Setting the Stage:
Seattle dug their way out of a deep W & L pit to earn a playoff spot.
Not only that, HC Pete Carroll earned a 3-year contract extension.
While Carroll might be best known for the positive and winning culture he has created in Seattle, one that balances the ability to celebrate individualism while also having a disciplined team that always plays with a high level of effort...
“There is just a real upbeat aura about this team. They’re real hungry to learn, they’re hungry for the challenges. They’ve just been real competitive throughout and they’ve enjoyed the challenges. They have not allowed themselves to go downward at any time, they keep looking to the future and what’s up and what’s coming. It’s just been a really good group to work with.”
For all Carroll has accomplished, this season might go down as one of his best coaching jobs. In the offseason, Carroll made some tough decisions to overhaul his coaching staff, and the addition of defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Mike Solari have all paid dividends. Carroll and Schneider also oversaw a pretty significant amount of roster turnover, particularly on defense, but they said all along that the Seahawks weren’t rebuilding, and indeed the Seahawks are back in the playoffs despite the loss of a number of Pro-Bowl defensive players.
The Cards continue to lose and, instead of an extension, HC Steve Wilks was expected to receive a bunch of twigs and coal in his Christmas stocking. In normal times this would figure to be a lopsided affair with Seattle winning big at home. But having clinched a playoff spot, there's little incentive for Seattle to risk injury to win a relatively meaningless game. Meanwhile, all Arizona has to look toward is a higher (maybe the highest) 2018 Draft pick.
Seattle's Last Game
They beat KC 38 - 31.
Seattle - Carson - 4-yd TD Run (XP Good) - Seattle 7 - KC 0.
KC - Buttker 54-yd FG - Seattle 7 - KC 3
First Quarter Score: Seattle 7 - KC 3
KC - D Williams 2 yd TD Pass from Mahomes (XP Good) - Seattle 7 - KC 10.
Seattle - Vannett - 1-Yd TD Pass fr R Wilson (XP Good) - Seattle 14 - KC 10
Second Quarter Score: Seattle 14 - KC 10.
Seattle - 28-Yd Janikowski FG - Seattle 17 - KC 10
KC - C West 25-Yd TD Pass from Mahomes (XP Good) - Seattle 17 - KC 17
Seattle - D Baldwin - 27-YD Pass from R Wilson (XP Good) - Seattle 24 - KC 17
Third Quarter Score: Seattle 24 - KC 17
KC - Butker - 29 Yd FG - Seattle 24 - KC 20.
Seattle - Dckson - 2-Yd TD Pass fr R Wilson (XP Good) - Seattle 31 - KC 20
KC - 11-Td TD Pass fr Mahomes (2P Good) - Seattle 38 - KC 28
KC - Butker - 32 Yd FG - Seattle 38 - KC 31.
Final Score: Seattle 38 - KC 31.
Last Game Stats
Passing - R Wilson was 18 for 29, 271 yds, 3 TD's and no interceptions.
Receiving - Baldwin (7) and Lockett (4) led Seattle in receptions.
Rushing - Carson gained 116 yards on 27 carries. Longest gain was for 17 yards. He scored 2 TDs.
Penalties- KC 8 for 76 / Seattle 3 for 20
Net Yards - Seattle 464 - KC 419
Seattle in a Thumbnail
Pete Carroll made some gutsy calls to turn over both key players and coaches to make way for new energy. Frankly, it looked like PR cover for a total rebuilding effort, but (Dang!) it evidently worked. Big move was the emergence of Cardson to tote the leather. It leaves Seattle with a reliable running attack andsolid defense against the run that allows Seattle to keep mistakes at a minimum while waiting for their opponents to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot. Add to this a +14 Turnover Ratio and relatively few injuries (i.e. depth chart hasn't changed much since our first game with them) and you can see Carroll's road to success lain out plain and simple.
TEAM STATISTICS TO DATE
Total First Downs .....313 311
Rushing ..................125 87
Passing ..................149 193
Penalty .... ....39 31
3rd Down Conversions 77/194 60/166
4th Down Conversions 11/14 5/11
Total Offensive Yards 5362 5455
Rushing Yards 2378 1726
Rushing YPC 4.8 5.0
Passing Yards 2984 3729
Comp/Att/Int 268/406/6/8.1 ..337/512/12/7.7
Sacked 37 45
FG 20/25 23/30
TD’s 49 37
Avg Time of Possession ......31:37..................28:49
Turnover Ratio ........+14
Wilson: 268 of 406 for 3296 (66.0%) YPA: 8.1...TD: 34...Int: 6...Sacked: 45
Carson: 1028...YPA: 4.51 8 TDs
Penny: 413...YPA: 5.10
M Davis 470...YPA 4.48 3 TDs.
R Wilson: 378...YPA: 5.82
Lockett: Rec: 55...Yds: 196...YPR: 16.33...TD: 3
Baldwin: Rec. 48...Yds:...591...YPR 12.31 TD's 5
Vannett: Rec: 27..Yds: 252...YPR: 9.3..TD: 3
Carson: Rec 19...Yds: 156...YPR: 8.2...TD: 0
Shql Griffin: 57
E Thomas: 3
Shqll Griffin: 2
QB ..03 R Wilson...07 Hundley
RB.....32 Carson...27 Davis...20 R Penny...21 McKissic...38 Madden (FB)
WR1....89 Baldwin...83 Moore...xx M Turner
WR2 ...16 Lockett...18 Jar Brown.
TE.....81 Vannett....84 Dickson
LT.......76 Du Brown,,,74 Fant
LG ..64 Sweezy...77 Pocic..
OC ..68 Britt...53 Hunt
RT ..65 Ifedi
Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa, 94 Malveaux
DT - 98 Peters...96 Valentine
DT - 95 Gunter
DE- 55 C Jones, 56 Z Moore....54 Dora
SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck
MLB - 51 Hodges....47 Z Turner
WILL - 20 Bucannon, 59 Walker
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams, 25 C Jones
RCB - 38 Amerson....27 L Johnson....39 Nichols
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston, 35 Swearinger, 40 Tillman*
Matchup: Seattle Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
R Wilson does what he needs to do to win - he completes the passes he needs to complete and can convert esssential 3rd downs with either his arm or his feet. He's got Lockett and Baldwin to connect with.
One area of concern - Wilson has been sacked 45 times.
Cardinal pass defenders are beginning to look like they're struggling to complete the final 100-yds of a marathon. They're starting to reach a little to make things happen and experienced QB's are making thenm pay. Keep an eye on Malvaux (upcomimg pass rusher).
Because Wilson can beat you with his feet, you'd think this may be a game where the Cards give Bucannon and/or Reddick more playing time in "spy" roles; however Bucannon, of late, looks weak, undersized and a tad slow, and Reddick is still learning to play LB.
Key Matchups: Wilson vs. Bucannon, Lockett vs. Peterson. Baldwin vs, Amerson. Vanett vs. Baker
Matchup: Seattle Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Carson gained 1028 yards this season, so we can expect a heavy dose of running plays by Seattle. Card run defenders - while effective earlier in spurts - appear to have mailed it in,
Past experience should have taught us that - If you stop the run and contain R Wilson, the Seattle offensive threat tends to dissipate. But knowing and doing are two separate issues.
Key Matchups: Carson vs. Peters. Wilson vs. Bucannon
03 Rosen, 07 Glennon
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 16 Sherfield, 17 Tolliver
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson, 12 P Cooper
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 84 Gresham, 82 Phillips, 81 Daniels
LT- ...69 Holden...75 Golditch
LG - 78 Gossett...63 Odhiambo
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
RG- 70 Aboushi
RT - 60 Barksdale
Defensive Interior Line
LDE......99 Jefferson...94 R Green...93 B Jackson
LDT.....90 Reed.. .97 P Ford
RDT......98 Stephen...92 N Jones
RDE....55 Clark...95 Jordan
OLB....51 Mingo...59 Martin..52 Ellerbee
MLB...54 Wagner...58 Calitro
OLB...50 Wright...49 Sqm Griffin... 35Alexander
LCB.....26 Shql Griffin...28 Coleman...39 Reed
RCB....37 Flowers...36 King...23 Thorpe
SS .....30 McDougald..42 Hill...24 Luani
FS.....33 Thompson...(42 Hill)
Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Seattle Pass Defense
Rosen is piling up reels and reels of tape to review in the off-season. Problem is: most of the footage tends to be in the form of a nightmare. What we know about Rosen is that he (1) can zip it and (2) can be accurate but (3) is prone to make rookie mistakes - especially under pressure.
Rosen's supporting cast consists of (1) a receiving corps consisting of Fitz and a bunch of strangers fighting for recognition, (2) offensive linemen who shake hands to introduce themselves as they break the huddle, an empty TE Room, (4) David Johnson continuing to look for his former outstanding self and(5) Byron Leftwich figuring out what weapons will work when he attacks a defense.
Bobby Wagner leads the defense from his MLB position. S Earl Thomas had 2 picks. LDT Reed had 2 sacks.
Fitz vs Flowers..Shirfield vs. Griffin....Johnson vs. Wagner
Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Seattle Run Defense
S Wilks continues to insist that the Cards will do more to give David Johnson more touches. So far, they haven't. Hopefully, the Cards will continue to try and run the ball - if for no other reason than to keep Seattle defensive rushers from targeting Rosen.
We hope to see more misdirection/screens and other tactics that attack the perimeter and less futile between-the-tackles stuff
D Johnson vs. Wagner or Thomas
Seattle Special Teams
K 11 Janikowski
P 04 Dickson
H 04 Dickson
LS 69 Ott
KR 16 Lockett
PR 69 Ott
Cardinals Special Teams
P - 02 Lee
K- .05 Gonzalez
H - 02 Lee
LS -46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan, 14 Nelson
PR - 14 Nelson
Matchup: Seattle Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Former Raider Janikowski still has plenty of leg. Don't know much about Dickson. Lockett remains a home-run threat. Lee's an All Pro. Gonzalez is going through typical youngster's case of the yips. Logan has home run potential but few opportunities to show it. Don't expect to see the Cards risking injury to Peterson on Special Teams in the final game of the season with little at stake.
Lee and Janikowski appear to have the edge over Lee and Gonzalez. Logan has breakaway potential (but Lockett has a breakaway track record).
Carroll is a proven winner. We're not sure why they did it, but the Seattle brass cut relationships with a number of Seahawk veteran mainstays; suggesting that 2018 is a rebuilding year. But we can't help but notice that Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and other Seattle vets are still on the roster and - partly due to Russell Wilson's leadership and unique skill set - and the Seahawks still remain a formidable pro football team - the type of team that sneaks into the Super Bowl....& then wins it.
There hs been no indication that Michael B plans to fire Steve Wilks, but just a cursory glimpse at the season's record suggests otherwise. Maybe we're missing something, but the Cards, under Steve Wilks appear to be a safe, "by the numbers" football club. It's our experience that the only way safe, by the numbers teams become consistent winners is if their talent exceeds the culture. The Card roster lacks that kind of talent.
How to Beat the Seahawks
Execute - 100% of the time. Stop the run. Contain Russell Wilson. Play our *sses off and see how things develop.
PS Luck would help. Merry Christmas!