You said that the Seattle Seahawks had the worst defensive line in the league, and you can suck it.
You said that Ken Norton Junior couldn’t coach a defense, and you can suck it.
You said that Pete Carroll should be fired, and you can suck it.
You said that John Schneider can’t draft, and you can suck it.
You said that defensive linemen LJ Collier was a bust, and you can suck it.
You said that Jacob Hollister wasn’t worth a $3 million restricted tender, and you can suck it.
You said that the team over spent to retain DT Jarran Reed, and you can suck it.
You said that the team should not have traded two first round picks and a third for Jamal Adams, and you can suck it.
You said that the team shouldn’t have drafted Jordyn Brooks in the first round, and you can suck it.
You said that Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright were too old and too slow, and you can suck it.
You said that Russell Wilson was broken because he was no longer cooking like he was in September, and you can suck it.
If you doubted the construction of this team, if you doubted Pete Carroll’s ability to coach up talent and figure out his defense with Ken Norton Junior, and if you doubted Russell Wilson’s ability to still be able figure out ways to beat a top defense, you officially now can suck it like you owe back rent. You can.
The Seahawks have soundly beat the Rams, and they won the NFC West by beating a worthy opponent that was battling them for that divisional title. Seattle’s defense dominated a potent offense filled with play-makers, and their own offense outlasted and outperformed a dominating Rams defense. That is championship level football. Make no mistake.
And you can stop doubting Pete Carroll, John Schneider, and Russell Wilson now. All these three gentlemen ever do is win. Period. That is Seattle’s new power trio now that Nirvana has long been no more.
Here are my notes about the game.
Fortunately, team owner Jody Allen extended Pete Carroll’s contract through to 2025, and he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon because all this dude does as a head coach is win. No, he isn’t perfect with time outs and such, but make no mistake, this dude knows how to motivate, build culture, and coach up talent. For example, many of my favorite Seahawks these days are players that weren’t high round picks (or even drafted at all), and they are excelling at a high level right now. That, my friends, is all Pete Carroll recognizing talent and uncorking it. That is a head coach having conviction to acknowledge that Poona Ford is a more athletic play-making nose tackle than former all-pro Damon Snacks Harrison is, that Jacob Hollister is perhaps now a better pass catching option than the bigger tight end names on this roster, and even though DJ Reed is shorter than what he might like at outside corner, he is simply perhaps now the best coverage player he has in the secondary and needs to stay on the field. Pete knows football pretty darn well, folks. I’m glad we got him here in Seattle.
Fortunately, it also appears that Ken Norton Junior can coach up a defense after all. I can suck it hard because I doubted him big time this year, but according to Carroll, it was Norton that led a critical defensive team accountability meeting mid season that helped the defense turn the corner. It was also Norton that looked at the talent Seattle had on its defensive line, and shifted it to a Bear front (away for Carroll’s more traditional 4-3 under). For folks unfamiliar to what that is, a Bear front is essentially using three defensive tackles and a rush end and a stretched out SAM linebacker. This shift has allowed LJ Collier to play more of a defensive tackle type role with Jarran Reed and Poona Ford, and it puts Seattle’s best edge rusher, Carlos Dunlap, in a wide position to rush and contain. It cannot be overstated how big of an impact it has been on this defense that Norton made this shift. Norton deserves major props for this, and I will gladly suck it now. I was entirely wrong about him.
Fortunately for us, John Schneider seems to have a pretty good eye for talent and knows how to draft and acquire it. LJ Collier now looks like someone who can legitimately play as a strong side end and pass rushing defensive tackle in this league. Folks be dumping on Schneider for drafting pass rusher Darrell Taylor in round two because he has remained injured from college, but they don’t seem to be paying Schneider a ton of credit for finding Alton Robinson in round five who now looks better as a pass rusher as a rookie than perhaps Frank Clark did his rookie season. Why is that? Is it because they have a narrative stuck in their head that Schneider doesn’t know how to draft because Germaine Ifedi didn’t end up being a great right tackle for the club? If so, I’d let that go, folks. Schneider has found Robinson in round five, KJ Wright in round five, Poona Ford as an un-drafted rookie free agent, and he claimed DJ Reed off waivers from division rival San Fransisco. Oh, yeah, he also had to convince Pete Carroll that drafting Russell Wilson in round three back in 2012 was a good idea. I think Schneider has done fairly well.
It’s also fortunate for us that John Schneider and Pete Carroll prioritized signing defensive tackle Jarran Reed over flashier edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney last off-season, even though $11 million might be a bit over-spendy for a DT. Clowney has continued to prove to be injury prone, and didn’t even acquire a single sack for Tennessee before being lost for the season in November. On the other had, Jarran Reed has proven to remain a quality interior pass rusher with 6.5 sacks on the season so far with one game left to go. Suddenly now that deal looks a bit more like a bargain. Good job yet again, John Schneider.
And speaking of good job John Schneider, good job having the conviction of placing an expensive second round tender on Jacob Hollister last off-season even though you signed Greg Olsen and had Will Dissly. I know you had those bigger tight end names on the roster, but it is obvious by now that Russell Wilson simply trusts Hollister during critical portions of games to be his primary pass catching tight end. In fact, during the touchdown play that sealed this victory in the fourth quarter, it was a design rub route to Hollister. Maybe it is time to admit that Jacob Hollister is a bigger factor for this offense many give credit. Is it because he is an un-drafted player from Wyoming who grew up in Bend, Oregon? Does that just sound weird? Is that why some of us blow him off? Hmm. Maybe we should stop doing that.
Gosh, now that I think about it, really, really good job John Schneider having the conviction to draft Jordyn Brooks in the first round last Spring even though you already have KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner already on the roster, and you needed to add a pass rusher. Drafting Darryl Taylor there, instead, and passing over Brooks would have looked silly in hind sight. Brooks looks like an explosive stud, and his fourth and goal run stop might have been the defensive play of the game if not for that impressive chase down of the ball carrier from Jamal Adams just moments before that play. In fact, I would even say that the move to have Brooks start at WILL backer thus moving KJ to SAM might be the single most underrated facet of this impressive defensive turnaround in 2020.
And golly, speaking of Jamal Adams, thank you, John Schneider for trading what will most likely be two late first round picks and a third to the Jets for Jamal Adams. That’s basically Rashaad Penny, Germaine Ifedi, and Lano Hill for an all-pro safety who plays multiple positions on this revamped aggressive defense. He was everywhere on the field against these Rams and you could feel Jared Goff’s discomfort because of that in this one. I would one hundred percent made that deal again. Bravo.
(Now, that I really, really, really think about it. I think we are just pretty darn lucky to have John Schneider as a GM paired with Pete Carroll. We’re like, CRAZY lucky when I think about it now. For realsies. )
Finally, it must not go unsaid just how fortunate we are as Seattle Seahawk fans to have Russell Wilson in Seattle. Yeah, he hasn’t cooked nearly as much through the last month as many would probably like, but he remains the best player on this team, and I honestly believe, without a doubt, he was the difference in this here game against the Rams. The stat line won’t show it, but Russell had a great game against a highly impressive Rams defense. He stood gutsy in the pocket against Aaron Donald who is, by far and away, not only the best interior pass rusher, but the defensive player in the entire game of football. Russ took that abuse, and as the game went on, he found ways to win it with his arm and legs. It’s debatable whether Russell Wilson is currently the best quarterback in the game these days, but there is no debate who the best quarterback was in this game, and who the best quarterback is in the NFC West. Russell Wilson was the player of the game for me in this one. Best player by far. Go Hawks.
Jared Goff pulling on his broken thumb on national television for all to see. OUCHY MOMMA!
I would like to say that Seattle will be playing a meaningless Covid era football game against San Francisco next Sunday down in Arizona, but because Seattle is still in contention for the top NFC seeding in the playoffs, that game is very much going to matter. I have mixed feelings about that to be honest.
Generally, I want them to go down to Arizona and smoke the 49ers, but how much is playing on the road during the playoffs a disadvantage during Covid when there isn’t any fans in the stands? Really, you’re playing for the top seed just to get a bye week for rest. While that is a huge benefit, I can’t help to think that Seattle already squandered that a bit away a few weeks ago with they played down to the Giants and lost, sorta.
Part of me wants to see them rest key starters against the 49ers, and not risk injury to vital players such as Duane Brown, Jamal Adams, Carlos Dunlap, Chris Carson, DK Metcalf, and of course Russell Wilson. That’s probably me being overly protective about all the nice shiny parts this team has, and that is ultimately probably the wrong headed approach.
Pete Carroll would probably be the first to say that, and he would never want his team to shy away from a challenge of winning another game. His culture is not one based on fear even if his preferences on offense can get a bit conservative from time to time.
Therefore, I expect Seattle to go down into the desert to further stretch out their wins and possibly grab the top seed. They will need to beat the 49ers who will be gearing to play spoiler, and they will need both the Saints and the Green Bay to lose their games. We will need to be fans of the Bears and Panthers next week.
Can all this happen? Certainly.
Will it? I dunno.
The 49ers will be revved for revenge and they will be in full spoiler mode with George Kittle back. This might prove to be a tougher out for Seattle than some might think, and the general overall football fan in me is kind of excited about that. I want to see how Kittle matches with Jamal Adams and Jordyn Brooks, two players that I’m pretty convinced Seattle brought in to combat Kittle’s otherworldly play-making abilities at tight end.
If Seattle continues with it’s A-game, and it determined to sweep this bitter divisional opponent, I think they handle the Niners pretty well when the final whistle blows and that would be a truly great finish to this season. Even if one or both of the Saints and Packers win and Seattle doesn’t earn the top seed, it will feel like a special season for this club with back to back NFC West victories over the Rams and 49ers. Sign me up for that right now.
So, screw the fears of injury. Go out and beat these 49ers. Sweep them. Mop them up. Nothing feels better than beating the 49ers yet again. Go get this done, Seahawks.
Just do it.