Whatever higher power watches over and guards the State Farm Stadium clearly, unabashedly, and unforgivably hates the Seattle Seahawks for reasons I can’t begin to understand. If anything, one would think the guardian angel of the nearly dead Arizona Cardinals would focus its ire on the Pittsburgh Steelers. After all, don’t we share a common hatred for the boy from the city of steel that crush the dreams of NFC West teams trying to claw their way out of the never ending Super Bowl rings jokes of that 49ers friend we ALL HAVE? Shut up, Brad.
As much as I would like to spend the time in this article going off on a rant about how the Seahawks should have never signed Sebastian Janikowski — they shouldn’t have— or how they should have explored options like Dan Bailey and Matt McCrane while they were still on the market — they should have— I have to give him at least this much credit. The two misses today weren’t entirely his fault.
First of all, Michael Dickson did nothing wrong. I say that as the most level headed, unbiased, non-punt fanatic who certainly doesn’t run a pro-Dickson Twitter parody account. All kidding aside, I don’t understand the angle that Dickson was to blame for either field goal miss today. However, on at least one attempt Janikowski wasn’t done any favors by his blockers, specifically Nick Vannett. But, is that fair on Vannett given the defensive scheme?
Missed field goal number 2, again Janikowski pulls it away from a diving defender and misses. I have literally no idea why the commentators would blame these on Dickson. If anyone, other than Seabass, is to blame it seems very clear it's a blocking problem, that's on Vannett imo pic.twitter.com/c5SfaUQDPY— Sean Clement (@SeanFromSeabeck) October 1, 2018
On both missed attempts, Janikowski misses kicking away from a defender rushing off of the edge. Initially when I watched this clip I felt that Vannett didn’t get enough of his man to delay him getting to the kicker. But, looking at everything again —several times— it’s obvious that Arizona went with an overload the right side of the offensive formation. Vannett was effectively asked to help pin one rusher while getting just enough of the outside man to delay his block attempt on the kick.
Verdict? Vannett gets asked to basically do the impossible, barely gets a hand on the outside rusher as a consequence. Janikowski sees the free rusher to his right, kick goes to the left, and a field goal from 52 which is normally a 50/50 shot is missed. But if that play’s concept looks familiar against the Cardinals, it should since a similar play helped cost the Seahawks a win in 2016.
Look, sometimes other team just calls a good play, “the enemy gets a vote” as my old boss used to always say when things went sideways. I bet the Seahawks practice against overload field goal block attempts a few more times as a consequence, but sometimes a kick miss isn’t just the kicker. More than one person “just has one job” including the coaching staff. Luckily the good guys win and Seattle comes home with a W no matter how Pyrrhic. So while the blocking of his second attempt may not have been doing him any favors, sometimes misses just happen. Now, if I could just stop feeling like I watched the unceremonious end of an era...