Further thoughts on the Texans win

So far, this season is actually pretty similar to 2013. Here are the comparisons:

— The Seahawks won a classic vs Houston that included a come-from-behind victory inspired by Russell Wilson, a pick-six and interceptions by Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman

— The Seahawks beat the Giants in New York

— Seattle won their home opener against San Francisco despite a rough first half offensively

— They beat the Rams on the road thanks to a late red zone stop

— They botched a winnable road game against an AFC South opponent

There are other similarities too:

— Not running the ball well? In 2013 the Seahawks had to abandon the run against the Rams with Marshawn Lynch recording 23 yards on eight carries. In the season opener in Carolina, Lynch had 43 yards in 17 carries. None of this compares to yesterday’s stymied run attack — but it’s worth highlighting.

— Seattle’s 2013 Championship winning, legendary defense gave up 21 points in a half to the 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. In the process they made Mike Glennon look invincible and conceded 158 rushing yards to sixth round rookie running back Mike James.

— The wins against the Rams and Buccs were so underwhelming, critics questioned Seattle’s validity as a contender. They won their next three games against Atlanta, Minnesota and New Orleans by a combined score of 108-37.

— Was the O-line great in 2013? It was good when Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned from long-term injuries. Paul McQuistan started eight games at left tackle, book-ending seventh round rookie Michael Bowie. The results, at times, were similar to what we’re seeing this year.

Try not to read too much into the negatives of last nights tremendous win. Yes the Seahawks couldn’t run out of a large, wet paper bag. Yes the defense gave up an unusually high number of chunk plays. Yes they almost dropped a home game many assumed would be a straight-forward victory.

Such is life in the Pete Carroll era. The unexpected happens, weird games occur and unlikely victories are mixed in with the occasional baffling defeat.

Here’s what we know about this team. Defensively they are a lot better than they showed last night. Deshaun Watson had a fantastic game. Despite his performance (no doubt aided by a bye week and two weeks of preparation on with Bill O’Brien) the Seahawks still won. Because ultimately, that’s what this team does. Finds a way to win, more often than not.

If Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, Sheldon Richardson, Frank Clark, K.J Wright and the rest are out on the field — there’s very little reason to be overly concerned with the defense. It was a rough outing against a brilliant opponent that still included five sacks and three interceptions.

Clearly the running game is more of a concern. Despite a lot of focus in the off-season and plenty of talk about repairing the run, this is possibly an even weaker running attack than last season. A bit of everything seems to be at fault.

There are plays if you watch back the Houston game where running backs are misreading and leaving yards on the field. There are times when the run blocking is not very good and RB’s are getting hit three yards behind the LOS.

It’s hard to know what they can do right now. The run blocking isn’t suddenly going to make a major jump half-way through the season. Eddie Lacy has been a big disappointment and Thomas Rawls’ 2015 season is increasingly looking like a mirage. C.J. Prosise could be the answer if he could stay healthy for more than five minutes — and J.D. McKissic is more complimentary X-factor than feature back.

Would Mike Davis do any better? Maybe. Or he might just be the next one to struggle.

Sadly any hopes of a consistent running game fell with Chris Carson’s broken leg.

It’s hard to work out what the solution is going forward. In the past Seattle managed to put together a collection of terrific run blockers. This group might just be better at pass pro (and it’s getting better, week after week). The Seahawks used to be able to rely on Marshawn Lynch for production — but legendary, future Hall-of-Fame running backs aren’t readily available.

They’re not going to get at Saquon Barkley next year so they might have to keep looking at several options until they discover the long or medium term answer. That could be a free agent splash (Carlos Hyde?) or future draft stock (more likely middle round than first round). Hopefully Carson makes a full recovery but he’s in the same boat as George Fant now — you want to rely on them for the long term but how can you after both picked up serious injuries?

The good news is Wilson looks like he’s starting to go on one of his mid-season blasts. And he showed yesterday that if the running game or defense can’t seal the deal — he’s capable, along with his receivers, of picking up the slack.

A couple of other quick notes…

— The trade deadline is tomorrow and while there’s been a lot of talk and rumours, nothing has materialised so far. Peter King from MMQB thinks something could happen:

The Seahawks are snug up against the salary cap, and if they want (Duane) Brown, they may have to redo Brown’s deal and redo some of their own contracts. That’s, of course, if Schneider can find a deal to satisfy the Texans by the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline Tuesday. My money’s on Schneider.

It may be moot. But I don’t think so. Schneider is one of the most aggressive GMs in recent NFL history. He knows his offensive line is the major Achilles heel on the team, the one thing standing in the way of what could be the last deep playoff run for an aging defense. To beat Philadelphia’s outstanding front seven, Schneider knows he might have to go get a tackle by Tuesday’s deadline. Joe Staley’s overpriced in San Francisco (and suffered a reported suborbital fracture under his right eye on Sunday), and Cordy Glenn not likely to be freed up in Buffalo. It might be Brown or Colt Anthony Castonzo … and Brown’s better. We shall see.

— In previous drafts a lot of the players we liked on this blog ended up in the AFC North. It was fun watching three prospects we really liked playing so well for Houston together. Here are some articles and notes on all three pre-draft:

Deshaun Watson: “Watson is the latest victim of familiarity. Increasingly we’re rushing to criticise and lament big name college football players. Every problem is over-analysed. Every hole examined. When do we get back to focusing on what a player can do?

DeAndre Hopkins: “He’s a top-20 talent who may go later… and a smart team will be ready to capitalise.

Will Fuller: “Fuller is an explosive, dynamic receiver with exceptional character. Teams will covet him.”

In particular the piece about Watson really resonates today, especially this bit:

Are there flaws? Yes. Some of his turnovers this season were careless and reckless. Yet overall he has a 90:32 touchdown/interception ratio in college. He’s been a relentless winner on a team that was previously never quite been able to get over the top.

There are so many positives. Would he improve a team like Cleveland or San Francisco? Absolutely. Is he a superior prospect to the #1 pick last year? Probably.

There’s probably a lesson for us all here. There’s a constant need for people to Tweet opinions, offer ‘takes’ and provide relentless mock drafts. There’s nothing wrong with critiquing players and assessing what they can and can’t do. Just maybe spend a bit more time on the ‘what they can do‘ bit.

Watson could and probably should go in the top-10. I can’t believe there are bad teams in the NFL without quarterbacks that won’t be significantly better off with him under center.

He was over-analysed to the point of insanity. He’s a winner, a playmaker and a leader — and the teams that passed on him will be severely regretting it today.

I’m not surprised the Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin in 2013. It would’ve been interesting to see if Hopkins would’ve been their pick at #25 had they not made the deal. He looked perfect for Seattle — a student of the game who talked about routes and coverages during media interviews, a gritty player who carried his offense and played with a chip on his shoulder. He’s one of my favourite players we’ve covered since the blog started in 2008 — so this post-game image was pretty cool:

Sherman wrote on his jersey:

“To Nuk, I told you! You were a dog the first time we played! And you have worked to become one of the best in the league!”

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  1. Greg Haugsven

    How come it says Texans win up top and not Seahawks win? Looks like you picked the wrong week to come watch a game, that would have been fun to see live. Have fun next week vs the Skins.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks Greg, really looking forward to flying out this week.

      The title means ‘Texans win’ as in ‘Texans win for the Seahawks’. It would have to be ‘Texans’ win’ for it to mean a victory for Houston.

  2. kevin

    Just a couple of side notes I thought I would bring up after this game:

    #1 Chris Carson is still the leading rusher for the Seahawks, despite not playing the last 3 games.
    #2 Over 80% of PRich’s 22 catches have gone for a first down this season and he is currently tied for thirds most receiving TDs in the NFL.
    #3 Bennett has 5.5 sacks (tied for 9th) and Clark has 4.5 sacks (tied for 11th).
    #4 Wager is currently tied for 3rd most tackles and Wright is 6th in tackles.

    All this after 7 games. I admit I had bad thoughts going into this game, because the Texans have played very well. But those thoughts have vanished. This is a special team playing very good football. Losing Carson was rough, but I believe they are going to find a way to win.

  3. CharlieTheUnicorn

    Should and would Seattle consider some type of trade for the Steelers WR Bryant?

    He appears to have some of the things Seattle is looking for.. and might need in the WR group…..
    but after yesterday, maybe they are good to go for 2017.

    • Donald

      I was / am a big Bryant fan, and it would be fantastic if the Hawks could get him. He is 6’4 and runs a 4.34/ 40.
      A track star in college. The trouble is he may have a drug problem, since he was suspended for a season due to the NFL substance abuse policy. It may be a problem for him to come to a state were pot is legal. I would not want to risk it, unless the Hawks got him for a good price, on a 1 yr prove it deal. Steelers are not dealing him.

  4. YankinTa

    For those of you that are saying Watson is the real deal,, I disagree. He’s impressed me but this D was already way Overrated even before this game. Watson had explosive weapons to take advantage of this overrated Defense. I don’t think he could do this to against 2012 or 2013 Seattle Defense.

    I’m still in a wait and see mode,, although he’s impressed me since the game against Patriots. Then again this Rookie QB was making the same inaccurate throws/decisions as an experienced QB at the College level last year. That’s why he fell in the draft. I really like him but too early to anoint him an Elite QB or that he’s going to be one for sure in the next couple of years….

    • cha

      “Increasingly we’re rushing to criticise and lament big name college football players. Every problem is over-analysed. Every hole examined. When do we get back to focusing on what a player can do?”

    • Rob Staton

      Defense overrated??!?

      Spoilt Seahawks fans.

      • D-OZ

        Is he really a Hawk fan???

        • STTBM

          Dude is a long-term Troll from the old Trib blog. And he was in High School then, probably still is. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is.

          • YankinTa

            STTBM, lol I see that you have not matured yet. You were wrong about Andrew Luck and I was right. I can see that you’re still hurt. Sorry for hurting your feelings in 2013 and 2014. :((

      • YankinTa

        Rob, sorry but this defense has been really weak in QB pressures (31st in the NFL before this game) and really bad in 3rd down Defense (ranked 27th in the NFL before the Giants game). Truly Elite Defenses don’t have these numbers, not even close. To say that this D is Elite,, to me that’s way overrating them. We have really good pieces but we have not really played that well as a team. Thank God for this year’s weak schedule… Let’s hope it gets better in Nov and Dec.

    • icb12

      Oh dear…

  5. vrtkolman

    My question is why would the Texans want to trade Brown? He is much better than their alternatives, and should improve as he gets into game shape. With Watson on the rise, it doesn’t make much sense to voluntarily get weaker at Watson’s blindside blocking. Unless it’s for political reasons…

    • Easthawk

      So… we just got Brown from the Texans. Nothing about what we gave up yet though.

  6. Dave

    What I really hope this game turns out to be is the unification of Seattle as a whole ‘team’.

    I think it’s important we won a shootout led by Wilson and the offense. Not relying on the defense to play 45mins or bail anyone out. If the offense has now earned respect of all the alphas on D. Then I can truly believe we can stop getting in our own way and go further than at any point since 2014.

    The best teams always play for each other. Across both sides of the ball. For what seems a long time it’s felt like the Seahawks were 2 teams. O VS. D. It worked due to sheer talent and stubbornness. But it didn’t work as well as before and it certainly wasn’t as fun for the players.

    Yesterday seemed like the players had the most fun since 2013. That’ they were happy as a team finally again. If that wasn’t just a one off then we could go all the way again.

    • AlaskaHawk

      Yes – this was the first game of the season where I felt that Defense and Offense contributed equally to a win. Though with three interceptions, it is still arguable that defense played a little better – balanced against that fine hurry up last offensive drive.

  7. Manthony

    Hey Rob, I just wanted to echo some on the sentiment on DeAndre Hopkins.
    I’m pretty sure I had discovered this your blog that year before that draft, but had seen some of your other work on FG and discovered you that way.
    That combine Hopkins was in might have been my second year of watching the combine and taking notes.
    I remember it seemed like Hopkins improved his stock white a bit there and there was one still where I was absolutely sold on him as a prospect.
    I don’t know the name of itty, but it’s where the WR is catching balls from all different directions, I think, just remembered he caught everything thrown at him and just looked so fluid, I don’t have a “Volume12” level eye for talent, but that was the first prospect that I evaluated properly, wish we could have got him!

    • Manthony

      My mistake on the auto correct typos haha, I was trying to reference a drill Hopkins did

    • D-OZ


      • Manthony

        Thank you…shame on me for not knowing one combine drill I watch once a year

  8. Dylanlep

    wow being reported that brown was traded to the hawks …

    • Greg Haugsven


      • Dylanlep


        • Dylanlep

          john isnt playing

  9. Ishmael

    We’ve got Duane Brown! Per Ian Rapaport. Hasn’t said what for yet.

    • Derron James


      • Ishmael

        He is 32, the Texans gave away a crateload of picks for Watson and they need to recoup them somewhere. Bet we’ve done it for our first, or maybe another second. I think we still had a second after the Richardson trade?

    • AlaskaHawk

      Did he play last night??

      • Ishmael

        Yep. Looked pretty good for his first game back, but he was absolutely gassed at the end.

  10. Ishmael

    Jeremy Lane, a 5th round pick in 2018, and a second-round pick in 2019.

    I’ll take that!

  11. STTBM

    I like the trade because our need was as dire as it gets.

    But I hate it for several reasons. For one, the price is STEEP for a 32 year-old. For another, its mid-season and he doesnt know our offense. We’ve all seen enough communication mistakes this year alone on the line to last a lifetime, not looking forward to more. For yet another, it hamstrings us in future years for someone who might not even be here by the time our pick comes due. And for yet another, this line should have been sorted out BEFORE the season.

    Not closing the deal with Lang and instead wasting nearly as much money on a player who couldnt carry Langs jock (Joekel) followed by this move are going to cost us now and in the future.

    Imagine our line had we drafted a decent LT or RT instead of Ifedi and McDowell. Imagine too if we’d closed the deal on Lang isntead of having to settle for Joeckel.

    If we can ride Brown to a SB victory, its all worth it. And something like this had to happen. Im just bummed at the cost and the timing. And still pissed we took such a risk on McDowell.

  12. STTBM

    The cool thing is that the Texans run a ZBS too. Perhaps Browns learning curve wont be too steep…

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