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 →
Today at CenturyLink Field in Seattle our hometown Seahawks employed a dominant defense, the powerful running of Marshawn Lynch and a career day by wide receiver Golden Tate to defeat the St. Louis Rams 27-9 and at last clinch what had become a somewhat elusive NFC West title. Having now completed the 17 game NFL regular season with an NFC best 13-3 record, Seattle also won a first round playoff bye AND home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
That’s right Hawks fans, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC must now pass through “The Clink” and us rabid Seahawks boosters! This year there will be no 6,000 mile playoff round trips and weird east coast start times for this team. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, to this point, has been telling his team that, despite the nice won-lost record, they really haven’t done anything yet. With this NFC West title now a fact that is no longer true. The Seahawks’ ultimate goal of getting to and winning the Super Bowl became a lot more real by what Seattle did today in defeating the Rams.
To summarize, Seattle broke on top first in this game when, at the 10 minute mark of the first quarter, Ram quarterback Kellen Clemens threw the first of his 2 interceptions. Under pressure from the Hawks pass rush Clemens threw the ball high to an open receiver. The ball glanced off the receiver’s hands and right to Seattle linebacker Malcom Smith who returned it 37 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Hawks lead. Such plays are getting to be old hat for Malcom, who last week nearly scored another touchdown on a similar play against Arizona. (Smith is now starting at linebacker due to an injury suffered a few games back by the original starter KJ Wright, another example of Seattle’s incredible depth on defense.)
Despite the quick lead provided by the defense, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense continued a pattern of struggling through the first part of this game. It’s a pattern that extends back at least through the Cardinals game last week, but was showing up also against the NY Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. At the end of the quarter Seattle had managed just 19 yards of total offense and 1 first down, leaving Hawks fans to wonder when, if ever, the team would get its offensive mojo back. As the 2nd quarter began things began to change for the Seattle offense. Marshawn Lynch began to hit some holes and break some runs and Wilson started to complete some short and intermediate passes to Golden Tate and tight end Zach Miller. This led to 2 Steven Hauschka field goals and, with Seattle’s defense intercepting Clemens again and completely shutting down the Rams running game, a 13-0 lead at the half.
At the start of the second half the Rams used a nice punt return (very rare against Seattle, which going into the game had given up something like 35 punt return yards for the SEASON!) to get field position at the Seattle 30 yard line and the ensuing drive resulted in a Rams field goal cutting Seattle’s lead to 13-3.
It was at this point in the game that the Seahawks offense at last began to show some of the heart of a champion. Following the Rams kick-off the Seahawks started at their own 20 yard line with 10:49 left in the 3rd quarter. Across the next 8 minutes, mixing Lynch and Robert Turbin runs with darts to Golden Tate, Russell Wilson drove Seattle the length of the field to a Lynch, 2 yard, game clinching, touchdown run. The Hawks were helped at the end of the drive by 3 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the Rams, which occurred, weirdly enough, on one play and gave the Hawks a 1st and goal at the Rams 1 yard line. (If the Rams were trying to throw the Seahawks off their game with all of the “after the play” pushing, shoving and trash talk, it seemed to only succeed in distracting the Rams.)
With Lynch’s TD and the way the Seattle defense was playing, at that point the game was effectively decided. Wilson would go on to throw a beautiful 47 yard TD pass to Tate later in the 4th quarter and the Rams would get a meaningless touchdown to make the final 27-9 score.
The Seahawks’ defensive domination of the Rams in this game was complete. The Rams as a team rushed for a total of 13 yards and Rams running back Zac Stacy, who had gashed Seattle for 200 yards rushing when the two teams met earlier in the season in St. Louis, ran for only 15 yards on 15 carries. As pointed out earlier, Rams QB Kellen Clemons was intercepted twice and completed passes for only 157 yards, giving the Rams less than 180 yards total offense for the game. Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate had the game of his career catching 8 Russell Wilson throws for 129 yards and the TD mentioned above.
This was a game fitting of a championship caliber team, and the Seahawks are now truly that, because with this win they are:
THE 2013, NFC WEST CHAMPION SEATTLE SEAHAWKS!!
In a season that began nearly 6 months ago with those hot and sweaty pre-season drills in July, the Seahawks have now accomplished the first major step on the road to their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.
As nice as this is, Hawks fans, we all know there is more work for this team to do. We can all enjoy the next two weeks, but on Sunday, 12 January at “The Clink”, the second season starts for our Seahawks as this magical ride continues.
Speaking for myself, I’m all in with this team.
For me it’s Super Bowl or bust!
Are you with me?
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved