Seahawks Should Make the Playoffs

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

 

We’re half way through the 2012 NFL season and my pre-season prediction for my Seattle Seahawks to finish 9-7 is looking pretty safe in spite of their middling 4-4 record and two game losing streak. In fact I’m willing to bump my prediction to 10-6 and possibly 11-5.

 

When I wrote The Seahawks WILL Win before the season’s first game I was still pretty pissed that Coach Pete Carroll had decided to start rookie Russell Wilson ahead of free agent acquisition Matt Flynn.  I’m still not sure Flynn wouldn’t have done better (who is?); but at this point Wilson has shown improvement and is a huge leap ahead compared to Tavaris Jackson one year ago. If he continues to improve he could be something pretty special by the end of the year; and Seattle’s offense could be considerably more formidable than it is now. If Seattle hopes to make any noise in the playoffs the offense better improve. And the defense, which has been mostly good, has an annoying habit of not getting of the field soon enough. They have one of the worst 3rd down conversion percentages in the league. But hey, Seattle’s defense has faced Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, New England and arrives at the halfway point fifth in the league in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. And they’ve done it with five road games out of eight.

 

All in all their record is pretty much what I expected. They had losses I thought would be wins- Arizona, St. Louis; and wins I thought would be losses- Green Bay, New England.

 

Going forward the Hawks have five home games and a history under Carroll of playing best in the second half of the season.

 

I count four of the five home games as locks 4-3 Minnesota, 3-5 New York Jets, 4-4 Arizona, and 3-5 St Louis. Toss-up games would be the December 23rd home game with 6-2 San Francisco and road games at 4-3 Miami and 3-4 Buffalo. The only automatic loss I put on the Seahawks record is their December 2 game on the road against a 6-1 Chicago team that extremely potent in the last two years whenever Jake Cutler plays. And right now he’s playing.

 

So by my reckoning the worst Hawk fans can expect is a one game improvement over the past two years to 8-8, which won’t get them to the playoffs.

 

The best the team can expect is 11-5 which would almost definitely get them to the playoffs. I think its more likely to expect them to drop one of those toss-up games and finish 10-6.  Currently six NFC teams have winning records and I suspect Minnesota is a paper lion and will be proven so this Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Aside from the current division leaders in the NFC East, South and West we need not worry about the rest. Seattle will be battling for a wild card spot at the end of the season with Detroit, who just narrowly beat them; and with Green Bay who Seattle narrowly beat thanks to a controversial touchdown call on the last play of the game. How ironic. I see two losses left on the Packers schedule so in all likelihood they’ll have the first wildcard. The Lions have a touch remaining schedule that will probably not see them finish any better than 9-7.

 

Seattle’s running game is so good, even if Marshawn Lynch were to be injured Robert Turbin and Leon Washingtonhave shown themselves to be adequate.

 

English: Red Bryant, a player on the Seattle S...

Red Bryant, Seahawk Defensive End

 

The defense at times has been amazing. And since they seem intent on correcting a really bad trend in allowing a nearly 40% 3rd down conversion rate for their opponents, and the fact that their remaining opponent don’t come close in terms of offensive fire power as their early season opponents; we can expect something pretty special by the end of the season.

 

The Seahawks have been in every game they’ve played. They literally could be undefeated. They could also be 2-6. I intend to enjoy what comes, and enjoy the playoffs. After all…no matter what…its not 2008.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

Seattle Sports Doldrums. Time to get Mad.

 

 

 

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

 

 

 

A weekend of ineptitude from the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners has me frustrated and wanting to take a pound of flesh from some of the teams administrators.

 

 

 

The Seattle Mariners wrap up another losing season in the next three days with a young team that has some promise, but none of it in the vicinity of an acceptable Major League offense. Our swabbies were swept in Oakland the past three games by an equally young Athletics team. The Athletics youth is just about the only resemblance they bear to our Northwest 9. Oakland will play in the American league playoffs, probably as a Wildcard entrant. But given they possess the best record in baseball since the start of June they can be counted on to make some noise.

 

 

 

The Mariner’s too have had a better second-half of the season than they had in the first half. Since July 5 Seattle actually has a winning record at 38-37; compared to a miserable 35-49 in the first half. But as reporter Geoff Baker writes in this morning’s Seattle Times the league worst offense has only gotten worse, scoring just 3.63 runs per game compared to 3.87. It’s a familiar story too many Northwest baseball fans have become used to. Seattle has been at the bottom of the Major League offensive categories for 4 straight years. Their losing record reflecting accordingly.

 

 

 

What’s sad is during this time they’ve possessed arguably the best pitcher in the American League in Felix Hernandez. During this time Hernandez has won a Cy Young Award, finished second in the voting another year, and is likely to be among the top 5 vote getters again this year. Seattle’s other pitching has been less impressive but good enough were the offense not so completely inadequate.

 

 

 

First Baseman Justin Smoak is an unquestioned failure. He has blown up his batting average over the past two weeks with some solid hitting; but for the season that’s only lifted his average to a woeful .214 with 19 home runs and 50-something RBI (no I’m not looking up the exact number. What’s the difference between 51 and 59?). My only hesitation in making this proclamation is that outfielder Michael Saunders has rectified his carrier with a .250 average and 19 homers this season. I would have written him off before the season after he’d managed more yawns than thrills during parts of four seasons with the Mariner’s prior to this season. But seriously, how excited should we be about a fourth year player who’s best season is .250 with 19 home runs? At best he’s a fourth outfielder on a good team.

 

 

 

The number of disappointing Mariners doesn’t stop with Smoak and Saunders. Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells, Brendan Ryan, and Miguel Olivo arte all hitting what used to be considered pathetic offensive numbers. Seattle not only doesn’t have a .300 hitter this season. They don’t have a .290 or .280 hitter. They have catcher John Jaso as a part-time player hitting .277 as the only representative north of .260.

 

 

 

As we watch the playoffs this October with young American League teams like the A’s and Orioles competing for a championship, devoid of a Seattle representative for an 11th consecutive year, let’s forget the pathetic cliche` “wait until next year”. Next year won’t be any better if Mariner management doesn’t get its act together and throw out some of the young experiments that didn’t work. Specifically any of Seattle’s outfielders could be a solid forth outfielder. The rest can be discarded. We need a whole new outfield. One that can hit. Smoak should also be shown the door in favor of a 1st baseman that can hit for power and at-least a respectable average.

 

 

 

Safeco Field in Seattle.

Safeco Field in Seattle.

 

And Mariner management needs to do three more things unrelated to on field personnel. Chuck Armstrong needs to go as Mariner President. Outfield fences need to be moved in. And a policy to keep the Safeco Field roof closed unless it’s sunny and 60+ degrees needs to be established. Everyone from Ken Griffey Junior to Jesus Montero knows the ball carries better with the roof closed. And it’s warmer, for better fan comfort.

 

 

 

Speaking of missed opportunities. We’re watching a big one with the Seattle Seahawks this season. The Seahawks possess a championship-caliber defense, running game and special teams. All three of those areas of the team have performed spectacularly in the teams first four games. And yet all the team could manage was a 2-2 record that’s one controversial call away from being 1-3.

 

 

 

An active volcano, Mount Rainier is one of thr...

 

It was acknowledged by everyone that the choice to go with Russell Wilson at quarterback to start the year would require some sacrifice while the young player grows into an NFL caliber QB. Coach Pete Carroll was and is enthralled with the potential of his 5′ 10″ third round draft choice. But here is one thing Carroll seems to have ignored, Matt Flynn is young and loaded with potential too. But Flynn has something Wilson doesn’t…four years in the NFL. Flynn also has a Super Bowl ring, and an NCAA National Championship. Put those two together, along with some other factors, and what do you have? A WINNER. Matt Flynn is a proven winner. Having him stand on the sidelines while Wilson slowly learns his craft is a waste of the other very talented aspects of this Seahawk team.

 

English: Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback...

Quarterback Matt Flynn 

 

The argument that Wilson gives Seattle a better chance to win in the long run is simply stupid since Flynn too possesses plenty of attributes that would lead a reasonable football fans to conclude his growth is currently ahead of Wilson’s and could potentially be great too.

 

 

 

There is no question Wilson is an outstanding young man worthy of respect and praise. But with the worst passing attack in the NFL, a-quarter of the season is long enough to determine that the Seahawks need better play at quarterback right now or they could blow a season the is rife with promise and potential. Flynn is just as capable of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch as Wilson, he can see and read the field better, and he CAN throw the ball extremely accurately according to most observers.

 

 

 

Please Pete Carroll; make the change. Install Flynn as the starter this week against Carolina. A trip all the way across the U.S. is tough enough. Tougher still, when you’re a rookie. It’s time to see Matt Flynn.

 

 

 

Thanks. I had to get that off my chest.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

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Seahawks owe no apologies to anyone.

The Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers last night in a football game that ended on a controversial touchdown call that is destined to be remembered for a long time after this season. It’s impact not yet fully known; but I predict it will become controversial again at the end of this season. With both Seattle and Green Bay likely playoff contenders one loss or one win could provide the difference between making the playoffs or not, winning a division or not, hosting a home field playoff game or not. We have just begun to feel the ramifications of the Fail Mary Pass that had Seattle’s Golden Tate awarded a touchdown on the games final play that so many believe should never have been awarded and should have instead resulted in an interception and Green Bay victory on Monday Night Football.

Let me start by acknowledging there is no doubt, NO DOUBT, that were I a Packer fan I would be as outraged as anyone and like so many argue for the final play’s call to be overturned an a victory awarded to my team. But I’m not a Packer fan. I’m a Seahawk fan who was at the game enjoying my team from my season ticket location, up until the end of the game when I left.

I did see the final 2 minutes of the game, including the play in question. But like so many at CenturyLink Field I got up to leave after Seattle failed to score with just under two minutes to play inside the Green Bay 10 yard line and gave possession up on downs. As I was making my way through the stadium, just before ducking into a tunnel out of sight of the field, I glanced back over my shoulder and saw the Packer fumble inside the 5 yard line on first down after taking possession. Green Bay recovered the fumble. But with my brother, who I attended the game with, we watched the green-and-gold fail to get even one first down necessary for running out the clock and the game for the Seahawks, and then punt from their own end zone.  Giving the ball back to Seattle with plenty of time for them to win.

Seattle won that game. And nothing will convince me that they didn’t. First off, I am in no way convinced that the controversial play was THAT controversial. It was ruled a simultaneous catch; which by rule is awarded the offensive player. Tate had at least one hand on the ball from the moment both players received it while jumping in the air. And he had both hands on the ball when he/they fell to the ground. The argument that he didn’t catch it would have clout with me the moment you show me a rule that says a catch is not a catch unless you pull the ball fully into your chest. He didn’t. But he doesn’t have to. The fact that all the complainers have the benefit of slow motion instant replay also dramatically changes the perspective of what you’re seeing. The referee on the scene, facing the play, not the one behind the play who initially started to signal an interception, only had live full speed action in front of him at field level for just a moment to make his judgement. And as the NFL stated in its press release today, the morning after the game, a regular (not replacement) instant replay official did review the play and ruled not enough evidence existed to overturn the ruling.  And unlike what the pundits claimed the NFL cleared up that a simultaneous catch is by rule reviewable if it occurs in the end zone, as this one did.

I am really surprised to hear and read the volume, and bitterness at the outrage over this play. Surely the fact that replacement officials made the call is 90% responsible for the extreme nature of the sentiment.

But let’s get this straight. Seattle should apologize to no one at any time for taking this victory. If Green Bay felt they should have won they should have scored more than just 12 points.

Rookie Bruce Irvin had two sacks of Rodgers

Not a lot of teams win scoring only twelve points. It’s only the second time since the 2010 season the Pack has failed to score 20-or-more points.

Green Bay should have run out the clock. They had the ball, with a first down, with under two minutes to play and couldn’t do it. The Seahawk defense is proving quite the force so far this year. They really are looking awesome. They had nine sacks last night; eight in the first half when the Packers failed to score. Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young Tweeted that he’d never seen such a mauling put on another team the way the Hawks defensive front four mauled the Packer offensive line.

And let us not forget at about the 8:50 mark of the fourth quarter on a third-down Aaron Rodgers was stopped on a scramble at the Seahawk 2 yard line and ruled short of the first down. Green Bay was trailing 7-6 at the time. They were going to kick a field goal. But Packer coach Mike McCarthy successfully challenge the ruling of the placement of the ball and had it moved forward far enough to give Green Bay a first down and then a touchdown. The replay that I saw seemed to indicate that Rogers’ knee was down prior to him stretching for the necessary 1st down yardage. With just a Green Bay field goal Seattle would never have had to attempt that Fail Mary pass at the end. At the 27 yard line they were plenty close for a chip shot field goal to win the game.

And lets not forget that after Green Bay’s only touchdown they failed on a two point conversion attempt. Had they succeeded Seattle’s last second touchdown would only have tied the game. Yes, Green Bay had plenty of chances to win, both earned and questionable, and they failed to do it.

And lastly, Seattle is long, long, LONG overdue for some luck to come their way like this. The Emerald City has long been the town in which sports dreams go to die. If you go back to 1998 the New York Jets were awarded a last-minute touchdown, beating the Seahawks, when Vinnie Testaverde was ruled to have crossed the goal line on a quarterback sneak. It’s 14 years later. He STILL has not crossed that goal line. The loss was part of what ended in an 8-8 season. Seattle failing to make the playoffs by one game. THAT game. It also resulted in Coach Dennis Erickson losing his job.

In the biggest single sporting event in Seattle history our Seahawks got screwed by officials. Super Bowl 2005 is one in which countless officials penalties handed a victory to the Pittsburg Steelers, a victory they didn’t win.

Karma is a bitch when it finally turns on you, and such an angel when it turns for you. Could it be that after long-last, and years of disappointment last night’s Tate Touchdown signals a turn in karma for Seattle’s long-suffering fans and teams? Time will tell.

In the mean time Seattle has been everybody else’s lap dog for so long we refuse to apologize for a questionable officials call that went our way at the end of a Monday Night Football game in September. We’ll just say thank you. “Next!”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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