Happy Blue Friday everyone! As our Fighting Birds of Renton come home to continue this amazing season, I thought I’d throw a few things out there for you to chew on. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this stat, but if the Seahawks win on Sunday, it will be the first time in team history that they’ve had back to back 10+ win seasons (you can find Seahawks tickets for Sunday’s game here.) With a win on Sunday, Russell Wilson will be No. 1 in winning percentage for a starting QB in NFL history (minimum 25 starts). Even with a 12-0 record at home, Russell has a higher passer rating on the road than he does in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field (99.1 vs. 103.5). And just a reminder, if the Hawks can win their remaining four homes games, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs is ours.
Now, the team that formerly had the Purple People Eater defense wings its way to the Emerald City. The Vikings limp into Seattle at 2-7 but they are coming off a home win against Washington last Thursday night. That should take the edge off a little bit and make things a touch easier for the Hawks. Let’s take a look at this game through the antics on Minnesota’s frozen ponds and The Mighty Ducks.
“Take the fall! Act hurt! Get indignant!”: But before we dive in, can we address an issue from last week’s game in Atlanta? What is the NFL coming to when it allows defensive linemen to get cut blocked on every play, but you get a 15-yard penalty for grabbing the QB around the legs when you’re already on the ground?! Then not only do you penalize the team (allowing Atlanta to get their only TD of the day), but you fine Michael Bennett $15K?! The Competition Committee has to look at this in the offseason. I certainly understand the desire to increase player safety and the additional protections put in place for the quarterbacks that drive NFL revenues, but we’re getting dangerously close to having this be a game we don’t recognize.
“Just so you know, we really suck. Hey, I’ll decide who sucks around here.”: Sorry Minnesota, but we can’t hide it anymore. You’re not good. 29th in defense against the pass. 25th in offense throwing the ball. That’s a recipe for disaster against a Seahawks team that found their passing rhythm last week and a secondary that feasts on mediocre QB’s.
“Keep swingin’. Maybe you’ll give them a cold.”: At the top of the list of the Vikes problems is Christian Ponder. I look at his career stats and I think “combo of John Friesz, Kelly Stouffer, and Rick Mirer”. 36 TD’s, 32 INT’s, 18 fumbles, and career passer rating of 77.2. As Foghorn Leghorn would say “eeEEEEeeehh”.
“Rink’s gotta be around here someplace. Just look for a sign that says ‘Personal Hell’.”: Then there’s poor Adrian Peterson. This guy probably has a couple herniated discs from having to carry this team on his back the last few years. He’s this generation’s Barry Sanders. The amazing thing is what he’s been able to do when teams stack the box with eight guys and he’s still able to average 4.5 yards a carry. You shudder to think what he’d be able to do behind a real offensive line.
“Flying V!!!”: The Seahawks can finally put together their Flying V now that Percy is in the mix. I get a little excited at the thought of a 4-receiver set and the Vikings having to pick their poison. Do you try and keep up with Percy’s speed? Do you try and cut off Doug Baldwin’s crossing routes? Do you double-team Jermaine Kearse since he showed the ability to catch anything sent his way last week? Or, do you try and take away the bubble screen to Golden Tate who will make at least five guys miss? That is an unenviable task for Minnesota’s defensive coordinator.
“You got somethin’ to say to me Bombay? To think, I wasted all those years worrying about what you thought. You’re going down Reilly.”: It’s obvious that Pete Carroll could care less what everybody thought when he was first hired. Yours truly included, there were many that thought his rah-rah routine wouldn’t work here. He had already flopped in New England and New York. Plus, there was more than a little suspicion that he was getting out of town at the right time before the NCAA brought down the hammer on USC. But Pom Pom Pete and his Pint-Sized Pal John Schneider have definitely made believers out of me and Seahawk Nation. I would like to publicly say I’m sorry for doubting.
“A team isn’t a bunch of kids out to win. A team is something you belong to, something you feel, something you have to earn.”: I think that best sums up this Seahawks team right now. This isn’t just a collection of talented players. This is a cohesive unit that picks each other up when the chips are down. This is a group that when one goes down to injury, the next guy is ready to step up and contribute. Apart from Cliff Avril launching into a diatribe on the sidelines last week, this is a team that seems to genuinely like each other and gets along. All these things will go a long way in deciding how this season ultimately turns out.
“Because it’s not worth winning if you can’t win big!”: In contrast to the team, it feels like the fan base has become Coach Reilly at times. A shaky victory against Tennessee. A low-scoring win in St. Louis. Then the 21-point comeback against the winless Bucs at home. I know we all want to see a repeat of the Atlanta game every time the Seahawks take the field, but that just isn’t the NFL. On paper, the Hawks should win this one going away. However, as we’ve seen at times, these guys tend to play down to the competition at times, particularly at home where they think they’re unbeatable (with good reason by the way). I think we’re in for a close one on Sunday if for no other reason than I’m still a little unsure that the defense will be able to bottle up Adrian Peterson which allows Minnesota to have longer drives and keeps the Seahawk offense on the sidelines.
Seahawks 24, Vikings 17