Ok, this isn’t Red Alert. Red Alert is done. I started the column because I was envisaging a season full of tribulations that would require fans to panic and bemoan the players, coaches and front office staff. This season hasn’t quite panned out like that. Following two admittedly difficult losses to the Broncos and Bears in our first two fixtures, the team has trended upwards. This was again evident in London when the Seahawks took over the city and dismantled a Raiders team expecting to count on home-like support and a Seahawks team that was a shell of it’s former self.
What they found instead, was a swarming defense that didn’t give Derek Carr an inch to attempt to make plays, and an offense that ran them over and moved the ball with ease. This team may not have the star names that it had last year, but neither did the Seahawks team that made the playoffs in 2012 and then embarked on consecutive Superbowl runs in the following seasons. That team made stars, and this seasons squad has a very similar feel. Nobody is talking about these guys. They don’t have household names, bar a few, and they’re being underestimated.
I’ve already published a review of my experience of the day as a fan, and you can read that here: but now it’s time to get in to the nitty gritty and break down the performance of our entire roster. I’ll take it position group by position group.
Russell Wilson’s stats haven’t been stellar this year. He’s still scoring, but he’s not throwing for 400+ yards per game, nor is he expected to. The mould of this team resembles the one that took us to our first Superbowl. Russell is making plays, a prime example being the touchdown pass to David Moore after fumbling a bad snaps. He’s making plays but he’s not expected to do it on every down. The run game is finally supporting him and with a sprinkling of read option, the electricity is back in our offense. Aside from a careless goal line pick, when he tried to force the ball into a tight window, Russ had a pretty solid day.
The Seahawks set their stall out early in this one. Calling 8 consecutive run plays to start the game. This led them into Raiders territory. A short pass to Rashaad Penny turned into a big gain and before you know it, we’re in the end zone. Chris Carson once again handled the majority of the work in the early going, but Penny got through some impressive work late on. It was nice to finally see him making positive gains in this offense. Mike Davis again chipped in with some key contributions and a series of what I like to call “big boy runs” between the tackles, further cementing the team's dominance over the line of scrimmage.
These guys are really proving what a backfield committee can accomplish, and they’re going from strength to strength every week. No fumbles, good hard yards made for a truly dominant day. It would have been nice for one of the guys to get into the end zone but hey, who am I to complain?
I’ve been a critic. I’ve not been the only one either. “These guys can’t play!!” “We need to draft another tackle!!” “DAMMIT GERMAIN!!” to quote but a few sound bites from the past 12 months. These guys are one of the main reasons for our squads overall improvement over the last month. I’m going to single out D.J. Fluker for particular praise because there were many raised eyebrows when the former first round draft pick was signed by Seattle, but he’s really proving his worth now, especially in the run game. Oakland could not stop our run game this week, and the big lads up front were a large part of that. Russell was protected well all day when he decided to drop back, and if it weren’t for a couple of penalties, these guys would have been marked higher still.
Doug Baldwin is back!! He rattled off some eye catching grabs on his way to a season's-best stat line against Oakland. He was complemented by his fellow receivers, with Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown and David Moore all grabbing touchdowns. We came into the game thin at tight end with injuries to Nick Vannett and Will Dissly, and Ed Dickson not yet ready to return from the NFI list. Even with this lack of depth, practice squad signee Tyrone Swoopes got himself involved, grabbing a chain moving catch early. It wasn’t a vintage day for receivers, with Brian Schottenheimer leaning heavily on the running game to get the chains moving. Nobody went over 100 yards on the day, but once again the guys did what they had to do to put the game out of sight.
Six sacks, two fumble recoveries, countless pressures. The emergence of a premier pass rusher in Frank Clark. This felt like a coming out party for Clark. In his contract year, the former second round pick could not have picked a better game to rip off 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. If we have the cap space in the off-season, Clark is making a case to be the first man to get an extension this year. Supported my my unsing hero of the season so far, Jarran Reed and a rotation of cast offs, perceived draft busts and free agent bargains, the defensive line showed everyone that this group is not to be underestimated.
It’s difficult to judge linebacker play, as quite often they’re doing a lot of unseen and underappreciated work. One thing that was most definitely obvious, however, was the amount of times Barkevious Mingo's glorious name was mentioned on the tannoy for making tackles. Mingo led the team in tackles, no mean feat when the guy you’re trying to stop is Marshawn Lynch. Bobby Wagner was again imperious and with K.J Wright coming back from injury after our bye week, the middle level of our defense is only going to improve.
Go ask Amari Cooper. He was put out of the game early on a thunderous hit from Brad McDougald. Oakland couldn’t get anything going in the passing game. Our DBs kept the remaining receivers under lock and key all game, with Oakland only getting off the schneid midway through the fourth quarter. They didn’t generate any interceptions, but they didn’t have to. A really solid day.
A perfect day for Janikowski, two great punts inside the 15 yard line from Michael Dickson. Coverage teams were excellent. Can’t ask for much more really.
So yeah. Overall an excellent day in all phases of the game. Admittedly the opposition was among the weakest we’ll face this season but you can only beat what’s in front of you. Bring on Detroit!! GO HAWKS!!!