Wednesday morning's online edition of the Washington Post, I read a
then-uncredited article where the author(s) wanted
to know who the Seattle Seahawks are. Turns out the
article was penned by Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times and
the article originally ran in that publication on Tuesday,
January 1st, 2008. What can I say? I'm more of a P-I guy.
Let's see if I can help him out.
Seahawks enter the playoffs a mystery, the ultimate wild card, the
one team that could truly do anything.
and done? Wouldn't be surprising.
Wouldn't be earth-shattering.
really only one team that fits that bill, Jerry?
What about San Diego, who were the
best team in the NFL in the regular season in 2006 before they were one and
done in the playoffs last January. They have talent up and down the roster,
they beat the Colts already this year, and Norv Turner be damned, they could conceivably pull off "The Upset".
What about the AFC North champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are underdogs
at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars? It's only been two years since they went
to, and won*, the Super Bowl after entering the playoffs as the #6-seed.
In the NFC, don't the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fit that bill? They're a collection
of thirtysomethings who lost three of four games
to close out the season, but have the defense and big-play ability on offense
that'll make them a dangerous team in the post-season.
For that matter, how about the New York Giants? Sure,
they haven't won a playoff game under Tom Coughlin, but they just gave the
Patriots a pretty game, didn't they?
We'd all be shocked if New England or Indianapolis lost
immediately, but other than that, every team, even Dallas and Green Bay, is pretty much in the same boat right
Yet to Jerry Brewer, the Seahawks are the "ultimate wild card".
Who are they?
an offense with a former MVP running back that survives by throwing the football.
a defense with four Pro Bowlers that suffers through bouts of inconsistency.
a stable group of high-character players that often exhibits concerning erratic
yet the Seahawks won 10 times this season and clinched the NFC West three
1.) Yes, they have a former NFL MVP running back (Shaun Alexander) and are
an offense that passes the ball more than they run the ball. It's not that
whacky when you consider that the team didn't start throwing the ball more
until the running game wasn't going anywhere and the former MVP running back
was injured and on the sidelines.
They adapted to what their strengths were at the time. Rumor has it, there are places where teams actually get credit for doing
that sort of thing.
2.) Is the number of Pro Bowlers a team has directly related to how consistent
that defense is? Hmmm, let me check.
Seattle has 4 Pro Bowlers from a
defense that ranked 15th in total yards and was tied for 6th in scoring defense.
Dallas has 3 Pro Bowlers from a defense
that ranked 9th overall in total yards and was 13th in scoring defense.
Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
and Indianapolis have TWO Pro Bowlers combined on defenses that
ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the NFL in terms of yardage and scoring
I'm no expert, but it sure doesn't seem so.
3.) Over a 16-game season, all teams will have bouts of erratic play. Sometimes
it's caused by a poor snap on special teams, or assignment errors that leads
to a sack on offense or a long touchdown run on your defense. Sometimes these
errors are made by high-character guys, sometimes they're not. It happens.
4.) From the sounds of it, the Seahawks are a team that accomplished their
first goal of the season (winning the division) early, which is a good thing.
the Seahawks benefited from a schedule that turned out to be far easier than
it looked in September. Seattle wound up playing only two
playoff teams, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.
means the Seahawks last faced playoff competition Oct. 7, when Pittsburgh
trampled them, 21-0, in Seattle's
worst performance of the year.
then, Seattle has only played three teams (Arizona, Cleveland
and Philadelphia) that won at least
half their games.
agree, and something needs to be done about this before it gets out of hand.
Maybe the NFL can institute some sort of "flex" scheduling function
that will allow teams to play stronger opponents late in the season to appease
Then again, doing so would give the media one less thing to write about in
the week leading up to games like Saturday's, so maybe we should just keep
it the way it is. Maybe we could also realize that it's not the fault of team's
like the Seahawks that the teams that were "supposed to be good"
weren't, or perhaps that they weren't ready to meet the expectation levels
the media placed upon them.
So the Seahawks have been lucky. They needed only a five-game hot streak
to make their season. They struggled before that stretch and then cruised
Guess who only needed a four-game hot streak to make the playoffs this season?
Go ahead, guess.
They're a team with a former MVP running back that can't run the football.
But they finished the season with two highly productive rushing performances.
a team that has discovered a formula: Let Hasselbeck's knowledge of Mike Holmgren's
offense spur them and let the defense take over from there. But they finished
the season by allowing 44 points to Atlanta.
Yeah, it's called "The Baltimore Ravens without Ray Lewis" and the
Atlanta Falcons 26th-ranked run defense. Chances are good they'll see more
stout units in January.
2.) Yes, the Seahawks allowed 44 points to the Atlanta Falcons in the season
finale. In the 4th quarter, the Falcons scored two touchdowns in 77 seconds
on scoring drives of 19 and 10 yards thanks to a pair of turnovers by Seahawks
back-up quarterback Seneca Wallace.
They're a team with a Super Bowl pedigree and enough talent to return.
they finished the season with two losses in their final three games.
those games didn't matter. But who loses to quarterbacks named Matt Moore
and Chris Redman?
right, those games didn't matter. Finally, there's something Brewer and I
agree on. But for poops and giggles sake, who does lose to Matt Moore and
Well, the Chris Redman one I can't really say anything about other than the
Seahawks offense did a nice job of continually setting Redman up with a field
roughly the same size one would see in an Arena league game and the Seahawks
defense ran a pretty vanilla scheme.
As for Matt Moore, well he did play pretty well against the NFC's #1-seed
a few days after beating Seattle,
and he also led the Carolina Panthers to a road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
in the season finale. So my final answer to the question is "The Tampa
However, I am willing to discount that one because Tampa was resting their starters, so I guess I found another reason
to throw away the Seahawks' loss to Redman last week, haven't I?
Still, they're in the playoffs, and they're dangerous, both to themselves
and the opponent. Their first-round foe, the Washington
Redskins, appears to be the kind of team that could turn the Seahawks' season
sour. Great, physical defense. Another
unknown quarterback. The Seahawks haven't been able to solve either
The unknown quarterbacks that the Seahawks have struggled against (Matt
Moore, Chris Redman) have already been discussed, but here's another possible
reason for those struggles: Location.
Seattle "struggled" against
Moore and Redman while they were on the road. Sandwiched between those two
games was a home game against the Baltimore Ravens and rookie Tr oy Smith,
whothe Seahawks handled pretty well in a 27-6 win.
Plus, Todd Collins doesn't really qualify as an unknown quarterback. Sure,
he's been a career back-up to guys like Jim Kelly, Elvis Grbac
and Trent Green, but he's a 36-year old veteran who has been in this particular
offensive system for a very long time. That's a far cry from being an undrafted
rookie free agent (Moore) or a guy who was selling insurance in Kentucky the last few years (Redman).
their flaws, however, this remains one of the most talented and balanced teams
in the NFL, one that causes us to expect more, one
that has yet to be pushed.
answer is coming.
are the Seahawks?
How about a 10-6 team that didn't play as well as they could have in the regular
season, but won their division easily and were the 3rd best team in the NFC
this season. They're a team that is very tough at home (7-1), thanks to the
12th Man and a talented roster that possesses the amount of post-season experience
that gives them a legitimate chance to go deep in the playoffs.
But, you know, your answer was good, too.