Tag Archives: Rob Riggle

Review: Falcons 30, Seahawks 28

14 Jan

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Let me tell you one thing I hate about watching Seahawks football in the playoffs. When they lose they don’t just lose. They raise it into some kind of an art form. In 2003 the Seahawks lost on a pick-six in overtime to the Green Bay Packers. In 2006 the Seahawks held a 10-point fourth quarter lead to the Chicago Bears, blew it, and lost on a Robbie Gould walk-off field goal in overtime. Add Sunday’s game to the list of heartbreakers. The Seahawks defense could not hold the Atlanta Falcons offense with 25 seconds left in regulation and a Matt Bryant field goal erased the 2nd biggest comeback in NFL playoff history. Atlanta wins. Atlanta plays San Francisco for the NFC championship next week. Seattle heads home and starts thinking about 2013. It’s simple as that. As a fan I have held myself together after this loss way better than in past postseason heartbreakers. Maybe it hasn’t settled in just yet. Maybe I’m just more mature and can handle these games better. Nevertheless I am extremely frustrated in our defense and I am extremely disappointed overall. I have broken my analysis and thoughts down into 3 parts; the first 3 quarters, the first 14:29 of the 4th quarter, and the final 31 seconds of the season.

The First 45: After getting off to a slow start in Washington last week I was prepared to be calm and not to worry if the same thing were to happen against Atlanta. It did. The Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and in the second quarter after Matt Bryant’s second field goal of the day, the Seahawks had the ball deep in Atlanta territory and rather than kicking a field goal to cut the lead to 13-3, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll elected to go for it to gain some offensive momentum. On 4th down and 1, the Falcons stacked 8 men in the box, assuming a quick handoff. They were right on the money. The Falcons stuffed Michael Robinson on the fullback dive for a loss of one and a Seahawks turnover on downs. There is no doubt in my mind they saw that play on film, as the Seahawks have ran it in their last two games. Matt Ryan then connected with wide receiver Roddy White for a 47-yard touchdown on Atlanta’s next drive with 4:16 left in the half. This was a 10 point swing and gave the Falcons a 20-0 lead, the largest deficit for the Seahawks all season long. On the Seahawks next possession the Seahawks drove deep into Falcons territory but due to poor clock management and a mistake by Russell Wilson taking a sack on 3rd down, the Seahawks ran out of time and went into the half trailing 20-0.

The Seahawks got the ball to start the second half and went right down the field and scored on a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to Golden Tate. 20-7 Atlanta. That score was huge for the Seahawks because without it I firmly believe Atlanta would have taken the ball and scored again making it a 4-score game early in the second half. Instead, the Seahawks were able to put their first points on the board and this drive sparked some serious offense momentum to come later on in the game. In an ideal situation, the defense can piggy back on the momentum being brought by the offense but they proved they still had trouble stopping the powerful Atlanta offense early in the second half. After Tate’s touchdown the Falcons drove 80 yards in 7:36 culminating in a 5-yard pass from Ryan to Jason Snelling. 27-7 Atlanta. After this scoring drive everything seemed to change. Little did we know that the Seahawks would come back from the 2nd largest deficit in NFL playoff history.

The Next 14:29: The tables turned in the fourth quarter thanks to great offensive play and a couple big plays by our defense. Big catches by Golden Tate and Zach Miller along with a couple solid runs by Robert Turbin set up a Russell Wilson touchdown run to cut the lead to 27-14 Atlanta. Earl Thomas then came up with a big interception on the Falcons next possession and to be honest I had a feeling that we were going to come back. Nothing was certain, but I could see our defense was drastically improving. If they kept it up and the offense stayed steady, I thought we would be in great shape to come back. Wilson found Miller in the endzone with 9:13 left in the game and the Seahawks cut the lead to one score; 27-21 Atlanta. After an Atlanta 3-and-out and a Seahawks drive which stalled at midfield, the next crucial play was a 3rd and 8 on Atlanta’s next drive. Ryan fired to his right and the ball was low and ahead of Roddy White, forcing the Falcons to punt and would give Seattle the chance to take the lead with a touchdown. The key plays on this final Seattle drive in my mind were a 19-yard pass to Golden Tate, and a 24-yard pass to Marshawn Lynch on a 3rd and 5 to keep the drive alive. That Lynch catch-and-run put the ball inside the Atlanta 5-yard line with under a minute to go. Lynch punched it in on the next play and with 31 seconds left, the Seahawks held their first lead of the game, 28-27.

Hindsight is 20/20 but I wish there was a way the Seahawks could have taken another 15 or so seconds off the clock. With a one point lead, 31 seconds left, and 2 Falcon timeouts available, I immediately thought back to the Chicago game in week 13. Nothing is guaranteed, I thought. One blown coverage and it could spell trouble. That game against the Bears should have never gone to overtime. Bad defensive coverage allowed Brandon Marshall to catch a long pass to put the Bears in field goal range. They tied the game but the Seahawks held on to win in overtime. The Miami and Detroit games also flashed in my mind, as in these two games all we needed was our defense to protect the entire length of the field to hold on for the win. They couldn’t in either game and we lost both.

The Final 31 Seconds: This should really be “the final 26 seconds” since Atlanta started their final drive from the Seattle 28-yard line after the kickoff and that is how much time was left after the kickoff. Matt Bryant’s season-long field goal was from 55 yards out, meaning if he got to about the 37-yard line, the Falcons would have been in field goal range. By these numbers, the Seahawks had 26 seconds to protect 35 yards. Play number one was a 22-yard completion to Harry Douglas and an Atlanta timeout with 19 seconds left. The Seahawks now had to protect 13 yards with 19 seconds left. The next play is a 19-yard completion to Tony Gonzalez, putting Atlanta into field goal range. How in the world can you play as soft of coverage to let two Falcons receivers catch 20-yard passes each in a 13 second span? This is so perplexing it gives me a headache and just adds to the heartbreak that is now settling in as I write this. Matt Bryant lined up for the field goal to give Atlanta the lead back and Coach Carroll called a timeout to ice the kicker. The ball was snapped anyway and Bryant hooked the kick wide right. Carroll was seen upset on the sideline because he didn’t think Bryant should have been able to kick the ball before the actual kick. This was no doubt a mulligan and Bryant made sure his second kick would be more accurate. Unfortunately it was. The kick sailed right down the middle and in a 23 second span, the Seahawks went from epic comeback and a date with San Francisco to trailing once again. Atlanta 30-28. With 8 seconds left the Seahawks were given a gift. Bryant’s squib kick was batted and covered by Mike Morgan of the Seahawks and with 6 seconds left with the ball at mid-field, the Seahawks had a chance for a miracle. After a quick sideline pass to Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson heaved a Hail Mary into the endzone. I thought to myself “what are the chances of having two Hail Mary’s go our way in one season?” The thought was too good to be true. The Falcons subbed in wide receiver Julio Jones to play defense and the Hail Mary was intercepted by Jones in the endzone. Game over. Season over. Seahawks lose in heartbreaking fashion to conclude their season once again.

Random Thoughts: I really thought we had this game. I was ready to book airfare and buy tickets to San Francisco for the NFC Championship game next week. Instead, I have to save my money for road trips in 2013… I started to get a little tired of Richard Sherman on Sunday. He played great defense for the majority of the game but do you really need to run your mouth and give the psycho gesture after EVERY pass defensed? I love you Sherm, but that was a little much in my opinion… Good broadcast by FOX this week… Rob Riggle’s picks segment during the FOX pregame show was the funniest of the season in my opinion. I wasn’t surprised at all when he picked the Seahawks to win since he has personal ties with Coach Carroll… The Seahawks will pick 25th in the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft… Looking at our opponents next season I think we can easily challenge for 12+ wins, win the NFC West, and be legitimate contenders for home-field advantage in next year’s playoffs… Here’s a quick draft chat. I hope we can draft either a tall wide receiver or a young run-stuffing defensive tackle in the first round, like a young Alan Branch… I was disappointed with the play of Bruce Irvin today. Opposing offensive lines did a good job this season of pushing Irvin to the outside and making him a non-factor and Atlanta was no different on Sunday. That gives Bruce something to work on and improve at during the offseason… I liked the blitz packages with Earl Thomas, Marcus Trufant, and Winston Guy that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley dialed up on Sunday. I just wish we would have done more of it. It is a gamble but seemed to work when enabled on Sunday… Zach Miller really impressed me today. He had the best game of his Seahawks career; 8 catches for 142 yards and one touchdown… I wanted this one so bad. It really stings knowing we were 31 seconds away from playing for the NFC title and a berth in Super Bowl XLVII. How we weren’t able to stop the Falcons offense in such a short period of time is beyond me. Back to the drawing board to get ready for 2013.

Well folks the season has unfortunately come to an end. Thank you to everyone who took their time to read my blog this season. I genuinely appreciate your support and feedback. I will say though that even though this is a wrap on the 2012 season does not mean that this is a wrap on the blog. Over the next few days I will put together a list of my top-10 moments from this season in a season review post. I hope to have it published sometime next weekend. After that I’ll take a break until after the Super Bowl but I’ll hop on if any Seahawks news breaks between now and the Super Bowl. Once again thank you so much for reading. Go Hawks!

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Seahawks/Chiefs Preview

24 Aug

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Matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Site: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)

Kickoff: 5:00pm

The Seahawks travel to Kansas City this Friday night to take on the Chiefs in week 3 of the 2012 preseason. The Seahawks enter this game at 2-0 on the preseason and are coming off an impressive 30-10 win over Denver last week. The Chiefs are 1-1 in the preseason and are coming off a 31-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams last weekend. Here are some things I will be keeping an eye on this week.

Russell Wilson starts at quarterback for the Seahawks this week and as a fan, I am a mix of nervous and excited. I know Wilson is competing for the starting quarterback job with Matt Flynn but in my opinion he has very little to lose. Not many people including myself gave Wilson a good chance of winning the job. A strong performance by Wilson this week could potentially earn him the job but if he struggles he will most likely earn the backup quarterback job, the position that I thought he would win from the start. I am most interested to see Wilson’s on-field chemistry with the starting wide receivers and how he handles increased speed and pressure coming from Kansas City’s starting defense. One of the highlights of Wilson’s play thus far is his pocket presence and ability to keep plays alive. What I hope does not happen is Wilson trying to do too much, meaning he will force passes into tight holes or tuck the ball and run prematurely if the pocket collapses. Kansas City does not have the best defense in the league. They do not have the worst either. This is a very solid test for Wilson and if he performs well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start next week against Oakland and to see the quarterback competition stretched into next week.

Bobby Wagner has locked down the starting middle linebacker job. With all the uncertainty around that position battle behind him, Wagner can now concentrate on calling the first-team defense and building a rap with the rest of the starting defense. On defense this week, I am most interested to see if the Seahawks can finally establish a steady pass rush. My goal for this game is at least two sacks in the first half. I do not care if it is Bruce Irvin or Chris Clemons or even Red Bryant getting to the quarterback. I just want this unit to show us fans that we can be dominant in both aspects of the defensive game plan. So far, that has not happened even though the run defense and the secondary have done an exceptional job in proving dominance. One last defensive element I would like to see this week is the handling of the no-huddle offense. Last week Peyton Manning was very successful in picking our defense apart when running out of the no-huddle. If Matt Cassel and the Chiefs run no-huddle Friday night, I want to know we can stop them. We need to make sure the right personnel are on the field and make sure we can get stops, especially if the Chiefs are passing.

Special teams is gradually becoming an area of concern for me. We gave up a punt return touchdown in week one and had two Jon Ryan punts blocked in Denver last week. My worries would be eased significantly if we make sure there are no big returns by Kansas City return men and if we make sure any holes along the line are filled on punt coverage. I am not sure if Dexter McCluster will be returning kicks this week but if he is we have to be solid because McCluster can be a very explosive threat if he has daylight in front of him.

The Chiefs will be playing on offense this week with full health. After winning the AFC West in 2010, Kansas City fell into last place last year, primarily because of their losses on the offensive side of the ball. Last year they lost quarterback Matt Cassel, star running back Jamaal Charles, and up-and-coming tight end Tony Moeaki; all of whom are healthy to start the 2012 campaign. The Chiefs have a new head coach in Romeo Crennel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has just ended his offseason holdout. When you also include free agent acquisition Peyton Hillis, the Chiefs have the weapons to be an explosive offense this season. I will be looking to see how all of these players click under a new head coach in the first half.

On defense, the Chiefs are led by stud linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry who has returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2011 season. Russell Wilson needs to make sure he is spot on with his throws because if not, Johnson, Berry, and the rest of the Kansas City defense will make him pay for his mistakes.

Random Thoughts: Like I blogged about on Wednesday, the Seahawks have a difficult time playing at Arrowhead Stadium. They have never played there under Coach Carroll therefore I am curious to know whether the team will do anything differently in preparation and during the game to handle the raucous red sea… The Seahawks announced that they will wear white jerseys and gray pants this week. In my opinion that may be the strangest of all our possible uniform combinations… One person who may be split on who to root for this week is actor Rob Riggle. Riggle is a diehard Chiefs fan and graduate of the University of Kansas. However, Riggle made an appearance at Seahawks training camp last season because of his friendship with Coach Carroll. My guess is Riggle will be pulling for the Chiefs. POW!… I will be watching from home on Friday. My dad offered to buy a growler of Mac & Jacks and of course I will never turn down beer as fine as that while watching a Seahawks game!

Prediction: Russell Wilson will do a decent job but not good enough to extend the quarterback competition for much longer. Matt Flynn will come in to play most of the second half and will completely dominate the Kansas City backups and the Seahawks will escape Arrowhead with a rare victory.

Seahawks 31, Chiefs 17

As always my review post will most likely come Saturday afternoon. Thanks for reading everybody. I greatly appreciate your comments and support. Go Seahawks!