Hey, maybe Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner don't get suspended for PEDs. Maybe we get our shit together and pull out an upset in Chicago next week. Maybe the other contenders for the 6th seed -- the Vikings, Bucs, Lions and Cowboys -- all collectively fall on their faces, and we get into the playoffs with a 9-7 (or even 8-8?) record. But the truth of the matter is, the Seattle Seahawks have played 11 games out of a 16-game regular season, and there aren't many maybes left. This is the team that we've got for the year, warts and all, and wishing for this team to start doing things that it hasn't been able to do is just wishful thinking. Let's get real here for a moment.
The Seahawks are a shell of their normal selves on the road. Or, alternatively, they are supremely efficient and capable at home. Whatever the case, our only road win this season is a 6-point victory over a less-than-dominating Panthers team; all of our other road losses have been fairly close, but if we keep coming up short time after time on the road, we can't just excuse random chance. Arizona and St. Louis might have been playing better when we happened to darken their doorsteps, but the reality is our road opponents have a combined record of 27-36-2, and that includes one of the best teams in the league, the 49ers. We've looked a lot better at home, against a higher quality of opponent, and it's hard to say how much travel is to blame for our unbalanced output, since 3 of our road losses are inter-divisional. Whatever the reason, the Seahawks are not a good road team, especially if we have to travel out to the east coast. Even if there was a resolution to this problem, I don't see us making the necessary adjustments to fix it in the next month or so.
Russell Wilson is awesome. I'm not giving up on this team, despite the tenor of this fanpost and the general shitty attitude I've been sporting since the game ended earlier this afternoon. We still can make the playoffs, and you never really know what will happen in the playoffs, but if we make the playoffs we are playing 1-3 road games against these teams; Falcons, 49ers, Bears, Giants and Packers. These guys are the real deal....maybe the Bears are falling apart a bit, but they're like an even-better version of the Dolphins )stout defense, good-enough QB and a running back that can run around our d-line).
There is little reason to believe the Seahawks can do anything this year, but what gives me just a glimmer of hope is our tiny QB. He's not perfect by any means, and maybe the media is too quick to praise him, but Wilson has shown all the tools needed for success in this league: Accuracy, arm strength, touch, pocket awareness, defense recognition and scrambling ability (and he barely runs into defenders these days, which was a real problem at the start of the season). He's not great at all those traits -- and I hope he continues to improve this season and beyond -- but he's good enough at all of these facets that I trust him to keep us in every game for the rest of the season. I do give him some of the blame for our offensive offense in the 1st quarter today, but I'm not sure that it's a continuous problem; maybe the Dolphins' D were a little too much to handle today.
We can't expect to shut down the opponents' running game anymore. All credit to Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson (and their respective offensive lines), but I think a template has been found to counter our once-great run defense. That's just my opinion, and I really don't have the tools or ability to break down game film and explain exactly what is going on with....anything, really. For whatever reason, running backs have been able to slip through our d-linemen, or out to the side, a hell of a lot easier than before the Niners game. Maybe the issue is just quality of opponent, and Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas are better rushers than we think, but it wasn't like we totally shut down Shonn Greene two weeks ago, either. The announcers in this game seemed to blame Bobby Wagner, but something tells me there is more to this than just a rookie MLB not entirely sure where to line up. Is Red Bryant really out of gas? Maybe so, or maybe other teams have figured out how to neutralize him (or both).
We might need to spend a lot of cash (or a high draft pick) on a new WILL LB. Leroy Hill isn't going to start for the Seahawks after this season, mostly due to his age, but there's been a consistent issue with stopping tight ends and intermediate passes this year, and both KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner are both young enough to deserve the benefit of the doubt, for now. Maybe it's a scheme issue, or we're just too focused on stopping the run, but there's a large crack in our defense, and maybe it's big enough that it's effecting other parts of the D as well.
Not too much YAC from the receivers today....is that an issue yet? Golden Tate looked good today, even without any bubble screens to help him out, although the Dolphins might have been keying in on those kind of plays today.Russell looked sharp even beyond his 16-consecutive passes, and there weren't more than one or two real drops today....I guess I'd like to see Wilson hit his receivers in stride more often, and turn good plays into great plays. That right there, in my opinion, is the difference between good QBs and great ones. If this is an issue, I believe it's one that will resolve itself as Wilson gets more experience, and/or we acquire better receivers.
I'm not concerned with Lynch getting stuffed today, our pass rush could be a little more consistent, and I'm not sure how bad the suspensions will hurt us, but I think we all have a handle on what this team is and isn't. This is still a Jekyll-and-Hyde team, and I don't see that magically going away anytime soon.
Oh, and if I don't see you again, Merry Christmas.