I assume that by now, the odds that the Seattle Seahawks will ultimately be the number one seed in the NFC playoffs this season are about 99-percent. Given everything we know about how the Seahawks play at home overall, and especially how they played against the team that many thought was the second-best in the conference, I'd say that puts their Super Bowl odds at... mmm...
Seattle absolutely dominated the New Orleans Saints on Monday, winning 34-7 in front of the loudest crowd in history, (as Jon Gruden would say, "That's a WORLD record!"; though he says that about everything) and it was definitely the most complete game by the Seahawks this year. Though it's not like this isn't a trend that we've seen coming.
It seems as though the Hawks were a team shaking off the rust for more than half the year, but since game 10 came against the Falcons in Atlanta, they look even better than the team that steamrolled everyone to finish 2012. The biggest difference this year is that the "rust" still gave them an 8-1 record and the "steamroll" places them at 11-1 with four games left.
That's not just a two-game lead over the Saints and Carolina Panthers, but a virtual three-game lead thanks to head-to-head tiebreakers. With a win over the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday, it'll start to be the time when Pete Carroll has to start deliberating how much he will play his starters over the final three games of the year. Because it'll be all over as far as seeding goes if that happens, for the Seahawks at least.
Over their last three games, Seattle has won by a combined score of 108 to 37. The Falcons and Minnesota Vikings are bad teams, but the Saints are not. At least, they are not usually. Clearly, playing in Seattle was not too kind to them.
The most points that New Orleans had given up this year was 30, and that was nearly matched at half when the Seahawks led 27-7. The most yards they had allowed under the new Rob Ryan defense was 434. Tonight, Seattle put up 429 yards. The most net passing yards they had allowed was 325. The Seahawks put up 302 passing yards behind Russell Wilson, edging close to that number despite having the game well in-hand early in the second half.
The fewest points the Saints had scored was 16. Their lowest yardage output was 347. Tonight they were held to 188.
While Wilson is often compared favorably to Drew Brees, tonight it was Brees that had to do some looking up to Wilson. Like, he could look up at his numbers and think, "Oh man, I remember the good ol' days!"
Wilson was 22-of-30 for 310 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his 16th career game of at least two touchdown passes, the same number that Peyton Manning had through two years. Wilson now has 48 career touchdown passes, which is the fourth-most all-time through two seasons. Of course, Wilson has 48 touchdowns against 16 interceptions:
Carson Palmer had 50 touchdowns and 30 interceptions (and sat for a whole year.) Manning had 52 touchdowns and 43 interceptions. Dan Marino had 68 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
Even if a person did want to point to yardage totals and say, "But-but-but-but... Yards!!" well, Wilson is tacking those on too. His 310 passing yards on Monday was the second-highest total of his career. He had 320 against the Panthers in Week 1.
Through 11 games, the Saints had held opposing quarterbacks to 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 6.7 yards per attempt and a 77.7 passer rating. Wilson had 10.30 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 139.6.
Conversely, Brees had one of his worst games since going to New Orleans and it was definitely a tale of both sides of the ball as Seattle showed off in front of a national audience. Brees was 23-of-38 for 147 yards and one touchdown. His 3.9 yards per attempt was his lowest since 2003. He lost this fumble early in the game thanks to a strip sack by Cliff Avril and an opportune return for a touchdown by Michael Bennett that would set the tone for the rest of the game:
It was a perfect example of the genius of John Schneider and Carroll in not resting on their laurels after signing Avril in the offseason. At that point it seemed like Seattle was winning the offseason, but the addition of Bennett almost seemed like too much.
It clearly was just right.
It'll be hard to imagine what next season could look like if we had to watch Bennett play for another team but he's clearly played his way to a monster free agent contract in 2014. That's all well and fine though because there's still this season to take care of business.
The Seahawks are definitely doing that.
It really didn't seem like the Saints were just being outplayed, but also outcoached. Players were more open than they should have been against a defense that was ranked fourth in points allowed and fifth in yards allowed. All the questions that surrounded Ryan's defenses in Dallas have evaporated so far with New Orleans, but expect them to start condensing up again.
But is it fair? Or are we still just questioning that the Seahawks simply are this good?
This is the most yards the Saints have allowed in the first half of any game since 2005 Week 3 against the Vikings
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 3, 2013
it might end up being fitting that Seattle really proved themselves to millions of people tonight against the New Orleans Saints.
The last team to win the Super Bowl after winning 11-or-more regular season games was the 2009 Saints that went 13-3. Always that frumpy lady that ends up at the bottom of a scrum for the bouquet and never even a bridesmaid, let alone a bride, New Orleans was every bit as embarrassing as the Bucs, Lions and Seahawks.
Finally with Brees and Sean Payton coming together in 2006, they started to gain respectability. It took four years for everything to really come together, but in '09 they won their first 13 games of the season and once they lost and fell to 13-1, basically opted not to play the final two games. They finished 13-3 but were the number one seed and after cruising over the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round, needed every last bit of homefield advantage to beat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game.
Perhaps this is the passing of the torch to Carroll, Wilson, and the Seahawks. Welcome to our city. Thanks for the win, the confidence boost, likely homefield advantage and hopefully, the torch.
If we see you in January, we'll leave the light on for you.
Here's a few points for you to bullet:
- The Saints and Seahawks had the two-longest winning streaks on Monday night. Obviously, only one of those teams has the longest winning streak on Monday night now. And also, still, the best winning percentage in the history of this day.
- I don't care how "immature" you say it is, I can watch that Ed Hochuli clip over and over for the rest of my life.
Here's a video of what Ed Hochuli said - https://t.co/iFIsz4dzDG "stretching out balls" or "switching out balls"?
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_RealUpdates) December 3, 2013
- You could say that I'm getting caught up in the "emotion" of tonight, but I don't care.
If you held a draft with every football player in the entire world, including college players, and said that I had the first pick, I would take Russell Wilson. Maybe I am biased, maybe I am too emotionally attached, but you can't definitively say I am wrong.
If he doesn't hold the most value of any player in the National Football League today, he very well could hold the most future value.
- Hey, follow this guy!!
3 NFC Playoff teams: Saints, Panthers, 49ers. Seahawks have held them to combined 17 points this year.
— Kenneth Arthburr (@KennethArthurS) December 3, 2013
- Buried in the article but pasted in the headline: Barring economic or natural catastrophe, the Seattle Seahawks are headed to the NFL playoffs this year. It is the 13th time in franchise history that they have made the playoffs and the 11 wins is already guaranteed to tie with last season as the third-most in franchise history.
It still feels weird to say so, but the Seahawks will be going to the playoffs for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons.
If they win next week, it will guarantee Seattle their second playoff bye week in franchise history.
- The Saints were second in the NFL at 6.2 yards per play but were held to 3.4 yards per play on Monday.
It was their biggest loss (27 points) since Week 1 of the 2007 season.
Offense, defense, special teams. Indeed, I do believe this is real life.