Yes, there is always plenty of chatter about our perennial Super Bowl hopefuls. But I also find that there is always some angle to Seahawks coverage that just doesn’t seem to get enough airplay. This column is dedicated to that “elephant in the locker room.”
If you are like me, you absolutely hate the bye week… particularly when it comes late in the season. All I want in November is more Seahawks, not less, especially after an absolutely epic game like Monday night’s overtime win on the road at San Francisco. (Sorry, Richard. Glad to see you weren’t mad, bro.)
Although, I must say, the appetite for pro ball has had the edge taken off after Myles Garrett’s explosion at the end of Thursday night’s debacle. But that’s another story…
During the bye week, I like to review my weekly analyses and see how I have done over the season. So let’s dive right in.
Week 1. “Too much to expect another Division Championship? Too much to start thinking about another trip to the NFC title game? Perhaps. But in the name of all things Pete and John, not too much to expect a whale of a lot of fun this season. Gonna feel a lot like 2012, folks, if not 2013. A lot.”
One thing that characterized 2012 and 2013 was close contests decided by 7 points or less. Another was a lot more wins than losses. Another was establishing the ability to win on the road. So yes, this Seahawk team, though getting from Point A to Point B with an entirely different skillset than earlier Championship-caliber Schneider-Carroll teams, does feel like a potential Division or Conference title winner. Self-grade: A
Week 2. “What I’ve seen so far in 2019 from Michael Dickson is this: returners are getting way too many chances to return kicks. We’re giving up 49 yards in returns every couple of weeks. I’d exchange some per-kick average for better hang time and more fair catches. If Dickson can’t turn all his fancy skills into better team play, I’d say Seattle is headed for one or more losses that we can lay at Dickson’s doorstep.”
I really hate being this right. Scoring in the Week 3 six-point loss to New Orleans—in which, if you will recall, the Hawks actually dominated the Saints—opened up with a Saints punt return for a TD. Dickson has not progressed this season, and is looking pretty pedestrian. Don’t expect a Pro Bowl repeat this year; and we may yet see another game blown due to a poor punt game. Self-grade: short-term, A+; long-term, B
Week 3. “Do we have Legion of Boom 2.0 on our hands? No. But the Thump is back. The intimidation factor is in play. Teams are leaving encounters with Seattle bruised, bloodied, demoralized, and losing.”
Only half of Seattle’s losing opponents this season have also lost the following week… and that’s about what one would ordinarily expect. So this was a little bit of early-season wishful thinking for me. Still, while the attitude has taken a few weeks to gel, Monday’s night’s game showed that the Thump is indeed back. The ‘Niners got absolutely thrashed and exposed by Seattle in that game, and will have a hard time recovering. Let’s hope the trend continues! Self-grade: short-term, D; long-term, B+
Week 4. “The Saints were unable to find favorable one-on-one matchups for Michael Thomas. This bodes well for the season; Griffin and Flowers, folks: they took away Michael Thomas. If I were Pete Carroll, I wouldn’t be second-guessing myself, either. He should simply be emphasizing what he always has: take care of the ball, and the game will take care of itself. Stay the course. Stay disciplined.”
I couldn’t have been more right about this one. (And regularly right about a vulnerability in the middle of the field due to safety/linebacker coverage.) The play of the corners has not been Seattle’s weakness. Now, particularly, everyone seems to be on my bandwagon. Self-grade: A+
Week 5. “This game isn’t important merely because the Rams are a key rival; it’s also crucial because any team that wants the NFC West crown is going to have to keep up with… Yes… The San Francisco 49ers.”
How I picked up on this fact earlier than every journalist outside San Francisco, I’m not sure. But weeks ahead of time I forecasted that the Rams were on the downturn and that the November 11 showdown with S.F. would be a doozy! Self-grade: A+
Week 6. “I may complain about the use of ‘drop a dime’ and ‘play-action pass’… but I have no complaints at all about continuing to watch Russell Wilson ‘drop a dime’ or two (or three) on play-action passes to Tyler Lockett. It’s no crime at all. Unless you happen to be Russell Wilson’s victims.”
Okay, everybody has been right this one. The Wilson-Lockett combo has been scary… and will continue to be. It was a shock to hear that Lockett was hospitalized Monday night; but it sounds like he will be just fine. Self-grade: C… only because my analysis doesn’t really stand out from the pack!
Week 7. “The long-term health of this ball club is better off without a free safety with a free tongue and a few screws loose. See ya, Earl. Wish you well. It’ll be fun to see you play at the Clink tomorrow, but I’ll be glad you’re not on our team.”
I’m glad the Ravens are doing well this season. I’m glad Earl Thomas is playing top-flight ball. But even in spite of the Ravens beating Seattle at the Clink, I’m still even more glad that Seattle is truly becoming “Russell Wilson’s” team, as the pro analysts have observed. I like the way that the Hawks can be resilient without being noisy and combative… with the press, with opposing teams, or with each other. Self-grade: A
Week 8. “We could be watching Matt Schaub crumble under Gary Kubiak. Oh… but we can’t, because Schaub, well, isn’t playing anymore. Yes, the options are virtually endless. And painful. So let’s face it: whatever the outcome this week, enjoy the heck out of the Wilson and Carroll Show, and quit wringing your hands.”
It was so funny to write this… and then have Schaub turn up at QB the next day… and then have him throw for over 400 yards… and still lose. Questions? Self-grade: A
Week 9. “It doesn’t matter whether the 6-2 team in question is Seattle or Minnesota. Bottom line: there are only 4 teams in the NFL with a better record, and there’s a lot of football left to be played. I’m pretty certain that none of these 6-and-2 downplayers project the Hawks to be 8-0 at the midpoint–so what’s all the crying about? Every team that’s 6-2 is 6-2 good.”
Um… maybe even 8-2 good, eh? Even capable of pulling off consecutive OT wins, including one on the road against the last unbeaten team? Skeptics go home! Self-grade: A+
Week 10. “By the way… the final score in that 2017 Indy game was Seattle 46, Indy 18. So do remember that Seattle is still a second-half team, both in games and in seasons. Let’s just see what happens Monday night, shall we?”
Seattle played its best, across the board, on November 11. They are 8-2 and peaking, at just the right time. I, for one, believe Seattle will be playing for not just the Division title on December 29, but for home field advantage through the playoffs. Now, that DOES feel like 2013! Self-grade: A
So it’s not only been a good season thus far for the Hawks; it’s been a really good one for this analyst, too.
Aren’t you glad you read?
Cuz for this season, it looks like I’m headed for about an A- average!