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Cigar Thoughts, Game 5: Please, I can’t keep doing this

The Seattle Seahawks played opossum for most of the game before leaping off the pavement to gnaw the Vikings’ faces off in a 27-26 win.

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

You know how last week I said I loved cereal games? While that’s true, and the occasional reprieve from day-long pregame anxiety is appreciated, it’s still the unique anticipation leading up to primetime football that we live for as fans. In all honesty, I felt pretty calm all day, enjoying some RedZone and hanging out with my wife while the Dolphins kicked the shit out of the 49ers. As kickoff drew near, however, I felt the familiar quickening of my heart and shortening of my wavelengths as I was reminded just how much I love this sweet stress.

Everything about this season, and recent history, portended a Seahawks victory. From Russell Wilson’s incredible home record in night games to Kirk Cousins’ inverse, from Seattle’s 4-0 record to Minnesota’s 1-3. But of course, things are never quite that simple...

The Vikings started the game with the ball and the bloodletting commenced immediately. Running at will, and passing when necessary, Minnesota spent the whole first half sticking leaches to the Seahawks, bleeding them out 4 to 12 yards at a time. The opening drive lasted 12 plays, covered 77 yards, and ate up over six minutes en route to a touchdown. Their second drive lasted 17 plays, picked up 64 yards, and resulted in a field goal. In between, Seattle successfully drove the ball inside Minny’s 30 before ending their possession with the following sequence:

~2nd & 8, 28 yard line: false start
~2nd & 13, 33 yard line: sack
~3rd & 22, 42 yard line: draw play
~4th & 17, 37 yard line: punt

Laaaaaaame. Making matters worse, that was the Seahawks best drive of the entire first half. It was an excruciating first 30 minutes, as the Vikings had the ball for 70% of those two quarters, converting first down after first down while the Seattle offense shivered on the sideline. It wasn’t even like Minnesota was doing anything fancy; they just recognized an inferior defense, lined up, and pushed them off the ball like fluorescent tackling sleds.

Dalvin Cook, a tremendous running back in his own right, had it pretty easy in this one as he consistently was able to near full speed before a single defender could get a hand on him. The Vikings OL bullied Seattle’s front seven and Cook just bounced off the backs of his blockers for first downs all half long. And when he got tired of handing it off, Cousins simply play-acted and sat in pristine pockets while Adam Thielen tied the secondary’s shoelaces together.

It all just seemed so easy for them. And frankly, it’s rude to take so damn long. At least the Seahawks have the courtesy to score quickly, like gentlemen. But this slow, clock-killing trauma is just downright disrespectful— no matter how turgid it makes old school football types. They ran something like 500 plays in the first half and somehow only ended up with 13 points which is weird because it feels like they converted every 3rd down except the two where they then converted on 4th down.

Seattle, meanwhile, only got three real drives in the first two quarters, tacking a 5-play, 17-yard possession and a 3-play, -15-yard one on top of their first fruitless effort. Where the Vikings offset their powerful run game with high-efficiency passes, the Seahawks offset their inability to get open with four sacks. It was so bad that when the teams finally went to the locker rooms, Seattle had 4 net yards passing. 4.

The good news is that Seattle got the ball to start the third quarter but the not good news is that they went ahead and ran it three times for nine yards and punted. Now, I’ve been through enough Seahawks games over the last decade to know that nothing is out of reach for these boys but at that point, it started to feel like maybe this is one of those one-in-a-hundred games where they just don’t have it. The defense was missing half of its best players, the rain was coming down hard, there were no fans, nothing was working on offense... look, it happens. But then I realized something crucial, and I was struck to my very core with spiritual remorse: the whole time this tomfoolery had been unfolding, I was sitting in the same damn place.

The scales having fallen from my eyes, my buddy and I switched spots on the couch, fist-bumped, and watched Fortune change teams like she’d just been traded. What followed was a two-minute avalanche. The Seahawks rained down on the Vikings like the fourth seal of Revelations had been broken, condensing a game’s worth of domination into one minute and fifty-three seconds of clock.

It started out innocently enough— plagues often do before we realize the seriousness of them. The Vikings went three and out for the first time and punted. To begin the next possession, Wilson hit Chris Carson for 13 yards out of the backfield then followed it up with a zip to Greg Olsen for 20 more. After Travis Homer picked up 6 off left guard, Wilson dropped back and took his first real shot of the night. After lofting a ball high down the left sideline, Russ watched as fellow nerd Will Dissly got a step on his man and coasted under it for Seattle’s first score. It was the first real bright spot of the night and despite it feeling like a house had fallen on them, the Seahawks were down just six points at 13-7.

After that, it was on. Alexander Mattison got three yards on the Vikings’ next play, their best of this catastrophic stretch. On the next snap, Cousins went back to Thielen but this time, Shaquill Griffin was ready, diving in to slap the ball away at the marker. The replay on this was actually super cool. I remember watching an old NatGeo show on equatorial Africa and they were taking about cheetahs. In a sequence that I’ll never forget, they showed one of those exquisite cats chasing a gazelle as it bounded and zagged through the plains. The damn thing ran like it was made out of springs, changing directions with a combination of elegance and fear that almost boggled the mind. The amazing part, though, was how the cheetah stayed completely in stride with the poor thing. It was so perfect in real time that it looked fake, so I would go back and watch the chase frame by frame and I’m telling you, the nanosecond that the prey moved left or right, the freaking nanosecond, the predator moved with it, closing the distance between the two each time until dinner was served. That’s what it was like watching Griffin guard Thielen on this particular play, his feet stepping in flow with the receiver’s like well-rehearsed dancers. Flawless coverage on an otherwise difficult night for Shaquill.

And that wasn’t even the coolest play of the series. On the next one, Cousins felt pressure and stepped up into a rapidly collapsing pocket. With LJ Collier and Jarran Reed bearing down on him, Cousins attempted to elude and throw under pressure. As he did, Damontre Moore reached out and clipped his elbow, knocking the ball loose in the throwing motion for what was originally ruled an incomplete pass. Pete Carroll wasn’t about to take the official’s word for it however, and blessed the CenturyLink turf with his red challenge flag. His protestations were rewarded and, since the ball was clearly recovered by KJ Wright, Seattle took over in great field position on Minnesota’s 16.

In order to let everyone catch their breath, Wilson chose an innocent dump-off to Freddie Swain for two yards on the first play post-turnover. Once everyone had their bearings about them again, he pressed his foot on the gas. Dropping back and looking left, the MVP front-runner whipped a pass up the left seam and towards the endzone. Downfield, DK Metcalf was pressing his man into a worried backpedal before breaking hard towards the middle of the field. He dove horizontally in the endzone, his chiseled body intercoursing perfectly with Wilson’s tight spiral for the go-ahead touchdown. 14-13.

After the ensuing touchback, a dazed Cousins wandered back onto the field to try and make sense of things. Sorry, sucker. He faked a hand-off on this, his first and only play of the possession, and rolled right. Seeing uber-rookie Justin Jefferson settling into a zone 10 yards downfield, he lobbed a soft pass in his direction. Unfortunately for him, Wright had drifted back and leaped with all the grace of a circus bear to paw the pass with one hand for his second turnover in as many scrimmage plays.

There was no waiting around for the Seahawks this time; no patience or courtesy. On the very next play, Carson took a handoff and ran up the middle like he’d explode if he went slower than 50mph. He burst through the first and second lines of defense like sheets hanging from a laundry line and squared up All Pro safety Harrison Smith. Smith was apparently unprepared to face his own mortality and sort of swiped at the the ball instead of meeting the rhino head on. Smith got his arms wrapped around Carson but was discarded with one excited twist like a kid’s backpack as soon as they get home from school. Seattle’s incredible running back then sprinted into the endzone for the Seahawks’ third TD in their last four plays, turning a 13-0 deficit into a 21-13 lead in a blink.

Now if this was a normal game with a normal team, that explosion would’ve been the only fulcrum upon which the balance of the game tilted. But the Seahawks are not normal and the Vikings were, to their enduring credit, resilient in the face of such unforeseen adversity. When Damontre Moore split Ameer Abdullah into a trillion atoms on the following kickoff, I assumed that maybe the Seahawks would just stomp them from here on out. Then I remembered who it is I cheer for.

Minnesota bounced right back on their next drive, getting back to basics and converting with chunk play after chunk play. Cook had injured his groin earlier in the third quarter, so Mattison took over in the backfield and actually played even better. The OL got back to winning at the point of attack and those runs helped set up the Vikings’ solid yet unspectacular passing game. They worked the ball all the way back down the field, covering 77 yards on 11 plays like it was the first half all over again. Adam Thielen caught four passes on the drive, including a 3-yard score and just like that, it was back to a nail-biter.

The touchdown brought the Vikings to within two at 21-19 with about four minutes left in the third. There are arguments to be made both for kicking the extra point and going for two, and Minnesota chose the latter. Spreading the offense out, Cousins took the shotgun snap and looked for someone open. Not finding anything to his liking except a gap up the middle, Cousins tucked the ball and ran towards the goal line. Before he could tie things up, however, KJ Wright came crashing in to wrap him up at the 1 and preserve the lead.

With the Seahawks offense back on the field, Russ scampered up the middle for 6 yards on 1st down then hit three quick passes to Carson and Tyler Lockett for 16 more yards. Those throws made him a perfect 15/15 on the day but the streak would vanish like a dream upon waking the moment the broadcast pointed it out. His next pass was a heave to the endzone that David Moore very nearly turned into his weekly highlight with a sky-high jump but the ball clattered away from him as he crashed to the ground. That was followed by a pressured prayer to the endzone again, but the rushed throw out-distanced a wide open Metcalf and the Seahawks were forced to punt.

Michael Dickson was an under-rated star tonight, and this particular pooch was downed on the 3 yard-line, backing the Vikings up against their own endzone— not that it mattered tonight. Like they had done four times already, Minnesota marched meticulously up the field with the same smattering of plus runs and quick passes that they had been employing all evening. It would take 15 hair-pulling plays for them to go the 97 yards that the situation required, and they had the bad manners to use up over eight minutes doing so. The drive culminated with another Thielen touchdown, this one coming from 6 yards out after he turned Griffin’s ankles into goulash on and in-and-out route to make it 26-21.

The sheer length of the Vikings’ scoring drive created some heightened urgency for Russ and Co as they re-took the field. There were only seven minutes left in the game and, with the way things were going, there was a decent chance that this would be their last opportunity to score. That’s why it was so heartbreaking to watch Wilson, on the fourth play of the drive, try and float a scrambling pass down the right sideline towards Carson, only to have it picked off by linebacker Eric Wilson. It was a stunning turn of events, the absolute last thing I expected from that drive in that moment.

With almost any other team or quarterback, that mistake would’ve been a death-knell. The Vikings had the ball at midfield with not much more than five minutes left in the game and a five-point lead. Furthermore, outside of those two minutes where the world turned upside down in the third quarter, their offense had been chewing up time like the Nothing from The Neverending Story. All seemed lost but I think deep down, where we keep our darkest secrets and weirdest search histories, we knew it wasn’t. Not that Minnesota would make it easy.

Mattison started the possession with a back-bending 25-yard run before getting 6 more on the next play and 4 more for another first down on the following one. Then it was Mattison again for another 4 as the clock kept ticking, and then again for 5 more, except wait! A flag! Holding against Minnesota! That not only backed the Vikings up, it stopped the clock in a crucial moment and breathed life into Seattle’s beleaguered defense. Giving Mattison a breather, Mike Boone came in and, on 2nd & 16, ripped off a 12-yard gain to bring up 3rd & 4. After the two teams exchanged timeouts, Cousins handed the ball to Thielen on a jet sweep and it looked for a moment like he’d pick up the game-clinching first down. Instead, he was tripped up and chopped down by Moore and Benson Mayowa, bringing up 4th & inches— and a monumental decision for head coach Mike Zimmer.

Given the two-minute warning to think things through, Minnesota chose to keep their offense on the field. Personally, I loved the decision from a pure try-to-win perspective. Sure, a field goal would be close to automatic from that distance and the resulting 8-point lead would all but guarantee overtime as the worst possible outcome. On the other hand, the Vikes had been running at will against an exhausted ‘Hawks defense and a few inches would slam the door shut completely. Either way, the Vikings had a ~98% chance of winning the game at that point, so you may as well send the “let’s win” message to your guys.

Now the Seahawks had been in this situation against offenses that had been whipping their ass a couple times already this season. Two weeks ago they picked off Dak Prescott in the endzone to preserve a W and the week before that, they shut down Cam Newton at the 1 to do the same. But there’s no way the statistically worst defense in the NFL this year could do it a third time. Right?

With Mattison back in the game, Cousins took the snap and handed it off as his RB, who had already racked up 120 yards in relief, rammed his way off right guard. His lead blocker was hit hard in the backfield by Cody Barton, a collision that changed Mattison’s angle ever so slightly. The momentary delay it caused allowed Mayowa and Bobby Wagner to hit Mattison at the line of scrimmage and bend him backwards for a jaws-of-life stop. And that’s when the real fun began.

1:54 left. Down by 5. Ball on their own 6 yard line. It’s a movie we’ve all seen before but just like they can make 100 John Wick films knowing I’ll watch every damn one, I couldn’t wait to see what Russ would do this time. Adding to the theatrics, the rain and wind that had made themselves felt all night picked up in intensity. The drizzle through which we had watched the whole game up to that point became sheets of precipitation that added both to the drama and the difficulty of the moment.

Act 1: Russell Wilson takes the first snap, drops back into his own endzone, then takes off in to the middle of the field vacated by Minnesota’s prevent defense. 17 yards and a first down, along with some much-needed breathing room.

Act 2: The rain begins having it’s first visible effect on Wilson, as he duffs a pass short of David Moore in the left flat. On 2nd down, he eludes pressure long enough to see Moore break on an in-route across the middle. He reaches back and fires but either the timing or the aim was off and the ball whistled past out of the intended receiver’s reach. Then on 3rd & 10, Wilson steps up and drifts to his right waiting for any one of his covered receivers to break free. With nothing materializing he flings the ball out of bounds right as he gets walloped to the turf.

That third consecutive incompletion was Russ’ seventh in his last eight attempts after the immaculate start, and things began to look very dire. It would take something special to keep hope alive and, given how much trouble the passing game was having in the turbulent weather, I found myself rooting for another Wilson scramble or maybe a short wiggle route from the heretofore quiet Tyler Lockett. Instead, Wilson does what he always seems to in these situations and flopped his dong on the table. On 4th & the game, Wilson drops back, cocks his shoulders and turns his face towards God. He chucks a ball deep down the left sideline, the team’s fate hanging in the balance as the ball spins raindrops off it like the wake behind a torpedo.

As the ball descends, the camera finds DK Metcalf expertly undercutting the coverage and leaping up to snag it before dragging both feet in bounds for a heroic 39-yard completion. Of course.

Act 3: 1st & 10 on the Vikings’ 21 with exactly one minute left. With the entire tenor of the game changing, Wilson goes back up top towards Metcalf but this one falls incomplete. No matter, it’s time to get Lockett involved anyway. Bang. 17 yards to the little one for a first down. After an incompletion, Wilson zings another one into Metcalf, this time on a slant route to the right for 15. 1st and goal.

Four plays and 32 seconds to get 6 yards and the win. It seems inevitable now. Wilson takes the snap and drops back against the Vikings blitz. The pass rush gets to him as Russ fires a ball towards the front left pylon. Lockett turns and, with the pass arriving perhaps earlier than expected, gets his hands up just in time for the pass to ricochet off of them and out of bounds. On 2nd down, Wilson looks right and finds an open Metcalf on an arrow route inside the right pylon. The pass hits the receiver between the 1 and the 4 just before the defender arrives for what appears to be the go-ahead score, but as the players tumble to the turf, the ball bobbles loose and is ruled a deflating incompletion. Replay shows Metcalf with control of the ball and two feet in the endzone before it came out, but the booth declines the opportunity to review— 3rd down.

Back to Metcalf, this time on an out-and-up, but the route is deftly cut-off by the defensive back and the throw sails incomplete out of the endzone. 4th down. Again. All of a sudden, the nearly-assured loss that had been magically transformed into a nigh-guaranteed win was very much in doubt again. One play to end the madness, one way or the other.

Seattle’s red zone proficiency this season has been the best in the NFL, and that execution was about to be put to its biggest test yet. As Wilson receives the snap, he steps back and lets things develop. Nothing there. Pass rush bearing down as he scans the field— still nothing. No time to wait anymore, gotta make something happen; throw now or die. Just then, a window of serenity appears amid the chaos— a small gap of sunshine in the tempest.

Wilson winds up succinctly and delivers a strike into a tiny gap between defenders in the endzone. Enter DK Metcalf, flying through the air like an archangel with flaming sword drawn. Reaching for glory, his mammoth hands find the football and hug it to his broad chest as he skids across the ground with a defender on top of him. The ball doesn’t so much as quiver in his grasp. Touchdown, Seahawks.

It is in those moments that I lose all sense of everything outside of the game— and I know I’m not alone in that. It is the awesome anguish that accompanies being a fan of such a ridiculous team, but the payoff is a joy that for some reason remains unique to that very specific experience. The only downside was that I bet the over at 54.5 and Seattle’s ultimately inconsequential 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the total at 53. Money I’m happy to lose.

From there, all that was left was for the credits to roll, and Seattle escaped with their 5th and most improbable win of the season.


~Russell Wilson had a weird game tonight. He was heroic when he had to be but spent much of the night looking either hesitant or overly patient as he waited for deep routes to develop. As such, the Vikings seemed content to drop 6 or 7 players into coverage while they waited for either A) the pass rush to get home or B) Wilson to check down. The former happened a lot more than the latter, and the result was a halftime line of 6/6 for 31 yards with 4 sacks erasing 27 of them.

Once he turned the stove on in the second half, however, we saw more of what’s launched Wilson to the front of the MVP conversation this year. He looked far more decisive— willing to throw short passes or take off running as the situation dictated. It was those easy wins that opened up the deep ball, and once that menu became available, Wilson gorged himself. His efficiency took a dip as a result (he completed just 5 of his final 17 passes) but the increased leverage on those throws are a big reason they won.

His final line is pretty but not mind-blowing: 20/32 (62.5%) for 217 yards (6.9 Y/A) with 3 TDs and 1 INT for a passer rating of 100.6. Even so, his season-long numbers remain elite:

+Yards: 1502 (2nd)
+Touchdowns: 19* (1st)
+Completion %: 72.5 (3rd)
+Yards/Attempt: 8.9 (3rd)
+Touchdown %: 11.2* (1st)
+Passer Rating: 129.8* (1st)

*on pace to set single-season NFL record

This game can be securely classified in the bottom third of Russell Wilson performances and it still produced 3 TDs and a miracle win. If tonight is his floor, man...

~In barely more than a season, DK Metcalf has gone from “I hope he’s good” to “future Pro Bowler” to “potential All Pro” to “on a Hall of Fame track”. It sounds hyperbolic, even to me, but his numbers at this early point of his career are as good or better than the likes of Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald, and Randy Moss. In only 21 games, Metcalf has caught 80 passes for 1,396 yards and 12 TDs. And that’s not even counting the 11 receptions for 219 yards and a score in his two playoff games.

His greatness was on display tonight, despite recording just one catch in Seattle’s impotent first half. What he did down the stretch is what the all-time greats do; commanding high-leverage targets in big-time moments and delivering on those opportunities despite being the defense’s priority. Wilson threw him the ball a team-leading 11 times tonight and he converted those opportunities into 6 catches for 93 yards and 2 TDs, all off which also led the team. He is the alpha now, and his trajectory is pointed straight up.

Nothing highlights DK’s arrival quite like the fact that with the game on the line, Wilson trusted him with everything. He eschewed the check down on 4th & 10, instead putting faith in Metcalf to haul in a 40-yard bomb. And when they were near the goal line at the very end, it was DK that received Russ’ final three targets, and he rewarded that faith with his second game-winning score of this young season.

On the season, Metcalf now has 496 yards and 5 TDs at 22.6 yards per catch— numbers that rank 2nd, 3rd, and 1st in the NFL respectively. He is 22 years old.

~There wasn’t much else to help Wilson in the passing game tonight. Tyler Lockett turned in his second straight quiet performance, channeling 5 targets into 4 catches for 44 scoreless yards. I’m not concerned with Lockett, because I think some games just find him more than others, but I think he’s officially the 1A to Metcalf now. Still, his year-to-date numbers are very impressive, as he ranks 9th in catches, 19th in yards, and 6th in TDs.

~Beyond that, it was Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Freddie Swain, and David Moore turning 7 combined targets into 4 catches for 53 yards and a score. Nothing special, nothing crazy but enough— at least for tonight.

~Chris Carson was awesome today. He ran with his usual ferocity, racking up 52 yards and a touchdown on just 8 carries but it’s been as a receiver where he has really separated himself this season. He caught 6 of 7 targets tonight for 27 yards, giving him 21 grabs for 140 yards and 3 TDs through the air already. He’s on pace to obliterate last year’s career highs in every single one of those categories and has earned Brian Schottenheimer’s faith as a key element of Seattle’s elite passing game. Carson now has 453 total yards and 6 TDs on 82 touches, and is firmly establishing himself as a top-10 back in the NFL.

With Carlos Hyde out, it was Travis Homer who spelled Carson and while his numbers (14 total yards) don’t say a whole lot about his impact, it wasn’t by accident that he was the one out there on the game-winning drive. Lost in the valor and excitement of the drive-saving 4th down bomb to Metcalf was Homer in the backfield, sprinting out to the right edge and hurling himself in front of a pass rusher to protect Wilson. The Seahawks honestly don’t win this game without that block.

~This defense struggled mightily again today. In terms of yards allowed, they are putrid by every measure. And points allowed doesn’t reflect much better. They’ve become a soft underbelly upon which opposing offenses can feed, no matter how strong or frail they might be. They are nothing but a shadow’s shadow of the great defenses we became accustomed to in Seattle, yet time after time they have stepped up in the biggest moments. And as much as I do believe those are character plays, and as grateful as I am for them, I know that 59 minutes of incompetence followed by five seconds of glory is not a sustainable model of success. There is some forgiveness to be meted out in the wake of injuries to Jamal Adams, Marquise Blair, Bruce Irvin, and Jordyn Brooks; but there are wholesale systemic improvements that need to be made.

~Not that tonight was without individual bright spots. The DL flashed a few times, as Jarran Reed wore the Vikings OL out, stuffing four runs, redirecting a humber of others, and applying pressure to Kirk Cousins throughout. He played the kind of game the franchise paid him to play. Elsewhere, LJ Collier got his first career sack tonight and was joined in that category by Benson Mayowa and Damontre Moore. Seattle’s pass rush has predictably struggled this year but it was nice to see those guys get a notch on their belts.

~The linebackers were busy tonight, too. KJ Wright might have had his best game of the season, and that’s saying something after last week. I will admit that I kinda thought he was on his way out, a placeholder until the younger, quicker guys were ready to take over, but the last two weeks have reminded me the value of his skill and veteran guile. He didn’t have a ton of tackles, but he broke up two passes, picked one off, and recovered a fumble. His turnovers on consecutive defensive snaps swung the tide at a time where Seattle needed it desperately.

Likewise, I’ve been pretty hard on Cody Barton since injuries have forced him onto the field (I just want to see him make one tackle that’s more than hanging onto a ballcarrier’s legs while getting trucked) but he had a few big plays tonight. And while most of his team-leading 14(!) tackles came at the end of medium-to-big plays, his largest contribution came on the final 4th down stop. He won’t get credit for the tackle on the play, but he’s the one that blew it up, much like Delano Hill did when they stopped Cam Newton three weeks ago.

Bobby Wagner did all he could today but I can’t help but feel like he’s trying to do more than even he is capable of. With little to no QB pressure, and receivers consistently getting a step on Seattle’s secondary, it seems like Wagner is having to chase more than usual. I don’t fault him for it— someone has to make a play and he’s the best defender on the field, at least with Adams out. His effort resulted in 14 tackles, which gives him 52 on the year— just one off the league lead.

~The secondary just looks so, so tired. They’re simply overmatched without Adams and I’m not sure they’re not even with him. It was great to have Dunbar back but I’m not sure how much it mattered against Adam Thielen tonight. Regardless of who he was lined up against, Minnesota’s #1 option created space all evening en route to 8 catches for 90 yards and 2 TDs. The Seahawks have faced a bazillion more pass attempts than any other team; part of that is because the offense has scored so prolifically but it’s also because why the hell wouldn’t you throw on these guys right now? I have faith that this aspect of their game will improve because A) Pete Carroll is the most accomplished defensive backs mind in football history, 2) Jamal Adams will presumably be back after the bye and D) how can they not get better than this?

~The Seahawks won this game without converting a single third down. I don’t know if that’s ever happened before, so what made it possible? Well, committing just 3 penalties goes a long way, for starters. So does special teams. Last week we gave some overdue love to Jason Myers (still perfect) and this week it’s Michael Dickson’s turn. Dickson shone brighter than any other Seahawk for much of this game, booming one kick for 60 yards while pinning his other four inside the 20— including three inside the 3! Special teams have been a struggle for the Seahawks the last few years, so I want to make sure I’m not taking this year’s excellence for granted too much.

5-0, man. In their 45 year history, the Seahawks had never done that before. Until now. 5-0 is a huge deal, and keeps Seattle in the driver’s seat for the division and the conference. NFL wins are, as you’ve heard me say many times before, difficult to come by and each one should be celebrated regardless of the route taken to get there. I’ve been saying for months that this would be a special season for the Seahawks and we’re seeing that come to fruition in a series of remarkable ways. I love that Seattle can and does win these heart-stoppers, but I’m ready for a reprieve. Fortunately, the bye hits this week so the team (and us) can rest up and reload. So until a fortnight from now— onward, upward, and go ‘Hawks.

Jacson on Twitter | Cigar Thoughts Hub | Cigar Thoughts Facebook


Primetime games deserve primetime cigars, so I unwrapped a Long Live The King from Caldwell. Caldwell is known for having a mellow, easy-smoking stogie but this one delivers a little more punch than the rest of their roster; and I loved it. I partnered it with a new whiskey, for me at least, in the Kavalan Classic. Hooooly shit. Such a clean taste— really opens up the palate and let’s every flavor in.

For the second straight year, I am STOKED about our partnership with Seattle Cigar Concierge. They have the plug on some of the most insane stogies on the market and they’re has offering them to Cigar Thoughts readers for 20% off. These are high-end sticks, and among the most enjoyable I’ve ever smoked. To get the hookup, just email They are carrying over 70 cigar brands with many rare releases, including Davidoff, OpusX, and Padron. You can also hit him up on Twitter: @SeattleCigars

The 2020 season of Cigar Thoughts is also proud to be sponsored by Fairhaven Floors and Brandon Nelson Partners in Bellingham, WA.