Everyone’s best excuse to drink alcohol before noon returned today, in the form of a morning game on the East Coast for our beloved Seattle Seahawks. In my case, the remnants of a six pack of Scuttlebutt’s Hoptopia Imperial IPA haunted me from inside my fridge as I pledged—for one game at least—to avoid drinking during a football game.
As I quite literally open my first beer of the day, I write this review of the Seahawks, a bit of Seahawks coverage that has clearly lacked this season. Things are busy, and life happens sometimes. We’ll be better.
If it wasn’t evident prior to this game that the NFL wants Cam Newton to be a star, it became evident today. The broadcast crew consisting of Tim Ryan and Chris Myers verbally-fellated Newton from the beginning of the first quarter, even after the most moderate of successes. After a decent start, Newton ended the game with a good completion percentage (16/23, good for 69.6 percent), but only 125 yards with a first-half TD as an additional bright spot.
Newton had relatively little success, but he has a nice smile and is very charismatic, so whatever, he’s a fabricated star in a league where players where helmets and facemasks.
In some ways Russell Wilson‘s game was overrated, having missed some opportunities and making some questionable decisions early. This being his first regular season 300-yard game, though, represents some of the development we needed to see from Wilson. The second half of Wilson’s rookie season included some amazing drives in which Wilson put the team on his back en route to victory. What was lacking to some extent – albeit largely preposterous to expect from a rookie – were instances in which Wilson carried his team and dominated for the majority of the game.
To characterize Wilson’s day as “dominant” is something of a misnomer, but without much of a running game – with the offensive line struggling in both pass and run blocking – Wilson kept a steady hand and remained efficient after some early game struggles.
One of the narratives from last season that seemed likely to reach a pivotal point eventually was Wilson’s familiarity with Doug Baldwin. Wilson seemed to key in on Golden Tate early and often last season, and most of the receptions lost seemed to come from Baldwin. With Percy Harvin on the roster, it seemed likely that those already-reduced touches would be reduced even further by Harvin’s presence. With Harvin out, Baldwin stepped up and showed that he can be a security blanket for Wilson the same way he was for Tarvaris Jackson in his rookie year. Wilson targeted Baldwin eight times, completing seven, and Baldwin gained 91 yards. Tate received seven targets but only converted four of those into receptions, for 41 yards.
In a game like this it is important to remember that not only does Carolina have a good defense – though their yardage-based success is perhaps exaggerated by the effect of having a bad offense last year – but that West Coast teams traditionally struggle to put up points in early starts on the East Coast. It’s amazing to me that the NFL still allows games like this in the interest of parity, but then again they can’t even figure out a home date for the defending Super Bowl champs in Week One.
Marshawn Lynch was mostly a non-factor save for his victory-clinching run leading up to the two-minute warning. Blaming the offensive line almost feels cliché at this point, especially considering how much they improved at the end of the season last year, but some combination of the offensive line’s struggles and the Panthers’ strong defensive line.
Almost-certainly, though, while Newton, Wilson, Lynch, and DeAngelo Williams will get a lot of ink relative to this game, the most important play of the game was when Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman combined to cause Williams to fumble after a substantial drive, and a successful screen play that had Williams down to the six yard line with some momentum. There were costly penalties for the Panthers and inconvenient turnovers, but this was most definitely the pivot point that made victory a much easier proposition for the Seahawks, who went from the prospect of falling behind, or at best being only two-points ahead, to having ball-in-hand with the ability to force the Panthers to play for a touchdown or bust.
The recently signed O’Brien Schofield showed early why Pete Carroll was very high on him coming out of college, dominating Jordan Gross en route to an early sack of Newton. Save for that play, the Seahawks pass-rush was largely lackluster, not completely surprising considering the team is missing Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin, and Chris Clemons.
Miller Brewing Company makes really bad beer, as most recently evidenced by their ad campaign to promote their least flavorful beer, Miller Lite, and engineer the can so that the consumer is able to pour their product down their likely upside-down-and-backwards-visor-adjacent throats even faster, thus limiting the trauma tied to their product spending time in the awful gray area between alleged beer that is soon-to-be-digested and alleged beer that is being digested. This ad campaign is nearly topped by Coors, who prides themselves on the “coldness” of their beer, a characteristic cultivated by the refrigerator that the alleged beer is placed in, rather than anything in its recipe or packaging.
My girlfriend misses John Moffitt. My girlfriend doesn’t like football very much, but is making a concerted effort to become more of a football acceptor. She likes John Moffitt for only his loose enough relation to football that allowed him to be on the Real Rob Report, easily my girlfriend’s favorite part of the NFL season. I haven’t broken the news to her that the Real Rob Report is no more as a result of Michael Robinson being released, but the penetration of Moffitt’s trade into our lives is tangible. She was happy to find out that the Denver, Moffitt’s new team, are pretty good. She then asked me what the Broncos mascot is.
Jermaine Kearse made perhaps the best catch of a football he’s ever made on a 43 yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson. This of course, after a beautiful pass that Stephen Williams dropped. Kearse’s catch dovetails nicely into the best tweets of this game.
While Dr. James Andrews is well-respected surgeon across several sports, perhaps the best administrator of the Tommy John surgery known to man, Seattle has a new surgery to thank for their most recent success. Following Kearse’s touchdown catch, while I and many others were thrilled to tweet “Chop Chop,” in reference to Kearse’s nickname and twitter handle, some prominent Seattle media and fans found it more appropriate to tweet in reference to his medical file relative to his offseason laser surgery: