After a game like that, go ahead and take a little time off Seattle. I tell you what, you get this weekend off and then I'll take a four-day weekend next week. Sound good? Great!
Continued improvement this year was the only thing that would get the Seahawks to the playoffs. It wouldn't be enough to be as good as they were in Week 1, they'd have to be significantly better by the second half of the season to truly be a team worthy of championship considerations. Are we there yet, Ice Cube? I don't know about that, but right now Russell Wilson is definitely the coldest. (Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.)
Seattle is getting better as the season goes on and that really bodes well for our chances of finishing the year at 3-3 in the division and with a berth into the playoffs where anything could happen. Anything could happen. Anything could happen.
Eeeeee! Eeeeee! Eeeeeee! Eeeeee! Eeeeee! Eeeeeee!
At home, once against the Seahawks really hit the lights and the only thing that kept this from being the most complete win of the year for Seattle were a few early miscues. Otherwise, this game could not have gone any better. The Jets are not what I would call a "good" team, but they've also faced a rather brutal schedule. Their five previous losses were to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the 49ers, Texans, at the Patriots, and the Dolphins. They beat the Bills, won at Miami, and beat the Colts 35-9.
The defense has become a shell of it's Revis self, but here is one fun fact: The Jets were 3-0 when forcing multiple turnovers. They forced multiple turnovers yesterday and then wound up getting beat without mercy. It's actually really impressive that Seattle could turn it over twice, one of which leads directly to a touchdown, and still win so easily.
Sea shall overcome.
How easily? Here are my takeaways from Week 10 and the State of Seahawks Nation:
The One Where Russell Wilson Shakes It Off
Seattle came into this game with a record of 1-4 in games where Wilson threw an interception and 2-4 in games when he turned it over. (Lost fumbles to the Cardinals and Patriots.) The first quarter of this game went entirely right, if it wasn't for mistakes that gave the Jets a 7-7 tie with 3:00 left in the opening period and then turned it right back over to start the second.
If not for those mistakes, who knows what the final score would have been. (And why even dare to find out at this point, you greedy bastard.)
"Flushed"? Not unless I'm menopausing.
"Rattled"? Not unless we're shaked and rolled.
"Panicked"? Not unless we're at the disco.
These might have been words to describe how Russell handled early-game pressure against the Jets defense, but Russer is no Buster! It's one of the qualities you have to love about the guy. It's similar to a starting pitcher in baseball that gives up a first inning grand slam.
Yeah, that really sucked, but you still have to come out for the second inning. Except that in football the bullpen is usually a last resort. You have to figure this out if you're the starting quarterback, you can't let a turnover change how you play in the slightest. It's the difference between Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, or Eli Manning against the elite. (How quickly we remember what Eli Manning has been like for a decade.)
I don't know that Wilson is going to become elite, but I have a gut feeling that after watching him start ten games he has one of those qualities.
After another fumble early in the second (recovered by Robert Turbin), Seattle never relinquished control of the football game. Sometimes we need Wilson to be the leader, the player that we win because of, sometimes we need him to be the composed one, the one we win with.
When Seattle took a 14-7 lead after a Jeremy Kerley muffed punt, the Seahawks were basically one more touchdown away from putting this game in the bag at home. It wasn't until the start of the fourth quarter that it happened (31-yard TD to Sidney Rice) but it's still important that we chewed down clock and narrowed the amount of opportunity that the Jets would have to mount a comeback.
A third quarter drive that ended in a Jon Ryan punt still took over five minutes off of the clock and Wilson went 2-for-2 on third down. A fourth quarter drive that nailed the coffin to make it 28-7, still saw Wilson hit Golden Tate on third-and-five and keep the chain moving.
Oh, and Seattle got the ball back with 7:05 to go in the game and it ended with Wilson taking a knee. Almost half of the quarter on the final drive. (With Wilson hitting Zach Miller on fourth and three.)
This game could have gotten out of hand in the first quarter, but Wilson and the rest of the offense managed to manage the game and keep the Seahawks in the lead until an opportunity arose to really put it out of hand. The opportunity knocked, Seattle answered, and on the other side of the door was Mark Sanchez and we let him in for tea and hot tub. Because when Mark Sanchez knocks to face the defense, you always answer.
Wilson stats breakdown:
- 12 of 19, 188 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 7 rushes for 34 yards, 1 fumble.
- It's the fourth time this season that Wilson has posted a QB rating over 100. (131.0)
- Wilson has 10 TD and 2 INT over his last five.
- Russell Wilson only has three fewer touchdown passes (15) than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have combined.
- Holy shit.
- He has never rushed for a touchdown though. His 34 yards are a season-high.
- He is now at 11 TD and 0 INT in five home games.
- I'll have to fact-check this but I'm hearing that he is a third round rookie that's "short." Doesn't sound right though, will have to get back to you on that.
Russell Wilson becomes the eighth player ever to be drafted in the third round or later and throw for 15 touchdowns in his rookie season, the first since Mark Rypien had 18 touchdowns in nine games in 1988. The record is 22 and is a three-way tie between guys that played so long ago that Bob Hope was the halftime show of the championship game.
(Guys ahead of him include Dieter Brock, who was a 34-year-old rookie out of the CFL and 36-year-old Butch Songin of the Boston Patriots, who played in the very first ever AFL game. Obviously, I included undrafted free agents here.)
Fran Tarkenton was a third round pick that threw 18 touchdown passes in 1961. I guess that would be your barometer. That's all... Fran Tarkenton, no big deal.
The One Where The Offense Keeps Rolling
The Seahawks are averaging 372.333(forever) yards per game over their last three games. That would be a top 10 offensive output in terms of yardage, if that was what the team was actually able to maintain. That gives Seattle eleven offensive touchdowns in the last three games after scoring ten offensive touchdowns in their first seven games total. They have 23 first downs achieved by a pass in the last two games.
What's interesting to me is the ground game.
Seattle has the fourth most rushing yards in the NFL, but seventh most per game. The Hawks have been very consistent, rushing for over 100 yards in all but two games (98 against the Panthers, 85 against the Patriots) but have still failed to break off the long runs. Even with Marshawn Lynch having a career-long run against the Lions, Seattle only has three runs of 20+ yards on the year. Only two teams have fewer, and they've all played one less game.
How much will that matter? The Seahawks wear teams down with that Beast Mode and dominated time of possession yesterday (36:11 to 23:49) and lead the NFL in rushing attempts. They were also 5-of-13 on third downs, offensively.
Like I say to Snickers Ice Cream Bars, "More is always better!" so we'd like to see some more of those long, back-breaking runs, but Seattle has been one of the best rushing teams in the NFL without it. If they can find more of those 20+ yard runs, it will be just another improvement that could push the Hawks to the brink of being great.
The One Where We Got Marshawn Lynch For A Fourth Round Pick
Another 1,000 yard season. A career-high 4.7 yards per carry. A career-high 100.5 yards per game. Only 199 yards short of a career-high season. The Vikings with Adrian Peterson have seventeen runs of 20+ yards... Lynch simply does not have bad runs, does not put himself into bad situations, he's willing to go at you and put you in the bad situation.
(Putting in a request of "Lynch disappearing into a pile of players and then the pile just moving along another four yards, as if they were a group of five kids putting on an overcoat and pretending to be an adult" GIF. I'll let you know when I get it.)
The One With Ross and Rachel
Sorry, I mean the one with Rice and Tate-chel.
The first five targets to Sidney Rice were incomplete. The next two were complete and scored touchdowns of 31 and 23 yards.
Golden Tate was only targeted twice and he caught both of them, one of which was a 38 yard touchdown. Also connecting on a touchdown strike to Rice.
All of a sudden the Seattle starting receivers don't look so bad, do they? All of a sudden, Doug Baldwin catches three of four targets for 42 yards. All of a sudden, Zach Miller looks irreplaceable. All of a sudden, the vision that we've been imagining for three years starts to look like a reality.
It's difficult to say that this is it. Not when the team was stopped so badly in San Francisco (I still refuse to acknowledge that Thursday games are legitimate) but all of a sudden, just maybe this is the exact personnel that's going to get Seattle deep into the playoffs.
The One Where The Defense Says "HEY, HEY, LOOK AT ME! DON'T FORGET ME!"
It's easy to ignore that side of the ball when the offense scores four times and ends the game looking like the real deal, but the Jets drive chart is a thing of beauty that few people this side of Mark Sanchez can match:
10 drives (not including the last play of the first half) resulted in seven punts, two turnovers, and a loss of downs. Five three-and-outs. Eleven first downs. 2-of-11 on third down. Only three drives lasted longer than three minutes. (Seattle had six at 3:00 or longer.) Seven drives starting at their 20 or further away from that scoring zone box.
185 yards is the fewest Seattle has allowed all year. Three turnovers is the most they've forced all year. The Seahawks have allowed 145 net passing yards combined over the last two weeks. New York averaged just 3.7 yards per play. (By comparison, the Cardinals offense is 32nd in the NFL with 4.5 yards per play.) Seattle was 2-for-2 in the red zone. The Jets ran three plays inside the Seattle 30. (They spent roughly 4:00 in Seattle territory in the second half.)
The Jets offense isn't good, but normally to get this kind of domination I have to travel to the New York underground scene.
The One With The Rookies
We've spoken at length about Russell Wilson. And I'm going to add this nugget!
Only eight quarterbacks have thrown 20 touchdowns as a rookie: Dan Marino, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Butch Songin, George Ratterman, Jim Kelly, Charlie Conerly, and Peyton Manning.
We talked about Songin. Ratterman was a 16th round pick in the AAFC in 1947. Conerly was a 27-year-old 13th round pick in 1948. What does that leave you with? Manning, Kelly, Newton, Dalton, and Marino.
Russell Wilson is on pace for 24 touchdown passes. Only Manning (26) had more, and he threw 28 interceptions. In fact, the only player on this list that has a better QB rating than what Russ has right now is Marino. (20 TD, 6 INT in 11 games.)
In addition to that guy, Bobby Wagner now has 43 solo and 34 assist tackles. (I heard on the radio that Wagner leads rookies in tackles but can't see where they get that number. Lavonte David has 67 solo, 14 assist. Luke Kuechly has 50 solo and 38 assists.)
Bruce Irvin does lead rookies in sacks, with seven. Wagner and Greg Scruggs each have two.
The One With Richard Sherman's Hat Trick
With Peanut Tillman and Tim Jennings getting all the attention, Sherman got straight Macadamia yesterday. He recorded a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception, not to mention three pass deflections. What kind of production would Sherman need to have over the course of the rest of the season to get recognized for some Defensive Player of the Year love? He should be getting NFC Defensive Player of the Week love for today at least.
Now, I'll need to do some more tracking and research, but I know that he shut down Calvin Johnson. I know that Percy Harvin had nothing. (What I don't know is total number snaps played against those guys.)
Is Sherman the best corner in football? I don't know the answer to that question, but I know that he's one of the answers to that question. And it's a short list.
Seriously, Sherman was a fifth round pick last year. Since the time Sherman was drafted, how many of us have come that far in a year and a half? Not me!
Every elite defense needs that guy. The guy that people point to and say "Remember the Ravens with Ray Lewis? Remember the Bucs with Ronde Barber? Remember the Bears with Mike Singletary?" It's not that those guys were the only elite players on those defenses, far from it, but they're perhaps the player you point to and say "That guy was the best." (Of course Derrick Brooks or Richard Dent would say 'hello.' Hey, you talked to Derrick Brooks!)
It can come in waves. Who is the best today might not be the best tomorrow. It happened with Lewis and Terrell Suggs. It happened with Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, perhaps, to the corners maybe. But who is going to be the Defensive Player of the Year for Seattle if they've got an elite defense?
Earl Thomas? Chris Clemons? Brandon Mebane?
After a game like that, after a dominant performance by the defense without K.J. Wright, after he stepped up for the hat trick, I'd say that Sherman has staked his claim. But this is also why opposing fans seem to come around so often with a bit of excitement on the notion of getting to see Seattle's "young, dangerous defense."
They're not out there to make Friends.
What do you think Golden? Should they follow me?