The Seahawks hopefully learned a big defensive lesson in their narrow win over the Falcons: Don’t get too fancy.
While Kris Richard did a great job dialing up blitzes and putting pressure on Matt Ryan, who was sacked four times and hit 13, the one part of the game plan that nearly cost the Hawks was the Richard Sherman-Julio Jones matchup.
The big problem: The Hawks moved Sherman around too much and he sometimes ended up covering a tight end or some other receiver on the wrong side of the field. Whether they intended to or not, the Hawks looked to be playing a hybrid man-zone at times in the third quarter — and it was a total failure.
They should not have moved Sherman unless it was to shadow Jones — wherever Jones lined up. But they let the Falcons dictate their coverage, and it nearly cost them the game.
Continue reading Did Kris Richard learn a key lesson?
Pete Carroll spent a lot of his Monday press conference explaining Richard Sherman’s outburst during Seattle’s 26-24 win over Atlanta and breaking down the injury situation, but he offered some good analysis of his 4-1 football team as well.
Among the big points he made: Experience matters, and they missed Kam Chancellor; Kelcie McCray handled the criticism like a pro; Germain Ifedi had a rough game as he makes up for missed time; the pass protection is strong because of Russell Wilson’s development; and the running game just didn’t get the chances vs. Atlanta because the Seahawks had to rally in the fourth quarter.
Carroll said the 36-yard touchdown by Julio Jones that set Sherman off was a result of “just not being on the same page.”
“What was clear to me is that Kam is a big factor,” Carroll said. “We don’t see that stuff; I can’t remember another game when Kam was playing (where that happened). He has such a connection and skills at communicating and all that.
Continue reading Theme of the week: Experience matters
“U mad, bro?”
That was one question no one needed to ask Richard Sherman on Sunday, when he brought back his 2012-13 incarnation with a tantrum that had everything but Tom Brady and Erin Andrews.
Outside of using his fame to make money and social statements and rip the NFL, Sherman had been pretty quiet ever since getting paid in 2014 and then having a baby last year. But he gave us all a little Retro Richard on Sunday, conjuring memories of his attention-seeking days as he put himself in the middle of two controversies in Seattle’s nail-biting win over the feisty Falcons.
His big sideline explosion – a hair-on-fire reminder of his blowup to Andrews after the 2013 NFC title game – and the non-call on his pass interference against Julio Jones at the end will elicit all kinds of chatter this week.
But that’s all for drama queens and grumpy losers. They’ll get over it and “chill,” just like Sherman did.
Continue reading Throwback Sherman gives drama queens plenty to gossip about
Russell Wilson rallied the offense and the defense stood stout at the end as the Seahawks beat Matt Ryan and the Falcons 26-24.
Wilson pulled off his usual magic, proving once again he is one of the elite.
Earl Thomas played his best game of the season.
Cliff Avril’s big game helped his parents’ home country of Haiti.
Michael Bennett should be OK despite leaving the game with a knee injury, but Luke Willson’s status is unclear, pending tests.
Bennett was irate over the cut block by Jake Matthews that knocked him out.
Richard Sherman blew his top over blown coverages.
It seems as though Kelcie McCray – filling in for injured Kam Chancellor — was the culprit on the first blown coverage, missing a defensive call.
Sherman should have been called for pass interference on the Falcons’ final pass play. But he wasn’t. And that’s that.
As they face the Falcons, the Seahawks will be looking to reverse a bad trend: poor performances off long layoffs.
In 2013 and most of 2014, the Seahawks were excellent when coming off byes or long prep times — going 9-2, with an average win margin of 14.9.
But they finished 2014 poorly, losing Super Bowl XLIX at the end after a 14-day prep period. And they haven’t done well on long layoffs since then, losing 34-31 at St. Louis in the 2015 opener, barely beating Dallas in an ugly 13-12 contest before their bye and then dropping a 39-32 home decision to Arizona after their bye.
Defense was a huge culprit in both of those 2015 losses, which were the reason they failed to win the NFC West. Had they won those division games, they would have ended up 12-4 with a first-round bye. As we all know, playoff byes were good to Seattle in 2013 and 2014, when they beat New Orleans and Carolina, moved on to the NFC title game and then the Super Bowl.
But the Hawks lost those two division games in 2015 and paid the consequences with two miserable road playoff games.
So, they entered this season with three losses in their last four off long layoffs — and barely squeaked past Miami in the opener, due mainly to a new offensive line that was outclassed.
Now they are getting ready to face the No. 1 offense in the league — and the question is: Have they finally gotten back on the post-bye winning track?
Kam Chancellor and Frank Clark are game-time decisions for ATL-SEA.
The weather is expected to be a big player in the game.
The Seahawks had great things to say about Dan Quinn, their former DC who brings the Falcons to town this weekend.
Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman is the matchup everyone wants to see.
But K.J. Wright said this “is a linebacker’s game,” and Bobby Wagner said he thinks he and Wright are up to the big challenge of stopping Atlanta RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
In the lead-up to the NFL draft last spring, Florida safety Keanu Neal looked like the kind of player the Seahawks might consider late in the first round.
He had a lot of similarities to Kam Chancellor and seemed like he could be the formerly disgruntled Pro Bowl safety’s heir apparent.
As it turned out, the Seahawks had no shot at Neal — even if they would have considered taking a defensive back so high. Atlanta drafted him instead, at pick 17 — obviously Dan Quinn’s move to find his own Chancellor.
The interesting twist in this is that Chancellor actually reached out to Neal, despite not knowing him, and offered to teach the rookie how to train NFL style.
“He was a bit surprised,” Chancellor said of the text he sent the rookie. “He just was very thankful and grateful that I reached out to him. I said a few things to him, talked to him and asked him if he wanted to come train with me in the offseason. He was just a grateful kid.”
Continue reading Neal looked like a Seahawk, which is why Chancellor trained him
Over the offseason, the Seahawks talked about tweaking their defense to account for the short passing attacks some savvy offenses have used to beat them.
Although Miami and the Jets worked the short game with some success in the first month, they didn’t do it well enough to beat the Seahawks. But now the Hawks are about to face their first big test against a quarterback and skill players who are capable of beating them the way Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton and Cam Newton have in recent seasons.
Sure, Atlanta’s 300-yard man, Julio Jones, will have a fun matchup against Richard Sherman. But the Falcons the Hawks need to be most concerned about are running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman.
Continue reading Can the Hawks catch the Falcons’ backs?
One of the concerning themes of the first month for the Seahawks was the crazy caliber of defensive lines they had to face.
Poor performance by their reconfigured offensive line against the Dolphins, Rams and Jets was the only thing that stood between the Hawks and a 4-0 record.
As expected, the new unit got whipped in the first two games — except for that final winning drive against Miami.
But, the good news is the unit did a better-than-expected job vs. the Jets — allowing Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham and company to score some points and the Hawks to enter their bye at 3-1.
Now, with the line’s tough start over, the unit has a fairly friendly three-game stretch before it gets difficult again. And the quintet should get better by the week now that Germain Ifedi is back.
Continue reading After rough first month, O-line gets a few easier matchups
The game against the Falcons could be a barometer of where the Seahawks stand in the NFC.
Russell Wilson looks fine, and more injury updates.
Five Seahawks who are key to the final 12 games.
Frank Clark is playing a lot more this year, and DeShawn Shead has played every snap.
The Seahawks are producing more sacks this year despite blitzing at the same frequency as last year.
Dan Quinn said he has “a lot of gratitude” for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks setting him up to coach the Falcons.