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 →
Whether we achieve it or not, there is something inside each one of us that aspires to and is capable of greatness. Perhaps that is why, when we get a chance to witness greatness, it resonates with us so.
On Monday night Seattle Seahawks fans were treated to greatness as their team destroyed the New Orleans Saints 34-7, and it resonated all over CentryLink Field. In defeating the Saints, who were 9-2 coming in to this game, the Hawks made a statement. If there were any doubts that they are capable of going to the Super Bowl, this game erased them. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was masterful, completing 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards and 3 scores and the Seahawks dominated in all phases of the game. They racked up 429 yards in total offense against a Saints defense that was statistically in the top 5 in the NFL while holding the New Orleans offense to only 188 yards.
Let me say that again: They held the Saints to only 188 yards of total offense!
And, yes Hawks fans, this was the same New Orleans Saints team that was ranked 3rd in the NFL averaging 415 yards of total offense per game. The Hawks defensive line pressured Saints quarterback Drew Brees all night and simply would not let him get comfortable in the pocket. Likewise their Legion of Boom defensive backs, with big assists from the Hawks line backing corp (KJ Wright in particular had a big game), pressured the New Orleans receivers and shut them down. They held Saints All World tight end Jimmy Graham to 3 catches for 42 yards and Brees to only 144 passing yards, in the process ending a 43 game streak in which the New Orleans QB had thrown for at least 200 yards.Cliff Avril knocking the ball loose from Drew Brees
The game was so one sided that, unless you count the opening kick-off, there was no real turning point to it. The Hawks held the Saints for three and out on their first possession after receiving that opening kick and put the throttle down from there on out. That said, in looking back at the game two plays stand out. The first took place with 6 and a half minutes left in the first quarter and the Hawks on top 3-0. On a 3rd and 5 play from his own 25 yard line Drew Brees retreated to pass, shuffling in the pocket while scanning the field in a futile effort to find a receiver. He held the ball just a tick too long. Finally spotting a target, Brees cocked his arm to throw but before he could release the ball Seahawks defensive lineman Cliff Avril, who had come around his blocker almost untouched, hit the Saints QBs arm from behind, thus knocking the ball out, forward and right into the arms of teammate Michael Bennett. Clutching the ball in two hands, the surprised Bennett then took off to his right, started running down field and didnt stop until he crossed the goal line 25 yards later. The Hawks were ahead 10-0.
The second play took place later in the 2nd quarter. The Saints had just scored after what would be their only sustained, long drive of the night, to cut the Seahawks lead to 17-7. Seattle had the ball with a 3rd down and 3 at their own 23 yard line. If the Saints stopped the Hawks here Brees and crew would get the ball back with plenty of time on the clock before the half to get their team back in the game. As Russell Wilson brought his team to the line of scrimmage he was looking at a Saints defense aligned in what is called the Casino formation; a blitz alignment with 8 defenders on the line of scrimmage leaving only 3 to cover the pass receivers. (It is called Casino because the defense is gambling they will get to the quarterback before he can release the ball; the liability being that, with only 3 pass defenders left, they are forced into one on one coverage which can lead to a big play.) Taking the snap in the shotgun, Wilson faded to pass as all 8 Saints defenders descended on him intent on taking him out. A second before they reached him he dropped a gorgeous 50 yard bomb right into the hands of Doug Baldwin who had beaten his one on one coverage. The Hawks went on to kick a field goal on that drive for a 20-7 lead and never looked back.Russell Wilson scrambling for yardage
As for the Saints, that would be the last time they would try an all out, Casino blitz on Russell Wilson.
With their domination of the Saints on Monday night the Seahawks took a major step toward ensuring that the NFC road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Seattle. They have a 3 game lead in their own division over the 49ers and now hold a 2 game lead over both the Saints and the Carolina Panthers for the best record in the Conference (11-1) with 4 games to play. Also, having already defeated both of those teams, Seattle holds the tie breakers on them as well.
As this New Orleans game demonstrates, the simple truth is that what we are witnessing here in Seattle this season is the emergence of a true championship caliber team with a quarterback who is on the verge of becoming a super star. Greatness resonates, and what we witnessed on this Monday night in the cold and rain against the Saints at CenturyLink, truly was greatness.
Enjoy it Hawks fans, for it doesnt come along very often. For these Seahawks, however, what we are seeing now is just a harbinger of the greatness to come.
This team has Super Bowl written all over it.
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved