I never thought that I would experience backlash from the Field Gulls audience for merely suggesting that if the Seahawks lost on Sunday that it would be okay. Far be it from me to suggest that I'd rather win the Super Bowl than beat the 49ers in Week 2. Winning last night is not the ultimate goal for this team.
But it still felt pretty damn good.
I was actually pretty confident in Seattle going into last night's game. I would have bet the over on the Seahawks +3 line, or where ever it stood by game time, had I not been banned from going back to Nevada for subhuman trafficking. (I sold bootleg copies of C.H.U.D. on the Vegas strip.) I don't expect anyone to beat Seattle in Seattle this year and now they've won nine straight games at CenturyLink -- their last loss at home coming on Christmas Eve, 2011 to the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks have also won seven straight regular season games, the third-longest such streak in franchise history, and overall the recent resume of success only gets more and more ridiculously good:
- Seattle has won four of their last five road games, including playoffs.
- Beat the Panthers at 10 am on the east coast.
- Outscored the 49ers 71-16 in the last two games.
- The only loss since last November would have been a win if not for a non-field decision by Pete Carroll.
- The Seahawks have allowed 10 points through two games. The Chiefs have allowed 18. No other team has allowed fewer than 30 through two games.
- Only 43 teams in NFL history have allowed 10 or fewer points through two games, the last being the Steelers in 2007. The 2003 Seahawks started the season with a point differential of 65-10.
- Seattle has allowed 226 passing yards through two games. There are 23 quarterbacks with at least twice as many passing yards as that.
- The 23rd quarterback on that list is Russell Wilson.
- Geno Smith and Christian Ponder have thrown for twice as many yards as what Seattle has allowed, net. Christian Ponder is still the same player you remember, he wasn't replaced by a better quarterback named Christian Ponder.
- Five quarterbacks have thrown for triple what Seattle has allowed.
- Colin Kaepernick was one of the best statistical quarterbacks in the league until last night.
- About last night....
While the offense looks very efficient when it wants to be, or at least has a certain jennay say quah (I know that's not right, but Danny seems to like it when I write that) led by what is some of the best play-calling in the NFL (I think of Darrell Bevell's offense as "the long con") this is a team led by a defense that looks to go down with the best in league history. The Seahawks want to be mentioned alongside the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, the Fearsome Foursome, the Monsters of the Midway, the 2000 Ravens, the 2002 Buccaneers, and some other really good defenses that you'll mention in the comments I'm sure.
Elite defenses rarely seem to grab monikers anymore, but it certainly appears that the Legion of Boom is going to stick. Maybe for as long as humans still reminisce about football. And while it's hard to single anyone out of this defense, Richard Sherman certainly makes his case quite loudly.
Sherman is the best self-promoter in the NFL right now, and he's smart enough to know what he's doing. He's also smart enough to know that he would be a laughingstock if he didn't back it up, and since he's become a starter he's been no less than one of the top three corners in the league. After last night, many fans will simply say that he's the best. His highlight interception of Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter with Seattle up 17-3 had shit-talking fans around America buzzing and unable to formulate any insults back at Sherman for awhile.
Whereas so many former Seahawks corners would have been on the wrong side of that highlight, in what could have turned the game to 17-10 with 13 minutes remaining in the game, Sherman finished it. His laying out of Kyle Williams conjured up memories of Kam Chancellor on Vernon Davis and emphasized the "boom" in the legion of. But it goes beyond just the plays where you saw and heard Sherman, it was mostly about all of the times you didn't.
Sherman, Chancellor, Earl Thomas,
the Professor and Mary Ann and the rest, left 49ers receivers on an island all game long. Sports at the highest levels always comes down to a matter of fractions and a matter of seconds. The pass rush needs one more second to get to it's intended target, and in my next viewing of the game it will be interesting to count the number of times Kaepernick barely eluded a sack because my guess is that it was in the teens. While San Francisco's receiving corps lack talent after Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, they still have those guys.
Except that when Sherman locks up Boldin and Davis leaves with a hamstring injury, the 49ers are literally empty-handed and therefore the pass-rush can put enough pressure on Kaepernick to make him look like a pretty shitty quarterback. He's not one of those, but the Seahawks defense certainly made him look that way.
They will make a lot of quarterbacks look that way this season. My perfect season prediction getting one step closer to reality, and 19-0 would make this defense the Legion of Broom.
Here's more bulletpoints than the film Commando:
- Seattle has the best defense in the league, but so far have not played with Pro Bowl corner Brandon Browner and can't-believe-he's-not-a-pro-bowler defensive end Chris Clemons. Bruce Irvin remains suspended and rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill has also not played. The reasons for Antoine Winfield not making this team are pretty obvious: They were already stacked at the position and doing quite well.
- The Seahawks scored on four of their last five possessions, not including the kneel down drive. The 49ers turned the ball over on their last four possessions.
- Seattle has a league-high seven turnovers. They have a league-high four fumble recoveries and allowed a league-low 460 yards. Their 29 completions allowed is tied for a league-low with... the San Francisco 49ers.
- How about this: A post that doesn't mention much about Russell Wilson until the 1,100th word! Wilson was not very good for most of the game, but was 4-of-5 for 36 yards and a touchdown pass to Marshawn Lynch (plus a nine-yard rush) on the fourth quarter drive that pushed Seattle ahead 19-3. What I liked about Wilson was that he extends plays and still made a few decisions and found players downfield that most quarterbacks in the league would not be able to do. It would be easy to dismiss this as "making excuses for a guy that didn't play all that well" but he's at 8.9 yards per attempt through two games.
It's also hard to ignore that.
I don't expect Wilson to throw more than maybe seven interceptions this year. He so rarely seems to put the ball in a position for the defense to get it.
- Eli Manning has seven interceptions right now.
- This was Kaepernick's worst career game by a longshot. He had never thrown more than one interception in a game before and only once had he thrown for fewer than 200 yards in a start (185) and he finished with 127 last night. In his two career starts at Seattle, almost all of his positive production had come when the game was already decided and his overall numbers in the Northwest are: 32-of-64, 371 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions, one fumble.
Shaving only an eyebrow wouldn't have done it justice, anyway.
I can't recall many times throughout the game when Kaepernick was able to accurately throw it to a receiver. It wasn't so much that Kaepernick was especially inaccurate, but he was often on the run and his receivers were usually covered for almost an unbelievable amount of time. The way that Seattle was so able to consistently penetrate the 49ers offensive line, widely described as the best in the NFL, was rather unbelievable.
You could have argued that Seattle was the better team going into the game, you could have said I was insane for thinking that San Francisco might win, but nobody could have predicted that they could have dominated the line of scrimmage so thoroughly. Especially without Clemons and I don't even know what to think when he comes back.
- Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril had almost become afterthoughts to me since we had seen so little of them. Each had a sack but also just looked really good throughout the game in providing that penetration up front.
- And when I say "thoroughly dominated at the LOS" I do not mean on offense. I'm still shocked that Paul McQuistan didn't allow all of the sacks to Aldon Smith, because he is just a terrible left tackle. A Russell Okung injury (again) would not be fun, but if he's going to miss a game, let it be the Jaguars game.
- Jacksonville has scored more points this season than Seattle has allowed! Excuse me, I meant to say more point. A single point.
The Jags have scored 11 points.
- The Seahawks won the time of possession by a total of 36:43 to 23:17. If the defense only has to defend for 51 plays a game, it will be like entering the playoffs having gotten three or four games of rest.
- Seattle rushed it 47 times compared to 20 times for the 49ers, but had more net passing yards.
- I think that Sidney Rice is a really, really talented player and I have a hard time believing that he will play out the final two years of his deal. Rice had five targets and caught one pass for 13 yards, which of course went for -2 yards gained after his celebration penalty.
Bro, you're on celebration suspension for a very long time. You've been surpassed by Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate in terms of talent, it seems, and those guys are a lot cheaper. Actually, we need some money to re-sign Tate....
- Oh yeah, Marshawn Lynch is incredible. I can't believe that he was able to do much when the offense was so fledgling but it's the "Long Con Offense" that allowed Seattle to complete some of those deep passes and then finally see Wilson keep it on the option a few times in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks aren't afraid to keep the status quo going for three quarters before pouncing at the end.
The Seahawks defense is better than it was with Gus Bradley and I think it's fair now to say that Darrell Bevell is going to be a bigger get for an NFL team next year, as far as plucking Pete's coaches go. No offense to Gus, but it's still about the talent.
- See you next week, Gus. According to Pro-Football-Reference's Simple Rating Score, the Seahawks are at +17.1. The Bizarro Seahawks, aka the Jags, are at -17.1.
You won't see me write an "It's okay if we lose" article this week.