Seahawks face crucial weekend in Kansas City

Russell Wilson won the starting job for Seattle during his last visit to Kansas City

If you care about your teams perception in the media, this is a vital game for the Seahawks.

There’s no point denying you care. Most people do. Including players. Dare I say including some coaches. Everyone wants respect. Fans in Seattle craved it for years and received it after the Super Bowl. They also saw what it leads to — the drama surrounding Percy Harvin, Marshawn Lynch and the bizarre links to Russell Wilson are great examples of unwanted attention.

It’s fair to say the current three-game winning streak hasn’t captured the nations imagination. Scraping past the winless Raiders at home, running all over a fading Giants team and pinching a victory from the slumping Panthers hasn’t got people excited about the Seahawks again.

At the start of the season people were tweeting “game over” when Seattle scored their first points. It was a little cringe-inducing, especially during the Oakland pre-season game and the San Diego loss in week two. The Seahawks weren’t invincible last year and they certainly aren’t this year. The Super Bowl beat-down of Denver raised expectations in the media. Expectations that were never going to be met.

Beat Kansas City on the road and people will sit up and take notice. And I think a lot of fans are ready for Seattle to be ‘noticed’ and ‘respected’ again. The Chiefs are a funny team — capable of destroying the Patriots and losing at home to the Titans. The perception is, however, that they’re a good solid team. They run the ball well, they rush the passer. They have a high-profile coach and they’ve won games since Andy Reid arrived in KC. If you want your Seahawks to get some respect, they need to win this game and make a statement.

Of course all of that is trivial in the ultimate goal. Winning is of great importance in an intriguing NFC West title race. With Arizona travelling to Seattle in week 12 — the Seahawks could actually share first place with a win in that game. It’s possible. The Cardinals, minus Carson Palmer, face a romping Detroit team this weekend. A Seahawks/Lions double sets up a battle for top spot at Century Link.

The 49ers also linger in the background after a dramatic victory in New Orleans last week. They go to the Giants in a game that could go pretty much either way considering how each team has played this year. If the Niners win and the Seahawks lose in Kansas City, Seattle drops back into third place in the division.

Every win counts.

The Seahawks are playing catch-up after the sloppy defeats to Dallas and St. Louis. In a wildly competitive division and conference they need to keep winning.

The Chiefs are a decidedly efficient football team. They excel in the red zone and on third down. They’re organised and don’t concede too many penalties. They have a good special teams unit. They lack explosive plays in the passing game — but when they get into a rhythm they’re tough to stop. Seattle had good and bad days against quarterback Alex Smith during his years in San Francisco. Rocky Bernard’s flattening of Smith lingers long in the memory bank. And yet he also did enough to beat a blossoming 2011 Seahawks team at Century Link. The 2012 encounter at Candlestick — the last meeting between Smith and Seattle — ended in a ‘death by dump off’ second half that felt like Chinese water torture to observe.

We might see more of this on Sunday. Smith hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass to any of his receivers this year. He’s also without Anthony Fasano and Donnie Avery — meaning Travis Kelce is his best target (an inconsistent yet threatening mobile TE). Without a doubt KC’s best weapon is Jamaal Charles. In that 2012 Seattle/San Francisco game, Smith used the running back and full back on underneath/shorter throws to chip away with some success. Philip Rivers followed a similar path in week two.

If he gets into a rhythm it could be a long day. Smith has always been a frustrating player to watch. If he’s on-song against your team you get that ‘slow death’ feeling as he dinks and dunks his way to victory. Take that away and make him play from behind and he’ll frustrate his own fans in equal measure. He’s underrated as a mobile and elusive QB — but he’s never been a big play artist who can drag a team back into a contest with downfield throws.

Kansas City has a terrific pass rushing defensive line and should do a better job containing Russell Wilson than the shambolic New York Giants. What will they do? Feign the rush to keep him breaking the edge? Rush to make him uncomfortable? Washington and New York have shown this year what’ll happen if you refuse to respect his ability to get into space on the outside.

Make no mistake this is a legit opponent. Their three defeats were somewhat agonizing — a head scratching opening day loss at home to the struggling Titans. They were then narrowly edged out on the road in Denver and San Francisco. They started the year 0-2 but have since won five out of six — including impressive wins in Miami (34-15), San Diego (23-20) and Buffalo (17-13). They thumped New England (41-14) and St. Louis (34-7) at home.

The three defeats all carry a theme — poor stats for Smith. Here’s the numbers: 61/107 passing (57%), two touchdowns, four interceptions and an average of 205 YPG. As good as they’ve been with third down’s this year — they completed 1/12 against the Titans. In all three games the Chiefs trailed in the fourth quarter — putting more pressure on Smith to move the offense.

Aside from managing a fierce pass rush, ensuring Marshawn Lynch gets his carries and doing a better job protecting the football — Seattle needs to test Smith’s ability to lead a comeback. If they let the Chiefs play ball control it’ll be a long, frustrating afternoon of Jamaal Charles running it and Alex Smith throwing dump offs to the tune of 250 yards. If they get a lead and can put Smith on the spot — it’s probably their best chance to win. That will not be easy.

Last time Seattle traveled to Kansas City (pre-season, 2012), Wilson won the starting quarterback job with a virtuoso display. He might not need such an emphatic showing on Sunday — but he’ll need to make some plays. The Chiefs haven’t given up a single rushing touchdown all year. It’s no fluke. And while a heavy dose of ‘Beast Mode’ will be on the agenda, Wilson is going to need to rejuvenate his season after two rough outings.


  1. Adog

    Weather will be an issue, so special teams will be a tipping point in this game. I think haushka will either win or lose it for the Hawks. Who plays the field position game better?

    • speedcat

      Chiefs have been very solid on special teams this year. So I’m hoping you’re wrong about this. 🙂

  2. yesh

    Shoutout to Leon Washington for delivering the block that sent Eric Berry Flying in the title pic!

  3. Turp

    I’m particularly worried about Kelce. If he’s finally getting the to play a full complement of snaps, as Reid says he will, he is going to be a matchup issue.

  4. redzone086

    I’d say the cold weather gives the game that much more flair. Short passing game and who wants to run the ball more. I don’t see how this game isn’t won by a field goal by one of them. I see Wilson’s running being the game changer in the fourth quarter.

  5. Ben2

    I’m worried about Jamaal Charles & KCs pass rush. I wish we had Wagner back – his speed and hustle to the ball would go a long way to containing Charles. And no mebane in the middle….I hope we can establish the run and get the play action passing game going. I’m worried that if KCs pass rush starts getting home we won’t have an answer-penetration along the line will get to marshawnn before he can make a move and Russell will immediately bail the pocket hurting our passing attack. This will be a tough game that I think will close.

    With all the injuries the one player I thought looked good was Bailey at LG. Good run blocker….I’m not much of a film nut so I’d love to hear your guys’ opinions on Baileys play last week.

    • JaviOsullivan

      Totally agree on Bailey at LG. looks good and strong. And thinking about it, I would like to see him there next year and let go Carpenter

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      The oline played so much better last week, but a big part of that has to be Unger’s return. Nonetheless, Bailey looked great – as good as Carp in the run, and better in pass pro. At this point, Bailey controls his own fate: if he continues to play at the same level vs KC (and perhaps vs ARI), he should be the starting LG, and Carp should be looking for a new team.

      • Ben2

        Good to hear people agree on Bailey. I like him inside more than at tackle too…Carp is gone and that’s ok…a big man with a history of knee issues is usually not a good long term investment. Additionally, we can use the extra $$$ on one of our plethora of free agents to be.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I like Bailey at LG. Hope he has a long career there.

  6. Ben2

    Hey Rob-I did want to give you & your blog a big “props” for helping me in my fantasy league-I had a horrible draft for WR but jumped on Evans and Odell Beckham really early because of all the scouting and analysis from your site. Those were 2 guys that I was really sold on and exposed to in depth on your site due, in part, to your high opinion of those 2WRs (along with NFL scouts & GMs given their draft slots and crushing all of my pipe-dreams about the Hawks walking away either somehow on draft day).

    • Rob Staton

      Happy to help! My fantasy teams this year are terrible by the way — I’m having a major off year. I’m in seven leagues — only two with a winning record. Ouch.

      • Arias

        SEVEN LEAGUES?!? Damn that is out of control.

  7. Dumbquestions

    Excellent summation, Rob. I love this blog because of lines like this:

    “…pinching a victory from the slumping Panthers..”

    Pinching – such a UK verb – but dead right.

    • Rob Staton


  8. Mylegacy

    Rob, anticipation – pain and euphoria in equal doses.

    The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “migraine” as: “The pain in the head brought on by the absence of Mebane in the DLine. ” Don’t believe me? Look it up.

    My wife believes that Mebane’s loss is the final straw. She adds, the camel’s back is now surely broken. Then postulates, with Wagner and Mebane out we are toast, crumpets (she put that in there for Rob) or croissants (for Rob’s friends across the channel). However, I never get too distressed by my wife’s judgements – because after all – remember – she had the poor judgement to marry me.

    Since every game is almost “sudden death” the odds would imply that eventually we’ll get killed. This Sunday could be the day. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait for the players and coaches to decide the outcome – I for one – think Sunday will be a day that we continue to survive. IF Russell can survive their rush and a Mebane-less defensive line can stop/slow their running attack (and I think it will come to pass) then we’ll be looking solid going forward.

    • Rob Staton

      I think you’re right. We’ll find out on Sunday whether they can cope with the latest (and perhaps most crucial) setback. Big time opportunity to say, “We’re still here”.

  9. CC

    Let’s hope last week’s 4th Q is the stepping stone for this team playing well. We’re really getting to the point in the season that we have to start playing well every game.

    Losing Mebane hurts, but I don’t think it is the biggest factor. If the offense doesn’t start being more consistent in the passing game, the defense is the least of our concerns.

  10. kyle

    So is anybody watching Gordon destroy this game? I’m starting to like him more and more… I think Gurley is still the better tailback but, if Gordon could establish an up the gut run I’d be drooling.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m going to put a post up later on this. Gordon if he’s given a hole will make you pay. My concern though is some of these runs are so easy — Nebraska are laying a major egg here. On that last run he sprinted about 70 yards before he was touched. It’s too easy for him. You don’t run for nearly 400 yards in two in a bit quarters without a bit of help from the other team. I’m not sure he can pound it — that earlier fumble was sloppy. And he’ll need to do more than run into space at the next level. First round potential though.

  11. Jarhead

    No where else to put this, but in a statement game the only statement we are making is that we are terrificly average this year. Can’t blame everything on injuries. We have a lot of work to do this offseason, especially with the blooming report about the fanchise’s intention to move on from Lynch. Wow…

© 2024 Seahawks Draft Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑