56baa6478971bc41a4152cc51707ac05One of the hardest things to accomplish in sports is controlling the mental side of the game. Given a comparable skill level between two opposing players or teams you will invariably find that the more positive of the two comes out on top. In other words, in big time sports, as well as in life, thought is boss. As one thinks, so it will be for him; and this factor has a great deal to do with why the Seattle Seahawks are so good. Under Pete Carroll’s tutelage they have mastered the game’s mental side.

For evidence of this look no further than Seattle’s season opening win last week against the Green Bay Packers at“The Clink”. Coming in to the game the Packers were being touted by some “experts” as the class of the NFC and the conference’s likely Super Bowl rep. The Seahawks made short work of that idea by crushing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay team 36-16. Talk about the mental side of sports! The Seahawks had this game won before they ever stepped foot on the field; and reversely the Packers were beaten before the opening whistle. To put it simply, the Seahawks were in Rodgers’ and the Packers’ collective head. How else to explain the fact that the Packers’ QB did not throw to Richard Sherman’s side of the field once during the whole game! Not once! When Seattle got the lead and shut down Packers running back Eddie Lacy (38 yards rushing for the night) the game was over. Rodgers was reduced to throwing a bunch of short passes to wide receiver Jordy Nelson on the left side of the field and even then got one of them picked off by Byron Maxwell. If not for two major Seahawks errors, an Earl Thomas muffed punt and a pass interference call on linebacker Bobby Wagner, both of which gave the Packers superb field position, Green Bay may not have scored at all. With Russell Wilson (19-28, 191 yds, 2 TDs), Percy Harvin (4 rushes for 41 yds, 7 rec for 59 yds) and Marshawn Lynch (20 rushes for 110 yds) racking up nearly 400 yards in total offense, this game was a mismatch; and in it we all got to see firsthand the certainty and confidence Pete Carroll and his “Win Forever” philosophy have instilled in his players. To put it bluntly, in this game the Seahawks looked unbeatable.

Phillip Rivers

Phillip Rivers

With the Packers game being played a week ago on Thursday night the Seahawks will have had a nice, long break before they take the field versus the Chargers this Sunday in San Diego.  On the other hand, the San Diego team suffered a one point defeat (18-17) to the Arizona Cardinals last Monday night and so will have a short week of preparation going in to Sunday. The Chargers were a playoff team last year and a second straight loss to start this season would be a huge setback for this year’s post season aspirations.  Seattle, therefore, can expect San Diego’s best effort. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers is an upper tier NFL quarterback who had the best season of his career in 2013. He led the league in completion percentage (69.5 per cent), with 32 TDs and only 11 interceptions. The Chargers have a legitimate 1,000 yard rusher in Ryan Mathews (1255 yds last season) and also have fine receivers in Danny Woodhead (76 receptions), tight end Antonio Gates (77 receptions), Keenan Allen (71 receptions) and Eddie Royal (47 receptions). Seattle may catch a break with Gates, one of the NFL’s better tight ends, as he has been struggling with a sore hamstring. We’ll have to wait and see on game day. In 2013 the Chargers had the 11th ranked defense in a 32 team league, but only garnered 17 turnovers all year, compared to Seattle’s league leading  39.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

As for the Seahawks, in the Packers game they lost nickel back Jeremy Lane to the injured reserve list with a groin injury. Lane is replaced by the recently acquired (from the Indianapolis Colts) Marcus Burley, who played well against Green Bay after Lane went down. Other then Lane’s injury the Seahawks go into this Chargers game as a healthy team, which does not bode well for Rivers and his boys. All of Seattle’s offensive weapons, including Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Percy Harvin, are rested and ready to go. On the defensive side so are the Legion of Boom.

After the Seahawks blew the Chicago Bears off the field a few weeks ago during a pre-season game at the Clink, Pete Carroll said that he could not get his team any more ready for the season. The game against the Packers proved that Carroll was correct in his assessment. This Seattle team will go to San Diego this weekend mentally prepared and certain that it not only can win, but will. For all of the marvelous physical gifts of Carroll’s players, it is their mental preparation that sets them apart. You will see this on full display in San Diego on Sunday, as Seattle takes its next step on the road to repeating as Super Bowl champions.

It’ll be fun to watch!

Go Hawks!

 

Copyright © 2014

By Mark Arnold

All Rights Reserved

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