Too close for comfort
The Seattle Seahawks earned their first road victory of the season on Sunday, knocking off the Carolina Panthers 16-12. While the score was close, the game was not nearly as close as the score would make you think.
There weren’t many things to frown upon in the game while there was lots to love about the win.
Brandon Browner & Richard Sherman
We all know that Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are the headlining safety duo in Seattle. They get their recognition regularly. With that being said, I have to give a ton of credit in this game to both Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman.
This duo of physical defensive backs has top wide receivers around the league frustrated.
Sherman continued his lock down tactics and trash talking as he caused Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith multiple fits on the field, including a body slam on Sherman by Smith. (Which went uncalled by the referees, too.)
Smith was not able to get anything going and was a non-factor despite being targeted several times.
Browner continued his physical defense and broke up key passes down the stretch. He stripped the ball on another play and then recovered it to give Seattle the ball back. He also finished the excellent play Marcus Trufant started by hitting the Panthers receiver at the 1 yard line to stop him from getting over the line.
This gave the Seahawks the ball back and essentially ended the game on the next drive.
Russell Wilson played a great game. He had a couple miscues, but still did a damn good job. If there are still any Wilson haters out there after this game, I can’t help you.
Wilson was pretty accurate on the day and made some smart decisions (and a couple bad decisions) in when to get rid of the ball. He used his legs to escape pressure and even stepped up in the pocket when the pressure collapsed around him.
Opening the Playbook
I have criticized Darrell Bevell quite a bit recently for his playcalling. Today, though, I was thoroughly impressed as were many Seahawk fans. While he didn’t have many difficult situations to work with like the usual third and short downs, he made good, smart play calls when the time was right.
And boy did it pay off.
They allowed Wilson to throw the ball for a change, a freedom he has not had since the regular season started. They especially allowed him to pass on first and second downs, which is a rarity in a run based offense like Seattle’s. While Marshawn Lynch didn’t reach his 100 yard mark, he still took advantage of some open field and ate up yards as he got his chances.
They let the kid do what he does best and it helped this team win the game.
I will make this short. Bruce Irvin was a “wtf” pick up until the Green Bay game. He had put a little bit of pressure on quarterbacks before that, but once he broke the seal of getting to a QB unabated, he has been off an running.
Irvin has already transformed his pass rush and is no longer looking to bullrush his opponent to get to the quarterback. He seems to be learning some moves from Chris Clemons and it’s paying off big time. The Seahawks now have a legitimate pass rush to go with the rest of their staunch defense.
In my pre-game piece, I mentioned that Doug Baldwin needed to expose the middle of the field and that Wilson had to hit his slot receivers. The combination of Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate and Zach Miller ate apart the middle of the field and put the Seahawks in several good positions.
And if it weren’t for a 50+ yard pass taken away by penalty, the stats would look all that much better.
And Tate found the endzone yet again. He is truly stepping up and giving this passing game some life.
One of my gripes this year has been the over-aggressiveness and the penalties this team has built up so far. A lot of productivity has been lost through penalties and they WILL cost this team a win in the near future if they don’t end them.
The biggest example is Breno Giacomini. Being aggressive is one thing. I love aggressive defense, but there’s a line. And that line is whenever a yellow flag hits the turf. Giacomini has broken this golden rule several times this year, stalling several drives or negating HUGE plays by the offense.
Russell Okung is another example. He was good in this game, and was only called for one penalty, which surprisingly, he didn’t actually commit. But him and Giacomini have stopped this offense or put them in less than manageable situations way too many times this season.
It needs to stop.
Leon Washington fumbled a return and Marshawn Lynch coughed up a pass from Russell Wilson that was called an interception, when in reality, Lynch was the one who blew the play. The Seahawks need to minimize turnovers and not allow them to cost the team games.
Fumbles and interceptions are inexcusable, especially the way they have happened to the Seahawks this season.
The Seahawks have the New England Patriots coming to town next weekend and need to do some serious work in these negative areas in order to win the game. If they don’t fix these mistakes, it WILL cost them the game. The Patriots are not a team to make mistakes against. They will make you pay.