The Seattle Seahawks were not used to trailing. The Seattle Seahawks were the rag-tag gang of loud, misjudged players that blew out their opponents 150-20 during a three-game stretch. The Seattle Seahawks were the team that somehow had beaten five out of the top ten teams ranked in overall DVOA with a secondary consisting of two day-three picks and a midget for a quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks were a team of destiny, of young and relentless men daring to write their own path to greatness.
Yet here they are, after nearly two quarters of play, down by the largest deficit they have faced this season. The loss of Jason Jones and Chris Clemons as well as the weariness of veterans Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane are starting to show on the D-Line. Richard Sherman has been beaten not for one, but two big gains and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, statistics of going 1-for-5 on third downs and 58 yards rushing echoed the sentiments of an dysfunctional circus we saw three years ago. And despite holding on to a relatively even time of possession and a similar number of overall plays ran, the offense is being out-gained in almost every category.
Momentum, or the aura and driving force behind any good potential comeback, was not on their side. An organization that prides themselves on being physical and tough got stopped on a 4th and 1. A mentality of speed and quickness on defense are being torched for big gains by an aging Michael Turner and an even older Tony Gonzalez. A communication within the final seconds of the first half left three points on the board. Things have to change. Things need to change.
When Pete Carroll came back into the NFL after ten years at USC he instilled not only a philosophy on his team; he brought up a complete change and radical shift in culture and principles. Gone were the days of being blown out and rolling over dead when you're losing by 31, because if you're slacking at any point in the game it means you're not giving me 100%. You don't dare to be complacent, weather the score is up or down by a lot, because I have two hungrier guys behind you ready to do a better job and I'm willing to throw them at your place.
And the Seahawks brought it in. And as they faced off tougher, stronger opponents they eventually crafted their own motto, their way of Seahawks football. They were going to "Always Compete" and fight, regardless of what the score is.
Unfortunately, that was last year. Now it's time to fight for a win. The only question left is wondering how to accomplish this goal.
1-10-SEA 20 (15:00) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to S.Rice to SEA 31 for 11 yards.
Right now, all the Falcons defense care about is points. Don't worry about field positioning, or first downs, etc. Just hold them to 3, or preferably, 0. Try not to allow the big plays, but if you do, bear down in the red zone. Just get off the field and let the offense blow this wide open. The Seahawks are down by three scores and as long as both sides do their jobs, things will be fine.
Leverage and Quickness. Two of the key components of a undersized lineman. When you don't stack up to the man six inches in front of you, you gotta beat them with speed. You have to be the first man to hit, and you must do it low.
Max Unger failed on both counts, and thus Lynch is stalled for only a yard.
2-9-SEA 32 (13:51) R.Wilson scrambles right end to SEA 49 for 17 yards
"The important this is, you've got to be able to throw the ball at an NFL level first. That's what Russell can do. He's a thrower first. Then if you've got mobility to extend the play, to give your receivers more time to get position or to pick up a first down, that's good."
- Fran Tarkenton, Quarterback, NFL Hall of Fame Class of 1986
1-10-SEA 49 (13:11) (Shotgun) R.Turbin left guard to ATL 44 for 7 yards
The quarterback and the running back must work together to succeed. He must see what the other sees. He must decide whether or not to keep the ball or hand it off at the last second's notice, and the running back must be able to respond to a potential exchange successfully. This move must be practiced over and over again, like a choreographed dance or a military routine, until the two minds are essentially working as one, and the guesswork becomes second nature. This is how teams run the read option successfully.
2-3-ATL 44 (12:34) M.Lynch right guard to ATL 42 for 2 yards
Nothing special here. Michael Robinson enters the field for the first time this half. Sweezy (who I personally believe needs to bulk up past 300 pounds this summer) gets bulldozed and loses to his man. Okung gets beaten by a veteran swim move. Lynch and co. pushes the pile for another 3 inches.
3-1-ATL 42 (11:59) R.Wilson right guard to ATL 40 for 2 yards
Just last quarter the Seahawks encountered a short yardage situation and couldn't convert. It was a handoff to Michael Robinson, the fullback. He was stopped behind the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks aren't looking to fool anyone and try a fancy play action here. Old fashioned quarterback sneak, get the first down, and keep the drive going.
1-10-ATL 40 (11:24) (Shotgun) R.Wilson sacked at ATL 48 for -8 yards
Some sacks are made because a defensive player(s) physically punishes the offensive lineman and barrage their way towards the quarterback. Some sacks are made by great decisions on the defense's part, and the coverage is so on point that the quarterback is essentially stuck within the pocket waiting for an open man, which is all the trenches needed to trap the guy for a loss of yards. Some sacks are made by stupid decisions by the quarterback himself, running all the way out the pocket at a slight cognition of pressure and flushes himself right into the defenses' arms. Some sacks are just based on luck.
This is one of those sacks.
2-18-ATL 48 (10:37) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass short right to Z.Miller to ATL 29 for 19 yards
"A ruptured plantar fascia is a very painful tear in the largest ligament in the foot (the plantar fascia). It often mimics the most common type of heel pain called plantar fasciitis. Cortisone heel spur injections (steroid shots intended to treat heel pain) can put you at risk for a rupture of the plantar fascia. This painful condition causes arch pain, heel pain, and sometimes swelling or bruising in the bottom of the foot. It will not usually get better on its own."
- Symptoms of a torn plantar fascia, via Ankle and Foot Center.
1-10-ATL 29 (9:53) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep left to G.Tate for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Seahawks are in the Falcons red zone. The latter team must play their coverage or scheme effectively. They must continue to bear down against the offense and hold them down to a field goal or less. They cannot afford to make a mistake now.
Seahawks 0 Seahawks 7