Irvin silences the critiques
He stripped the ball out of Cam Newton’s hand and all but ended the game. Bruce not only leads all rookies this season in sacks, his 4.5 sacks place him among the league leaders. Currently Irvin is on pace for 14.5 sacks this season.
If Bruce can keep his pace, he would tie Javon Kearse’s rookie sack record.
Love the D
The Seattle Seahawks defense dominated the game.
On Sunday, the Seahawks held the Carolina Panthers to 190-yards from the line of scrimmage. Entering the game, Cam Newton was averaging nearly 300-yards per contest by himself. That is pretty amazing.
The Seahawks pass rush has been good all season, yet they have been have struggled to get to the quarterback quickly enough to pick up sacks on a regular basis. Along with Bruce Irvin’s 2.0 sacks in the game, Chris Clemons added 0.5 sacks and rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had 1.5 himself.
That is a total of 4 sacks on the road, great to see.
When the Seahawks defensive line wasn’t in the backfield hitting Newton, they were knocking his passes down at the line of scrimmage. A few passes made it through the line, two of those were nearly intercepted.
As bad as the Seahawks were on third downs last week, they dominated this week. On the defensive side of the ball, they held the Panthers to an 18% conversion rate.
Third down and goal, Newton passes left, on a quick slant, to Louis Murphy. Marcus Trufant closes the gap quickly and wraps up Murphy’s legs. As Louis dives towards the end zone, he meets Brandon Browner in a head on collision, stopping dead in his tracks. To me, that was the play of the game.
Not to be outdone by the defense, the offense converted 50% of their third down opportunities today. The two most important; On 3rd down and 8, from the Panthers 13 yard-line, Wilson completed a pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown, and the 3rd down and 7 from their own 4-yard line when Marshawn Lynch broke free for an 11-yard gain.
It was not Marshawn Lynch‘s best game on Sunday. He had a pedestrian 85-yards rushing on 21 carries. Lynch bobbled a pass, deep in Seattle territory, on the opening drive of the second half.
Luke Kuechly intercepted the Russell Wilson pass. Luckily, the defense held the Panthers to negative 18 yards on the ensuing drive forcing them to punt the ball away.
Of course, 2 plays later, Russell Wilson threw a pass behind Anthony McCoy and Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned it for a touchdown, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game.
Other than that one really bad pass, Wilson had a pretty good game. 19/25 for 221-yards, 1 touchdown and two interceptions (one of those belongs to Marshawn Lynch).
The PC Way
Since Pete Carroll has taken over in Seattle, a Seahawks quarterback has only thrown for 275-yards or more 4 times. Of those four, 3 were losses where the offense was forced to throw the ball in order to try to catch up.
The passing game is no where near where it needs to be, but Sunday we saw improvement.
We saw the coaching-staff open the playbook up a bit. They still need to trust him a little more in the red zone.
When the field shrinks it is tough to get anything going when you are extremely predictable. In order to make plays, they must give him an opportunity to make mistakes.
We also saw Russell Wilson respond to the open offense by playing the best game of his short career.
He has a lot to learn, no doubt, I just hope he has silenced the critics, for one week at least.