Seahawks Beat Washington Football Team, 20-15, Clinch Playoffs, And Some Folk Be Pissy

When winning is no longer enough, perhaps it is time to admit that you have a problem, and you need to seek help for it.

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks are becoming increasingly fickle over recent years. Winning no longer appears to be enough. Sad.

You know, chasing highs is a classic sign of addiction, and addiction needs to not be about sex, or drugs, or the bottle. For some, it’s simply about football, and in that, Seahawk football.

Many of these Seahawk high chasers seem to be expressing a deep dissatisfaction in the Seattle coaching staff, and much of that dissatisfaction seems to be directed towards the head coach. That’s a clear sign that maybe you need to make that phone call.

Never mind that this head coach has brought his team to the playoffs nine out of eleven seasons since taking over the franchise in 2010. Presently, that is not enough for many. Style points are now needed. If the $35 Million a year quarterback is not allowed to cook in every game like Patrick Mahomes is, then Pete Carroll is outdated. If a vastly improving defense gives up a long drive in the middle of the second half of the game, suddenly the defensive guru of a head coach is out to pasture.

You could feel this sentiment spill into Pete Carroll’s press conference when asked about his offense by a couple of the younger beat reporters. The questions were fairly loaded, essentially asking “were you happy with how your offense played?” and “how do you feel about your offense only managing 39 yards in the fourth quarter?”

To no surprise, Carroll defended his offense’s effort stating that against this particular club, this was exactly how they wanted to play against them. He wanted Russell Wilson to get the ball out quickly and not take sacks, and he wanted them to establish the run. Seattle’s offense did exactly that and managed 20 points against a defense that hasn’t given up a lot of points in over a month of football. It was enough to win, and Carroll was, in my opinion, understandably a bit chippy about the questioning, especially in a season when “Let Russ Cook” has been the constant chatter.

When I looked at this Washington Football Team as I put together my modest preview, I came to the conclusion that Seattle should win this game, and I predicted a final score of 23-16. Seattle won this match 20-15, and I can pat myself on the back because I wasn’t far off in my prediction. The final outcome of this game felt right to me.

WTF is a decent football team. They have a really good defense, like REALLY GOOD. They also have enough play-makers on offense that if you turn the ball over, they can strike at any time. I honestly believe that they are one franchise quarterback away from probably being a fairly dominant club, like if they can manage to pry Matt Ryan out of Atlanta next off-season, watch out.

So forgive me if I defend the style points or the lack thereof in this Seattle win over this club. I agree with the strategy of the coach. Seattle did what it needed to do to beat this club. They took what the defense was willing to concede, and they dinked and dunked, and ran to an important road victory. I honestly think that had they used this offensive approach against the Giants a couple weeks ago instead of arrogantly trying to air it out down field against unfavorable coverage, this team would handsomely be sitting at 11-3 right now and in even more command of the NFC West division than sitting at 10-4 and in narrow command.

Style points is fool’s gold in the NFL. I get that fans want Russ to cook, but I don’t believe that this roster is fully constructed to have a cooking Russ right now, and I will be more than happy to expand upon that in future pieces on this blog. For right now, however, I just want Seattle to win, and if that is without ideal style points against the occasional match-up, so be it.

Here are my notes about this game.

The Good

Pardon me for saying this, Carroll haters, but I dug the offensive game plan, and most of the execution. Seattle decided to test the linebackers and coverage with quick passes, and they decided to run straight at a highly aggressive defensive line that boasts five first round picks in its rotation. The result of the outcome is essentially that Seattle bullied the bully in this match, and they did it with a patched up offensive line. That was impressive, in my view. Up until the fourth quarter when Russell threw a pass that was tipped for an interception, Seattle’s offense largely controlled tempo and this game. No, it wasn’t always pretty. It featured check downs, and quick dump offs for small gains, but it mixed in well with a run game that controlled clock and lead to enough scoring drives to win. Bravo.

The defense continued to make positive strides and it made enough plays to seal this victory. Yes, there was that long ninety plus yard drive that it conceded in the second half. Yes, there were a couple times that they got burned by dialing up the blitz, but with that back to back to back sack effort in that final drive that stopped Washington, I will more than forgive all that. Watching rookie Alton Robinson bend past the right tackle for an explosive strip sack to then watch LJ Collier (who for the most part is an interior rusher) bend past the left tackle for a powerful sack, and then to watch Carlos Dunlap absolutely destroy the right tackle for another yet explosive sack was absolutely Madden-esque. Oh, what joy.

In terms of individual efforts, I thought KJ Wright had as dominant of a game as one could have at SAM ‘backer, and I thought DJ Reed was the star of the defense at right outside corner. I loved seeing the continued impactful effort of Poona Ford at defensive tackle, and the constant hustle of Jamal Adams at safety. I thought Chris Carson, and Carlos Hyde, and the entire offensive line were the stars on the offensive side, and I think Russ had another solid efficient game at quarterback. Jason Meyers and Michael Dickson were beasts in the kicking games.

Finally, the LA Rams lost to the Jets. Wow.

The Bad

Me seeking out the tweets from the couple reporters that were drilling Coach Carroll about the offense, and reading the comments that followed.

I am not active on Twitter, and at times whenever I snoop, I am reminded why. Twitter has become the road rage outlet on the internet, and I really shouldn’t read the comments.

Look, I get it that Carroll is not everyone’s flavor as a head coach. He is questionable at times with using timeouts, and he isn’t as inherently aggressive in some situations on offense as some want him to be. No, he isn’t Andy Reid, but let’s be real, the dude can coach, and he can coach up talent.

I saw mentioned on Seahawk Twitter an assertion that Seattle should be doing more with the talent that it has on the roster, but honestly, I question that level of talent. I don’t see great talent on the defensive line. I see the potential of talent starting to develop in Poona Ford, LJ Collier, and Alton Robinson. I don’t see an offensive line loaded with talent. I see a great left tackle and a young guard who looks like he might develop into an eventual pro bowler. I don’t see great depth at receiver behind DK and Tyler. I don’t see much in the way of anything dynamic at tight end. I see some good running backs.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see all this great underused talent. On the contrary, I think Carroll is getting the most out of most of the players that he has, and I think were are seeing some talent emerge like DJ Reed and a few others.

I also think he is using Russ the best way to use him against really good defenses right now, and that is to put him in situations where Russ can be most efficient with the ball. The league has gotten the MO with his deep ball, and Seattle is finally adjusting to that. Bravo.

So my bad for seeking out comments on the Twitter handles of Seahawk beat reporters who might not be fans of the way Carroll is coaching this team. Maybe I need to adjust my game as a fan, and just ignore the noise a bit more.

I sure there was a contingent of fans that wanted Carroll gone after they won the Super Bowl against the Broncos because they didn’t like the way the offensive line pass blocked. Haters gonna hate.

The Ugly

That stupid targeting call against KJ Wright late in the fourth quarter. It was clear on replay that KJ was pulling up on the receiver and trying to avoid a helmet blow on a bang bang play. What exactly was he suppose to do? Let the receiver catch and run and allow Washington a game winning drive?

I get that player safety is critically important, but the league is sucking the fun out of playing defense, and for those of us that enjoy good defense, it is increasingly becomes a soul sucking experience to watch it unfold.

I have a suggestion for the league. Instead of constantly punishing the defenders on these levels of bang bang plays, how about throwing a flag on the quarterback to throwing a ball that would lead to this sort of collision? Maybe, just maybe that is a way to certify more player safety that is more evened out between offense and defense.

Oh, my bad. I forgot that the league is addicted to scoring and they want basketball with cleats and helmets instead of this thing called tackle football. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.

Moving Forward

Thanks to the NY Jets, the Seahawks can now clinch the NFC West with a win against the LA Rams next Sunday. That game is going to be HUGE, and it will be a special victory for Seattle should they take care of business.

The Rams are the team that gets under the skin of Seattle like no other team in football. A win against them, style points or no style points, will have layers of satisfaction for this here Twelve.

If Seattle stays with this current formula of mixing run with quick passes, I really like Seattle’s chances against them next week. I like it a lot.

An interesting thing to keep in mind is that Seattle will finally be getting Josh Gordon back in that match. In my opinion, that is likely going to be a huge benefit to Russell Wilson moving forward should Seattle need to win any shootouts.

One of the things that I’ve been sensing from Russell and the Seattle offense is that there hasn’t been much behind Tyler Lockett and DK in the passing game. Giving Russell a third option the defenses have to think about might be the thing that will satisfy the Let Russ Cook crowd a bit more.

We shall see.

Go Hawks.

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