This is quite forgettable.
My thoughts as I was watching the game last Monday, memorable only for Russell Wilson displaying scrambling, you-spin-me-right-round-baby-right-round derring-do. That boy don't half know how to make your heart race, but when was supporting the Seahawks ever good for your health? So, yeah, that forgettable game. Now unforgettable, and we must not lose sight of the fact just how fortunate we are to be following this band right here, right now; Marv Levy was rarely wrong.
Nothing more could have been asked of Wilson last week. He was beyond sensational. Yep, I realise he fumbled twice, but something bad happening was practically unavoidable. Playing behind a wet tissue of a line, you have to allow him the odd Clark Kent moment. As beautiful an athlete as he undoubtedly is, Wilson's made up of the same stuff we are (who am I kidding?), which means that, just every now and again, some of the brain to sinew missives get intercepted. Every QB makes mistakes. Wilson's are just easier to forgive as, without him under center since 2012, the Seahawks wouldn't be where they are now. I'll admit that they might be close, but it wouldn't have been half as memorable.
Jon Gruden loves himself some Russ and heaped superlative upon superlative upon him (well, it beats sack upon sack) on Monday night. Do you remember Gruden's quip during Seattle's game in Washington last season? Here what I wrote in my Cowboys/Seahawks post the week after the win in the capital:
"That might be the greatest play I've seen Russell Wilson make and that's saying something." Jon Gruden on Monday night after Wilson had magically flipped the ball to Marshawn Lynch on 3rd & 4 with precisely 2:28 on the clock as the ball left his hand.
Gruden would've been roundly forgiven for uttering the very same words after Wilson's first completion to Kearse last week.
Wilson looked like Kelly Stouffer for 98% (that figure will do) of the NFCCG last season, but, even then, 19-7 down with seconds feeling like nanoseconds, had any of us dared to castigate Wilson, Gruden would have simply laughed at us. We're the idiots. And he would've been proved right. I do realise that a Joe Schmo such as I would never be in such a position, but Gruden can laugh at me all he wants. He knows quarterbacks. I just think I know quarterbacks. I don't.
I casually wondered last week whether any Seahawk fans would dream of trading Wilson for Andrew Luck. The answer is of course "no" ("NO!") and the bare naked truth is that, had Luck been playing behind Seattle's offensive line on Monday night, then there's no way the Seahawks would've won. It's undeniable and is why, barring a career ending injury before Father Time naturally intervenes, Wilson will carry the Seahawks farther than Luck takes the Colts. He already has inside three seasons and Luck has a bunch of catching up to do, something that won't begin to happen this season. And you can throw in that there's every chance Luck finds himself having to learn a new offense in 2016.
Kam Chancellor. Where to start? I can add nothing new or insightful here. "PAY HIM!" Damn, even that's been done now. For those who care (I salute you both), you know what I love about Kam? When he speaks to the media, he's as gentlemanly a Homo sapien as you could ever wish to encounter. And he doesn't just reserve that for when after the adrenaline's subsided somewhat in post-game interviews. No, he's the same measured...look, I gotta say this...hero when interviewed on the field immediately after a game.
Richard Sherman likes to turn heads. Earl Thomas has the stare. Chancellor possesses that knowing look in his eye.
We have, suiting up for our beloved Seattle Seahawks, arguably the greatest strong safety to ever play the game. None of us are ever going to see him adequately replaced. The same likely applies to Sherman and Earl. Don't dwell on that for too long as it's kinda depressing. I wonder how many Giants fans took Lawrence Taylor for granted. He changed the way linebacker was played, for Heaven's sake. It's nuts and Chancellor might have the same impact. The day he calls it quits is my first day of seeing a therapist.
I planned to have a say here on the K.J. Wright ruling, but it's futile. Column inches have been devoted to it ad nauseam all week, suffice it to say that that particular spot in the end zone at that end of the field is a magnet for rule-mulling-over, competition-committee-contemplation, ref-bringing-back plays that will simply live forever, and not just in the minds of Seahawks fans.
Dean Blandino says the Back Judge didn't call Wright's bat out of (oh, hell) bounds as it's a subjective call when the truth is that the Back Judge probably didn't even know the rule. Nobody knew the rule. Nobody. Not. A. Single. Person. Not even the officiating crew. Maybe it isn't a rule at all and it's a league conspiracy to have the Seahawks hated as much as the Patriots. Give Seattle a couple of wins in the national spotlight (the whole world will see this! Imagine the outrage on Twitter!) riding the back of two rules that haven't ever been enforced and then sit back and witness the ensuing public relations disaster. Ooh, the brouhaha! Get outta here.
Ain't it just staggering the amount of highlight plays Jermaine Kearse finds himself at the heart of, including two more on Monday; it's not that his actual receptions were memorable, but you get my drift. For a receiver who's much maligned and polarises opinion (hmmm, there's normally only one opinion), he had his TD against the Niners in the NFCCG, the pinball wizard TD in Super Bowl XLVIII, the destination-Super Bowl XLIX TD against the Packers and his circus act catch at the end of said Super Bowl. The latter only proves that not all of his achievements precede greatness, but Kearse cements his place in Seahawks lore with each passing season, more so than Doug Baldwin, who's actually the better receiver. Don't be angry, Doug.
So, how are you feeling going into this one? As worried as you were when Seattle headed to Kansas City last season? I think it's fair to assume that none of us were surprised at how brutal watching that game was. Sunday could be just as bad, barring a couple of things. Old news alert, but the Seahawks haven't allowed an offensive touchdown since Kam's return and, without wishing to tempt fate, Seattle's defense will look across the trenches and see Andy Dalton glancing back. The same Andy Dalton who, when it really, really matters, like in the playoffs, just doesn't get it done. And Sunday, despite the teams being in opposing conferences, should feel like a playoff game. For starters, the crowd should make it so and the Seahawks bring a playoff calibre defense to town.
Dalton has never faced a defense such as this. Sure, the Ravens (in particular) and the Steelers haven't been lacking in defensive prowess since Dalton entered the league, but Seattle's been top of the pile for three years straight and, barring Detroit's final drive last week, has been formidable for the past 120 minutes. OK, Jimmy Clausen's presence for half of that might invite an asterisk, but, as all great teams will proudly boast, you can only beat what's put in front of you, and Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate received their invitations last week and dutifully showed up.
Without researching, I'd stupidly surmised that Dalton's 0-4 playoff record was partly due to the fact that the Bengals were on the road for each contest, but I was wide right. Cincinnati was at home for the 27-10 reversal to San Diego the year the Seahawks won it all. Positive tidings. Then...
...then we read that Bengals receiver Marvin Jones waxes lyrical about Dalton's (sexy?) deep ball. Per the extremely well informed Josh Alper at Pro Football Talk, Dalton has already connected on 20 passes over 20 yards and 5 passes over 40 yards this season after having 33 and 7 in those two categories over the entire 2014 season. Cincinnati, please, please do keep the attempts going on Sunday. That's all I ask of you. That shocking statistic of Seattle not having a single interception to its name so far this season is begging to be broken this week.
Should Dalton start well on Sunday, it won't necessarily be a bad thing. He's not used to the roaring success he's currently enjoying and, if I may be so bold, a little cockiness coursing through his veins won't be an uninvited guest. The braver he feels, the more he believes his receiving corps truly trusts him, might play out perfectly for the Seahawks. This is, after all, Andy Dalton and Cincinnati ain't going 16-0 this year. The bubble will be pricked at least once by an opportunistic defense...
As for the line on this one, you can have Seattle with a field goal, but nothing else. Not even a half point on top of that can be found anywhere, which is probably right I suppose, despite me imagining the line to be 4. Via oddsshark.com, the line actually opened at 1, which is ridiculous. No bloody wonder it drifted out to 3 and probably in about 12 seconds, too. Jeez, Kam's even having an effect in Vegas.
If you're wondering how the Seahawks have fared as a road underdog in the RWE, I can start by letting you know that they've only once been more than a touchdown ‘dog and that was in San Francisco (+7.5) during Wilson's rookie season. They lost 13-6 that night so squeaked home. Here's the complete rundown, including Super Bowls, just for the hell of it:
2012, Week 5: (+3 at Panthers) WON 16-12
2012, Week 7: (+7.5 at 49ers) LOST 13-6
2012, Week 8: (+2.5 at Lions) LOST 28-24
2012, Week 13: (+3.5 at Bears) WON 23-17 (OT)
2012, Div. Play: (+3 at Falcons) LOST 30-28
2013, Week 14: (+3 at 49ers) LOST 19-17
SB XLVIII: (+2.5 vs. Broncos) WON 43-8
2014, Week 11: (+2.5 at Chiefs) LOST 24-20
2014, Week 13: (+2 at 49ers) WON 19-3
2014, Week 14: (+2 at Eagles) WON 24-14
SB XLIX: (+1.5 vs. Patriots) LOST 28-24
2015, Week 2: (+4 at Packers) LOST 27-17
An 8-4 mark ATS to take as you will, entering proceedings on Sunday. As tough as this matchup is, I'm taking the Seahawks and the points. Kickoff time ain't good, but Seattle doesn't blow teams away early anyway so the longer the game wears on, the more it'll suit them. I believe the bigger caveat is the Seahawks coming off what turned out to be a pretty emotional win last week, all things considered. I won't sit there shocked if Seattle is 10-0 behind in the second quarter. Equally, I won't be the least bit perturbed.
Without finishing up by spewing out trends courtesy of oddsshark.com, the only stat you need to know this week is that Seattle's 1-5 ATS in its last six. Crikey.
Please gamble responsibly.