Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and if there are any of you Hawks fans out there who are not yet excited about the prospects for this year’s team…well…you should get your pulse checked because you may be dead already. For sure it would take some condition like that to stem a true fan’s enthusiasm for these Seattle Seahawks as they have been that good this season.
With week 12 of the 2013 NFL campaign now in the books, during which the Seahawks players enjoyed some well earned time off due to this year’s late season bye, Seattle is an NFL best 10-1 and is in prime position to win the NFC West and also to claim home field advantage through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. To do so Seattle must defeat the New Orleans Saints next Monday night in a game that promises to be the biggest regular season game ever played at “The Clink”. With last Thursday’s win against the Atlanta Falcons the Saints will come to town sporting a 9-2 record, 1 game behind Seattle for best in the conference. Should they defeat the Seahawks it would give the Saints the inside track to that coveted playoff home field advantage. So gird your loins Hawks fans, and get ready for battle, for that is what next Monday night will be, and in front of ESPN’s John Gruden and a national TV audience to boot!
While it is tempting to look ahead to that Saints game, with Seattle having its bye this week I want to devote this article to taking a look at just how the Seahawks have arrived at that NFL best 10-1. When you see the NFL’s team stats for the season thus far, with respect to the Seahawks several things jump out. The first is their defense. Seattle has the number two ranked defense in the league giving up just 293 yards per game. They are also number two in overall passing defense giving up only 180 yards per game. They lead the league in takeaways (26), are tied for the league lead in interceptions (16) and are also tied for the league lead in turnover ratio; taking the ball away from their opponents 11 times more than they give it up. These are all key stats and speak volumes about why Seattle is 10-1. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and the ball hawking Seahawks “D” have been steady all year.
As good as the defense has been, however, much of the credit for Seattle’s fast start has to go to second year quarterback Russell Wilson. Where would the Seahawks be without him? Not 10-1 I guarantee you. Through this season’s first 11 games Wilson has demonstrated that he is the best to this point in their careers of the 2012 quarterback draft class that featured first round picks Andrew Luck (Colts) and Robert Griffin III (Redskins). Wilson is smart, tough, fast, efficient and elusive. He has completed his passes this year at a 64% clip and thrown 19 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions and he has done it with three of his starting offensive linemen missing much of the season. He has also rushed for 409 yards, which is astounding for a quarterback. There were times this year when he was hit so hard that I couldn’t believe it when he got back up; but he always did. I remember how he brought Seattle back in that Houston Texans game with all those magnificent scrambles in the fourth quarter. That pivot away from pressure in the pocket on that one play late in that game, in which he left J.J. Watt face planted on the turf, was so beautiful that I daydream about it. Without him we lose that Texans game, we probably lose that Carolina Panthers game at the start of the season and we lose that Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, in which the Hawks fell behind by 21 in the first half and won in overtime after Wilson engineered a magnificent 2nd half comeback.
Of course Wilson has had help from playmakers like Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin and “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch is really coming on now, having rushed for 925 yards which is 3rd best in the league. Jermaine Kearse is emerging as a dependable receiver and now that Percy Harvin is being added to this brew the Hawks will have a much more explosive mixture on offense, of which we got a taste in that last victory over Minnesota.
Through all the injuries head coach Pete Carroll has kept his team positive and focused and they have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for not carrying the negative forward and for leaving the past, good or bad, behind. All the players seem to have bought in to the idea that the next game on the schedule is the biggest game of the season and that their goal is go 1-0 for the week.
The recent news that, starting with the Saints game, cornerback Walter Thurmond will begin serving a 4 game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy is a setback, especially since he was replacing Brandon Browner who is also out with a groin injury. As of this writing news is breaking that Browner himself may be suspended for an extended period for a similar violation of his own. It is hard for fans to understand how Thurmond or Browner (if he is indeed suspended) could be so short sighted and stupid as to violate these rules. On another team this sort of thing happening now could be devastating, but I do not think it will be for the Hawks. I read in an article today that Richard Sherman and Max Unger addressed the team about these types of violations, and told them that Seattle is going to the Super Bowl and that anyone breaking the rules won’t be going with them.
I am glad they did that. I have a feeling that the Hawks will put the Thurmond and Browner transgressions behind them, as they have done with all the adversity they have faced this year, and will play like champions the rest of the season.
OK Hawks fans…the season to date is summarized!
Now it’s time to get ready for Drew Brees and those big, bad New Orleans Aints…er…Saints, and to nail down that home field, playoff advantage!
Check your pulse if you’re not excited… and Go Hawks!
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved