Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Observations from Seahawks wild 14-12 win over Packers

By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Green Bay Packers 14-12 on one of the more wild finishes in Monday Night Football history. We've all seen the catch by Golden Tate by now and I'll get into that play specifically in a moment as he hauled in the 24 yard game winning touchdown pass from rookie Russell Wilson. The shame in this controversy is so much of this game has already been forgotten which is what I'll be going over. The Seahawks more importantly are now 2-1 on the season and 18-8 all-time on Monday Night Football while being 14-5 all-time at home. This was a huge home win for Pete Carroll who has built this Seahawks defense into an elite defense. So in this upcoming post I'll just go over some observations of the game.

-  After looking at the replay of the final play it had appeared that the Packers M.D. Jennings had intercepted the pass. It was also obvious Golden Tate had committed an offensive pass interference.

Now I'll say this I think if the real refs had done this game the same call would have been made. It was in live action and it had appeared that Tate had caught it simultaneously with Jennings. The rule states that the offensive guy is rewarded the catch and that can't be reviewed. I also don't think the real refs would dare call an offensive pass interference as they  never call pass interference on Hail Marry plays either. I think this was a lot tougher call than people want to admit. I also believe had the Packers won this way there would be 1/10th the outrage. Nobody seemed to care after the Super Bowl XL loss or Vinny Testaverde scoring that phantom touchdown to beat the Seahawks in 1998.

-  It was a nice coming out party for the most scrutinized pick in the 2012 draft Bruce Irvin. Irvin as most of you know many said the Seahawks wasted a first round pick on. Well in this game he got after Aaron Rodgers quite a bit recording two sacks which gives him 2.5 for the year.

Irvin was brought in to create pressure on the quarterback and so far this year he has done just that. I also liked his flare for the moment as he did the "discount double check " dance after his first sack. I think Mel Kiper Jr did the Seahawks a favor as well by famously doubting the Irvin pick. Reading Irvin's twitter you can tell that fuels him which is nice.

Irvin is that pass rusher that Aaron Curry was supposed to be for the Seahawks. The Seahawks haven't had a pass rusher like him since Julian Peterson when they led the NFL in sacks back in 2007. Watching Irvin grow in this defense is going to be fun to watch for years to come.

- Chris Clemons was another great pick up by the Seahawks in the Carroll regime. He has recorded 11 sacks the last two seasons and recorded four on Aaron Rodgers in the first half alone. Clemons tied a Seahawks record for most sacks in a game with four other guys with four sacks.

For the year now Clemons has five sacks and with the addition of Irvin he can get even more sacks. The last two years he has been the only primary pass rusher for the Seahawks. With Irvin now in the fold Clemons will have help creating sacks which makes an already top 10 defense even more scary. This defense really doesn't have a weakness on their roster which is headlined by the pass rush of Clemons and Irvin as they sacked a hard quarterback in Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half.

- Switching to the offense I felt Marshawn Lynch ran hard once again especially in the first half. Lynch finished with 98 yards rushing on 25 carries(3.9 YPC) as he ran for the tough yards. It was a grind for Lynch whose longest run was only for nine yards but he was consistently getting yards against those eight man fronts.

Lynch on 4th and two got the key first down which could have set the Seahawks up for the win. Lynch this year unlike Shaun Alexander is running well despite his contract. This season Lynch has ran for 305 yards(4.2 YPC) with one touchdown. Lynch has been steady for the Seahawks which they need him to be since they have a rookie quarterback. Lynch is the face of the franchise on offense and is the leader this offensive unit desperately needs. This was yet another great personal move by the Carroll/Schneider regime in acquiring Lynch.

- The passing game once against struggled which isn't all rookie Russell Wilson's fault. Wilson was 10-21 passing for 130 yards with two touchdowns but more importantly zero interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 18 yards.

Wilson did earn his first career 4th quarter comeback as well. For the year Wilson is 43-75(57.3%) for 434 yards(5.8 YPA) with four touchdowns to one interception with 66 yards rushing. The passing game must do more going forward but the key is Wilson isn't losing the game. Wilson was throwing the ball away constantly and gave up only one sack. For the second straight week and for the 10th straight quarter he didn't turn the ball over either. Wilson will eventually have to do more but for now he is growing in this offense which is exactly what Carroll wants.

- This was a breakout game for Golden Tate who finished with three receptions for 68 yards with two touchdowns. Tate who had the breakout game and last week had the monster block on Sean Lee is proving to be a football player.

Tate had a weird game as well. He showed his big play ability with that 41 yard touchdown reception in the second quarter on a beautifully thrown play action pass by Wilson. Then he appeared to be the goat as the Seahawks were facing a 4th and 3 from the seven yard line. Wilson threw a great fade to Sidney Rice only for Tate to be in the wrong spot and jump in front of the pass only to drop the ball which many thought lost the game. Only Tate would make up for it as Wilson would lob up the hail marry despite being three Packers defenders Tate went up and wrestled the ball to at least make the officials make a judgement call. They ruled it a touchdown and for Tate who was a second round pick in 2010 this was easily his biggest moment as a Seahawks wide receiver.

- Lost in all this madness was the Seahawks defense holding Tony Romo to seven points last week and Aaron Rodgers to 12 points this week(their only touchdown was bs but the national networks won't bring that up). The Seahawks defense currently ranks 4th in the NFL in yardage, 2nd against the run and 1st in the NFL in points allowed.

They shut the mighty Packers offense out in the first half as they recorded eight sacks. Then after the failed red zone play the Seahawks offense late in the game the Packers took over from their own 7 yard line with the Seahawks having just two timeouts. One first down and the game is over. The Seahawks forced a fumble on the first play but the Packers recovered it. The Seahawks defense forced the three and out to allow the crazy play to happen. This defense has been terrific this year. Clemons had four sacks, Brandon Mebane had two and Irvin had two sacks. The defensive secondary was incredible holding Rodgers out of the end zone and to only 223 yards passing on 39 pass attempts.

Carroll has built this defense as every player on that starting except for Leroy Hill and Red Bryant(who he moved to defensive end) were acquired by the Carroll/Schneider combo. They deserve all the credit for this terrific defense which looks to be the best in the NFL. It's a shame that call is overlooking the great job this defense had done.

- Great win for Pete Carroll in his third year as Seahawks head coach. Carroll now improves to 16-19 as Seahawks head coach but remember the team was 9-23 the previous two seasons he took over. He has built this defense from 25th in the NFL in points allowed three years in a row from 2008-2010 to 7th last year to 1st so far this year.

This Seahawks first half of the schedule is tough but they are 2-1 as they head on the road for four of the next five games. I like the direction that Carroll has this franchise going in. The defense is the best defense the Seahawks have had in over a decade probably back to 1997. This defense has no weaknesses and that reflects Carroll who has hit so many home runs as team president so far with the Seahawks. From the Lynch trade, to drafting Chancellor and Thomas, to acquiring Browner and Clemons when nobody thought much of them this franchise is going places.

This game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Nobody will remember the blown calls both ways or that the Seahawks defense proved they are an elite defense by shutting down one of the better offenses in football. This game will be remembered on the final play of the game which is a shame as the Seahawks really played well on the national big stage. No credit will be given to the Seahawks though as the national narrative is Seattle "stole" this game which is fine. The Seahawks are 2-1 which they needed since the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0 and the San Francisco 49ers are 2-1. This was a huge win for the Seahawks and a lot happened in the first 59:52 of the game but unfortunately all anyone will remember is the final eight seconds.

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