November 3, 2014
Seahawks 30, Raiders 24
Yesterday's Seahawks' victory was the NFL equivalent of eating at Taco Bell. You're full afterwards, but then you feel like hot garbage for a while. Seattle is 5-3, and holding the last NFC playoff spot at the moment. While that's undoubtedly good news, the 12 Army is nauseous with unease this morning. Why is this?
-The injuries keep piling up. The Hawks are so waylaid with bumps and bruises that they only suited up 45 players yesterday. Just look at this list of causalities:
CB Jeremy Lane
CB Byron Maxwell
LB Malcolm Smith
LB Bobby Wagner
T Russell Okung
TE Zach Miller
DT Jordan Hill
S Kam Chancellor
C Max Unger
...and during the game, James Carpenter, Doug Baldwin and Gregg Scruggs suffered injuries of various levels of severity. Seattle was fortunate to be relatively injury-free last season, but what's happening in 2014 goes far beyond a simple regression to the mean. This season is starting to feel like a horror movie in which the Hawks are getting picked off one by one, and I'm left wondering who will be the next key contributor to go down.
-Play-calling. Darren Bevell baffled Seahawks fans from Anchorage to Adelaide by continuing to call bubble screens instead of feeding the ball to Marshawn Lynch (more on him later). Yes, Lynch had 26 touches for 146 yards and 2 TDs, but at key points of the game Bevell called pass plays when keeping the ball on the ground would have eaten up the clock and protected his franchise QB (who was exposed behind an '87 Scab Game-level offensive line).
-The Willlsons. Russell Wilson turned in an uncharacteristically awful performance, missing open targets over and over throughout the game. Luke Willson enraged Twelves with four drops and a crucial flub on Oakland's late-game onside kick that could have punctuated a 2004-esque collapse if not for Jermaine Kearse bailing him out.
-Special Teams. Seattle allowed another special teams TD, on a 3rd-quarter blocked punt that allowed Oakland to climb back into the game. I have a troubling feeling that special teams might be what ultimately fells the 2014 Hawks. I hope I'm wrong, but these mistakes should have been corrected by now.
Thankfully, we're not doomed. How about some good news?
-BEAST MODE. On a day when the rest of the Seattle offense was in a complete shambles, Marshawn Lynch was at his most Beastly. He scored in the 1st quarter dragging half of Oakland's defense into the end zone with him. He saved a second-half drive with a long catch and run on a screen pass, and his numbers would have been even more impressive if penalties hadn't nullified a handful of his big gains. Yes, I know TONS of evidences points to this being Lynch's last year in Seattle, but today proved that PCJS need to do whatever it takes (within reason) to have Marshawn end his career with the Seahawks.
-Encouraging signs from the defense. Bruce Irvin scored on a spectacular tip, pick, and return, and Richard Sherman snagged his first interception of the season. The Raiders were held to 37 yards rushing by a defensive unit missing most of its starters, and if not Seattle's special teams miscues Oakland would have been held to far less than 24 points.
-We'll start getting injured guys back. Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell will probably bolster the secondary next week, and by the time we face off with Arizona at Seahawks Stadium in three weeks we should have an active roster that more closely resembles what we put on the field back in week 1.
-History shows there's no reason to panic. The 1988 49ers and 2010 Packers are just two examples of teams that started 5-3 and went on to win the Super Bowl. There are many paths to a championship, and we need to stop assuming that Seattle's ONLY path is via the #1 seed and home field advantage.
-Santa Clara lost! Ha. Fuck those guys.
Next week Eli Manning and the Giants roll into town, and it's another game the Seahawks SHOULD win. They'll have to vastly improve on yesterday's performance even to beat a mediocre squad like NYG. If they do, they'll be well on their way to setting up an epic 6-week DEATH MATCH for the NFC West crown at the end of the season. If not? We'll be left with a belly-full of gorditas, sadness, and rage.
What Do You Think, Sirs?