The Seattle Seahawks Are Back In Command
Friday, December 12, 2014
Sure the division-leading Cardinals kept a one-game advantage on the Seahawks. But after previously dropping three straight, isn’t it just a matter of time? Despite The Cardinals’ somewhat surprising win, the Seahawks can still win the NFC West by winning out. Suddenly, the largest remaining obstacle for the Seahawks is not the playoff-vying Cardinals or San Francisco 49ers. It’s the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams just pitched two straight shut outs — a rare NFL feat. Why, that’s downright Seahawk-like.
What Were You Worried About?
This troublesome championship follow-up season suddenly demands to be considered promising. The Seattle swagger is back.
Dominance? Check. The Seahawks held the previously high-flying Eagles to a grand total of just 139 yards on offense — their lowest since Chip Kelly took the helm. The Eagles’ top three wideouts, Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin and rookie Jordan Matthews were held to a mere eight catches for 57 yards among them. The Eagles’ running game was even worse, capturing a scant 2.6 yards per rush.
And they’re perfect gentlemen, too. Said defensive end Michael Bennett, (via USA TODAY) “You need to tell the Philadelphia police that they need to put an ABP (sic) out. Because (Mark) Sanchez is out there trying to impersonate a good quarterback.”
Well, you cannot have everything. Perhaps there will be time for class and graciousness after the season is concluded. In the meantime, there is a division to win. A little in-season bullying is good. Unless you live in the Philadelphia area.
The Best Defense You Can Put Your Hands On
Speaking of bullying, remember that new emphasis on contacting receivers more than five yards downfield? Dead. Murdered. You may not have realized it because a funeral wasn’t held, but with this game as the latest example, clearly the league has decided to do away with that emphasis. Either that or the backfield and sideline judges across the NFL have suddenly gone blind en masse.
The Seahawks were constantly allowed to disrupt Eagles receivers repeatedly well beyond the five-yard limit — just like last season. At least the game wasn’t marred with too many flags, so Eagles fans can take heart in that. But had the field officials called the game like the preseason, the flummoxed and harassed Eagles receivers were more than likely to have put up significantly more than two touchdown passes on the Legion of Boom. Even with that quarterback impersonator doing the throwing.
Early season angst? As they say in Philly, “fuggedaboudit.” File it under character-building. Thirteen games into the schedule the Seahawks’ chances at a repeat look better now than they did at any point previously this season, save for during the afterglow of their week one smacking of the Green Bay Packers. That’s called peaking at the right time.
The defense is back on top. Ditto for the Seahawks’ running game, courtesy of Marshawn Lynch and a career-worthy, season-long rushing contribution from Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ passing game is pretty much just like last season’s, as well: just good enough. It might even be time to label it “sneaky good.”
Apart from the aforementioned Lynch and Wilson, other consistent offensive threats just aren’t there. However, different role players keep showing up in spots … just often enough to help the offense along to respectable balance. Still, the Seahawks’ best play remains Sandlot-3. Just hike the ball to Wilson and let him run around long enough to wear out and frustrate opposing defenders until an alley opens up or a receiver breaks free.
That’s worked about nine times so far this season. Good enough to put the Seahawks right where they want to be — in control.
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