Instant reaction: Seahawks win, clinch NFC’s #1 seed

Seattle scored 20 unanswered points in the second half

This was a typical Seahawks hosting the Rams type of day. St. Louis played hard. They hit Russell Wilson. They stuck around when nobody gave them a shot. And entering the fourth quarter they had a genuine chance to win.

Seattle simply finished stronger to get a crucial win. This is what it means:

— The Seahawks are NFC West Champions for the third time in the Pete Carroll era.

— Seattle is the first team to repeat as the #1 seed in the NFC since the 2003 Philadelphia Eagles.

— It’s home-field advantage again. The Seahawks won’t need to go on the road to get to another Super Bowl. On the two previous occasions Seattle had the #1 seed, they made the big game. They will face Detroit, Arizona or Carolina in the Divisional round.

— They get a much needed bye-week next weekend. Jordan Hill (more on him later) and K.J. Wright both picked up late injuries. Max Unger again didn’t feature. Marshawn Lynch continues to be spelled early. Their last weekend off was back in week four. They need a break.

In terms of the performance, bad execution in the first half undermined what was actually a pretty good display. In the second half they scored 20 unanswered points to clinch a 20-6 victory.

St. Louis always creates pressure with the most complete front four in football. Just a reminder here — every one of their starting defensive linemen is a top-15 pick. Chris Long (#2 overall, 2008), Robert Quinn (#14 overall, 2011), Michael Brockers (#14 overall, 2012) and Aaron Donald (#13 overall, 2014). The Rams hit on every pick. Considering the high number of D-line busts in the last decade, it’s some record. The end product is a sensational pass rush.

This isn’t excuse making for Seattle’s offensive line, but just consider that fact before you jump to the conclusion that this was a horrific performance up front. The Seahawks will not face a pass rush of this quality in the playoffs. Not even close. Seattle is comfortable fielding an offensive line that is below average in pass protection and brilliant in the running game. They had 132 rushing yards today without the usual boost from Russell Wilson scrambling. These were hard earned yards. This is Seahawks football.

The key touchdown from Marshawn Lynch was created by a brilliant effort by the line, in particular the second-level blocking of Justin Britt and J.R. Sweezy. If you don’t like the way this O-line is set up, you simply don’t like the way Seattle plays offensive football. It’s been good enough to win home-field advantage in back-to-back years. Wilson is creative and difficult to protect in equal measure. This is the way this team is set up — it’s all part of the blueprint.

Jordan Hill, Bruce Irvin and Michael Bennett again stood out on defense. Bennett once again showed he’s playing as well as any defensive player in the league not named J.J. Watt. His ability to soak up double teams created a sack for Cliff Avril and Kevin Williams. This was another masterclass. Bobby Wagner has been described as underrated so much recently it’s almost a contradiction. Wagner’s return certainly helped shore up the run defense, but Bennett’s re-emergence as a pass-rushing force has been key.

Hill had an acrobatic interception to add to his growing collection of stats — 5.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pick. Clinton McDonald? An afterthought.

And then there’s Bruce Irvin — one of the best defensive playmakers in the country who, like Bennett, simply isn’t getting enough props. Today he had a pick-six (his second of the season), a pass-deflection, a TFL and a sack. In year three he has arrived. Irvin is one of the best defensive players in the league. Believe it. Embrace it. He does the little things well and still makes the game-tilting plays too. How many other linebackers can cover with his speed, go sideline-to-sideline and still act as a Julian Peterson-esque pass rusher off the edge? He is the real deal.

Earl Thomas’ forced fumble into the endzone for a touchback is one of the best plays of the 2014 season.

Seattle has now led the NFL in scoring defense for three consecutive years — the first team to achieve that since the 1969-71 Vikings. Pete Carroll has created a unit for the ages.

It wasn’t a classic day for the offense but Wilson did enough after a tough interception and Paul Richardon’s highlight reel catch provides a talking point. It was a tremendous grab — high pointing the ball above the defender after a great leap.

Credit also has to go to Darrell Bevell for making the necessary second half adjustments to get the ball moving on offense. They found a few wrinkles to exploit as Seattle dragged their way back into the game before the defense finished things off.

A week after we saw the very best of Luke Willson, today we saw the bad version. Two big drops and a sloppy route to miss out on a key fourth down conversion. He’s a classic tease — so much potential and still so inconsistent. Perhaps year three will be his year — ala Bruce Irvin?

Arizona’s defeat in San Francisco means ten consecutive opponents lost their next game after facing the Seahawks.

Seattle will face Detroit in the Divisional round if they win in Dallas next weekend. If the Cowboys are victorious, the Seahawks meet the winner of the Arizona/Carolina game. They cannot be paired with Green Bay or Dallas in the Divisional round.

The top picks in the draft have also been confirmed. Here’s the top-14:

#1 Tampa Bay
#2 Tennessee
#3 Jacksonville
#4 Oakland
#5 Washington
#6 New York Jets
#7 Chicago
#8 Atlanta
#9 New York Giants
#10 St. Louis
#11 Minnesota
#12 Cleveland
#13 New Orleans
#14 Miami

We could easily see Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston go in the top two — although teams will have to dig deep to get a read on Winston’s character. After that there could be a rush on the top defensive prospects.

Having secured a first round bye in the NFC, Seattle cannot pick any lower than #25 overall.


  1. CC

    It wasn’t pretty – but we know that STL always plays us tough! The second half was so much better and something to build on.

    Time to get healthy and time to game plan for the next team!

    • JeffC

      Terrific win against an opponent who always play us tough. Luke willson is an enigma. I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a team push the string so hard to make a player great. Just wish he’d seize it. The nfl is a tough league. I’d hate to see this guy out of the league in a few years wondering about blown opportunities. Hopefully he uses the playoffs to start anew.

      • Pauld

        Those drops were tough balls from RW. Sure Willson has gotta catch everything but those were fast balls, high and away. He was a game changer last week and playoff teams are now gonna have to defend a TE that may outrun your safety. Patience with young Luke.

        • dean

          Two drops today were very catchable and weren’t hard at all. His mental error on 4th down was terrible too. I’m pulling for him as much as anyone but man today was tough. They might score 10+ pts if he does his job. Can’t get away with that in the playoffs.

          • KyleT

            I agree. This continues to highlight our need to find the right guy long term at that position. Which is why we were willing to trade for these type of guys mid season with unloading Harvin and may take a close look at Maxx Williams if he drops

            • CC

              And here we all thought Luke had turned the corner last week… But the good news, PRich is catching balls and making plays!

      • Ho Lee Chit

        Willson is doing just fine. RW threw the balls high and they went off his hands. Luke is 20 of 36 targets this year (55%). Richardson is 24 of 36 (66%). Only in the 2012 season when Zack Miller had a career year has a TE caught a better percentage of passes than Willson. The phenom, Kelvin Benjamin is 72 of 141(50%). It is unlikely any Seahawk WR would get the number of targets that Benjamin is seeing. I don’t need to remind everyone that Brandon Coleman has not caught a single pass. So, be happy. We have plenty of young depth in our receiving corps and they are getting better as we go along.

        • dean

          It hit him square in the facemask. How is that high? He has to play better period. I love the kid and hope he figures it out. The moment looks too big for him at times though, which scares me.

        • JeffC

          He needs to play more consistently going forward. He has that chance. Now he has to seize it. His physical attributes are clearly showing that he creates mismatches with his speed and size. He is getting open and the team is designing plays to go to him in key moments. He needs to convert not every other game or every third game. When he makes himself a goto guy every game, defensive coordinators will have to game plan for him and the whole offense will go to another level.

          And then if/when that happens, you won’t have draft blogs planning high picks for the TE position.

        • Arias

          Where are you seeing 24 of 36? I’m seeing 29 receptions on 39 targets for a 74.4 catch rate for Richardson.

      • bigDhawk

        Perhaps it’s a matter of putting him in position to do what he does best – outrun LBs up the seam – and not asking him to do what he does not do well – run crisp routes and catch timing passes.

        • JeffC

          I actually thought the past two games were perfectly called for him by Bevell. The passes were high and hard by RW, but that’s what separates the Jeremy Stevens from the Jason Whittens of the world. The Whitten’s haul those in, and we all want Luke to be that type of player.

          Also, that 4th down fail contrasted so heavily with Doug Baldwin’s awareness on his key third down conversion where Baldwin knew where the marker was and exactly how much he needed. Luke didn’t have that on his 4th down play but at least that’s easy to correct.

          • bigDhawk

            That’s speaks to my point, though. He is not Jason Witten-esque yet. During the process of him eventually becoming competent at the intermediate route-running game, let him do a lot more of what he seems to do well – getting behind the defense up the middle. That’s what Always Compete/Win Forever preaches – discover and maximize what a player does well and don’t dwell on what what he doesn’t do well. Kam was allowed to excel at just being a thumper in the middle of the defense while he eventually got better at pass coverage. The AZ game showed me we have seen way too little of Willson going straight up the middle full throttle and way too much of him trying to catch little timing passes in the flat. Perhaps he has not been optimally utilized. Moeaki and Helfet would be much better options in the flat right now.

            • JeffC

              Agreed, which is why I think the poster above saying that Luke is doing just fine is being a bit too generous. They are using him in every type of situation, key moments, critical plays. For a late round pick that he is, he is doing fine. But they are pushing him like he was a high pick. And if this continues, he needs to play like it every week, not every other week, or they’ll find a replacement at some point.

              • bigDhawk

                Good point about his origin as a late round developmental prospect now being asked to perform as a #1 TE in his sophomore season. That element has been lost in discussions about him probably because we have such a high standard for late round picks. If not for injuries to McCoy and Miller he would likely be on the bench most of the time. But as long as he is out there, let’s ask him to do more of what little he can do well right now and less of what he can’t do yet. We have other TE options right now to do the intermediate stuff and players like Gilliam to handle extra blocking.

  2. Alaska Norm

    Great win against a tough team. The type of game i excpected out if Fisher. This game showed once again the need for a big target for RW. Willson dropped two easy catches that would have been first downs. Last week was not the norm for him and i just dont think he has the hands to he a go to guy. The Rans TE, Cook, played the role Fuches could for Seattle. Big, fast, athletic guy who plays a hybrid TE/WR. I’m not sure if fuches warrants a first round grade but he seems to be the only player who has that skill set who may be available at the bottom of the first. I can’t see him lasting to the secound. Anyway, fun game and the week off can only help. Go Hawks.

    • Rob Staton

      The Devin Funchess that played Ohio State this year is a top-20 pick. The Devin Funchess who disappeared for pretty much the entire rest of the season? Not so much. Such an intriguing player physically but he screams classic underachiever.

      • Alaska Norm

        I think the under achievement was a team effort. Bad all the way around. He has the tools, we have a glaring need. If we are going to reach he seems like a player that could flourish under good coaching and mentors like Seattle has. I see this as the biggest hole on the team right now. This game showed me that again.

  3. Jeremy

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I swear I saw Will Tukuafu chasing the quarterback in the 4th quarter.

    • Rob Staton

      Yep he played DT after Hill left with the sprained knee.

      • redzone086

        Very side noted here, but have you thought about doing a peice on the changing NFC West with Harbaugh out and potentially losing Cable,Quinn, and/or Bevell? Also Gm candidates being looked at from HAWKS front office. If Bowles leaves cardinals for HC job could change the Cardinals as well.

    • Alaska Norm

      I was waiting for the announcers to mention that. Pretty versatile.

      • Amar

        Tukuafu also played on the D-line in the AZ game in the 4th Q. The week we signed him, Pete had mentioned that he’d play some D-line as well.

        • SunPathPaul

          I hope we sign him for next year! Great to have versatility like that for both sides of the ball…

  4. Cameron

    Good write up as usual Rob.

    I loved the annual torching of Janoris Jenkins via the underthrown front-shoulder throw to Richardson. That type of catch is something I’ve been skeptical of seeing out him. At this point it’s obvious this coaching staff coaches the crap out of these receivers during their red-line drills. Paul Richardson could be a real find and it was good to see him (and Norwood) step up with Kearse out.

    If Richardson can consistently make that sideline catch we’ve found our Tate replacement.

    • Ted

      Richardson has been really, really good this last month. It may not always show up on the stat sheet, but he’s been getting great separation and showing reliable hands. That high-point catch is especially encouraging since he didn’t show much of that in college. Teams have to respect his deep speed and routinely give him a 10-12 yard cushion which opens up the quick slant. I love what he’s doing right now.

    • Steen

      “redline”…otherwise known as the sideline for the history of pro football.

  5. CHawk Talker Eric

    Boy Turbo is making some sort of statement late in the season. Is it me or has he found a whole new gear? I don’t remember him being as fast as he looked today.

    If the key to Lynch returning next year is his health, then Turbo is giving the coaching staff a way to give him as good a chance as possible to do that. Despite not scoring in the first half (thank you turnovers), the offense moved the ball effectively with Turbo in the backfield. At the very least, he’s making that position less of a need.

    If Lynch is gone, and Seattle decides to draft his replacement early, I would not be thrilled with Melvin Gordon. He’s an excellent athlete, but he just doesn’t excite me for some indescribable reason. Gurley on the other hand, I think he is worth an R1 pick.

    I’m not saying he’s the second coming, but the last time I saw a RB in a Bulldog uniform who was that dominating at the position was 30 years ago, and his name was Herschel Walker.

    • HOUSE

      He hasn’t gotten much burn. Now that he is playing reps, he’s getting in a groove and with talks about Lynch not being around in ’15, he isn’t going to give the job to Michael (while talented, I prefer Turbin).

      I completely agree that keeping Lynch fresh and letting him know he isn’t going to take an ass-whooping every week could keep him around another year.

      Gurley would be my option @ RB in the 1st rd as well. While rehabbing the knee, he’ll get to learn the system, soak in the professional vibe and grow.

    • john_s

      I don’t know if there’s an extra gear, but he’s definitely breaking more tackles. He’s running what his frame suggests. It’s really nice to see because I didn’t think he had it in him.

      • SunPathPaul

        Between his improving running, his catching option is becoming very powerful for us…

        GO Turbo!

  6. neil

    It is apparent Jef Fisher has figured out how to contain RW. I expect to see more of the same from the Cowboys and or Packers.

    • Cameron

      STL front four >>>>>> GB or Dallas front four.

      Jeff Fisher might have a better game plan then most when it comes to RW, but you got to have the athletes to pull it off.

      • CC

        Agreed – STL D line is one of the best top to bottom! They are long and fast and play well against our line. None of the teams left have that quality D line. They are also well coached. AZ and CAR have good defenses as well, but they don’t have the same speed as STL.

        • neil

          If the rams ine is that good, How did they let Eli Manning ( who can,t get out of his own way ) put up 37 points? The answer is they have a adaquate pass blocking line. You don,t have to be great on the d line to get in to the Hawks backfield on passing downs.

  7. dean

    GB and Dallas have zero chance of containing Wilson like the Rams did. They just lack the talent to do it.

  8. nolan

    I hope st Louis never figures out the Qb spot that team is scary. Who do you want to see round one Lions,cardinals, or Panthers? I like either Panthers or lions I don’t want to play AZ a third time

    • CC

      Agree with you – if they had a decent QB – not poor oft injured Bradford, they could make a run.

    • bigDhawk

      AZ all the way for me, though they won’t get past the WC round. They have no QB and would probably be better off running wildcat on every play. The Lions have legit offensive weapons and a semblance of a defense while Carolina is suddenly and somewhat inexplicably playing some really solid ball.

  9. Ed

    I continue to be baffled by DB, but will move on. PC has got me a little worried too. Last week with all the bad choices to go for 50+ fg and this week going for it. We have the best D in the league and he keeps chasing points and giving good field position that leads to points. He better know what he has, because if we continue to that against Dallas/Detroit/GB, they might score TD instead of FG and put our offense behind the eight ball.

    Rest up and bring it in 2 weeks against I hope either CAR or ARZ.

    Go Hawks

    • Arias

      Don’t really understand why you’d have a problem with him going for it. What else could he have done?

      • Ed

        Punted and pinned them deep. Then we hold and they punt and we have good field position

        • JeffC

          I wanted him to punt as well but I’m guessing that PC had so much confidence in his defense at that point that he felt St Louis wasn’t going to do anything with the field position.

  10. mrpeapants

    good game. betty luke has got to be the most frustrating player to watch. idk if 2 good games a year is worth it, but hopefully he improves.
    earls play on the goal line was special. never give up.
    hill is a monster! could not believe that pick today. hope hes ok.
    bruce continues to impress. he is making plays every game.

    . If you don’t like the way this O-line is set up, you simply don’t like the way Seattle plays offensive football

    great to have #1 seed again hard not to see us goin back to the sb. go hawks

  11. Donald

    Luke needs to catch with his eyes as well as his hands to become a jedi. I hope he spends these next two weeks working with Jedi Master DangeRuss catching fastballs with his hands to become the great jedi TE that we see in him.

    Really, each day after practice Russ should throw high fastballs to Luke to work on hand and eye coordination. May the Force be with you young Luke.

  12. Donald

    Regarding the draft……

    The Hawks have good receivers and are underated, but they could use a big, go-to receiver to get up and get the tough high catches. He would also take a lot of attention off of the other receivers so they could excel.

    There are 3 receivers that fit this profile, two or all three wil probably be gone by the time Seattle is up. I say given Seattle abundance of draft picks next year, they should do what they can and move up to mid 1st rd and take one of these impact players.

    In no particular order:

    1) Devante parker (probably gone in top 15)
    2) Kevin White (Prbably gone in top 20)
    3) Devin Funchess (Late 1st Rd)

    4) Todd Gurley
    If RB Gurley is available, it would be tempting to take him instead. Hawks need to trade what they can to take both Gurley and a WR.

    They are pretty well set on depth everywhere else except OL and TE.

    If you had to pick one, which is the best for the Hawks?

    • rowdy

      Parker, white and Gurley in that order as of now. Gurleys medical situation could push him up come draft time. I would put gorden up there to, not a lynch or Gurley breaking tackle type but not a push over either.

    • KyleT

      Tony Lippet in the 2nd or 3rd is another option at possession receiver

    • john_s

      Duke Williams – Auburn would be my choice if he enters the draft.

      Maxx Williams to be the eventual replacement for Zach Miller

      Otherwise, I would go with some middle round WR’s like Lippett, Kenny Bell or Vince Mayle

      I would actually like the Seahawks to go after Kenny Britt. He’s had a bounce back year and he hasn’t had any off the field issues so far.

      I don’t think the Cardinals will be able to carry Larry Fitzgerald’s $22mil cap hit. If he gets released thats another guy I would love see on the team.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        I believe Williams already has committed to return to Auburn next year.

    • Rob Staton

      Gurley if you feel comfortable with the knee.

      If not, Kevin White is a nice player. Funchess has the size Seattle desperately needs but he just underwhelms so much.

  13. Ed

    Norwood and PRich can play. JHill has stepped up. We get Marsh back (rusher).

    Just talking draft (biggest needs)

    1. TE (all around would be nice, but if one or other, need a big pass catching stud)
    2. OL (Okung/Unger always hurt and Carpenter will be gone)
    3. OL (repeat 2)
    4. DT (inside rusher to rotate

    • rowdy

      Disagree on carpenter, if he’s cheap enough, he stays.

    • bigDhawk

      I don’t care if Pete thinks he’s too fat, I like what I’ve seen of Bailey at LT more than anything I’ve seen of Okung, not even considering cap numbers.

      • SunPathPaul

        Seems feasible bigDhawk… Okung is a nice guy, but has too many missed games for his money! We could use that to keep Byron Maxwell!!! I’d rather have B.Max and Bailey/rookie playing Left Tackle…

        Maxwell is good, do we trust Simon???

  14. Trenchtown

    I know it wasn’t meant as a shot at him, but Clinton McDonald had a very credible year in Tampa, the rest of the team not withstanding. 5 sacks and even an interception of his own. The Seahawks front office is great at identifying defensive line talent.

  15. Nathan

    I thought Luke Wilsons effort on that 4th and 5 catch was a little disappointing.

    He just sort of submitted to the tackle, and then, when he realised he was short, try to reach the ball forward when it was too late.

    I thought he could have fought a bit harder while on his feet.

    2 steps and he had a first down.

    • Nathan

      Just re watch in case I was being harsh, I don’t think I was. He had a real chance to drive his shoulder at the LB before he arrived there, but just stood and took the hit.

      • Alaska Norm

        You’re very right… mt mind he’s the most frustrating player on the team. I want to like the guy and the he misses two catchable passes and flops the play you brought up.

    • john_s

      I agree, he had the chance to stretch the ball for a first down. The ball that went through his hands down in the redzone, he needs to catch those. His hands need serious work.

      • EranUngar

        Both are the same problem. Luke is fast and can catch the soft balls perfectly. That’s what he had to do in ARI and did it perfectly.

        He has a problem catching and securing the Laser passes and a problem securing the ball when he is hit during the catch.

        The missed catch was just that, a laser pass burning between his hands. The lack of effort to get the 1st. down was actually the concentration on securing the ball as he was being tackled rather then looking for the 1st. down.

        If he works in the off season on catching and securing the fast balls he could improve it all. I hope he does. Tate and Kearse became valuable in their 3rd year. Why not luke?

        • Alaska Norm

          You’re right about maybe taking a extra year to grow as a player. A big pass catcher is such a big need he just stands out as a weak link. Frustrating to watch dropped passes and third down catches getting stuffed short. I can’t help but think how a big target the RW trusts would improve the offence.

  16. jeremy

    I’ve been reading this blog for many years and really appreciate the insights. It’s a must read blog for me. Rob has hit on some talent well before the national pundits. Last year, I remember Mike Evans and Aaron Donald. A couple years ago, it was Sheldon Richardson. However, I’ve seen the consensus to give up on players too soon. Max Unger, Golden Tate, Bruce Irvin, Jordan Hill, Paul Richardson, “the Seahawks can’t draft d-line talent (see Hill and Jaye Howard, who is in rotation for the chiefs). The moral of the story: this organization is special from top to bottom and they will continue to turn over every stone and leaf to find special athletes with unique traits and competitive fire in their bones. They clearly want a big wr but will let the draft come to them based on their draft board. If they can’t find one in the draft, they will find one giving tours in tibet.

    • JeffC

      I’m coming around to this way of thinking as well, which is why I’m not so sure they’re necessarily going to target a red zone threat anymore. No clue where they will go in this year’s draft (actually I don’t care yet, just want that second super bowl).

      BTW, there was a great article on ESPN about seattle possibly taking it’s place among all time great teams if we win the super bowl this year. The article had a great chart on it and it had the Stealers 2005 team numerically listed as one of the best teams in history. Puts some perspective that perhaps we were facing an incredibly good (even historic) opponent that wasn’t just all about the officials screwing us over.

  17. Dumbquestions

    Good win, not as close as it looked. Cautionary note – the season-saving 6-game winning streak, the finishing kick and the gaudy defensive stats came against the following 6 QBs:

    Drew Stanton
    Mark Sanchez
    Ryan Lindley
    Shaun Hill

    Compare to possible QBs ahead (assuming Arizona loses):

    Newton (likely) or Stafford (unlikely)
    Romo (possible) or Rodgers (probable)
    Brady (inevitable)

    Dallas feels like the most annoying and dangerous matchup. Their offense is elite, and they could beat Green Bay at Lambeau – but I just don’t believe they can beat the Hawks again in Seattle.

    • Dumbquestions

      P.S. – Beast leads the league in TDs – feels like an overlooked stat.

    • Alaska Norm

      Can’t ignore the wins against Rodgers and Manning…. Feels like a long time asago. In a strange way Detroit scares me. Defense is a lot like the Rams with a super talented line. And the have a offence with weapons that match up pretty good with our DBs. I feel that a second shot at Dallas would be my choice if I were picking. I Have a feeling Pete would have a cure for the 3rd and 25 this time.

    • Ukhawk

      Totally agree

      • peter

        I sort of get the list but the cardinals “were just getting it done”, said every media pundit ever prior to facing the Seahawks in the divisional showdowns…and Kaepernick…so last year its a miraculous pick six to scrape by the mighty miners but this year its “meh, the niners?” again I get where people are going with this….but here’s my counter..

        • peter

          I don’t see a lot of hand wringing from fans and pundits about how the AFC north feasted on the AFC and NFC south to get three teams into the playoffs, or how golden boy Luck yet again gets 6 of his 11 wins against possibly the least competitive division..his own..

          point is from my perspective every team has to have a bit of fortune and a soft spot in the schedule to make it to the dance…ours was brutal defenses without qbs…some are their own division…patriots I’m looking at you (again)..(for millionth year)

          • Coug1990

            This is so true. You look at all teams with winning records and you can pick apart their schedule.

            • JeffC

              And before the last 6 games everyone said it was the toughest in the NFL and we’d be lucky to go 4-2.

              • Alaska Norm

                Great point.

          • JeffC

            I will say when we faced the niners the first time they were 7-4 and all the niner fans where I work were crowing about how no one wanted to face them and they were poised to make an sb run, the harbaugh rumors were false, Borland was as good as Willis, etc…then we humiliate them and their season unraveled.

            We face the Cards who had the best record in the NFL and they had all this confidence no matter who their qb was…and we beat them to hell and their season, while not unraveling, has slipped out of their hands.

            When we go to Philly the word was they didn’t need a great qb to score on anyone, and after facing us their season totally collapsed.

            We just beat the Rams and they were “the best most feared team in the NFL” only a few weeks ago.

            This defense to me most closely resembles an “upgraded” niner defense that Bill Walsh created with all those great secondary players and unknown excellent front seven players. Who remembers Kevin Fagan, Piece Holt, and dudes like that? But they were a tough defense that beat people up in their day.

  18. KyleT

    I have been assuming that we don’t resign Irvin, but this season and especially the 2nd half has had me rethinking this. In my salary cap model I maintain we are likely going to have to choose between Irvin, a DT and paying a LT (Okung). As we look at the possibility of moving on from Okung after 2015, we will need to draft a competent tackle this year. Sadly we didn’t get this done last year and took a guy who is a RT/LG type vs a RT/LT possibility. I think the guy exists in the 2015 draft because there is no top end OT talent save maybe Peat and Stanley. Guys like Clemmings, Fisher, Sambrailo may be available at the end if the first, beginning of the 2nd

    • bigDhawk

      I would replace Okung with Bailey at LT in a heartbeat to retain Irvin. At the very least we can say about Bailey he is no worse than the perpetually injured version of Okung, which is all we’ve ever really known, and less than 1/10th the cost.

      • KyleT

        That’s a fine idea, but that’s not typically how the Seahawks operate. They will bring in someone to compete before handing a guy the job just because he was next in line. I would not be surprised at all with all the focus on re-signing and keeping this historic defensive unit, that we don’t invest more top picks into the offense, to keep that unit viable and cheap.

        I would not be surprised at all to see our first pick go OT after a trade back, especially if the skill position playmakers on our board are not available.

        • bigDhawk

          Sure, draft another tackle to compete with Bailey.(Remember we also have Garrett Scott in our back pocket to compete at OT if he gets his heart condition cleared.) That unit needs more competition. The point is replacing Okung with a much, much cheaper player that at the very least will not be any kind of a drop-off from the forever-hobbled Okung we are currently paying elite LT $$$ for. If we are looking for places to trim cost to apply toward Irvin/Wagz, Okung is my first target.

      • JeffC

        As much as I criticized Irvin’s so so play in the early part of the season, since he has emerged, I can’t see them not keeping him. Since he entered the NFL as an “old” rookie, he’s really entering his peak years now. I think he gets a second contract from seattle and will get locked up thru his peak years, much like a baseball team tries to lock up a star pitcher thru their age 27 – 31 seasons.

        He’s learned his position, and now can play two positions for this team. It might even mitigate the necessity of finding a full time Leo since you can rotate Bennett and Avril with Irvin there as well. Too valuable to let go.

        • bigDhawk

          Good point about getting two positions for the price of one in Irvin. Maybe we can help fill our TE void by also double dipping with Marsh as a sort of mini-Watt in 2015.

          • JeffC

            There’s a debate on sportstalk radio right now that this defense might be better than last year’s team. How could it be without Clemons, Mebane, Red, and McDonald? Jordan Hill has taken off, replacing McDonald’s production, but maybe it’s because of Bruce Irvin emerging after what, around game 6 this year?

            If he truly is at the level of Aldon Smith, Von Miller, and other playmakers, that is scary.

            Can’t see them not giving him that second contract if they spent all that time to develop him.

            • Nathan

              Avril can be released after 2 years for relatively little cap pain.

              They can take up Irvins 5th year which takes them to the end of 2016.

              Perhaps the plan is to re sign Irvin with that money if Avril is not still performing.

  19. Volume 12

    Great win! I love the fact that this team is the #1 seed again, especially after what was going on earlier in the year. One of the better coaching jobs I think I’ve ever seen and it isn’t just because I’m a homer. Rob said it, they’re united, playing for one another, and back to ‘Seahawks football.’ Could not be more excited for P-Rich. Seattle’s got a good one in him. Nice to see Norwood come up big when we needed him.

    Jordan Hill’s pick had to be one of the most athletic interceptions I’ve seen a DT make. You said it Rob, that forced fumble by Earl Thomas at the goalline was not only bigger than any INT he could of had, but definitely one of the play’s of the year, regardless if it gets mentioned as one or not. Bruce Irvin has essentially become our version of Von Miller, Terrell Suggs, Justin Houston, or Aldon Smith. HAVE to re-sign Irvin for the long term.

    ‘If you don’t like the way this O-line is set up, you simply don’t like they way Seattle plays offense.’ Love this quote Rob, because it’s so true. You have to sacrifice talent somewhere on the football field, not every position group can be perfect, I will say though, that Seattle does need some depth on the O-line and Carpenter to my eye, just isn’t getting it done. Nor does there seem to be any potential or upside in him.

    Where was the need for a big WR yesterday? If anything, It seemed like there was a need for a TE, not a big WR. There just doesn’t seem to be that big WR there this year. Grabbing one in the mid rounds is essentially giving us what P-Rich and Norwood have gave us, which may be the best route. I know the TE class is weak this year, but there are good ones, and grabbing one in say, the 3rd round IMO is a much bigger need and helps out RW and our running game. Yes, Luke Wilson is frustrating and inconsistent, but he’s too uniquely talented to give up on. Next year, being his 3rd year, could be make or break for him, but I have a feeling Luke Wilson is going to be special. Let’s add a younger more athletic version of TE Zach Miller to pair with Luke.

    Call me crazy, or the only one that thinks so, but there seemed to a bigger need in yesterday’s game for that smaller, shifter WR. Seattle seems to be implementing a lot more of the quick hitting, screen game and we miss that type of guy who can also return kicks and punts. I look at it as upgrading WR Bryan Walters spot. Getting that Tavon Austin, D’Anthony Thomas, Julian Edelman type guy is what appear’s to be a hole. Ho Lee summed it up perfectly yesterday, that ‘see ya speed.’

    And again, I’ll keep banging the table for it, but man does Seattle need 1 more interior rusher or what? Why else did they sign DL David King or be playing a FB there? I know Tukuafu is versatile, but that seems to be a position of glaring need. Arizona St DT Marcus Hardison remains my sleeper or steal pick of this year’s draft. Love that kid! (for anyone interested I gave a little bit of a bio on him in Rob’s last post)

    Here’s to hoping that KJ and Hill aren’t out any extended period of time. Unger, Kearse, Simon, KJ, and Hill getting healthy will be of the utmost importance and I’m praying they all get to play in 2 weeks time. GO HAWKS!

    • KyleT

      It would be great to draft Preston Smith as the versatile interior rusher potentially backing up J.Hill, Bennet, etc. I would also like to see us get Dan Williams in FA this off-season as a younger Mebane to replace K.Williams. imagine next year having Dan Williams and Mebane next to each other in base early downs?

      I have a feeling the division will be easier next year with most teams being in salary hell and I’m not seeing a solution to the divisions quarterback woes either.

    • mrpeapants

      If you don’t like the way this O-line is set up, you simply don’t like they way Seattle plays offense.’ Love this quote Rob, because it’s so true. You have to sacrifice talent somewhere on the football field, not every position group can be perfect, I will say though, that Seattle does need some depth on the O-line and Carpenter to my eye, just isn’t getting it done. Nor does there seem to be any potential or upside in him.

      so you agree, but we need to upgrade?

      • Volume 12

        Nope. They need depth. Never mentioned an upgrade. Just because in IMO Carpenter at times struggles doesn’t mean Seattle’s FO think so.

  20. EranUngar

    It’s time for my weekly post saying the same again.

    We do not need a top round WR. We will not pick a WR before the 4th round unless his C.J. We have the talent at WR and we’ll keep developing them. (And yes, PRich can high point the ball…)

    We need DL help because we will not be getting any at FA with our future CAP space. We need homegrown pass rushers. We need to boost the FRAGILE OL and prepare for Carp ending his contract this year and Okung + Sweezy (and Mebane) next year. By the time we add RW, Wags and Irvin to the current high paid contracts we’ll be on veteran minimum and rookie diet for 2-3 years.

    This draft class may prove the most critical for any dynasty dreams we may harbor. We need top round talent for the future of the DL/OL and we need to keep finding mid round gems for the LB/DB ranks.

    • KyleT

      I’m hoping we can get a guy like Dan Williams in FA, since the Cardinals will be in salary hell, his cost should be manageable since he is basically just a run stuffer.

      • EranUngar

        Yes, veteran run stuffers seem to be the only comodity we can get every year for a reasonable price. See McDaniel and K. Williams.

        Pass rushers are a different story. No more Avril+Bennett for us. We’ll need to use the gems we have and draft the rest.

        • cha

          They found a low-cost pass rusher by jumping on Schofield when the Giants “failed his physical” (ahem).

          There’s some low-cost talent on the roster currently, with Irvin, Hill and I’d like to see Kevin P-L’s speed utilized in selected packages. They also have Marsh although it would’ve been really nice to get more of a look at him this year.

          Avril and Bennett will be around to anchor things. So you just need to add some complementary pieces.

          That said you can never have enough pass rushers. I’m cautiously optimistic in the FO’s ability to get and develop more talent there. Curious to see how roster castoffs Mayowa and Jeffcoat do on their teams next year. They both had a small amount of potential flashes for their teams in 2014.

  21. Ho Lee Chit

    I am not overly impressed with Maxx Williams or Funchess. What we are missing is Zack Miller, a guy that can block inline. Nick O’Leary seems to fit the part a little better. He goes 6-3, 250. On his only tape against Notre Dame. at the 2:17 mark he blocks a LB at the second level. He takes the kid 10 yards backwards and then pancakes him. We need a little more of that. He looks small but fast on tape. I had to check to make sure he isn’t about 230. I would like to see more of him, especially, catching the ball. He did have 47 receptions in his senior year for 614 yards and won 1st team All American. Still, I would not use a first round pick on him. I might bite in the second or third round.

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