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We Were Wrong: Panthers graciously cure part of what ailed Seahawks

Now, about that inconsistent offense...

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Christmas preparations trim this week’s We Were Wrong down to three commonly held misconceptions, which will be tested out on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

The run game isn’t dead. It’s just in flux.

It was anemic. They were basically newts out there for a while. But things got bett-ah.

It’s “I.” I got better. Come on, internet.

Last four games

Yards per game: 154

Yards per attempt: 5.8

Explosive runs: 14 (5 by Rawls, 5 by RW)

Previous four games

Yards per game: 58

Yards per attempt: 3.1

Explosive runs: 4 (3 by Michael, 1 by Lockett)

Why so inconsistent? I think the answer is easier than “tough defenses are tough to run against and easy defenses are easy to run against.” Look at how the personnel keeps changing.

Christine Michael is still the team’s leading rusher by volume. 469 yards, 6 rushing touchdowns; nobody else is close. In fact, all other running backs combined have... 472 yards and 4 scores. But when was Michael last a Seahawk? Week 10.

During 2016, the following have come and gone, visiting the Seattle backfield like in-laws at Christmas: always too long or too short of a time, never just the right amount. (Some, like Troymaine Pope, have come and gone and come and gone and come again.)

  • Obviously Michael
  • C.J. Spiller
  • CJ Prosise
  • Alex Collins (gone as in often inactive)
  • George Farmer
  • Terrence Magee
  • Will Tukuafu

To say nothing of the Thomas Rawls injury saga. And say hello to Marcel Reece, the newest fullback, what with Tuk in the concussion protocol.

I mean, we got to the point that Trevone Boykin carried the ball once, comically, to help run out the clock in a blowout.

So who knows what run game will present itself the last four weeks? Who knows what level of health Rawls & the Rawlsettes will enjoy? Who knows what Prosise will contribute, and when?

It’s silly to call the run game dead or incompetent. Instead, it’s a roller coaster. It’s fun! Until you hurl.

The pass rush isn’t at the very top of the league, just near it.

Through Week 11, the Hawks were first in the league in sacks. Then in Tampa Bay they added zero sacks to the tally.

No matter! They were still first before the Carolina game. Only then they added another zero to the tally.

No matter! They’re still fourth before the Green Bay game. Now five off the pace of leader Denver.

(Something to file away for future study: of the top ten teams in sacks at this moment, only two are in playoff position. It’s the Broncos and the Hawks. Otherwise, you’re talking about teams like Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Green Bay.)

To be completely fair to Bennett, Avril, Clark, Marsh and the interior rush, the Panthers employed a “YOU SHALL NOT SACK” mentality, lapsing into max-protect mode on several occasions.

Watch six guys bodyguard Cam Newton here on the Panthers’ lone touchdown. Two linemen on the right side have literally nothing to do but look busy.

Six guys in protection here as well, just a little later:

Carolina was bound and determined to disallow sacks. But in doing so, they bound only themselves into something of an offensive pickle — if you’re only running four receivers, how are they going to get open consistently? It turned into a case of pick your poison with the Seahawks defense, and Ron Rivera picked the poison of Cam not getting slaughtered. Which is a fine strategy if your ultimate goal is to still have Newton upright in Week 14, but not likely to pay you any dividends in the actual game of Week 13.

Earl Thomas isn’t essential, just the greatest luxury ever

He’s irreplaceable, if you’re looking to replace him with an Earl Thomas clone. 29 is the bridge that connects garden-variety defensive greatness to total dominance on a historical level. You’d like to enjoy the latter. Earl helped get you four straight seasons of scoring defense titles. Without Earl maybe you have to settle for the former.

This team can win games with Steven Terrell back there patrolling the deep crevices between hashmarks. How do I know this? Because two potent offenses scored a total of 21 points in about seven quarters when Earl was missing. Three points allowed per quarter is going to win you a whole lot of games not played against the stupid Rams.

Tampa Bay is the 16th-highest scoring offense. No great shakes, right? See, they averaged 21.3 points in their first six games — but then 24.9 in their next six. Jameis Winston ran a 12-9 TD/INT in their first six games -- but then an 11-3 ratio in their next six.

Look at the run defense. The Hawks are third in the league in yards/carry at 3.6. With Terrell in, the Bucs and Panthers averaged, wait for it, 3.7 yards/carry. With zero ground touchdowns.

Nobody will ever mistake Steven Terrell for Earl Thomas. But just like Earl, Terrell has three quarters of a Legion of Boom to lean on, Bobby “MVP” Wagner, K.J. Wright, and a defensive line that does not get the due it is due. Terrell doesn’t have to be a star. He just has to not fuck it up.

OK some quotes from you guys anyway

I can not help myself. Be honored, and ridiculed. They are closely related behaviors.

“With Bennett back, Avril will feast. FEAAAST!!”

Posted by snper on Dec 1, 2016 | 3:15 PM reply rec (2) flag

“Rawls gets tough yards but Offense constantly in 3rd and long. 3rd down conversion rate is less than 20. Lots of punts”

Posted by octagondd on Dec 1, 2016 | 6:52 PM reply rec flag (who had the courtesy to sign his post “Eeyore”)

“Teams have tape on our O now. There’s a blueprint on shutting us down, and the Panthers are a capable team. If the Bucs (the BUCS!) can shut us down like that, so can the Panthers. Also, you can bet your ass their guys will get up for this game. This is Seattle in Seattle!

I still think we’ll win, but it’ll be ugly and low-scoring.”

Posted by Jam Master Nav on Dec 2, 2016 | 10:14 AM reply rec flag

One Solitary We Were Right for fun

“THIS is the week

…with the 40 point effort. And the defense gets even better.

41-6 Hawks.”

Posted by Largentium on Dec 1, 2016 | 7:41 PM reply rec (1) flag

Packers gonna let it snow?

Less of this please:

not a haha moment

And more of this:

nice route, receiver in blue

Snow’s in the forecast. How will that affect things?

Packers are in defensive disarray: Clay Matthews, the Jester of Flop, is their only true linebacker left, and he’s not even all the way healthy. Nick Perry, the GB leader in sacks, is out with a hand injury. The Packers might be 13th in defense by yards allowed, but they’re 20th by weighted defensive DVOA, 23rd by points allowed, and not at all Seahawky by the eye test.

If only the Seahawks weren’t so inconsistent on offense. Riiight?