Instant reaction: Seahawks make life difficult, still win

November 3rd, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

This image is fun. The game... not so much

The Seahawks are 8-1. The Seahawks have never been 8-1 before.

A lot of people are going to hammer this team over the next 24 hours. I understand that. There are definitely legit concerns following the Rams and Buccs games.

Tampa Bay ran all over Seattle’s defense, the second game in a row that has happened. They were nearly unstoppable in the first half. And the three turnovers were guilt edged.

But here’s the convenient truth. They still won.

The second half was completely one-sided despite all the stress. The defense stepped up, the offense moved the ball.

By overtime I had no doubt the Seahawks would win. And clearly the deficit that lingered until the final two minutes made for uncomfortable viewing.

But never before has this team evaporated a 21-point deficit. And they did that today. That should be celebrated.

I’d argue two key drives ruined the first half for Seattle and stopped this being the blow out most people expected.

Russell Wilson’s red zone interception was part inaccurate throw and a heck of a lot of bad pass protection. He had to adjust his throwing angle due to the pressure and side armed it behind the intended target. It took points off the board and killed a productive first drive.

Then on Tampa Bay’s first scoring possession, a very dubious pass interference call wiped out a perfectly good interception by Earl Thomas. Not only was it textbook coverage, it led to a significant points swing.

Throw in Jermaine Kearse’s fumble and a once-a-season jump-ball touchdown and the scoreline looked pretty horrific before half time. In reality, it was pretty freaky and a little bit fortunate.

The Seahawks did what they had to do in the second half. And they won.

The only sour point was Wilson’s second pick. Surely that was an audible by the quarterback? Surely after last week Darrell Bevell didn’t call a pass on the three with the crowd begging for Marshawn Lynch? We wait for answers.

There are plenty of things to work on this week and Seattle desperately needs its injured guys back. Yet when they were needed, the healthy playmakers made the big plays to win a tough football game.

And that is why they lead the NFC at 8-1.

Now where’s the headache tablets?

***One final note ***

I received the following comment today on the blog from a reader called Michael:

“Where is the Saturday or sunday “Things I’m Watching For” column from this blog? No college players no hawk names or numberz no real discussions on game day or before. Why? There is only instant reactions? Thats not much coverage this year with all the tape thats out there with the new 22 film. Love this site but…. Disappointing.”

I thought I better remind people who missed it at the time. My wife gave birth recently and any parent will tell you how life changing (and time consuming) that is. I write this blog in my free time and at the moment, it’s at a premium. I’m still watching player tape regularly, just while cradling a baby. I’m still making notes with my free arm. And I intend to make use of that work in the lead up to the 2014 draft.

But I will warn you that right now I write when I can. My priority has to be wife/son, work and then the blog. And I apologise because that’s not what this place has been about. I ask for time. We’ll get back on it.

80 Responses to “Instant reaction: Seahawks make life difficult, still win”

  1. Mark says:

    Was that pass interference call on Thomas legitimately a bad call? How many people share that sentiment? Looking at the replays, I honestly could not find any evidence of PI.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I didn’t see any evidence of PI. Fantastic coverage by ET.

    • Jon says:

      bad call. ET turned his head before any contact, fought for the ball and picked it off. Perfect D, horrible possibly game changing call.

      • Miles says:

        Same. I was there, couldn’t believe it.

        • Michael M. says:

          Hated the call. Not at all surprised. Hate that I’m not surprised. Hate how flag happy the league has become.

        • Grant says:

          He did have his off arm on the receiver’s midsection, but it didn’t appear to restrict movement at all. Pretty dubious

        • SunPathPaul says:

          When a blatant bad call like that happens, it just feels like “they” want a close game…
          ie…they want to make ratings/money/viewers/etc…

          • Fletcher says:

            This isn’t the NBA. None the less, there is probably more in it for the NFL to have the Seahawks as a dominant superpower at home, because it will make for a better storyline come playoffs.

            • Miles says:

              I just think NFL referees have gotten incompetent to judge the NFL, in general. Whether that be because there are some new rules in the patched-up referee/NFL contract agreement that allows complacency among refs, or because there are too many new penalties the refs now have to watch for, etc., the quality of NFL referees has simply declined. I can’t recall a single Seahawks game this year where there weren’t at least a handful of bad calls.

              • AlaskaHawk says:

                I think it is our reputation. Calling ourselves The Legion of Boom is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. There are a couple calls like that every game, plus the occasional defenseless receiver call. How was Earl Thomas supposed to tackle that receiver on the 5 yard line? Maybe they need to start going for the knees.

    • Linda says:

      It was a horrible call! Some of these news NFL rules stink! Pretty soon they’ll be playing TOUCH football! Yes, Sunday’s game wasn’t pretty but I won’t complain because a win is a win and that’s all that counts in the scheme of things!

  2. dave crockett says:

    Let me also add, Rob’s probably not even sleeping through the night yet.

    People should check out Rob Rang’s stuff over at CBS and the videos at DraftBreakdown.com.

  3. Stuart says:

    WOW! Just WOW. We are 8-1 and totally control our own destiny. Sure I could write all kinds of areas the Hawks can improve on. When teams are going through rough patches, they loose games. As bad as our Hawks played at times last week and again today, we still won! Winning in the NFL can be a very fine line.

    Go Hawks!

  4. Colin says:

    Yes, Darrell Bevell really did call that pass down at the goal line. Lynch’s reaction afterward indicated as much.

    Yes this team has issues, and I hope they are fixable. Brandon Mebane, for the second straight week, was awful. A non factor. Those saying he can’t be released after this season need to go back and watch these last two games.

    How do you beat this team, once healthy? How?

    • Michael M. says:

      How do you beat this team once healthy?

      Good question. I would say that getting an early lead with a good run game and some questionable flags is a fine start. Next I would hope for a couple fluke plays that give me a short field or a score or two to extend that lead. Then I would unleash my pass rushers against an o-line that has been struggling with injuries, thus never allowing for a clean pocket or time for routes to develop. All of that should be more than enough to…

      What’s that? Oh, that’s exactly what the Texans, Rams and Buccaneers did? Huh… I don’t know then. I suppose I would just save my energy for special teams and hope I can run back a botched special teams play.

    • adog says:

      I noticed that Wagner had a horrible game. His play\return in the last two games might have something to do with the run defense getting gouged.

      • Miles says:

        I am seriously thinking the Hawks should move KJ Wright to middle linebacker permanently and have Wagner switch to more of an OLB role. Wagner is primarily effective with his speed anyway. Besides last time KJ started a game in the middle we shut down the run game (against Arizona, I believe). Wagner has issues going nose-to-nose with interior linemen.

      • Phil says:

        I’ve been wondering the same thing about Wagner’s return and our poor run defense. Is it just coincidence? It’s not just his individual play that is suspect, but does he call the defenses differently than KJ Wright?

        One of my pet peeves is people who confuse coincidence with causation, and here I am doing the same thing …

        • adog says:

          it seems like Thomas is calling the defense to my eye. Maybe it’s just the coverage, but Wagner does not look like he’s calling the defense.

  5. Louis says:

    Us readers should just be happy that you’re writing at ALL during these busy times for you. Thanks for sticking with this thing.

    Another nice “Instant Reactions” write-up. Keep up the great work.

    • Miles says:

      After every Seahawks game I go to 1) Pete Carroll’s press conference and 2) to Rob’s Instant Reaction. I’m not the least bit disappointed in this site.

  6. Jon says:

    The look that Lynch gives after that pass call turn INT inside the five reminds me of the game that it was questioned multiple times the following week whether Lynch flipped of Bevel after another pass called inside the five. If there is an issue between the two, Bevel must go because this is getting to the point of ridiculous and these stupid play calls are beyond the point of stubborn childish ways by a coach that are time and again nearly costing this team the win.

  7. Kenny Sloth says:

    I’ve been unable to decipher what the cause of the gashing of our defense on run plays has been about.
    I remain unconvinced that it is solely because of our DTs. It seems like we aren’t getting linebackers filling gaps along the line. What’s happening. Rob?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Bad tackling — too many yards after contact. Defensive tackles getting bossed around at the LOS. Linebackers not getting off blocks and not playing down the line. Ends struggling to set the edge. Basically nothing is working with the run defense.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Is there anything egregious that stands out more than anything else?

        • williambryan says:

          saw a stat on twitter that said with KJ as MIKE and Smith as WILL the D has given up less than 80 rush yards a game. When Wagner is MIKE it’s something like 140 a game… I don’t get the feeling that it’s Wagners fault. The rams and Buccs today, seemed to have run a lot of traps or other variations of pulling lineman, the same type of plays that the 49ers have always (well, with Harbaugh anyways) gashed the hawks with.

      • Grant says:

        I also saw several cases where KJ and Bobby just seem to flat out misdiagnose the gap and as a result seemingly leave major open wholes. That is of course not having information on what their gap responsibilities where supposed to be, from a playcall standpoint.

      • Marcus says:

        If I had to blame one person, and one person only, for the degradation in run defense over the past couple of weeks, it would be Bobby Wagner. I had an epiphany after the Rams game and recalled some pre-draft scouting:

        “If Seattle drafts Wagner to play middle linebacker in their 4-3, he’ll be good in man coverage, decent (but not great) against the run, and nearly non-existent in the pass rush (barring further improvement)… Very slightly undersized / struggles to get off blocks.” – Rob Staton

        With this in mind, I paid a lot of attention to our starting middle linebacker last night and noticed Wagner was completely swallowed by a blocker on just about every big run up the middle – and most of them were up the middle. He’s fast. He has the lateral speed (see the sack on Newton last year). He can shoot the gap when it’s there (see the sack last night). However, I can’t remember ever seeing him disengaging from or shedding a blocker and making a play (i.e. see Chancellor pancake #73 against Arizona).

        Your thoughts?

  8. CC says:

    Thanks Rob – no apologies needed! We appreciate your insights regardless. I agree with you on this game – no perfect, but the second half – the D stepped up and didn’t let TB on our side of the field after the field goal. I also thought that we have all been chomping on the O line but they played well the last few drives of the 4th and during the OT. While RW was pressured and hit a few times, but wasn’t sacked.

  9. kevin mullen says:

    first and foremost: your time (and anyone’s who recently had a baby) should be to your wife’s and newly born child. period.

    secondly, ‘Hawks winning today was another nail biter but probably shouldnt. Regardless, we still won and New Orleans lost, which is makes this win even better than it should be.

    if the first half of any indication that this team needs a jump start that’s named: Harvin, is more evident by today, my gosh can’t wait till this guy hits the field. first half was brutal but by any means, we won due to sticking to our gameplan and coaching adjustments. i loved the methodical approach of the second half.

  10. chris says:

    rob, thanks for the time you put in. what is most concerning about the run defense is i’m not sure its fixable.

    at least with all our other problems returning players should help that.

  11. Michael M. says:

    I would just like to throw out there that I am not the “Michael” that made that comment. I do not want to be associated with those comments. I guess that’s what I get for using such a generic name…

    I love this site and appreciate all the hard work Rob does IN HIS FREE TIME. Rob is the man. Henceforth I will be changing the name I use on this site to “Michael M.”

  12. richard says:

    Why didn’t we go hurry up on offense during the second half, down 14? We ended up getting only 4 drives after halftime, which leaves a very slim margin for error. In contrast, Denver had 9 drives in the 2nd half during their comeback win against Washington. Even with 4 turnovers, they won by 24. Of course, Tampa was playing conservatively so we couldn’t have gotten 9, but we still should have tried to squeeze in as many plays as possible.

  13. Grant says:

    I have a feeling we will be auditioning some street O linemen this week, with everyone dinged up. Sheesh.

  14. Michael M. says:

    Random observations:

    1. The sideline throw to Baldwin rolling to his left was absolutely incredible.

    2. Tate’s 71 yard punt return was the most fun I had all day. I love Golden Tate.

    2. If Wagner hadn’t trimmed his fingernails before the game he would have tipped that jump throw.

    3. Mike Glennon is much more elusive than I gave him credit for. So frustrating to watch a guy that slow avoid pressure with such ease.

    4. Guys named Mike James and Zac Stacy are averaging 146 yards per game on the ground against the ‘Hawks. A guy named Adrian Peterson is coming to town in 2 weeks. Better figure something out soon. The average margin of loss for the Christian Ponder lead Vikings is less than 7 points.

    5. Saints Lose!!

  15. Snoop Dogg says:

    Hey Rob and other Seahawk fans, Who do you think the Hawks are going to cut next year? It seems like a lot of the best Seahawk players are finishing their early contracts and the expensive players are not living up to their cost. Who would you all cut in order to try to save Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Michael Bennette, etc.?

    (I think we could drop a lot of the linemen/highly paid recievers).

    • Kelly says:

      1. Sydney Rice
      2. Brandon Browner

      Really the only big name guys i can see leaving.

      • Bobby Cink says:

        And to be fair, BB is a free agent. He is playing for under a million dollars a year with us, if I am not mistaken, and is likely to walk for more money.

  16. Kyle says:

    I smoked half a pack of cigarettes during this game… :\

  17. Carl (Guardian from .net) says:

    Dude, Rob, you do not need to apologize for spending less time here. All Seahawk fans love you and the massive amount of time, skill, and effort you’ve put into this blog. Family must always come first.

  18. Michael says:

    Rob you are a loser and do not understand life

  19. Michael says:

    I hope your son has an uncle so he has a real role model as he grows up. You self centered punk. I worked 50 hours coached a football team I am a father of 44 and in school full time 16 credits. So go cry to your yuppies here about how hard life is and learn to take a comment as a comment not a life changing moment.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Troll Alert!!

    • David says:

      Unbelievable.

      This site is great, Rob.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I agree that this site is great and a good place for civilized debate.

      • Michael says:

        Three updates aweek doesnt make this great

        • Miles says:

          Go open your own blog then.

        • Carl says:

          Then stop coming here, you ungrateful self-centered punk. I hope all of your 44 children grow up to be smarter and better than you. Though that shouldn’t be too difficult.

          • Michael says:

            Oh yeah like asking rob why the whole year he has failed to have anyone post a preweekend note required his phony im a new daddy rebuttle on front page. Your as pathetic as rob for going front page on it. Life is not as hard as you fools want to act. But if you think im just a part time viewer that hasnt frequented and seen the site slide and slide before i made a simple comment your a damn moron. Im not a person who sits by while a few as$ kissers make rob feem warm and cozy. This is for fun so I would think “my humble opinion” shouldnt end up on front page with sorry passive excuses for a seasons worth of failure on robs part.

            • Colin says:

              If you want to stand on someone else’s shoulders and call yourself tall, that’s fine. Just go do it somewhere else.

            • Carl says:

              Your humble opinion that Rob responded to is not why everyone here thinks you’re an asshole. He used to have much more content, now not so much, and you shared your opinion on the matter. Fine, nothing wrong with that. Rob used it while explaining again how his life has changed with a new baby, and simply wanted to remind everyone WHY he won’t be writing as often. No, people here don’t think you’re an asshole for sharing your humble opinion. Rob didn’t make you sound like an asshole, either. You’re an asshole because of your responses.

              “Rob you are a loser and do not understand life.”

              “Rob is unbelievable. His lack of manhood and ability to take any criticism make me puke. I didnt troll anyones comments to front page news that was ROB.”

              “I hope your son has an uncle so he has a real role model as he grows up. You self centered punk. I worked 50 hours coached a football team I am a father of 44 and in school full time 16 credits. So go cry to your yuppies here about how hard life is and learn to take a comment as a comment not a life changing moment.”

              Why are you attacking him? He did not attack you, he RESPONDED to you. He did not call you a loser. He did not call you a punk. He did not say you lack in manhood. And he hasn’t responded to your insults because he’s being the bigger man.

              I’m not going to take that path, because I can’t stand bullies. Michael, you are a loser. You talk about how life isn’t that hard; fathering several children, coaching a team, working 50 hours, going to school… Here’s the thing, life is only as hard as the work and effort you put into it. Judging by your insults, spelling, and overall lack of tact or creativity, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you probably aren’t the greatest dad in the world. Oh sure, you love them, but you don’t do much parenting. You are a terrible role-model. I have no idea how you got into coaching. Hopefully the team isn’t full of kids. If I ever met someone like you talking this way in public, I’d break his nose. Or maybe that’s why you’re attacking here? Because it’s easy to do that online? Because there’s no chance of anything coming from it? You’re just a fucking coward, talking about manliness, or the lack thereof. He responds, and you get so butthurt and uncomfortable you go and rage all over!? Fuck, you’re sensitive. You are a terrible person, and I really do hope your 4 kids grow up to be better people than you.

              Now, did you see a difference in how I responded, and how Rob responded?

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      . . . .

  20. Michael says:

    Father of *4

    • glor says:

      Someone sure seems a little sensitive.

      First, Rob posted your question in the Blog Post, he did not post your personal email address, street address, and phone number.

      Secondly, Rob indicated that the reason for this is that people may not be aware of why the activity of the site has changed recently.

      Finally, he addressed the question in a fairly straight forward way, acknowledging the concern, and providing his reasoning behind it.

      I think you need to take a deep breath and realize that this wasn’t a personal attack on you, and also realize that you have in turn made some disgusting personal attacks towards someone else for really no reason.
      I mean, did you see a bunch of comments in the comment section saying “screw this Michael guy” (prior to your follow up rants that is)..

  21. Mike K says:

    I’m sure Rob will refund you all the money you pay to read this site if you’re so disappointed in the content.

    Well, maybe not now.

  22. Turp says:

    And the winner of Schiano of the week, everyone! Brought to you by pointless timeouts before halftime..

    You’re a gem, Rob. Love reading these instant reaction pieces. Thanks for all of your hard work on the site.

  23. TylerG says:

    Having watched the game a second time it looked the d-line was overly aggressive and got suckered into quite a few trap run plays of pulling guards sealing the DTs out of the play on the offenses’ side of the line of scrimmage. This was a lot like the @SF game last year and, for that reason, I was hoping they would be over these trap plays. This struggle against the run is making me even more worried about the upcoming SF re-match.

  24. Madmarkus says:

    One of the reasons I come to this website is the insightful comments on the Seahawk games and future draft picks. There’s no reason to come here to do character assassination that’s for other websites.
    A few things that concern me about the Seahawks is other teams 3rd down conversions. It seems not to matter whether its 3rd and short or long for other teams to convert them.
    Teams using our own aggressiveness against us by running trap play and such that players are being caught out of position.
    The play calling, example, 1st and 5yards why wouldn’t you run it at least the 1st 2 downs instead of throwing it on 1st down.
    I know luck plays a certain part in this game but depending on there kicker missing 3 FG, well I’d hate to let a win or lose depend upon that luck.
    What I liked was for some reason I felt Wilson could make a comeback at C-link field.
    Loved the E.T. interception it couldn’t have been played any better. You could see from the start that the officials was going to dictate a more pass happy game with the flags to begin the game.
    I think ever game gets harder to win when your at 8-1 and the next one is on the road. Go Hawks looking for 9-1 next week.

  25. Kenny Sloth says:

    What kind of timeframe is on Okung and Giaco’s injuries?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Giacomini is apparently two weeks of practise away from starting so I would guess the Vikings game will be his return. That is also the earliest Okung can come off IR.

      • Turp says:

        Okung practiced last Friday which means he is on track for Week 11. Also confirmed by Pete (Week 11 return).

        • Michael M. says:

          Timing is perfect given the lack of pass rush currently in Atlanta. The big ginger and Bowie should have their best game of the year this week, and get replaced just in time for Jared Allen’s arrival.

  26. Colin says:

    I just re-watched the game again to see if I could discern anything new from their performance. A few things:

    The Bucs used a number of misdirection runs to get the LB’s out of position. A number of counters, cutbacks and delays to get the LB’s to over pursue. Brilliant scheming, really.

    They also pulled guards a number of times and aggressively sent linemen to the second level. It didn’t seem to matter who was getting blocked- Bobby, KJ or Bruce, when linemen got to them, the RB got a big gain.

    It also seemed Tampa was content to just run between the tackles and not try to get outside, which again I think is great coaching. They weren’t going to mess with Seattle’s speed, so they just decided to out-muscle them (Tampa does have some good interior linemen).

    Offensively, I felt the pass protection was good- against the down linemen. Tampa routinely delayed a LB blitz and was left wide open to rush Russell. This looks like a scheme issue, as this has been happening for weeks now. There are too many blitzers just coming in free, and I think Tom Cable and Bevell hold even responsibility on this. There needs to be more commitment to keeping in blockers.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Thanks for the notes, Colin.

    • Coug1990 says:

      Good notes Colin. When you think about it, the Bucs last played on the previous Thursday, so the coaches had 10 days to come up with a game plan. They used it well and came up with different looks. The Seahawks on the other hand, were coming off a short week having played on Monday night.

      When you look at it, TB jumped out to a 21-0 lead. The Seahawks got serious, made adjustments, or whatever, and outscored TB 27-3 thereafter.

      • Colin says:

        I think part of those ‘adjustments’ were that Tampa is a bad team and Seattle a very good one that kept composure.

    • KyleT says:

      What’s disturbing is that the Rams ran a lot of counters as well… Need to learn our lesson here before the 49ers game…

  27. JR says:

    Coming into this game Tampa was passing between 40 and 50 times a game with Glennon. They completly changed their Offense coming into Seattle. With a short week to prepare we concentrated on their passing game. Once we relized what Offense they were running we made adjustments and shut them down. Glennon only threw the ball 23 times against us when averaging 45 passes in his first 4 games.

  28. brokejumper says:

    Rob,

    Just wait till the little one begins to move. That is when parenting really starts!