The Hawks, as a group, are playing for something tomorrow. A big, collective, cool something. Even though Seattle has won nearly half of the division titles since realignment, winning another pennant is still worth celebrating.
But won't someone think of the selfish angles involved?
Someone has. Below lies an ordered list of what kind of cool stat each player is aiming for on Sunday. Like a new career high, an improvement over 2013, maybe even the league lead in some shiny category. Maybe consider this a compilation of something extra to watch for if the game gets out of hand late in the third quarter, and something to ignore if it's 16-13 midway through the fourth quarter.
3. Russell Wilson
As Kenneth mentioned on Christmas Eve, Wilson would need to go 25-30 with five TD and no interceptions tomorrow to bring his passer rating up from 95.7 to an even 100. So, more realistically, RW needs:
- One more all-purpose TD to tie last year's total of 27, four more to tie his career high of 30.
- To avoid being sacked five times, to stay under last year's total of 44
- To complete 13 of 18 passes, or better, to lift his completion percentage above last year's 63.1
- To throw one fewer interception than Aaron Rodgers in order to tie him for fewest among starting QBs
- 122 yards or more to set a new personal high in passing yards.
Those are the doable ones.
Unrealistically, 158 yards rushing would put him at 1,000 for the season.
Unrealistically but not impossibly, if he rushes five times for 94 yards, he'll raise his average to 8.0 per carry.
4. Steven Hauschka
Even after missing seventy-four field goals against the Cardinals last week, Hauschka is within striking distance of his career high of 33 field goals. He's at 29.
Accuracy-wise, he'll be shooting to lift himself out of the 82.9 percentage at which he sits, because that would be the worst of his career. If he has a perfect day, with at least one make and zero misses, he'll avoid that fate.
10. Paul Richardson
Richardson's longest catch: 22 yards. Maybe tomorrow's the day to set a new mark.
22. Robert Turbin
Seattle's bicepiest backup has gone a long time since his only 100-yard game: Dec. 9, 2012, in the epic 58-0 dismantling of the Cardinals. He's also, improbably, still looking for his first rushing TD. Ever. One begins to wonder if 875 yards rushing is the most ever compiled without an accompanying touchdown.
Turbin also needs 14 carries to repeat last season's 77, and 17 carries to repeat his rookie year's total of 80.
24. Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn last year: 301-1257-12-4.2
Marshawn this year: 266-1246-12-4.7
(It's like he's collecting 12s guys. He also scored 12 touchdowns in 2011.)
He's chasing a lot:
- 209 yards to his best year in terms of total yards from scrimmage (1786)
- 1 receiving TD to reach 5, as many as all his previous seasons combined
- Leads the league in total TD, with 16 FEED THE BEAST
- Also tied atop league lead (with DeMarco Murray) with 12 rushing TD
- 130 yards to reach 6,000 even with the Hawks
- A chance for 5.0 YPC this year, if he somehow goes 14-154
Advanced stats-wise, Lynch owns a slim 356-352 lead in DYAR over Murray. He also will hang on to the individual DVOA lead unless Jamaal Charles goes nuts -- Lynch is ahead 24.4 to 20.5.
25. Richard Sherman
One more little pick wold give him five, which would also give him the NFL record for most in any CB's first four years, with 25. Just throw at him once, Shaun.
We use the four-season mark because it's not sporting to just count just the last three.
Three more interceptions Sunday (I know I know) would allow him to catch Glover Quin for the league lead, with 7.
29. Earl Thomas
I don't have much of anything for ET. He's got three goals Sunday:
- play for his brothers
- squeeze in time to do something no other human could.
Same as every Sunday. 3-0, every week, baby.
Wait -- with another forced fumble, Earl will tie for the league lead among safeties, with three.
33. Christine Michael
200 yards isn't a great milestone but it's a cute round number. Michael needs 27 yards to get there.
More interestingly, he could finish as the top Seattle back by YPC. He's at 33-173-5.2, well ahead of Beast's 4.7 average. Michael would need to carry the ball seven times for 15 yards to fall to 4.7 YPC, without seeing Lynch's average rise. Robert Turbin isn't much of a threat at 4.1 YPC unless he breaks a big one and nothing else.
50. K.J. Wright
K.J.'s career highs in tackles and assists are 68 and 34 respectively. He's got 69 and 31 in each category so far so a few assists would help him set new marks in both.
One more pass defense and he'll tie his career high of five.
All on top of already reaching a new personal best for "paycheck."
51. Bruce Irvin
Remember 2012 Bruce Irvin, of the eight sacks? 2014 Bruce Irvin has a decent shot at tying or besting that mark. He needs 2.5 sacks on Sunday to get to eight.
Since we're remembering Bruce and Rams LT Greg Robinson is not good:
54. Bobby Wagner
With injury keeping Wagner out for an extended stretch this year, it's an obscure flavor of recognition that he's chasing: the league lead in Football Outsiders' Tackle Factor. Lion D. Levy is at 1.68, Wagner sits at 1.67. Problem is we won't know until well after the game. Root for lots of tackles made and few missed.
56. Cliff Avril
The recently retained Avril is on a six-year streak of registering five or more sacks in each season. He needs at least half a sack tomorrow to keep it alive. We would accept a full sack, with a full fumble.
64. J. R. Sweezy
Sweezy has played 1,123 snaps this year, tops on the team. That's up from 1.082 last year, which was third. I'm not sure what he's shooting for here because he's 52 ahead of Justin Britt, so he'll lead the Hawks this time around. But not everyone knows that J.R. plays every snap on offense and 30 percent-ish of the time on ST. Now they do know, though, so mission accomplished.
72. Michael Bennett
Bennett needs two sacks to tie his career high of nine, set with Tampa Bay in 2012. But Black Santa is also tied with Panther Charles Johnson atop the NFL in QB hurries with 50. That's cooler.
If you add QB sacks, hits and hurries, you also get the following standings:
1. Charles Johnson, 67
2. Michael Bennett and Junior Galette, 66
4. Ezekiel Ansah, 62
5. Cameron Wake, 61
That wouldn't be a bad list to headline.
81. Kevin Norwood
Norwood has yet to catch more than two passes in a game, and yet to register a catch longer than 19 yards. With Jermaine Kearse likely out (hamstring), Norwood figures to see more time, and maybe he can produce Kearse's average line over the past two years: 4-29 with a third of a TD per game.
All those would be new personal bests for the rookie and would help the team not miss Jermaine nearly as much.
82. Luke Willson
With a nice game, Willson could conceivably pass Zach Ertz and Jason Witten for 5th place in total WPA among tight ends, as calculated by Advanced Football Analytics. They're both at 0.81; he's at 0.79.
That's what happens when you're 29th in receptions, 21st in yards -- but third in yards per catch.
One final pretty, pretty picture:
83. Ricardo Lockette
Could use five more yards to reach 200. With a big game, like, say, 75 yards receiving, he'd reach 270 for the season, or one yard more than the rest of his career put together.
89. Doug Baldwin
PDB had a nice rookie campaign, as you recall. 788 yards that season, catching passes from Tarvaris Jackson. Well, Baldwin is just six yards shy of matching that total.
97. Jordan Hill
Hill has an outside chance at the team lead in sacks. Just like we all figured back in training camp. He needs to out-sack Michael Bennett by two tomorrow in order to tie for the team lead.
99. Tony McDaniel
McDaniel does not have a sack this season. In every other season in which he's played at least half the games, he's compiled a sack, or half a sack. He's running out of time to poach one.