The Seahawks have been considered one of the best teams in the NFC for the majority of the 2013 season, but prior to Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, some critics believed Seattle to be a fraud.
Perhaps for good reason. Those who haven’t followed the team all year saw their last two performances and jumped on the “Seattle is not the best NFC team” bandwagon.
On Monday Night Football on Oct. 28, the Seahawks were dominated on both sides of the ball by a St. Louis Rams team that was playing without their star quarterback.
The Rams offense played with passion and put up 339 total yard while putting together 71 plays against one of the NFL’s best defenses. St. Louis dominated the possession game too, keeping the ball for over 38 minutes while allowing the Seahawks only 21:51 of total possession.
It looked for a good portion of the game that the Rams, who entered the game with a 3-4 record, might upset the mighty Seahawks on a night that most of St. Louis was focusing on Game 5 of the World Series.
Alas, the Seahawks used a last-second goal-line stand to earn the win and sneak away with a 14-9 victory.
Critics were not impressed.
Yes, the Seahawks won, but critics argued that they shouldn’t have — statistically at least. Marshawn Lynch was held to just 23 rushing yards while Rams running back Zac Stacy put up 134 on the ground.
In fact, that was one yard fewer than what the Seahawks offense put up the entire night. Seattle’s 135-yard performance was the third-fewest in a win for the Seahawks…ever.
“It’s okay,” said the Seahawks faithful. “We have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week at home. They haven’t won a game yet and we sure as heck aren’t going to lose to them on our own turf.”
So we once thought. The Seahawks fell behind 21-0 before staging the biggest comeback in the history of the franchise to “upset” the Bucs in overtime, courtesy of a Steven Hauschka field goal that gave the Seahawks a 27-24 win.
Outplayed for most of the game, the Seahawks won the fourth quarter to steal momentum from Tampa Bay and eventually earn the victory.
So, naturally, the critics came calling again. How could one of the best teams in the NFC nearly lose to one of the worst team’s in the NFL?
Well, the rush defense was not there again. After Mike James’ 158-yard rushing day, Seattle had allowed consecutive teams to top 200 rushing yards for the first time since 2002.
Critics said “good luck” to the Falcons and hapless Minnesota Vikings and “we’ll see how it goes” against the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers after the bye week.
But then came Sunday’s matchup with Atlanta and the Seahawks finally drowned critics with one of their best performances on the road this season.
Russell Wilson threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Lynch ran for 145 yards and a touchdown, and Golden Tate had 106 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Seahawks allowed just 162 passing yards against one of the best passing teams in the NFL, and Seattle shut down the run, something they had struggled with against the Rams and Buccaneers. The Falcons finished with 64 yards on the ground.
It seems like things couldn’t get better for the Seahawks, who are now 9-1 and have a opened up a big lead in the NFC West over the 6-3 49ers.
But wait, things could get better. Percy Harvin is expected to make his debut on Sunday against his former team, the Vikings (2-7), before the Seahawks hit their bye week in preparation for the New Orleans Saints (7-2), arguably the other best-team in the NFC.
Possible playoff preview? Definitely. Possible NFC Championship preview? If both teams continue playing the way they are now, you bet.
Until then, the Seahawks just need to keep winning. Critics will look for anything to talk smack about.
After Sunday’s win, however, they have temporarily been hushed.