Opponent coming off a bye.
Road game. In Foxborough. Versus Tom Brady.
Without Michael Bennett, Thomas Rawls, a proven third linebacker — and without a running game.
It quacked like a loss all week. But in the end, the game’s only duck landed in DeShawn Shead’s cradle.
(That’s some great in-pocket mobility by Brady. But sometimes results override process, oh well, sure is a shame.)
With most users aboard the U.S.S.F.G. pessimistic about the Hawks’ chances, it was easy to find wrongness, even though this column got skipped for writer’s block reasons in the run-up to the game. Please enjoy the following errors of analysis and prediction.
Offensive offensive line
“The Hawks will lose because the OL will be mediocre again. I expect more of the same. Very little running game and constant pressure on Wilson.”
(If the Hawks had lost, it would have been more because of the game’s long bookend drives. The Pats went 4:42 for 75 yards and a touchdown on their first drive. They then went 4:13 for 74.95 yards and a non-touchdown on their last drive.)
Instead, Seattle committed to the run: 26 attempts. It wasn’t the most efficient running attack in franchise history: 3.7 yards per carry. No touchdowns.
But consider the context: coming in, the Hawks had been outgained 790-603 on the ground. Let me repeat. The Seattle Seahawks, a team known for their running game and stingy defense, had been outrushed by almost 200 yards so far. So when the Hawks notched 15 more yards — on two fewer attempts — than the Patriots, it signaled a potential return to rushing productivity. At least to a little more productivity than their opponents. Which is good. One more rushing yard allowed at the end could’ve swung the outcome.
As far as pass protection, Wilson was sacked three times but QB hits continue to be low. We’re at 55 smacks taken for Wilson now through nine games. That’s 6.1 per game and good for 14th most in the league.
By way of half-frightening, half-encouraging comparison, RW took the third-most hits last season, 7.1 per game.
Nobody is going to mistake this Seahawks OL for Dallas’ unit. However, nobody should mistake it for the 2015 unit, either.
Playing on the road: not always a chore
“Gillette Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the league”
From Mike Bar’s story here on gameday.
Mike, Mike, Michael. Mr. Bar, sir. Pete Carroll disagrees with you strongly, and he was there.
From his interview on 710 ESPN the day after, here’s how Pete described the atmosphere.
“"OK. It's not a great place. They weren't nuts. It's because they're so used to winning. There was a time when they kicked their last field goal to go ahead, and it was like a round of applause for the nice effort. Gosh, our guys would be going berserk.”
Maybe Carroll’s giving lip service to the Twelves, like any good coach or player would. But if you were there at the game, please corroborate or dispute Pete’s thoughts below. I know some of you attended. Because there are a lot of you.
Speaking of Mr. Carroll
“You can bet
Pete has something up his sleeve for the Pats too. This game has been marked on the calendar for a long time.”
No trick plays! Tanner McEvoy wasn’t even active, so we didn’t get to see our semi-secret weapon get deployed either. I guess it wasn’t necessary?
An interesting angle to consider for the Eagles game -- with Philly ranked number 1 in defense AND in special teams by DVOA, the chances of a trick play seem increased. It might be harder to score points or flip the field in conventional ways. Just a thought.
Third down? Avert your eyes, maidens
“The Hawks are giving up too many third-down conversions to win.
If NE converts like they have been, and Seattle allows conversions like they have been, it will be a long, long day that ends sadly.”
Posted mentally by me, often on Weeks 1-19, 2016 | AM & PM reply rec flag
NE had been converting 47.2 percent of third downs coming in, third best in the league; Seattle had allowed 42.9 conversions coming in, seventh worst. The matchup was bad on paper. Something needed to give if the Hawks were to pull off the upset.
At first glance, nothing gave. NE was 6-10 on third down overall. The Pats overperformed and the Seahawks, if it’s possible, underperformed. Yet here’s a situation where the stats tell an incomplete story.
Four NE drives lasted five plays or fewer. Only one such drive for Seattle.
The hosts’ last two chances to convert failed. Once because Brady remembered to be human; once because Kam remembered to be superhuman.
Meanwhile, the visitors’ last two chances to convert succeeded. On third-and-four with 7:30 left, Wilson connected with C.J. Prosise. On third-and-three with 4:30 left, he found Doug Baldwin.
Timing of those third-down conversions, and finishing possessions, ended up mattering more. Seattle scored on seven of nine possessions; NE on just four of nine. Granted, the Hawks could’ve done much, much better in the red zone. But when you rack up enough field goals and your opponent doesn’t because their drives flame out early, hey, turns out those kicks add up.
Does anyone remember the read-option? No?
“Expect RPO and RO to start showing up more frequently in the 2nd and 3rd quarter.”
That was in the middle of an excellent comment by Glazeone, who made seven or eight spot-on points at the same time. Click on the link and read. It’s really good insight. So I’m highlighting his prediction not because of its wrongness, but because of how its timing appears to be wrong. With RW re-approaching full health, it seems like the time to exploit defenses with his legs, the time to make people spy him, the time to set up late RO’s with early handoffs — that time seems upon us.
My hunch is that Glazy was only off by a few quarters of football.
Turnovers and yards spell destiny
“Maybe by the end of the season we’ll be ready to give the Pats a game, but here in week 10, we’ll probably need a few turnovers to keep our victory hopes viable. There’s no way the Pats won’t gain at least 400 yards of total offense in this game, and win time of possession.”
Technically: 397 yards of total offense. Just barely wrong.
Technically: TOP went Seattle 30:25, New England 29:35. Just barely wrong, again.
But the turnovers showed up! Brady’s pick and Edelman’s butt fumble were game-changers. When DeShawn Shead practically fair-caught the Brady deep ball, it was on first down. Who’s to say how that drive ends, otherwise? When Kam relieved Julian Edelman of his ball-carrying duties —
— the Hawks turned that into six points. Not seven, not eight, but six. The six they needed in the end.
See, you were three yards and 30 seconds from being right all around, 99.
It wouldn’t be a FG post without some mention of flags, now would it
“I foresee a ton of B.S calls against the Hawks in this one with all the ‘controversy’ the national media has created about Hawks getting calls their way this year. The refs will try to make up for that I believe so that will probably be huge in this game.”
You were wrong; you too, mystery reccing person.
Total penalties: 8 for 60 yards against Seattle; 7 for 61 yards against New England.
No OPI’s on Kearse & Friends, no DPI’s on Sherman & the Defensive Holderettes. Nice change of pace, frankly.
So there were two personal fouls called on the Hawks. Both were questionable, yet defensible. It looked like a facemask on Sherman in real time; it was in reality a low hit on Brady that Chancellor delivered, regardless of intent or loss of balance or tripping or whatever other circumstance you want to attach. Nothing egregious befell the Hawks, except for the fact that Cliff Avril got held on every single play. But that happens every week to every defensive end. If I were Avril, I honestly would get ejected from every game.
Given a chance at the end to bail out the Patriots and exact some sort of make-up anti-Seahawk master-coordinated-plan conspiracy revenge, the referees respectfully declined.
These refs suck so much, they’re even bad at carrying out their assigned conspiracies!
Fine, fine, We Were Right too
For a change, let’s close with a couple of “We Were Right After All” roundhouse kicks:
“Not a betting man but
If I had 1000 to risk, I’d absolutely bet it on the Seahawks to beat the spread.”
Don’t get any ideas, fargo.
“I like the Seahawks’ chances.
Game day; here are the vitals that I am watching for:
Is the refereeing comparable to last week? Will the O-line continue to provide about three seconds during (most) passing situations? Can Russ scramble and pick up a first-down with his feet if the situation arise? Can the D prevent the 30+ yard plays the NE tight-ends are capable of? Will Lane be more than competent opposite Sherman? Will the refs notice and call clear pick plays unlike in the N.O game? Will the offense (hopefully) go pass-heavy? Can the OC call a steady and effective mix of passing concepts within plays and personnel groupings good mix (he did mix in some new offensive concepts last week I believe.)
Things we can count on: Bobby Wagner making things tough for Blount, Kam making some tackles that make the slot receivers think twice on those crossing or shallow routes, Earl Thomas flashing and making plays and matching up, CJ finding running lanes better than CM and making the key running plays where a back gains 2 or 3 yards when it looks like nothing is there, CJ converting some 3rd plays with his pass-catching ability and receiver background, Baldwin getting separation with ridiculous route-running precision, Jimmy Graham doing Jimmy Graham stuff, Lockett setting the offense up with good field position during a key return before half-time.
This is a match-up of the two top QBs in the league. Most people seem to say Brady is light-years ahead of everyone else in terms of QB’ing but the more than a decade younger Wilson is right there. It is true that Brady could throw for 5 scores but Wilson and the offense can very much do the same to NE’s defense.
All in all, I think we are in for an excellent game.”
Holy shit that was so right on — somebody give that user a football job. Being right.