Just remember that I'm not the panicky type ...
When looking back at a recent win or loss, people tend to exaggerate the results in a way that best suits their emotional response to the result. If your favorite team wins big, you want to believe that they're great. For example: The Jaguars beat the Browns 24-6. A winless team dominated a good team, so maybe Jacksonville isn't that bad and Cleveland isn't that good.
Since that game, the Jags have gone 0-3 and lost by more than 12 points per game. The Browns have gone 3-0 and won by an average of 12 points per game.
One game, one result ... it could mean anything. It could mean nothing. So when I see the Seahawks lose by nine to the Chargers or win by six against the Raiders, I tend to focus more on larger sample sizes. Like the career of Earl Thomas or the overall record of Pete Carroll, not just one day where Russell Wilson was off or the pass defense lapsed. When I look backwards, I tend not to overreact too much.
The problem I'm having today however, is that I'm looking forward.
Seattle has come out of their first nine games with an above-average 6-3 record. Some close calls mean that it could be worse and some narrow misses mean that it could be better, but 6-3 is what it is. Now we look ahead to the final seven games:
- Six are against teams with winning records
- Five are in the division
- Four are on the road
- Three are against teams in first place
- Two are against division teams on the road
- One of them is against a partridge in a pear tree this might be Christmas, actually
You thought the Seahawks had a tough schedule to open the year? I'd take those games two times over compared to what's ahead, but that's not even really the biggest problem. Because if Seattle was healthy, I'd still say they are the best team in the NFL and should be favored to win all of those games.
As we all know, they are not healthy.
Zach Miller and Brandon Mebane landed on injured reserve this week, sealing their seasons and forcing the Seahawks to find in-house solutions or out-of-house reaches like RaShaun Allen, who I'm sure could be a great person but not exactly easing anybody's concerns about Miller not returning. And neither is Luke Willson or Cooper Helfet.
Jordan Hill, a player with 10 games under his belt, has to step up in the absence of the longest-tenured member of the team.
On the bright side, Kam Chancellor is expected to return this week; Russell Okung and Max Unger returned last week; Malcolm Smith could return and ease the burden on Brock Coyle. Maybe by the playoffs, Bobby Wagner is back and the only two major losses are Miller and Mebane.
But maybe by then it won't matter.
I have legitimate concerns that this week's game in Kansas City is the biggest challenge of the last two years for Seattle. A much bigger challenge than beating the Broncos in New Jersey, and maybe even bigger than playing the 49ers in San Francisco if only for the fact that those two teams are very familiar with each other. This is a new challenge for Carroll, for the team, and at a time when they're dipping deep into their reserves for reinforcements.
Seven games left to go. I'll keep telling myself ...
"Remember, you're not the panicky type."
With a little over 12 minutes in the second quarter and Seattle down by a touchdown, Robert Turbin fumbled the ball away inside Seahawks territory. I'm not saying it wasn't a bad thing, but when my friends started to throw up their arms and curse the Gods, I remained stonefaced and unhinged. "It's not a big deal, there is over 40 minutes left, they're at home, and Eli Manning exists."
Turnovers are the great equalizer in football, this isn't in question, but this fumble was merely a small setback. The Giants punted three plays later and literally less than three game minutes after the fumble, Seattle was further down the field with the ball than they were before. After a minor struggle in the second half to get things going, the flood gates burst open and this became an easier win that most expected.
Play of the Game
Down 17-14 midway through the third quarter, Russell Wilson felt the left side of the pocket collapse, narrowly avoided a sack, rolled right, had the presence of mind to know where the line of scrimmage was, ran up to it, and let one fly 60 yards for a completion to Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks scored 24 points over the next 22 minutes.
And people are worried about Wilson?
Dude and Rude (chart via Advanced Football Analytics)
Jeron Johnson is being paid pretty well -- over $1 million -- to play very little. He's a backup that rarely gets on the field unless it's bad news, like Chancellor getting hurt. Well this week, Johnson started and played 69 snaps for the Seattle defense. He was thrown at seven times according to ProFootballFocus and allowed five catches. However, those five receptions only gained 31 yards and he added a pass deflection. Johnson had eight total tackles and seems primed for a nice contract (probably somewhere else) in the offseason.
Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell proved that not all injuries last forever. Lane played 38 snaps while Max played 27. While Maxie had a good day, shutting down his receivers for only three catches and 23 yards with a wicked pass deflection, Lane allowed all five of his targets to be caught for 45 yards. That being said, Lane has been out for a very long time and he wasn't that experienced to begin with. This was just a ...
Was it one week ago or two when Jay Glazer reported the "news" that Marshawn Lynch would NOT (definitively) play in Seattle next year?
Paul Richardson is the number three receiver on this team right now, playing comparable snaps to Doug Baldwin and Kearse. He was targeted only twice and still managed a drop. That's your QB you need to help out man.
We seem to go back and forth on Unger a lot but this week the Seahawks ran for a franchise record and Football Outsiders named Unger one of their players of the week thanks to Seattle's 88% success rate on runs up the middle. With Unger and Okung back, and hopefully James Carpenter doing okay, maybe the offensive line isn't that bad. At least for run blocking.
DVOA Update, Week 11 (via Football Outsiders)
The Seahawks remain steady at four in DVOA this week, but 2 through 5 are all razor thin and anything could change after this week. I have to stay faithful to the process and not worry too much about who's where, and who is ahead of Seattle, but the Ravens placement at second is certainly puzzling. Is special teams worth that much? Can you keep winning without an elite offense or defense? And Baltimore isn't even really winning a whole lot.
I believe FO's reasoning behind this is that they had a few blowouts, like beating the Panthers by 28, the Bucs by 31, the Falcons by 22. But in hindsight we can say those teams are awful right? And getting swept by the Bengals isn't as posh as it used to be? It feels like there's an error here that needs to be fixed.
The Seahawks share the distinction of being the only team with a top 10 offense and defense with Denver.
Week 11 opponent -- Kansas City Chiefs
Overall - 10 ; Offense - 11 ; Defense - 16 ; Special Teams - 8
Kansas City has actually slid quite a bit from a season-high DVOA ranking of fourth just two weeks ago, now holding at 10 going into this weekend's game. This is a team very similar to Seattle in a lot of ways, especially on offense.
The Chiefs are 30th in pass attempts and passing yards. The Seahawks are 31st in both categories.
The Chiefs are sixth in rush attempts and fifth in rushing yards. The Seahawks are fourth in attempts and first in yards.
Things do differ on defense however: Kansas City is first in passing yards allowed and fifth in net yards per pass attempt. Seattle is eighth in passing yards and 14th in net yards per attempt. Kansas City is 30th in yards per carry allowed and Seattle is second in that same category.
What does that tell us?
Well if both teams sort of struggle passing the ball and rely heavily on a running game, would you rather be the team that can stop the pass better or stop the run better? (No Mebane, I know.)
Either Alex Smith or Russell Wilson are going to have to make a few plays to win this game for their respective team. Whoever manages to pull that off has a huge advantage.
Russell Wilson stats update
This week: 10-of-17, 172 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 53.7 rating, 10.12 Y/A, 14 rushes for 107 yards and one touchdown
This is the first time since I started doing these Wilson stats updates that it's been getting really difficult to do. It's hard to see him not break passing records and instead settle for rushing records :(
I've said a few times that the record for 100-yard games in a single season by a quarterback is four by Michael Vick, but now I can't seem to replicate how I got those results. Looking over Vick's game log, he's done three-in-a-season twice, but never four. According to a report I read from Bovada, that's the record, which Wilson has now tied.
So he needs one more 100-yard game over the next seven to break it.
Over his last five games, Wilson is completing 56% of his passes, has four interceptions, and a passer rating of 72.7. It's worse than what he did over the first five games of his career when he had a passer rating of 75.2.
People get upset that I make "excuses" for Wilson but it's really not the case. I think he could be playing better and I think he's getting a raw deal. These two concepts aren't mutually exclusive. But ignoring what he does on the ground just because he's a quarterback is like dating a supermodel and then ignoring that she's always got a butcher knife in her hand that she's trying to stab you with.
You're only hurting yourself.
This year: 66 rushes for 500 yards, 7.2 yards per carry, four touchdowns
Wilson is 39 yards shy of his career-high in rushing yards, leads the NFL in yards per carry, and is 15th overall in rushing yards. Only 15 or so quarterbacks have ever rushed for 600 yards in a single season, and that seems inevitable for Wilson.
His 55.6 rushing yards per game is 18th-best for a QB in a single season.
I would trade in some of these numbers for better passing game numbers, but that version of Pawn Stars doesn't exist yet.