim Tebow. This year the Jets have gotten off to a shaky start at 3-5. The Sanchez vs. Tebow debate rises every week that Sanchez struggles and the Jets also have lost two of their best players for the season due to injury; cornerback Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Santonio Holmes. It is the Jets’ offense that has my attention this week. New York is averaging just shy of 20 points per game on the road this season and they are 1-2 in the process. I put my spotlight on the Jets receiver corps this week. Without Holmes, the Jets available receivers are Jason Hill, Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, and rookie Stephen Hill. None of these receivers have proven themselves to be Sanchez’s go-to target and the leading receiver, Kerley, only has 30 catches for 478 yards on the season. As I noted earlier in my preview, if the Seattle defense can stay on top of New York’s receivers all game long, Sanchez will have a difficult time. All-in-all, the Jets defense does not scare me one bit. 20 points per game may be an okay amount on the road, but I expect the Seahawks to hold them for significantly less this week.

One more quick note, this week the Seahawks need to keep up the momentum at home. This is the first home game where the Seahawks are unanimously picked to win by all the experts on every sports network. After beating Minnesota last week, a mental letdown would be the worst thing for this team, especially since our next two games after the Jets are on the road.

Random Thoughts: This week is “salute to service” military appreciation week around the NFL. The Seahawks will participate in a card stunt during the national anthem just like last season. The Seahawks will also wear camouflage accessories on the field and World War II vet Joe Moser will raise the 12th Man flag… I got my customized authentic Seahawks home jersey in the mail this week. It looks so cool. I can’t wait to wear it on Sunday… Speaking of uniforms, expect the Seahawks to wear blue/blue again this week… I am taking my dad to this weekend’s game. One slight negative to taking my dad is I give up my aisle seat for him. I am more than happy to do it but when you sit in that seat 9 out of 10 times a season, sitting in seat 2 feels really weird… The Washington Huskies play Utah at 7:30 Saturday night. I was praying the Huskies game would be an afternoon game. Now I have to decide how hard to go Saturday to make sure I am rested and ready to go for Sunday… The temperature is supposed to be in the high 40’s at gametime. It looks like I’ll be able to wear the beanie I got with my season tickets for the first time this week… I am sick of all these 1:05 starts. It’s nice to have an extra 20 minutes if the game starts at 1:25 instead. The good thing I guess is the rest of our games are 1:25 kickoffs, barring a game being flexed into Sunday Night Football… No word on the pregame giveaway at this point. Odds are the giveaway will be military themed though… Marv Albert and Rich Gannon have the call for CBS this week. Given Marv’s primary broadcasting focus is basketball, how many times do you think he will call the Seahawks the Sonics?… It will be nice to have a bye after this game. If we can beat the Jets and win in either Miami or Chicago, we have a tremendous chance of making a push for a playoff spot.

Prediction: I have no reason to believe the Seahawks will lose this game. We are better than New York in all three phases of the game. Like I predicted earlier, Lynch will get to the 1,000 yard mark, he will score a touchdown, and Tim Tebow will be quarterbacking the Jets by the end of the game. Rex Ryan will make a statement in his postgame press conference about how the Jets play was embarrassing, and the Seahawks will head into the bye week with a 6-4 record.

Seahawks 28, Jets 9

Check back Monday for my review of the Jets game. Enjoy the game everybody! Go Seahawks!

Review: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

5 Nov

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The Seahawks defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday by a score of 30-20. With the Seahawks win and the Arizona Cardinals loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks are now in sole possession of second place in the NFC West with a 5-4 record. They are now 1 ½ games back of San Francisco for the division lead. This game got off to a very shaky start but after settling down, the defense was able to play well down the stretch and the play of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson fueled this win for Seattle. Here is what I took out of this weekend’s game.

Wilson’s Best Game: I wrote in my preview that this could be Russell Wilson’s best overall performance of the season. I think he proved me right. Wilson only threw for 173 yards but he also had 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has now thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in 4 home games this season. What impressed me the most about Wilson on Sunday was his ability to stay patient in the pocket to make a throw. One specific play that shows this is his touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the first quarter. Wilson was flushed out to the right and instead of tucking the ball and running for the first down; he fired a pass into the endzone for the score. Wilson’s decision making is my favorite facet of his game. After his first touchdown pass of the game to Golden Tate, I looked at Mark, the guy who sits in front of me, and we both agreed that we have officially found our quarterback of the future. At this rate with Wilson under center, the Seahawks will make a legitimate push towards a playoff berth.

The Beast Is Alive And Well: I got to put my Skittles to good use on Sunday. Marshawn Lynch had another impressive performance, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown. Lynch also had two receptions for 26 yards. The Seahawks ran the ball 45 times against Minnesota on Sunday, which a great amount to evenly spread with the passing game. Lynch now has 881 rushing yards on the season. He is projected to break the 1,000 yard mark most likely in Miami in 3 weeks. Barring a devastating setback, Lynch will be the fastest Seahawks running back to 1,000 yards in a season since Shaun Alexander in 2005. This is also the third straight game Lynch has run for over 100 yards. The Seahawks have figured out how to make Lynch the most effective and I do not expect this pattern to change. In fact, I believe Lynch will break 1,000 yards next week against New York.

Pass Defense Good, Rush Defense Bad: Christian Ponder was the worst rated passer in the NFL this week. The Seahawks defense held Ponder to only 63 yards passing and one interception. Seattle also sacked Ponder 4 times, two and a half of them coming from rookies. Defensive lineman Greg Scruggs and linebacker Bobby Wagner had a sack each and Bruce Irvin also added half a sack. The pass defense looked great throughout the game, but the rush defense was an entirely different story. After giving up large amounts of yardage to Frank Gore and Mikel Leshoure the past two weeks, I thought the Seahawks run defense would be able to hold Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to limited yardage. Boy was I wrong. Peterson was able to run for 80 yards on 4 plays in the first 1:45 of the game. Peterson finished the day with 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Although these numbers are atrocious, the Seahawks were able to hold Minnesota to only 3 points in the second half and Peterson only ran for 38 yards in the second half. The defense needs to get better. Fortunately for the Seahawks, our next opponent the New York Jets are 27th in the league in total offense per game, averaging 317 yards per game.

Random Thoughts: Our tailgate started a little bit later than usual. It was still fun though… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and blue pants again this week… I have never sat around more attractive females than at this game… I witnessed a guy accidentally spill a beer all over a guy in the aisle next to me. Kind of embarrassing and the guy who spilled the beer slipped on the aftermath of our Skittles shower. Should I feel partly to blame?… The Newport High School marching band surprisingly sounded really good. They wore blue jackets with the Seahawks logo on the back and the NHS logo on the front left breast. Of course they would upgrade the freebies AFTER I graduated… The starting offense was introduced this week. Everything with pregame seemed a little bit rushed… The Seahawks are now 4-0 at home for the first time since 2005. We went 8-0 at home in the regular season in 2005. Is this a sign of times to come?… Great effort by Golden Tate on his second touchdown but it is always scary when he tries to leap and flip to get the ball across the goal line… The Seahawks only had 4 penalties for 49 yards this week. That is a great stat. Hopefully we can keep it up. Do you know what one of the best parts of having season tickets is? Having back-to-back home games. The Jets come to town next weekend and I can’t wait to do this all over again.

The Seahawks will look at film tomorrow, have a day off on Tuesday, and start preparations for New York on Wednesday. Look for my preview of next week’s game against the Jets on Saturday afternoon. Thanks for reading guys. Let’s keep this thing rolling! Go Seahawks!

Vikings/Seahawks Preview

3 Nov

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Matchup: Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Site: CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Washington)

Kickoff: 1:05pm

The Seahawks return home on Sunday to start the second half of the season against the Minnesota Vikings. The Seahawks enter this game at 4-4 and are looking to gain a half a game on the division leading San Francisco 49ers in the division standings. The Vikings are a surprising 5-3 and are looking to get back on track after losing last Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks lead the all-time series against the Vikings 6-5 but have lost two in a row to Minnesota. Their last matchup was a 35-9 Vikings blowout over the Seahawks at the Metrodome in November of 2009. Here now are my thoughts on this week’s game and the keys to a Seahawks victory.

It has been three weeks since the Seahawks have played at home. The defense was able to shut down the New England Patriots and escape with a victory. This week the Seahawks defense gets the Vikings offense including a quarterback who has never played in Seattle. I have labeled Christian Ponder as fresh meat this week because not only has he never played in Seattle, this is only his second season in the league and I do not believe he has faced a defense as talented in an environment like ours all season. The Seahawks pass rush is a big key on defense this week. Pressuring Ponder into mistakes will be huge this week. Although interceptions would be fantastic, I will be keeping my eyes on the decisions Ponder makes if the pressure is on. Most notably, I will be looking for how long he takes to throw, and if he will try to force throws or if he will throw the ball away. At home, I have full confidence in our defense to stop the Vikings on third downs. By putting Ponder in second and third down and long will be to our advantage. I have full confidence the defense has looked over film and made proper adjustments to be more effective on third down. This week, my player to watch on defense is linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner has been mentioned as an early candidate for defensive rookie of the year. Wagner is doing a great job calling the plays on defense. I predict that Wagner will record his second sack of the season on Sunday.

Last week in Detroit, Marshawn Lynch broke off a 77-yard touchdown run which was his longest run of the season thus far. The Minnesota Vikings do not have a very good run defense. I would not be surprised if Lynch has another 100+ yard rush game which includes at least one touchdown. Lynch has not scored a touchdown at home since week 2 and my offensive prediction this week is that Lynch will score this week. Getting the running game going will take time off the clock and put pressure on the Vikings to make a stop. Lynch is the biggest factor on offense this week and a strong performance from him will probably translate into a positive outcome for the Seahawks this week.

Russell Wilson is back home this week, where he is way more comfortable. After a strong performance on the road last week, I would expect to see momentum rolling over into this game. Just as a reminder, Russell has thrown 6 touchdowns and no interceptions in games at home this season. Russell has the potential to throw for the most single game yardage so far this season. If the running game is working effectively this may not be the case, but if Wilson has to throw often, I think he could put up some big numbers and move the chains in huge chunks. I do however think the Seahawks offensive line will have trouble at times blocking and protecting Wilson. The Seahawks have been able to stay healthy along the offensive line and the continuity is building in the middle between James Carpenter, Max Unger, and Paul McQuistan. This group is still a bit raw and is subject to giving up some sacks and quarterback pressures this week.

The Minnesota Vikings are 5-3 and a large part has to do with their under-the-radar defense. One player who is definitely not flying under-the-radar however is all-pro defensive end Jared Allen who has recorded 7 of Minnesota’s 23 sacks this season. That total is tied for 3rd in the league. Allen is the biggest name on Minnesota’s defense but I have two other players to look for. Cornerback Antoine Winfield has 60 tackles so far this season and has picked off two passes. With the uncertainty at wide receiver this week for the Seahawks, I expect Winfield to line up against Sidney Rice for the majority of the game. Also, rookie safety Harrison Smith is another player to keep an eye on for Minnesota. Smith has been compared to Earl Thomas because of his incredible range and ball hawking ability. If Russell Wilson floats some passes deep, Smith will most likely be in the neighborhood to try to make a play.

On offense you always have to be worried about leading rusher Adrian Peterson, but if the Seahawks defense plays the way I expect them to, Christian Ponder will have to throw the ball a lot. Percy Harvin has 667 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns, and one touchdown on a kickoff return. Harvin is one of the best duel-threats in the league and his quickness may really be a problem in this game. Harvin will go up against Brandon Browner this week and if we give up big chunks of yards to Harvin the Seahawks will definitely be at a disadvantage. Harvin will be the reason if special teams play a significant role in this game. If Harvin has a big game whether it be receiving or returning kicks, the Seahawks may be in trouble.

One final note about the Seahawks wide receiver depth, it looks like Doug Baldwin will be ready to play this week after a miraculous recovery to his ankle. If Baldwin can go, the Seahawks will have 5 healthy wide receivers. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Charly Martin, and Jermaine Kearse are the other 4. I do not expect Kearse to see much playing time and if Baldwin can go, expect Martin’s plays to decrease as well.

Random Thoughts: What a treat. The halftime show this week is a joint performance by the Newport and Mercer Island high school marching bands. I was a part of the Newport HS band from 2004-2008 and I have heard the entire band and staff have turned over since I graduated. Nevertheless it will be kind of funny and cool to watch where I was only 5 years ago… The pregame giveaway is a blue Seahawks poncho. Kind of useless since I’ll be in the upper deck where the elements are a non-factor… The weather is supposed to be in the low 60’s on Sunday. Looks like I’ll be sporting the visor for one more home game… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have the call for FOX for the second straight week. After last week’s play-by-play/commentary performance, I am very thankful I’ll actually be at the game this week… Looks like I’ll be tailgating in a parking lot in Pioneer Square again before this game. I’m excited… The Seahawks will most likely wear blue jerseys and blue pants again this week. I love surprises and I’m waiting to be surprised. I kind of want the Seahawks to switch up their uniform combinations at home… I have an assignment due at 5pm Sunday night. I’ll put good money on me getting it done before Sunday rolls around.

Prediction: I think it is crucial for the Seahawks to win these next two home games before the bye. The fact that we are at home and Christian Ponder has never played at CenturyLink Field before gives us a huge advantage. I think we will able to contain Adrian Peterson for the most part and Russell Wilson will have his best performance of the season.

Seahawks 24, Vikings 13

Look for my review of the Vikings game sometime Monday afternoon or evening. Enjoy the game everybody. Go Hawks!