Replacement Refs, QB Controversy, Inconsistencies
In part one of our four part series, NWSB examined the first four games of the Seattle Seahawks‘ 2012 schedule. Fearlessly, I predicted that the Seahawks would find themselves sitting with a record of 3-1 at this point in the season and, needless to say, I was wrong.
It’s been a frustrating campaign so far — to say the least.
With seven chances inside the red zone to steal a victory from Arizona in week one, a gift from the replacement referees on the infamous ‘Inaccurate Reception’ in week three, and a frustrating loss, littered with miscues in St. Louis; the Seahawks are both lucky to be 2-2 and oh-so-close to being 4-0 to start the season.
The Seahawks’ inevitable quarterback controversy has reared its ugly head after several sub-par performances from rookie Russell Wilson and questionable play calling has turned a once promising season into one that is filled with anxiety and a sense of urgency.
How will the Seahawks respond?
In part two of this four part series, I examine contests against Carolina, New England, San Francisco and Detroit.
Game by Game Predictions
Episode 5: Sun, October 7 @ Carolina
With a fire lit under his lazy eyes after a week of ridicule from media and fans alike, Russell Wilson leads the Seahawks into Carolina to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
In what seems to be a must-win for Seattle, Wilson rallies the troops like a young veteran and out-duels his opposing field general.
Cam Newton is forced to scramble nearly every other play and is unable to break the Seahawks’ edge containment.
The run defense continues its superb play and Newton throws three interceptions — one returned for a touchdown by Kam Chancellor who actually fumbles the ball as he heads into the endzone but it is recovered by Brandon Mebane for a ‘Fat Guy TD’.
The Seahawks would never look back.
Wilson has another underwhelming game in the passing department, throwing for just 183 yards and a touchdown, but doesn’t turn the ball over. Marshawn Lynch torches the Panthers’ suspect run defense to the tune of 134 yards and two touchdowns with another touchdown through the air.
Seahawks roll to a Cowboys-esque victory and get back on track heading back home to host the Patriots.
Seahawks 28 Panthers 17
Episode 6: Sun, October 14 vs. New England
After two consecutive road games, the Seahawks get to come home to a 12th man that is hungry to destroy the ear drums of Tom Brady. And that is exactly what they do.
The run game keeps on rolling and the Seahawks jump out to an early 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter when the Patriots begin their collapse. Catapulted by five first half false starts, the Patriots punt six times and are unable to find any rhythm.
But, in true Bill Belichick fashion, the Patriots make several halftime adjustments and expose the Seahawks’ secondary on their first drive of the second half, narrowing the score to 17-10 while silencing the home crowd.
Thank god for Leon Washington.
The return specialist erupts for his first special teams touchdown of the season on the ensuing kickoff and puts the game out of reach. The Seahawks would tack on two more field goals and the defense abuses the Patriots offense, leading Belichick to bench Brady with 6 minutes left in the game to prevent injury.
Wilson, however, has yet another down game, throwing two interceptions and fumbling once, but also threw for two touchdowns. Despite the win, Carroll continues to defend his rookie starter.
Seahawks 30 Patriots 13
Episode 7: Thurs, October 18 @ San Francisco
The rivalry continues as Pete Carroll takes the Seahawks into San Francisco to face Jim Harbaugh and the NFC West leading 49ers.
The two coaches attempt to exchange words of encouragement prior to kickoff but, Harbaugh being Harbaugh, attempts to throw punches at Carroll as he’s jumping around high-fiving the offensive line.
Breno Giacomini jumps in to the defense of his head coach and is immediately flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Mind you, the game hasn’t even started and Giacomini has already been flagged 15 yards on the kickoff.
Following suit of their head coaches, the Seahawks and 49ers play to a 3-3 tie at halftime in a bruising defensive battle.
Both running games find signs of life in the second half as Frank Gore and Lynch exchange third quarter touchdowns to head into the final 15 minutes tied at 10-10.
With just under three minutes to go, the Seahawks hold the ball in 49ers territory when Wilson rolls out to pass on third down and one, but throws an interception into the chest of Patrick Willis — his second of the game.
The 49ers eventually drive 59 yards to set up a David Akers 38-yard game winning field goal. The win pushes the 49ers record to 6-1 and the Seahawks fall to 4-3 heading into Detroit.
Seahawks 10 49ers 13
Episode 8: Sun, October 28 @ Detroit
For the fourth time in the last five weeks, the Seahawks go on the road to face a tough opponent. This time however, they’re led by Matt Flynn who was named the starter on Friday after Wilson continued to struggle on third down and consistently stalled drives with turnovers or errant passes.
Flynn comes out firing on all cylinders as if he hadn’t lost a beat since his record breaking performance against Detroit in 2011. The Seahawks rally behind Flynn and the passing game becomes electric as the Lions phase Lynch out of the game with eight men in the box.
Flynn completes 21-29 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns and the defense continues its dominance, taking the ball away three times and holding Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in check.
In their most complete performance since beating the Cowboys 27-7, the Seahawks improve to 5-3 and right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race halfway through the 2012 season.
Seahawks 24 Lions 6
Part Two Schedule Prediction Analysis
In part one, I correctly predicted just one of the three games — the Cowboys home opener. But, as we saw, all of those games could have gone either way.
In the second installment of this four part series I, once again, predict that the Seahawks will go 3-1, beating the Panthers, Patriots, and Lions.
The most likely scenario would be a a 2-2 outlook over the next four games, but I think that the Seahawks and Carroll understand the urgency of the next four contests and will rise to the occasion even if that means inserting Flynn for Wilson.
After 8 games, the Seahawks should — fearlessly — find themselves with a record of 5-3 and sitting just fine in the NFC playoff picture.
Next four weeks: vs. Minnesota, vs. New York Jets, BYE, @ Miami