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Let Russ Cook: Taking your questions on the air

In which we address pie, and football too, okay fine, gosh

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
better than let carson burn
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

You’ve got questions after two narrow Seattle Seahawks wins, which is a redundant turn of phrase because a) you’ve always got questions, and b) even the Seahawks’ blowouts are one-possession affairs.

“The Seahawks destroyed the Eagles, so why did they only win by six?”

“Is Let Russ Cook kaput after a few losses and two straight low-volume games?”

“Is the best pie pumpkin, or leftover pumpkin?”

I’ll take them one at a time. In reverse order, because the important stuff must be addressed right out of the gate.


The true measure of a great pie is versatility. There are many pies that will serve as a meal’s climax and fulfill their destiny with quiet purpose and regal grace. Apple, marionberry, peach, even pecan if you have to settle for it. It’s all right, little better than all right, I guess.

Only two will make a superior breakfast: apple, once you fold a slice and make a mega-turnover out of it; and pumpkin, for its forgiving texture, which gently smothers your drowsy taste buds and embraces your dormant pallet like a snuggie. A snuggie you can chew. Pumpkin pie is perfection alongside the hot beverage of one’s choice.

In other words, your question is extraordinarily well posed, you smarty-pants. Indeed, it’s not fair to ask whether pumpkin is best the day of or the day after — it’s whether any other crusty treat compares in terms of elite multitasking. And the answer is plain: no. Pumpkin pie is the K.J. Wright of desserts, albeit in a sad universe where Bobby Wagner does not exist. End of story.

Let Russ Cook

With the Seahawks up 14-0 right before half over the offensively challenged Eagles, it did look like the game would be decided by half.

But along the way, all of Pete Carroll’s moves backfired. He trusted the tracker, reading it as he does every Wednesday. It just didn’t work out.

Carroll took risks on fourth down and short in the first half, placing his faith in Russell Wilson, only to watch both promising drives die without points. He took no risks in the second half and Seattle failed to reach the end zone. There’s a correlation there.

On the ground, Russ got the green light to run a couple times on designed plays and made no hay whatsoever. Netting four yards on three intentional runs may even count as losing hay.

In second down and long, the passes were gross (2 of 6 for 34 yards plus one scramble), and the runs were numerous and ineffective, save for one — Carson’s inspired 16-yard bulldozer joyride to the end zone. The grade lowers to A- just because I got tired of giving straight A’s, and we’ve gone from 19 percent to 23 percent overall in two weeks, so the trend is concerning.

Seattle-Philadelphia tried to be 17-9 again, and almost succeeded. It was an ugly game, with ugly process, ugly execution, an ugly finish. But I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty. Truth is we saw Carroll stick pretty much to the recipe that’s gotten the 2020 Seahawks this far. Passing on neutral downs was fine, RW got the green light to run and on fourth downs.

Week 12 Tracker

Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Stat 2019 2020 goal 2020 to date Grade (cumulative)
Neutral downs passing 51-49 55-45 64-36 A
2nd & long rushing 61/166, 37% Below 25% 22-96, 23% A-
Designed RW runs 11-31-0 Use him earlier 18-144-2 A
4th & short past midfield 6/25, 26% Above 26% 8/16, 50% A

If Carroll was going to let Wilson’s midseason three-game, 10-turnover stretch dissuade him from sticking to Let Russ Cook principles, it would’ve showed more obviously in Philly. And we saw no more than a little bit of clock control after half, which doesn’t satisfy the eyeballs but filled the win column in the end, because it was obvious after one quarter that scoring drives would be few and far between for the Eagles.

Two-score win, except for the answered prayer

Improbably, the Eagles were not the only team to complete a successful Hail Mary in Week 12, only to need yet another score immediately afterward. Meet the Los Angeles Chargers. a professional football team that forgot to flee the AFC West.

All you need to know about the Chargers is this: they are experts at almost winning to the exact same degree the Seahawks are experts at almost losing.

Improbably, it was also Richard Rodgers who caught a recent well-documented desperation heave — in the 2016 playoffs, from Aaron Rodgers, who used to be great and then was great again, to force overtime against the Arizona Cardinals, who used to be good and then were good again.

Improbably, Doug Pederson went for two after the touchdown, when a simple point after kick would’ve brought his Eagle to within seven. (Everyone with Seahawks -6.5 was understandably livid, but then again, they broke the primordial cardinal golden rule of “never bet on, for, against, or near the Seattle Seahawks.”)

IMPROBABLY, Carson Wentz completed only one pass downfield longer than 20 yards Monday night — yes, the Hail Mary. Unless you were thinking of counting this one:

It totally should count.

Add up all the improbabilities and you get just another Seahawks game. The New York teams, up in succession here for Weeks 14 and 15, with their combined 4-18 record, will surely find some other back door to similar chicanery, some other portal to mayhem. Unless Wilson goes off again, and come to think of it, that would probably be the least surprising of any possible outcome.