December 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM
December 22, 2014 at 6:52 AM
So maybe you thought everyone sort of knew how Marshaw Lynch did his mandatory post-game interviews these days and it had become old news.
If so, you thought wrong.
Lynch's latest twist on managing a requirement of the job that he abhors came last night when he answered "thanks for asking'' or some variation there of, to eight questions in about 40 seconds.
This follows a games where he has said "yeah'' or "no'' to every question, basically trying to discourage the media from bothering.
Maybe it was the attention paid to the game or the manner in which Lynch handled this one, but the social media reaction has gone off the charts (here's Big Lead's take, to name one).
This almost seems counterintuitive --- with each week that Lynch makes it clear he doesn't like the process, the more attention seems to be paid to it.
Whatever the case, with the Seahawks looking primed for another Super Bowl run, expect this to remain a subplot that at times seems to be threatening to overshadow the real thing.
Here are a few more Monday Musings:
- If the season ended today, Seattle would have the No. 1 seed and a bye in the first round, waiting to play either Green Bay, Arizona or Carolina in the divisional round in Seattle the week of Jan. 10-11. Seattle has to win --- or Arizona lose --- for Seattle to clinch the NFC West. And if Seattle wins, all that can prevent not getting the No. 1 seed in the playoffs is a Detroit-Green Bay tie and a Dallas win, creating a two-way tie with the Cowboys. Otherwise, the No. 1 seed is Seattle's.
- Here's the full playoff picture from NFL.com. And as you can see, all that's left to settle in the NFC is seedings and the winner of the NFC South --- whoever wins the Atlanta-Carolina game.
- The Seahawks are now leading the NFL in yards allowed (268.6 per game) and points at 16.5. Seattle also remains first in passing yards allowed at 184.5 and is third in rushing at 84.1. I'll have to do some research to find how often a team has finished that high in all of those categories. But it speaks to the overall strength of Seattle's defense that the Seahawks are so strong in all of those categories. In something we'll explore later, you also wonder if that hurts the individual players get recognition because nobody really has to put up huge numbers. I'd think at least five Seattle defenders deserve Pro Bowl recognition --- Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. You could probably also make a case for Cliff Avril. But as the likes of Bennett often note, Seattle's defenders don't necessarily have the most gaudy of stats. Guess we'll find out Tuesday when the Pro Bowl team is announced.
- Speaking of Lynch, he's third in the NFL in rushing at 1,246.
- Worth noting again that Jeremy Lane played nickelback last night after three games when Byron Maxwell had handled those duties with Tharold Simon coming in to play on the outside. It'l be worth asking this week if that's a permanent move or remains game-to-game based on matchups or what. Or also worth watching on that front is the health of Simon, who hurt his shoulder in the final minute of the game.
- Speaking of injuries, Seattle again got through relatively unscathed, though the hamstring injury to Jermaine Kearse appears potentially troublesome. Chris Matthews also suffered a hamstring injury this week, so Seattle may have just five healthy receivers heading into the Rams game. Getting the first round bye would obviously help with some injuries of that sort.
December 22, 2014 at 12:19 AM
Here's all that Seattle coach Pete Carroll had to say after the win over Arizona
“Well, that’s about as much fun as you can have playing NFL football in the regular season. That was really an exciting night of football against a really good team, an extraordinary, tough defense. Our guys found a way to do all of the things that we had hoped to do and I don’t even know where to begin to praise these guys. First off, to not give up a touchdown tonight is an excellent job by the guys on defense; 49 yards rushing, or something like that. That’s a phenomenal night, and they wanted to run it. And to keep them out of the endzone, it was great stuff. A lot of guys played their tails off again. The thing I’m most proud of, we talked about it, what we did last week is nice and all, but can you do it again? To continue to play like this at this kind of level gives us real confidence going into the last football game with a chance to put a lot of this stuff at stake with the division and all, we can do it again. On the other side of the ball, you know, that’s a lot of yards against a really tough group and it happened with some extraordinary execution by a lot of guys. I think I should start up front. For Tom Cable to put that together with the guys he had playing, just a fantastic job with all of our guys. With James Carpenter banged up, Sweez (J.R. Sweezy) was banged up going into the week; Alvin Bailey plays his tail off and Patrick Lewis to get in there and play another game for us like that was just fantastic. Can’t forget (Justin) Britt either. It’s a great job by those guys. To rush for 260-some yards, that’s huge. Guys made catches. Luke (Willson) had a fantastic night. Showed you right away how fast he is on the 80-yarder. He had a great night all-in-all. And I thought Paul Richardson had a fantastic contribution tonight. Doug Baldwin did as well. Seven big catches. I’ve never , I don’t know, I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve never seen a better run than Marshawn’s (Lynch) run tonight. It reminded me of OJ Simpson against Ohio State, I think, whatever the heck that was. Cutting back and finishing and all of that stuff. It was as good a run as I can ever remember seeing. It was so much fun to watch that. So, he contributed big. He was sick to start the game. He had some stomach issues and just couldn’t get well, so that’s why he didn’t play at the start. But then Russell (Wilson) was just ridiculous tonight. He was so good tonight in so many ways. All of the yards and all of the conversions on third down, the fantastic big throws he made, the plays to get out of trouble so that he could make a big play. It’s just as good as you can get. We’re so lucky that he’s playing for us. And the beautiful run that he had to score a touchdown. It’s the combination of all of this that has happened with Marshawn and Russell, the guys up front. This attitude that we’re playing with, it gives us a chance to really have high hopes going into the last game. And we will try to crank it up all over again this time out. Again, personally, I couldn’t have had more fun. I had a freaking blast tonight. Not that that matters, but that’s as much fun as you can have.”
On what went in to Patrick Lewis starting at center:
“We were looking at the film from the last time we played and he did a really nice job. I thought the match-up looked good, so Tom (Cable) thought he’d give him a shot at it and it worked out pretty well.”
On if this is as well as this team has ever played:
“Oh, I don’t know. You can’t have more penalties than what happened in the first half. We probably had the greatest halftime adjustments of all time. We had one penalty in the second half, so we’ll give that to the coordinators, they did a great job, a great speech. Dan Quinn had a great speech for the guys to keep them from getting the penalties in the second half, so that’s fantastic. But it’s pretty crazy. I think it was eleven-to-one tonight. I think it was eleven-to-one, it was amazing.”
On what he thinks of his team’s play over the last five-game stretch:
“One game at a time. We’re doing things the way we want to do and we’re playing defense the way we want. We’re committing to the running game. We’re taking care of the football; we did not turn the ball over again, which is such a winning aspect of our play. We’re just going to try and keep going. We have another game to see what we can do.”
On if he predicted the opportunities that he’d have with Luke Willson:
“Just regular game plan stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary, no. It just kind of popped and then Russell (Wilson) delivered the ball so beautifully to him so he could make the big play. It’s always part of the offense, nothing special.”
On how he felt about holding the Cardinals to a limited amount of yards:
“I think that Dan (Quinn) did a great job of recognizing that it was going to be hard on Ryan (Lindley). We knew that and we didn’t know how well he would do. We knew it’d be challenging for him starting against our group and all that, so we really went in thinking that if we did a really good job in the run game and not let them get a rhythm it would make a big difference. Obviously that worked out perfectly for us. He’s got a lot of arm strength. He got the ball down (field), I think they went deep on us nine times in the first half. So they went after us. Our guys did a great job on the deep end of not letting that be a factor.”
On if this was Russell Wilson’s best game:
“Gosh, I don’t know. He did a lot of great stuff tonight. There is just so much production on some of those big plays.”
On how injured Jermaine Kearse may be:
“It’s his hammy (hamstring). We don’t know. He didn’t pop it. He felt banged up and we shut it down right then. That’s exactly what he told me, so that’s all I know.”
On the status of Cooper Helfet and Tharold Simon:
“Coop (Cooper Helfet) got hit in the ribs, got banged pretty good. He’s going to be really sore tomorrow. He made it through the game and did a really good job for us. Simon (Tharold Simon) had a hurt shoulder. I don’t know how badly.”
On if it was an off night for Steven Hauschka:
“It didn’t pop really well off of the turf. He just didn’t hit it as sharp as he usually does. He’s been phenomenal and I know that he is going to be phenomenal the next time out.”
On if there was ever a point that he thought Marshawn Lynch may not play:
“No. It was just a matter of him trying to throw up. He couldn’t throw up, you know? He was sick to his stomach. I don’t know if he ever did, if he ever got to it or was holding it back.”
On if the new grass that was laid played a factor in the kicking game:
“I don’t know. I don’t know.”
December 22, 2014 at 12:15 AM
Here are three impressions of Seattle's 35-6 win over Arizona from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta. First, Jenks:
1, So about that talk about Seattle’s offense…It was just earlier this week that so much of the talk about this game centered on whether the Seahawks’ offense would be able to do anything against the Cardinals’ talented defense. But with an offensive line playing two backups, and without one of their top receivers for most of the game in Jermaine Kearse (hamstring injury), the Seahawks set a franchise record with 596 yards of offense. The Seahawks did it in all phases — on the ground with the running backs, with Russell Wilson’s legs, with quick passes and with deep shots down the field. It was a crisp and efficient game for the offense, except for the penalties. But it showed more than anything that against a good defense, Seattle doesn’t just have to rely on its defense.
2, Tight end Luke Willson showed the trait the Seahawks covet most in him. When the Seahawks drafted Willson in the fifth round two years ago, the one thing they talked so much about was his ability to stretch the field with his speed. Willson had shown that trait in bits and pieces, but he highlighted it against the Cardinals. He had three catches for 139 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, and two touchdowns. The Seahawks need a deep threat in the middle of the field, and Willson has the potential to provide that. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds at his pro day, and he is so big and strong that defensive backs have a hard time bringing him down. He could be a game-changer for Seattle’s offense if he can play like he did against Arizona.
3, Russell Wilson had one of his most efficient games. Wilson was so quick with his decision-making, something Seattle’s coaches have wanted him to do more of. He read Arizona’s blitzes, knew where guys were coming from and got the ball to the right receivers at the right time. As good as Wilson is at scrambling and creating havoc with his legs, he can sometimes look to do that too much when the offense calls for him to get the ball out quickly. He did just that against the Cardinals. “He knew where people were coming so he was able to put the ball…If they came through the right, he replaced them with the ball,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said. “That’s throwing the football at this level. That’s blitz protection. Kudos to him because he did a nice job of throwing in the void. That’s what we’ve been missing, and he’s been great tonight, and those kids blocked the rest of them, which was cool. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
1. So Marshawn Lynch doesn't look done, does he? No, he certainly doesn't. He also doesn't look like someone who is really thinking of retiring. But with Lynch, it's probably still best to enjoy the present and worry about the future later. The present, as we saw tonight, remains as good as ever. Lynch is now up to 1,246 yards for the season, averaging 4.7 yards per carry, second-best of his career (5.0 in 2012 --- he was at 4.2 last season). The offense looked okay early without Lynch --- 103 rushing yards in the first quarter including 48 on 10 carries from Christine Michael and Robert Turbin. And you wonder how that first quarter might factor into evaluations made after the season. But it all went to a different level once Lynch got back in there.
2. Is there any reason to worry about Steven Hauschka? Probably not. He said there was no real reason for the misses, just a bad day at the office. Maybe it's the Cardinals --- his one bad miss a year ago came in the home game against Arizona, a 27-yarder. On this night, the misses were indicative that the special teams seems to be the one area still lagging behind a bit while the defense and offense have gone under fairly significant resurgences the last month.
3. The receivers quietly had a nice day. It was pretty easy to lose sight of the day Doug Baldwin had --- seven catches for 113 yards, his second-most of the season. Paul Richardson also had a career-high five catches for 52. He may still not be quite turning in the kind of explosive plays that many anticipated when he was drafted. But he is beginning to make an every-week impact, something the Seahawks will need to see continue going forward.
December 21, 2014 at 11:57 PM
The story line leading up to this game was that it would be a battle of defenses.
The Seahawks with their 596 yards of total offense beg to differ.
Seattle has taken control of the NFC West and, with Dallas' win over Indianapolis today, earned a ticket to the postseason. A Super Bowl repeat feels closer than it has since the start of the season.
But this game wasn't perfect. The Seahawks racked up 11 penalties, most of them in the first half. And the usually phenomenal Steven Hauschka missed all three of his field goal attempts, doubling his number of misses for the season. It was the first time he's missed more than one in a single game.
Overall, though, it was a masterful performance from the Seahawks. Below are six of the biggest moments from the game:
Wilson’s 55-yard run
On the last play of the first quarter, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson found a hole in the Cardinals' defense and had the longest run of his career. It got Seattle into field goal range to start the second quarter, but Hauschka couldn't close the deal.
80-yard Wilson-to-Willson touchdown
After sitting out with an upset stomach, running back Marshawn Lynch joined the game early in the second quarter just in time to become a play-action decoy. With Arizona's defense focused on Lynch, tight end Luke Willson got open behind the Cardinals' secondary to catch the longest pass of quarterback Russell Wilson's career and bring it home.
Wilson has thrown only one other 80-yarder: last year, to Golden Tate against the St. Louis Rams.
Lynch red-zone TD
Robert Turbin and Christine Michael got plenty of touches, but Marshawn Lynch is still the Seahawks' main ground weapon. On their next drive after Willson scored, it took the Seahawks six plays to get back into the end zone, with Lynch going right and stretching across the line to put Seattle up 14-3 at the half.
Second Wilson-to-Willson TD
Early in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson sent a 20-yard laser down the middle to Luke Willson in the end zone, giving the Hawks a 21-6 lead.
It was an unexpected career day for Willson, who had 191 yards and one touchdown entering Sunday night's game. After this play, it was 139 yards and two touchdowns for the Arizona game alone.
Beast unleashed: Record Lynch run for another TD
Marshawn Lynch seemed to forget his stomach ache in the fourth quarter, darting 79 yards down the field and leaping into the end zone with both altitude and attitude.
It was the longest run of his career. (For perspective, the famous Beast Quake run was 67 yards.)
Wilson runs in a TD of his own
Driving the final nail in on Arizona's control of the NFC West, Russell Wilson scampered 5 yards into the end zone in the final minutes of the game. It was one of six runs he had for 88 yards total (Wilson was more of a force through the air, throwing for 339 yards -- his most in a regular-season game).
December 21, 2014 at 11:45 PM
Here are videos of Seattle coach Pete Carroll and players Richard Sherman and Luke Willson following the win over Arizona tonight:
December 21, 2014 at 11:30 PM
There was unquestionably a lot that Marshawn Lynch could have talked about following Sunday's win over Arizona.
But Lynch again chose essentially not do.
He did meet the media afterward, but again picked a phase with which to basically answer every question --- today it was "thanks for asking.''
You can watch it below, and here is a Tweet with a transcript of Lynch's 49 words to eight questions:
December 21, 2014 at 10:39 PM