Preview: Seahawks @ Bengals

— It would be difficult to run the ball against Cincinnati even with Marshawn Lynch. Despite Seattle’s recent issues in pass protection, their run blocking is likely to suffer most against the Bengals. Cincy doesn’t have much speed at linebacker but they’re a physical, pounding trio that fill gaps and attack the line of scrimmage. The Bengals are likely to challenge Seattle to beat them in the air, selling out to stop the run. It worked for the Rams. The Seahawks are going to have to find a way to make it happen in the passing game. It could be a long day for Thomas Rawls and the RB’s.

— The Lions schemed a pass rush that was highly effective on Monday Night Football. Teryl Austin deserves an opportunity to be a Head Coach in 2016 on this evidence. Seattle’s inexperienced line were constantly kept guessing with a variety of stunts and blitzes. It was a masterclass by the Lions coordinator — and not necessarily a talent factor. Cincinnati has Geno Atkins and co but Seattle might actually match-up better against this unit if they go 1v1 — just as they did against the Packers on the road. Don’t be shocked if the Seahawks have some tough sledding in the run game but actually give Russell Wilson a bit more time this week. He’ll need it.

— Luke Willson could be a factor. The last time Seattle faced an opponent with linebackers like this (Arizona) he dominated the seam and made chunk plays. While Jimmy Graham has the potential to dominate with size and positioning, Willson is more nimble and might be a match-up the conservative Russell Wilson prefers. Having said that, with Lynch absent again the Seahawks are going to have to lean on other playmakers to pick up the slack. Wilson did his best job against Detroit — but he needs help. And that could mean featuring Graham a lot more this time as the kind of safety net they’ve struggled to establish so far.

— The Bengals have been terrific on offense so far. Their first two drives against Kansas City were like a hot knife through butter. Andy Dalton marched them down the field for two scores. On one bad snap he collected the ball, composed himself and threw a difficult fade downfield to A.J. Green. It was a fantastic play. Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard had some huge lanes to run into and the Chiefs did a bad job sealing the edge. Marcus Peters was run over by Hill on one score — and the linebackers were getting washed out too easily. The Seahawks are bigger and more experienced in the back seven and should do a better job here. Even so, this is an offense peaking early and looking very strong.

— The key to making Andy Dalton look like 2011-2014 Andy Dalton is pressure. So far the Cincy O-line has played very well and kept their QB clean. The Seahawks don’t have to sack Dalton — just get into his grill and impact plays. History shows that Dalton will make mistakes in that environment. If they can’t get pressure there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue his fine start to 2015. A.J. Green will make plays however good Seattle’s secondary is and Tyler Eifert is difficult to cover. Mo Sanu could also benefit. Cincy is pretty creative with its backs and gets them in position to make plays in the passing game. If they’re smart they’ll call L.O.B.-kryptonite (the TE wheel route) and some similar concepts for the RB’s.

— In terms of a prediction, I can see one of two things. Cincy comes out fast and establishes an early lead before Seattle drags themselves back into (as per). Either that or a tight, edgy contest before a big play or two breaks it open. However, I do think the Seahawks are going to have to come from behind if they’re to win.

— A final thought — the defense is probably going to have to shoulder most of the workload to have any chance to win this game. The Bengals defense is really tough but possibly a little overrated (especially in the secondary). The offense, however, is scary good in 2015 with X-factor players in key positions that’ll really test Seattle. Even if Wilson faces a lot of pressure and they struggle to run the ball — there will be points to be had in the passing game. At least enough to keep it a contest. The key is limiting the damage on the other side against a fearsome offense. In their two road games so far they’ve given up 34 and 27 points to the Rams and Packers. A similar tally wouldn’t be a surprise, even with Kam Chancellor back in the line-up. The 24 points given up in Kansas City last year is perhaps a fair estimate and wouldn’t be a bad effort against this offense. It’d be up to Wilson and the Seahawks to keep up.


  1. Adog

    I can see the Seahawks using a sort of designed chaos in the passing game to do some would sort of be an extension of what we saw last week…not that it was designed. It’s almost like screen pass that goes twenty yards down the field. I think that Seattle has developed receivers who recognize the impulse to break off their route and head for open space. Graham is a bit baffled by these plays I think…I have not seen him stop in a go route and adjust his route to the scramble. Nonetheless I expect Wilson and co to have success with this type of play against a aggressive defense that does not like to defend sideways. We could also get the conservative hit your head against the wall traditional let the defense win offense. If so we lose.

    • franks

      I’m a bit skeptical of bevel designing anything but this matchup looks like as good a time as any.

      I think the defense will shoulder the burden this week A Dog but you hit the nail on the head for me with the “head on the wall” offense-for-defense offense. Please no more of that.

      Having flashbacks as I type this to last week’s long Detroit fg, you know the one where we ran it up the middle beforehand on second and goal from the 20, and the lions knew we were passing the next down because it was third and 20 … So I think the key this week is not to have any outrageously bad ideas like this. I think bevel should try to call a run when they might expect a pass, or even a pass when they might expect a run, in which case he could experiment by putting someone in the backfield, even if he didn’t get the ball…Then, every now and then on the tail end of a long streak of unconverted third downs, think long and hard do we have anyone in the receiving corp who’d be good for this situations, and are there any obvious ways to get him the ball that still might work. Then we could give that a try.

      • franks

        And when I say a run when they might expect a pass, in case you’re reading this bevel, I don’t mean on seeing and goal from the twenty.

  2. smitty1547

    We have a streak of 69 games where we have not lost by more than 10 (last time was in Cincy) I look for that streak to end this week. As painful for it is for me to say it. If anyone out there plays Fanduel or draft King I would look to start Cincy D as they might just kill Wilson.

    If we don’t have at least 10 passes to Graham and several to Wilson Beavell should go! He should really go anyways.

    • Rob Staton

      Cincy D overrated IMO. Not much speed in the unit.

  3. Tien

    My concerns are that unless we get a decent running game, to limit the 2nd & 3rd and longs, I don’t see how we move the ball against this offense. I’m not saying that the Bengals’ D is impenetrable but our OL played so horrible last week in both running and pass blocking that it’s going to be difficult for Wilson to make many plays if they just shut down our running game, blitz Wilson, and dare us to be them through the air.

    Our D is playing better every week but I agree, Rob, if we don’t get pressure on Dalton and force him into mistakes, it’ll be a long game.

    Go Hawks and I really hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised on Sunday!

  4. Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

    I think our defense is going to shut down Dalton and make him look average again. Russell is going to be on it this week and Graham will get two touchdowns and one fake goal post dunk to go with a slam the ball into the ground and look at my muscles celebration. Tyler Lockett will also get a punt return td. You just got to believe and that’s what makes these Seahawks teams of late so fun for us fans!

    Go Team

    • arias

      We’ve only got three healthy cornerbacks and no slot CB with Burley out. It could get ugly if Dalton exploits Shead who will be relied on to cover the slot. Sanu could take him to the cleaners.

      • Rob Staton

        Sanu not quick-twitch though. Sanu & Sheard appear well matched physically.

        • arias

          Looks like they rotate all their guys through the slot including their running backs. They could stick Green there and force Sherman to cover the slot, which he did against the Rams. I’m looking forward to see how Richard schemes the slot weakness this week.

          • CHawk Talker Eric

            Not worried about that. Slot WR is an extremely difficult position to play well if you’re not a slot WR. You can be quick, you can have good hands. But unless you run the slot routes every day in practice, against an aggressive D, you’re going to get lost in the traffic and confusion, rendering you either a nullity at the position, or worse, a liability.

  5. Trevor

    I viewed this as the toughest game on our schedule even before the season started.

    An early East Coat game on a short week against a quality opponent. That is nver a good combination. Throw in the fact that the Cincy offense is on a roll and our OL is a mess and it just does not look good.

    I am actually glad they are giving Lynch another week because I think it is going to be a long day for Rawls.

    Our only shot is making Dalton uncomfortable and if he makes a mistake early he has a tendency to let things snowball. If we do that and win the turnover battle, make a couple of splash special teams plays then we have a shot. Maybe 21-17 or something like that with at least one defensive or special teams TD.

    For me the 2 key match ups in this game are 1) our DL vs thier OL (we have to get pressure) if Dalton gets time Eifert and the RBs along with Green with pick us apart. 2)Our TEs against the Cincy LBs- the LBs for Cincy have played really well against the run but are slow. We need at least 10-12 catches out of our TEs and a couple of TDs to have any chance.

    If not I am thinking 27-17 Bengals unfortunately. They are the class of the AFC Central this year.

    • nichansen01

      First game in awhile where all the fans doubt the seahawks like this… I say we win and Wilson passes for a career high 400 something yards with big days for Graham, Willson, Kearse, Baldwin and Lockett, even if we struggle running the ball. , one of Williams, Sherman, Chancellor and Thimas Finally get a pick or even a pick six, the streak of having interceptionless games (when we hap two INTS in each post season game last season) ends, AND we are able to capitalize and Jeremy Hills fumbling problem. Wilson finally takes advantage of the turnovers and punishes the Bungals Linebackers with short catch and run passes to Willson and Graham. Wilson is able to pick up meaningful rush yards early on, opening lanes for Rawls. Wilson focuses on getting the ball out fast and passes alot, and lets Jimmy Graham do his thing in the red zone. Wilson finishes the day with three passing tds, two to Graham and one to Willson, and Grahams breaks 100 yards in the seattle offense for the first time. Wilson runs one in and seattle gets its first rushing td of the season, williams gets a pick six and huaschka kicks two field goals as the hawks cruise to 41-

      • nichansen01

        41-17, completely flustering Andy Dalton and shocking the entire nfl.

        • nichansen01

          Call me crazy, but I predict a score of 41-17 for this game

          • Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

            He’ll Yeah! nichansen01 I Love it positive thinking conquers all negative thoughts. I feel it to! Hawks are going to give it to them!

            • Steele

              This is a bizarro universe situation: I am fearing for the Hawks. Against the Bungles. The Bungles?

  6. Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

    Over analysing is fun to read and get a insight for what other people’s interpretation are of how they view team to team scenarios. I have this feeling that were going to kick ass myself. Were on game 5 now and I’m sure things will start to come together. Word up my fellow Hawks crew!

  7. CharlietheUnicorn

    This was one game I circled on the calendar as a loss. No matter who was playing or injured. Now, I’m not as confident. Everything says, the Bengals should win this game.. and when you catch yourself thinking this way, the Seahawks slap you in the face with an outstanding defense and vastly improved special teams.

    They are underdogs and disrespected….. I heard some crazy stat on the radio, they are 17-4 in this set-up…. since PC arrived into town. Everything says Bengals…… but maybe a little magic happens Sunday.

    • Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

      Charlie! You’re awesome man and one of my favorites to read. I always think of the movie “Legend” when I read your name. Its a Ridley Scott movie from the 80’s and it’s Damn good. You bring up a grand point our team is persaverant and it really doesn’t matter what you think might happen with matchup because for the most part Russell and crew find a way to win. As a Hawks fan I can’t see it any other way. Our Team is very special indeed! The worst part of east coast games is I have to start drinking at 10:00 a.m. and some people just don’t understand. Ha haha ha Ha

  8. Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

    I just read a thingy on bleachers report that Mitch Morse is ranked 3rd out of all centers this young year. Damn if only, and Rob you were all about him to.

    • Steele

      Morse, Sambrailo, etc. Coulda been.

      • Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

        Your awesome as well Steele!

        • Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

          ‘You’re awesome as well’. Not your. Damnit me Mum’s an English teacher I hope she’s not on this blog not that she would know who I am.

      • CHawk Talker Eric

        Sambrailo’s been injured for the last couple of weeks, and he was struggling a little bit before then.

        Morse has been rock solid.

        • Steele

          Sambrailo has proven to be worthy of a start in front of Pey. That alone is an endorsement. I think he will be a solid pro.

          Morse would have been such a good Seahawk. Dammit.

  9. Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

    I Love you Guys!

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Right back at you Thy Hawk!

  10. CHawk Talker Eric

    No disrespect to a very good Bengals team, but I was more worried about SEA playing in CAR last year than I am about this game.

    CAR had more depth along the DL and vastly superior LBs. Their offense wasn’t as high octane, but any offense with Newton, Benjamin, Olsen and a decent RB (Johnathan Stewart) packs a punch.

    More importantly, SEA were in a far worse position in their season, coming off 2 straight losses – a demoralizing home loss to DAL followed by a gut wrenching road loss to STL by 2 points.

    They were without BWagz, Maxi and JHill. Unger was also out. And I think they were ranked at or near the bottom of the League for ST. And they still gutted out a 13-6 win.

    SEA has given up 1 FG in their last 8 quarters. Sure, nobody will confuse CHI’s offense with CIN’s, but DET isn’t without star offensive power – a couple of X-factor players in key positions, 2 of which almost made the play to win the game – Stafford to Megatron for a would-be-but-wasn’t TD.

    CIN has played some fairly pedestrian defenses so far: @OAK (ranked 29th in total team defense per ESPN) – won by 20pts; SD (team D ranked 15th) – won by 5pts; @BAL (13th in team D) – won by 4pts; KC (27th team D) – won by 15pts. Clearly, against “better” defenses – in this case BAL and SD, CIN put up about 12 less points than they did against poorer ones. For comparison, SEA ranks 4th in total team D.

    Dalton and Co haven’t seen a defense like SEA’s this year. Not even close.

    Conversely, I agree with Rob that CIN’s defense is overrated. ESPN ranks them 19th.

    • nichansen01

      Yeah the best part about this game is that a win wouldreassert dominance in the nfl and afterwards we have three easy games (Carolina at home, undefeated and coming off a bye but wothout any talent at wide receiver, an offense the d has shut down multiple meetings this time without benjamin, DUMPSTER FIRE 49ers on the road, Weeden Dezless Dunbarless cowboys) meaning that we could be sitting pretty at 7-2 going into the bye, I have faith in this defense to shut down andy dalton no matter how good hes looked in the past few games. I have faith that Wilson can overcome a bad o line like he has done many times before and pick apart the bengals linebackers with willson and graham. I have faith that rawls will take full advantage of any blocking the oline is able to pull off and give russel soce to make plays with his legs. Cincy hasnt faced a scrambling quarterback yet and is about to be exposed. Go Hawks!

      • Steele

        Carolina always plays the Hawks tough. They are undefeated this season for a reason. The Niners may be garbage this season, but it is unwise to write them off. Their defense is capable of being very good.

        • CHawk Talker Eric

          Yeah, I wouldn’t label a game vs CAR as easy, even at the CLink.

          • nichansen01

            On the road it will always be a tough game. At home, I can’t see Newton getting it done if Wilson throws an interception-less game.

        • CharlietheUnicorn

          *sits out drink* Carolina is going to be a very tough game. I have no delusions of rolling them at home or on the road. Seattle needs to get the RBs on the field and get to work pounding teams. Get back to Seahawk football.

    • Rob Staton

      Great post.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      PFF: Seattle’s Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are currently the 1st and 2nd most productive pass rushers respectively among defensive ends.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      @SeattleJ213: Bengals: 19th in total defense. 22nd in special teams. 26th in pass defense. strength: explosive passing game. seattle eliminates that

  11. Steele

    The bad news is that the Hawks will go into this game hobbled. Lynch is probably out, but worse, Simon and Burley as well. Shead and/or Terrell will have to play slot? Or will they put Sherman in there again.

    The lack of a true slot, and the lack of depth at nickel in general is troublesome.

    • Volume12

      Their looking for one too. Looks like Simon may be moved to IR. Has a toe that keeps dislocating. Not that he’s a true nickel back.

      They worked out CBs Chimdi Chekwa, Marc Anthony, Brandon McGee, Crezdon Butler, Trovon Reed, and Robert McClain.

      Keep an eye on that Miami vs Florida St game tommorow night. There’s a whole host of intriguing defensive backs, ecspecially for Miami.

      • Volume12

        Miami CB Artie Burns-6’0, 185 lbs., has a real Tyler Lockett like character and work ethic going for him. While raw, he’s a speed freak, has that ivercoming adverisity back box checked, the arm length, and IMO will be very SPARQy.

    • nichansen01

      Yes, the lack of a slot cornerback is troubling. I hope they keep Sherman outside and have shead man the slot.

      • Steele

        Cincy will obviously attempt a lot of dink-dunk and crossing routes.

        • nichansen01

          Which in a way could be better than them racking up explosive plays… Patriots attemtpted this in the superbowl and in worked becuase the seattle offense couldnt keep up (3 and out TWICE in fourth quarter), the seattle consistantly moves the ball and score we can overcome a slow and methodical dink and dunk offense, as long as we dont give up dink and dunk tds.

    • Dumbquestions

      At this point (I realize he wasn’t a high pick), I regard Simon as a bust.

  12. smitty1547

    Time for Simon to go, always hurt and just meh when he plays.

    • Steele

      Simon to IR. Rod Smith up from PS. Does this mean Fred Jackson is not good to go? Yeesh. Bad timing.

      • nichansen01

        I think simon should stay, he played some pretty great ball in 2014 before his injury, yes he is injured a lot though

  13. CHawk Talker Eric

    From PFF:

    Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana) has allowed just one QB pressure in 437 total snaps through five games
    Hometown boy Jason Spriggs is an imposing human being. Standing at 6-7 and weighing 305 pounds, he possesses ideal size for an NFL left tackle. He started as a freshman at Indiana and has been slowly progressing since.

    Last year he was a key cog in an offensive line that cleared defenders for Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons) to rush for a 2,000 yard season. This year, Spriggs is taking his game to the next level. His pass-blocking efficiency is tops in the country at 99.6, and his only pressure came last week against the top defensive team in the country (Ohio State). At this rate, Spriggs will undoubtedly be among the top offensive line prospects in the 2016 NFL draft.

  14. CharlietheUnicorn

    Terrance Smith, OLB/ILB, Florida State 6’3″ 222 lbs

    He is projected by some as a mid round pick, would he be a nice fit as a SS (back-up). He has many of the same measurables as Bam Bam. I know, he is a 2017 prospect, but it is never too early right?

  15. Dumbquestions

    As CHawk suggests, this game feels like a grinder where the Hawk defense plays the lead role and hands the offense chances. But don’t you have to think the Legion snags some picks and tilts the field just enough, on sheer odds alone? I’m clinging to guarded optimism…

  16. Barry

    We ran the ball, we played D. Only play the second half for out offense was the big but-back run. Bengals made a few adjustments and Bevel didnt counter. Again. He will call a game that is basic and wont put us in a position to lose and lets players make plays. But he does not exploit the other team in any way. No double moves with Jimmy, no play action to a fullback in the flats, not playaction to a screen, no fade to jimmy, no Luke Wilson and Jimmy lined up on the same side stack with Luke running them deep (he has the speed) and Jimmy shallow.

    This game showed we can play with anyone and have a chance to win. It also showed we can lose a game we should have and old Hawks teams wouldn’t have let get away.

    Wilson still cant see from the pocket and teams know this.

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