Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seahawks win NFC West Championship over Rams 16-6!

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(7-9) set history when they defeated the St.Louis Rams(7-9) to win the NFC West Division title. The Seahawks are the first team ever in a 16 game schedule to reach the playoffs with a losing record. To make matters worse the Seahawks will also host a playoff game against the New Orleans Saints who won four more games and defeated the Seahawks. The Seahawks didn't make up the rules they are just playing by them and the Seahawks with backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst defeated the Rams 16-6. With Whitehurst smart passing and a great defense Pete Carroll won a division title in his first year back in the NFL in over a decade.

In a big game with a backup quarterback many figured the Seahawks would come out featuring the run. Instead the Seahawks came out throwing with Whitehurst in shotgun hit Justin Forsett for a gain of 13 yards. On the next play Whitehurst found a wide open Ruvell Martin for a gain of 61 yards. Whitehurst still throwing hit Forsett for a gain of four yards. Facing a third down the Rams committed a crucial holding penalty giving the Seahawks first and goal from the seven. After completing a pass to Golden Tate, Whitehurst hit Mike Williams for a touchdown from four yards out to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead.

The Seahawks defense would stuff the Rams the first three series of the game holding the Rams to just 23 yards on 10 plays. The Rams would then go on a 13 play 83 yard drive which resulted in a Josh Brown 32 yard field goal. The Seahawks defense did a good job of holding the Rams to just three points. Seahawks defense would three and out the Rams on the next two series. The Seahawks would head into halftime up 7-3. Whitehurst was 15 of 20 passing for 145 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

In the second half as the Seahawks were at their own 28 when Whitehurst completed a pass to Marshawn Lynch who then fumbled the ball. The Rams trailing 7-3 had the ball on the Seahawks 21. The Rams then had first and goal from the six yard line but after a costly penalty had to settle for a Josh Brown 27 yard field goal. The Rams did cut the lead to 7-6.

The Seahawks feeling momentum slipping away had a key scoring drive. The drive began when Lynch ran for 24 yards. After a penalty and facing a second and 17, Forsett then ran for 21 yards. Facing a third and four Whitehurst hit Mike Williams for a gain of six then shortly after that hit Leon Washington for a gain of 10 yards. The Seahawks had the ball on the Rams 15 yard line but would settle for an Olindo Mare field goal 31 yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 10-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter the Seahawks would extend their lead when Whitehurst would hit Ben Obomanu for a gain of 13 yards to the Rams 35 yard line. Lynch would rush for another 13 yard run to the Rams 22. The Seahawks would have to settle for a Mare 38 yard field goal to extend the Seahawks lead 13-6 over the Rams with over 10 minutes to go in the game.

With under nine minutes to go in the game the Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford finally made a rookie mistake. Trailing by seven points with the ball on the Seahawks 46 yard line Bradford threw a costly interception to Seahawks linebacker Will Herring. The Seahawks then went on a 13 play 47 yard drive eating up over seven minutes in time which ended with another field goal by Mare to go up 16-6. The Seahawks offense didn't do much but did just enough to get the win.

The Seahawks defense which has been getting crushed lately stepped up. The Seahawks defense held Steven Jackson to just 45 yards rushing. The defense also pressured Sam Bradford as Bradford completed 19 of 36 passing for 155 yards with an interception. The defense sacked Bradford three times with Raheem Brock getting 2.5 sacks on Bradford. The Seahawks defense allowed the offense to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

This year hasn't been pretty but the Seahawks are back in the playoffs. The Seahawks winning their fifth division title in the last seven years get to raise up another division championship banner. Pete Carroll and Charlie Whitehurst seen to the right hugging who would have thought that a year ago when the team had quit under floundering head coach Jim Mora. The Seahawks are in the playoffs and despite what people say the Seahawks have earned it. You play to win the division and Carroll was brought in here to win games. Carroll won just enough games this year and the Seahawks will host a playoff game this Saturday. It will be nice seeing playoff football at Qwest field once again.


- Charlie Whitehurst finally took advantage of his opportunity and now we have a quarterback controversy. Whitehurst finished the game completing 22 of 36 passes for 192 yards passing with a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 84.5. Whitehurst also ran for 30 yards extending a couple of drives.

Whitehurst most importantly didn't turn the ball over which has been a problem for Matt Hasselbeck. On the year Whitehurst was 57 of 99(57.6%) for 507 yards(5.1 YA) with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown. His quarterback rating is 65.5.

Hasselbeck was 266 of 444(59.9%) for 3,001 yards(6.8 YA) for 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Hasselbeck has three rushing touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 73.2. So who Carroll chooses to start should be an interesting decision.

I'll break it down in a few days who I think should start at quarterback. Whitehurst was the player of the game though given the circumstances. The season was on the line and he took the opening drive for a touchdown then played smart the rest of the game.

- Leon Washington had a nice all around game. I'm glad he is being used more on the offense. Washington had three kickoff returns for 62 yards, six punt returns for 25 yards, caught three passes for 24 yards and also ran for four yards. Washington is a nice spark plug and how the Seahawks used him was perfect. If it wasn't for Devin Hester, Washington would be going to the pro bowl this year.

- The Seahawks ran the ball effectively especially in the second half. Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 20 times for 75 yards rushing and Justin Forsett added 28 yards on just three carries. Both backs were effective catching passes out of the backfield.

Forsett had 22 yards receiving on three catches and Leon Washington added 24 yards receiving on three catches. Marshawn Lynch also caught a pass. The Seahawks offensive line has been a work in progress all year long but when Lynch does have some holes to run through he has been taking advantage of those.

With the Seahawks Lynch finished with 573 yards rushing on 165 carries(3.5 YPC) with six touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 138 yards. Forsett finished with 523 yards on 118 carries(4.4 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also caught 33 passes for 252 yards. This is the first time in a while I like the Seahawks running backs just give them a line to run behind and the running game should be fine.

- Pete Carroll fled USC for a team who was 9-23 the last two years. He now has the Seahawks in the playoffs in his first year similar to what Mike Holmgren did when he first took over in 1999.

Carroll made plenty of risky moves in the offseason by releasing T.J.Housmandzadeh, trading Deion Branch midseason, trading for Whitehurst, trading for Chris Clemons who he is hugging on the picture to the right, etc. Carroll despite a roster that has bandaids over broken bones got more than enough out of this roster. This was a team many including myself figured would be drafting in the top three. The Seahawks will now take on the New Orleans Saints at home in the playoffs. The Seahawks are 4-1 all-time at Qwest Field.

Carroll and Schneider had a great first draft give them another year or two of that kind of drafting should be fun. Tim Ruskell really killed the Seahawks look up his drafts in the past which Carroll and Schneider are trying to recover. Carroll is a great motivator and hopefully this team can build on this win.

At the end of the day the Seattle Seahawks are the 2010 NFC West division champions. Nobody can take that away from this team. Despite having zero pro bowlers on the roster for the second straight year the Seahawks will be hosting a playoff game. Carroll won a division title with mostly castoffs that nobody wanted. The offensive line has been a work in progress all year, the quarterback play hasn't been good neither has the defense, the rushing game was historically awful yet the Seahawks are division champions. The 12th man will be loud and hungry for the playoffs and the Seahawks have nothing to lose. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs the Seahawks have already exceeded expectations this year.

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