As enjoyable as that was, is it wrong to ask where this brand of football has been for the last few weeks?
The Seahawks committed to running the ball, overpowered Detroit and battered them into submission. This was classic Pete Carroll football.
This is what this team was built to do.
Admittedly it would’ve been tougher to repeat this against Calais Campbell and Aaron Donald — but it showed the Seahawks are capable of this type of offensive performance. Russell Wilson was back to being a point guard, the O-line used their size and explosive qualities to create huge running lanes. The defense benefitted from the ball control offense.
If they can build on this into next week, this could be a dangerous team after all.
Seattle dominated in every key facet. They were 9/16 on third downs (56%) compared to Detroit’s 2/11 (18%). They had 387 yards of offense compared to 231. The Seahawks gave up just 49 rushing yards but managed 177 of their own.
This is how you win in the playoffs.
The 26-6 score didn’t flatter Seattle — and they limited Detroit in a way Green Bay and Dallas (their previous two opponents) could not. The Packers and Cowboys conceded 24 and 21 points respectively against the Lions. Detroit didn’t get a sniff of the end zone in this one, barely reaching Seattle’s 35-yard-line.
It’d be quicker to list the players who only played a decent game. Everyone, collectively, had an impact. I’ll mention a few names but you could run through the whole team:
— Thomas Rawls showed his incredible talent. His big challenge is to do it again next week and stay healthy.
— Kam Chancellor was quietly exceptional again both in coverage and his play recognition to impact the LOS.
— Frank Clark is quickly developing into one of the more underrated players in the league. This was a ferocious performance of splash play magic on a night he was needed.
— DeShawn Shead had his best game in a few weeks, with only a dropped easy interception blotting his copybook.
— Mark Glowinski had arguably the best performance of his short career and he was ably supported by the rest of the line, including what felt like another strong outing by Garry Gilliam.
— Jeron Johnson had a spectacular night on special teams.
I wanted to save Paul Richardson for the end. This Tweet says it all:
catches, all 3 of them. pic.twitter.com/oRdADNQmVa
— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) January 8, 2017
And let’s hear some credit too for the offensive staff. This was a well crafted and executed offensive gameplan.
If there was a downside it was Steven Hauschka’s latest missed PAT. That’s seven for the season now, apparently a NFL record.
Next week in Atlanta will be a very different contest. The Falcons have a better offense and they have momentum going into the post-season unlike the Lions. They are thoroughly dynamic — finding creative ways to feature their running backs and of course Julio Jones.
The Seahawks will need to continue this level of performance and then some to have any chance against an opponent they only just beat in the regular season at home.
That said, Atlanta’s defense has given up some points this year. Just look at their home scores:
Tampa Bay 31-24 Atlanta
Carolina 33-48 Atlanta
San Diego 33-30 Atlanta
Green Bay 32-33 Atlanta
Arizona 19-38 Atlanta
Kansas City 29-28 Atlanta
San Francisco 13-41 Atlanta
New Orleans 32-38 Atlanta
That’s 27.75 points per game they’ve conceded at home and a 5-3 record that includes a one-point victory over the Packers.
You can see how potent they are on offense (35 points per game) but they also lost to the Buccs, Chargers and Chiefs in their own backyard.
It feels like the game will come down to Seattle’s defense being able to have some kind of control, the offense not starting poorly as it did against Arizona, Green Bay and Tampa Bay and avoiding first half mistakes. Keeping it close early, establishing the run. Similar ingredients to tonight — while acknowledging the Falcons are going to get their plays and points on offense over the course of 60 minutes.
Special teams and turnovers could be key. It’s a while since Seattle had a big return in the kicking game. The defense hasn’t had a single interception since Earl Thomas broke his leg against the Panthers in week 13.
The Seahawks will certainly be helped on offense if C.J. Prosise returns, as Pete Carroll has suggested is possible.
By the way, someone was watching the game closely tonight:
@robstaton plays with passion
— DeMarcus Walker (@livinglegend_44) January 8, 2017