Oct 14, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) intercepts the ball from intended for New England Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch (84) during the 2nd half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New England 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Gut Reaction: Seattle vs. New England

Seattle’s offense sucks. I don’t care what statistics you can point to, the offense is terrible. Seattle is a playoff caliber team in every way, except for the passing game (which sucks).  And because the success of the running game is a function of the passing game, the playoff caliber ground game is now struggling.  At this point Seattle is going to struggle mightily to end the season at .500.  As a fan, it’s like a car wreck. It hurts to watch, but I can’t take my eyes away because it’s my team.

Before everyone has a stroke, I wrote that at the start of the fourth quarter when Seattle had gone three-and-out after getting their second interception and trailing New England 23-10.  Clearly, the game was far from over but I had no faith in Seattle’s capability to conduct a late game scoring drive and win the game.  Seattle’s defense decided that they weren’t going to lose the game on its watch and prevent New England from scoring at all in the fourth quarter.  It also helped that Russell Wilson decided to force me to eat my words and show that he is capable of winning games toward the end. So before, everyone freaks out, let me tell you that my words tasted delicious (especially with some horse radish and au jus).

This was a game Seattle needed.  The NFL’s top defense versus the top offense is always an interesting matchup.  The last time I remember it happening was in the Super Bowl in 2003 when Tampa (top defense) beat Oakland (top offense). I’m sure it’s happened since, but that’s the last I remember.  In that case the top defense won, and that held true today as well.  The defense took out New England’s starting running back and played decently in the secondary but the soft spot that everyone knew existed (short and across the middle) was exploited all day.  Brady also faced very little pressure for the majority of the game.

Some events that stick out when I think back over the game are Russell Wilson’s ridiculous scramble where it seemed like he was going to safety himself but somehow turned it into a gain.  He must have run about 50 yards for a gain of about five.  I think the most amazing thing was that there wasn’t a holding call on the play and Russell Okung took out two defensive linemen with a great block.

Another play that stands out is the final touchdown thrown to Sidney Rice that gave the ball back to New England with about 78 seconds left.  At first I was terrified that we were giving the ball back with too much time left on the clock.  Then I realized the play was brilliant in a crazy-like-a-fox kind of way.  Everyone (New England, the announcers, me) was expecting Seattle to grind out the clock and march down the field with the hopes of getting a touchdown at the last minute.  Instead, Seattle called a deep bomb down the field to Sidney Rice who gave a slight wiggle to the right before bee-lining it for the end zone, beyond the coverage with a ball being perfectly delivered.  Nobody was expecting it and it worked perfectly.  Century Link went ballistic (I like to think my profane celebratory yelling also made it to the Clink) and Seattle put the game back into the hands of its defense which is exactly where I’d want it.  Take the shots you have and have the team you trust handle the hard part.  New England turned the ball over on four downs and the game was over.

Zach Miller continued to be involved in the offense as did Golden Tate, Braylon Edwards (why doesn’t he play more?), and Doug Baldwin.  Robert Turbin had some good runs and receptions as well. Overall, Seattle reacted well to having its run game stopped (only 85 yards), which teams were bound to do eventually, and the passing game responded.

I am very happy to see Russell Wilson do well. I hope his progress continues and continues at a quick place. Unfortunately, one game does not a quarterback make, just ask Alex Smith after last week, but this is a huge improvement over the passing game from the first games. Wilson’s arm strength and his ability to throw with velocity while on the move are incredibly impressive. I just want to see his decision making improve as he goes through his progressions and continue to stay in the pocket.

It’s easy to forget the first 50 minutes of the game and only focus on the final ten, and ultimately the final ten were the ones that decided the game, but there were still things that need to be looked and corrected to make sure that Seattle can beat San Francisco this Thursday, and Detroit the following week.  Then Seattle will be halfway through the season and the most difficult part of the schedule will be over.

That being said, Seattle must win some division games.  They already have favors to St. Louis and Arizona that need to be reciprocated. To maintain the chance of having a winning division record Seattle must win in San Francisco this week, which is definitely possible, but will be difficult. Niner fans are already talking all kinds of garbage and will undoubtedly make numerous pathetic references to how many rings they have. They don’t seem to realize that those rings don’t mean squat in the present.

That’s it for now. Sorry for being somewhat of a Debbie Downer. I have always been the type of person that believes I, and my teams, should win. We should be happy when we win, but also realize it’s expected and that we should focus on the future and correcting the mistakes that were made in the expected victory. Losing should be abnormal. Winning should be routine. It seems like Seattle is on its way to embodying that reality.

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Tags: Patriots Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks

  • ricefield

    Great first paragraph!!! I was ready to boycott your articles. Keep it up. Unlike you I gave up when the score got to 23-10. Was I surprised when I tuned back in and the Hawks were only down 6. Wilson throws a beautiful deep ball. Hawks have a better front 7 than the Giants and should be able to shut down Gore also. I don’t believe that Smith can beat the Hawks if Newton, Romo, Rogers, and Brady couldn’t.

  • Hawk_Eye

    What did you expect with a rookie quarterback? Pete Carroll said he was going to bring him along slowly. Get used to it.

  • 12thMan_Rising

    Man, I read that first paragraph and I was like “where is he going with this?”

    Good stuff Hanley.

  • P Diddy

    Agreed. Solid article.

  • http://twitter.com/Spokanedad Spokanedad

    Good article.. I was at the game. I think the Hawks game planned being a little softer on the shorter yardage passing game. I think the idea was to not allow Brady to beat them over the top, which aside from the first set of downs for the Pats was perfect. Brady wants to go vertical, you could see he was getting tired of just taking the underneath stuff and as the game progressed as he did throw down the field he was either picked off or he was inaccurate.. The run game for the Pats was effectively taken away.. Pressure was impossible at first because Brady simply gets rid of the ball so fast they didn’t have a chance to get going… Wilson was great, still learning, but I absolutely love his poise. Watch him on the sideline, with the coaches, never flustered. A sign of great things to come. As they open up the vertical game it will make defending him even more of a nightmare because they have to respect the deep ball now.. This in turn should open up the underneath to intermediate passing game that will support the run game opening up as well..

  • WillowDavis

    It’s still ashame that the writer started the article so negative, not a true fan…Russell Wilson should have 100% of the fan support especially from the 12th man writer’s who continually bash him & Pete Carroll. It’s time for Hanley, Keith Myers and all the haters to eat some fresh Crow and admit they were dead wrong!.. Then start writing about trading… the waste of Matt Flynn who may help the Seahawks draw in some more players. TRADE him for a backup like TEBOW! whateva..cut him. Write that article! WRITE about that great Defense that gave up nearly 500yds against the Pats! write that! THANK GOD FOR RUSSELL WILSON

    • 12thMan_Rising

      Never question someone else fanhood. Everyone celebrates their favorite team differently. Blind loyalty doesn’t make someone a better fan, it only makes them a blindly loyal fan. There is nothing wrong with demanding excellence from your team.