I'll be honest with you. This one was kind of tough. In a game where you get blown out AND shut out, it's tough to figure out whether it's an offensive or defensive player who really deserves the game ball. I was tempted to go with Earl Thomas because, well, he's a stud, but instead decided that for this week's game, I'm giving the game ball to Jon Ryan, my favorite punter of all time.
Ryan had himself a good game, if taken in a vacuum. He had to work quite a bit, and from deep in his own territory. That's when he becomes like a wolverine or badger or very ferocious animal when backed into a corner. You don't mess with Jon Ryan when you have him surrounded on all sides because he's going to fight his way out of that situation and it's going to be grisly.
Jon Ryan punted eight times and averaged 48.1 yards per punt. Here's what each of those punts looked like:
-- Punted 55 yards from in the Seahawks endzone, -2 yard return. Good.
-- Punted 55 yards from Seahawks 39 to Pittsburgh's 6 yard line. The Seahawks forget that you have to tackle the returner, and he runs it back for 40 yards. Even Jon Ryan can't help that kind of incompetence.
-- Punted 45 yards to Pittsburgh 7 yard line (returned 10 yards... not bad).
-- Punted 42 yards to Pittsburgh 33 (no return) .
-- Punted 46 yards to Pittsburgh 24 (5 yard return... nice).
-- Punted 37 yards to Pittsburgh 41 - downed. Not the best punt on the day.
-- Punted 59 yards to Pittsburgh 3, returned for 8 yards. Booyah.
-- Punted 46 yards to Pittsburgh 16, returned for no gain.
He's averaging 48.6 yards per punt on the year. That's Numero Uno in the NFL. He's also tied for first in the NFL with his long punt of 77 yards. He's first in the NFL in total yards, but that's probably due to the Seahawks' need to punt all the damn time. Regardless, he's off to a good start and there's reason to be happy about that.
So, game ball, Mr. Ryan.
Oh, and let's revisit this again, shall we?