This couldn’t have gone any better.
The Seahawks won with added style points. Nobody got seriously injured. And there were just enough minor quibbles to avoid complacency going into the bye.
There’s only one place to start tonight. Russell Wilson is a revelation.
The style and identity of Seattle’s offense will never give him the opportunity to have a 40-TD season. For that reason he’ll probably never be the NFL’s MVP.
To the Seahawks, he is paramount. He is exactly what they’ve been missing. Since forever.
Wilson is everything any team could ever want in a franchise quarterback. He’s a fantastic image for the team, he’s the perfect character off the field and he appears to command the respect of his team mates. On the field he’s mobile, accurate (deep throws, short throws), ruthless and productive with ample arm strength.
He’s the kind of guy that eternally keeps you in a game, whatever the deficit.
He can orchestrate the long, slow burning drives. He can put quick points on the board. He can hit the home run.
And he has the much less talked about quality of improvisation.
All the greats make plays that leave you speechless. They turn a negative down into a scoring down. They step out of the play call and make something happen.
Too many bog standard quarterbacks fail when things don’t go perfectly. They buckle. Wilson almost thrives in that environment.
The perfect example of this was the second passing touchdown — a little shovel pass to Lynch when everything else had been taken away. The perfect improvisation from the perfect improvisational quarterback.
You could hear all the sighs on the Minnesota sideline. All of them to a man were wishing any of their three quarterbacks were capable of doing that.
Seattle is lucky to have Russell Wilson. Enjoy it.
Marshawn Lynch had three touchdowns and made the best of what was available. The Vikings played well against the run. The only complaint? His ninth fumble since 11/11/12. It was recovered by Seattle — fortunately — and I appreciate a player like Lynch will fumble more due to his physical style. But nine in little over a year seems excessive.
Percy Harvin had five big plays right off the bat. On the first touchdown drive, his decoy slant inside took the safety away from Doug Baldwin — leading to a big sideline completion. Baldwin was left 1-on-1 with rookie Xavier Rhodes who’s struggled all year. It was no contest.
His second play drew a downfield pass interference — which negated a Seahawks penalty at the LOS and avoided a loss of yards. His first catch was a difficult one-handed grab on a third down conversion. Then we saw the kick off return to mid-field. And to begin the second half Minnesota gifted Seattle the ball on the 35 after kicking away from Harvin.
Perhaps the most satisfying thing was his ease of movement and speed. Even in limited snaps he had a big impact. It’ll be a long two weeks waiting to see what he can do against the Saints’ defense.
If this is Percy-lite, the full fat version will be loaded.
Doug Baldwin is a terrific player and not just a slot guy. He’s earned more attention in an explosive offense. The first touchdown pass was a prototypical Baldwin catch in the red zone. He’s more dynamic than people think, with all the skills you look for from a non-elite size/speed receiver — a competitive streak, hands and intelligence.
Funnily enough Seattle’s starting trio of receivers are 5-10 (Baldwin), 5-10 (Tate) and 5-11 (Harvin). All three players are 25-years-old and hitting their peaks. Who says you need a 6-3/6-4 guy?
Actually, watching the Broncos shows how a great ‘big’ receiver can really compliment an offense. See: Demaryius Thomas.
J.R. Sweezy and Breno Giacomini were beaten on an early down, which led to a Wilson sack. Twitter exploded with “replace Sweezy” comments. People love to complain when the offensive linemen make a mistake. What they don’t realise is — every down they aren’t complaining these guys are doing their jobs. And those plays far outweigh the errors.
For me, the entire line had a good day today. That was expected — for the first time in a long time every starter was out there in their intended positions. Seattle’s problem isn’t talent, it was depth with the two tackles out injured for such a long time.
Richard Sherman got beat twice early (PI and a TD). That’s obviously uncharacteristic for him. I suspect it could act as a positive though — it’ll weigh on his mind for the next two weeks before facing Drew Brees and the Saints.
A point on kick offs. Unless you have a great return man it appears the play has been eliminated from the game. So I don’t understand why Jermaine Kearse and Robert Turbin were again taking it out of the end zone and risking not getting back to the 20.
I know Kearse scored in pre-season. He also had a costly fumble against Tampa Bay.
Now Harvin — I get why he brings it out. He’s an explosive returner who makes things happen. For the other guys, I’d rather they just take a knee. Just my take.
There were too many penalties on third down today. On both sides of the ball. They can’t do that in the next two games (or any games, for that matter) and it’ll probably be a point of focus pre-Saints.
Christian Ponder is a terrible quarterback. It’s a shame it took until the fourth quarter to get an interception today. He made up for lost time by throwing a pick-six to Walter Thurmond shortly after Bobby Wagner’s interception. Wagner should’ve had a house-call before either.
Matt Cassell is also terrible. Poor Vikings.
Christine Michael — I have no idea how good or bad his pass protection is. But the guy is a better runner than Robert Turbin. So it must be pretty terrible. What other reason is there for keeping him on the sidelines? Let’s get him the ball a few more times.
For what it’s worth, Turbin is averaging 3.56 yards a carry this season from 48 carries.
Zach Miller led the team in receiving yards. Mr. Consistency quietly had another really good game.
The run defense pitched a shut out until Toby Gerhart — not Adrian Peterson — broke off a 32-yard run. Kudos for the way they’ve turned things around after a bad couple of outings against St. Louis and Tampa Bay.
Cliff Avril is quickly becoming Seattle’s best edge rusher. He now has 6.5 sacks for the year and was flying around the field today. While it might be difficult to keep Michael Bennett (who had his worst game of the season for me), Seahawks fans should count their blessings that Avril is signed up for another year based on the last few weeks.
Byron Maxwell did a very good job covering for Brandon Browner. He’s incredibly talented and will really benefit from time on the field.
Red Bryant also had a tremendous game today — frequently blowing up the offensive line and collapsing the pocket.
Seattle is on a bye next week before a testing and interesting final stretch of the regular season. New Orleans (8-2) and San Francisco (6-4) are up next, followed by a trip to the resurgent New York Giants (dangerous) and two home games within the division (also dangerous).
The Saints will be a huge test even at Century Link. Last year they came out flat in Miami after the bye. I doubt the players will get the full week off again.
But for the next couple of weeks Seahawks fans can sit back and enjoy the fact their team is #1 in the NFC.
The funny thing is, I think we almost take 10-1 for granted. Could you ever previously imagine a 10-1 Seahawks team? That’s the reality tonight.
Finally — PLEASE don’t forget this…
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) November 18, 2013