There’s still hope for inconsistent offense

Paul Richardson goes up for a catch against Janoris Jenkins (Seahawks.com)It was easy to fall into the trap thinking: The Seahawks’ offense had put up 35 points against a tough Arizona defense, so they should be able to score two or three touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams, right?

Not so fast.

Russell Wilson and company moved the ball pretty well at times, amassing 354 yards, but they turned the ball over twice and otherwise shot themselves in the foot as they were blanked on the scoreboard in the first half for the first time since 2011. They needed some help from the defense in the second half, too.

A week after rushing for 267 yards on 34 carries, the Hawks tallied just 132 on the same number of runs vs. St. Louis. And Wilson, who was sacked just once and hit a mere four times by Arizona, was sacked three times and hit seven by the Rams, not including a big hit he took on a first-half run.

So, it appears the Arizona game was an anomaly, and the true Seattle offense remains the one that struggles to sustain drives and score touchdowns. In three of the six wins to close the season, the Hawks scored just one offensive touchdown.

But Pete Carroll is not concerned, especially when the Hawks faced Arizona’s No. 5 scoring defense, San Francisco’s No. 10 scoring defense and St. Louis’ red-hot unit, which ranked second to Seattle in points allowed since Week 9 thanks to consecutive shutouts of Oakland and Washington.

Continue reading There’s still hope for inconsistent offense

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No. 1 defense/seed combo is nigh unbeatable

For the second straight year, the Seahawks are the No. 1 seed in the NFL — and this time, no one should be questioning whether they can use that home-field advantage to win the Super Bowl.

Not after they did it last year.

Forget the fact that no Super Bowl champ has won a playoff game since 2005, when New England did it, and no champ has repeated since the Patriots did it in 2004.

Forget the fact that four teams have not even made the playoffs the next season or that four were bounced in the first game.

Pete Carroll didn’t want to hear it after the Hawks beat St. Louis at home in the season finale for the second straight year to secure the top seed. It’s the fourth time in Carroll’s five seasons the Hawks have beaten the Rams in Seattle in the season finale — three of those wins resulted in NFC West titles.

Continue reading No. 1 defense/seed combo is nigh unbeatable

Carroll’s Legion of Boom channels Grant’s Purple People Eaters

Earl Thomas punches the ball out of the hand of Benny Cunningham at the goal line, saving a TD and giving the Seahawks the ball (Seahawks.com)

If you want to know the secret to Seattle’s uncommonly dominant defense, all you have to do is go back about 40 years to the Purple People Eaters.

Before the Seahawks — led by the Legion of Boom — capped a three-year run as the No. 1 scoring defense Sunday, the last defense to accomplish that feat was the Minnesota Vikings, from 1969 to 1971. Led by one of the NFL’s legendary lines — Alan Page, Carl Eller, Leonard Marshall and Gary Larsen — they were known as the Purple People Eaters.

It might not surprise you to learn that those Vikings were coached by Pete Carroll’s mentor, future Hall of Famer Bud Grant. (To add to the historical symmetry, Grant’s D-line coach was Jack Patera, who later became Seattle’s first coach. And Eller finished his career with Patera’s Hawks in 1979.)

Continue reading Carroll’s Legion of Boom channels Grant’s Purple People Eaters

CHAWK LINES -- Merry Christmas!

Bobby Wagner’s surprise Christmas present: a Pro Bowl nod.

Russell Wilson was NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher on Wilson: “The best way to describe it is that he’s an extra player on offense. They’re playing with 12, and that’s very hard to defend.’’ So, Wilson is a 12th man, too.

Marshawn Lynch was fined $11,050 for grabbing his crotch during his backward dive into the end zone on his 79-yard run vs. Arizona.

Curious about what Lynch and Ricardo Lockette were saying into the microphone boom during the game in Arizona?

The Seahawks needed Jordan Hill to replace Clinton McDonald as the inside rusher, and he finally has, with five sacks in the past five games.

Penalty ‘chasm’ is becoming absurd, but Carroll embraces it

Penalties thru 15 gamesYou know the
Seahawks are a dominant team when they end up with an 11-1 disparity in penalties and three missed field goals and still win by 29 points.

Steven Hauschka’s misses in Seattle’s 35-6 win over Arizona were uncharacteristic, but the penalties — and the ridiculously lopsided nature of them — were a continuation of a theme.

The Seahawks came into the game with 1.9 times as many penalties as their opponents — the worst factorial since the 1953 Cleveland Browns, according to NBC’s stats folks. It only got worse as the Hawks were called for 11 and the Cardinals were assessed just one. Now the Hawks’ penalties outnumber their foes’ by an even 2-1.

Pete Carroll has decided to embrace the obvious bias of the officials.

“I’m not griping about it,” he told 710 ESPN on Monday. “Matter of fact, I kind of like … the (penalty) chasm. Let’s let the chasm continue to broaden for the heck of it and see what happens.”

Continue reading Penalty ‘chasm’ is becoming absurd, but Carroll embraces it

Offense sets records & Carroll has a blast

Luke Willson makes a catch over Arizona linebacker Larry Foote (AP)Few doubted the Seahawks would beat the offense-challenged Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night. The only question was whether Seattle’s struggling offense would manage to score any touchdowns.

Russell Wilson and company answered that emphatically, amassing a team-record 596 yards and scoring five times in a stunningly offensive 35-6 victory that served notice to the entire league that the Hawks are poised to run over anyone in their path on the way to another Super Bowl title.

Wilson played perhaps his best game of the season, throwing for a career-high 339 yards and two touchdowns and running for 88 yards and a score. He and Marshawn Lynch both turned in mindboggling TD runs — juking, stiff-arming and overpowering Arizona defenders — to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Combined with a defense that expectedly shut down the Cardinals — 216 yards, just 29 rushing — it was Seattle’s most complete, dominant victory since the opener against Green Bay. And it was Arizona’s first loss of the season at home.

It gave the Seahawks control of the NFC West and the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs — both of which can be theirs with a home win over the St. Louis Rams next week.

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Nothing against Lynch’s awesome run, but Beast Quake was better

Beast Quake and Desert StormIn the heat of the moment, plenty of people are calling Marshawn Lynch’s career-best 79-yard touchdown run Sunday the best run of his career. It certainly was another unbelievable effort by Beast Mode, but those people apparently have short memories.

While Lynch’s cutback dash past and through the Arizona defense was a sick run, especially for a guy who had a queasy stomach early in the game, it was only his second-best run ever. His 67-yard Beast Quake run against New Orleans nearly four years ago still stands as the superlative play of his career.

That is not to diminish the Beastly beauty of this latest run, which was remarkably similar to the one that sealed Seattle’s upset win in the 2010 playoffs. On both runs, he started left, cut back right to the sideline and then knocked down a defensive back (or two) on his way to the end zone. And he also finished each run with a satisfying backward dive into the end zone.

Continue reading Nothing against Lynch’s awesome run, but Beast Quake was better

CHAWK LINES -- Seahawks at Cardinals

Have the Cardinals replaced the 49ers as the Seahawks’ top rival in the NFC West?

Jerry Brewer is correct when he says the Seattle offense “has to become more sophisticated,” but how can it when the offensive line is such a mess?

I was going to write about the importance of a quick-hit passing game, but John Boyle did a nice job of it.

With the underwhelming Ryan Lindley starting for Arizona, Kenneth Arthur of Field Gulls attempts to foreshadow his performance by looking at some of the worst games by quarterbacks in NFL history.

A preview of the game from The Sports Xchange.

Field Gulls takes an early look at the Seahawks’ 2015 schedule as we know it so far.