Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Ten In-Depth Observations

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6. It was a great day for Seahawks wide receivers overall, and Golden Tate was certainly the most impressive of them. Before the season, everyone connected to the Seahawks was talking about how Tate would be a huge breakout performer this season, and he has certainly broken out. Speaking of breakout players, Jermaine Kearse has seemingly come out of nowhere in recent weeks, and he has incredible chemistry with Wilson. Don’t believe me? Watch his terrific 23-yard reception early in the second quarter on 3rd-and-3. Wilson made a nice pass away from rookie corner Desmond Trufant, but it was mostly Kearse on that play. Not only did he have to make a late adjustment on the ball, but he ran a perfect route in order to gain the separation he needed from Trufant. The play showed just how much Wilson trusts Kearse, as he trusted his receiver to get up and make the play.

That trust was also evident in Kearse’s huge 43-yard touchdown reception later on in the second quarter, and it was yet another incredible play by the Seahawks. It started when the ball was handed off to the always-dangerous Marshawn Lynch, who drew Falcons defenders to the right side of the formation. In a sudden turn of events, Lynch perfectly pitched the ball to Wilson, who had a clean pocket and delivered a nice bomb in the end zone to Kearse, who athletically came down with the catch in single coverage. What for Kearse, because he is a better receiver than Sidney Rice going forward. The Seahawks are deep, talented, underrated, and dangerous at receiver now, especially with Harvin set to return.

7. I spoke enough about the Seahawks receivers, so let’s take a look at the man slinging the ball. There were a couple of times when I was frustrated with Russell Wilson for holding the ball too long and getting far too antsy in the pocket (he tends to sense pressure that really isn’t there), but he had an amazing game. I mean, Wilson was 19-26, averaged 11 yards per attempt, and he was one of the best quarterback’s in the league this week for sure. Wilson was able to get the deep ball working, and he continues to show the best vision of any QB. Vision is so important to quarterbacks in this league, and Wilson’s ability to see the play develop and find open receivers is up there with the elite QBs of the game. He’s turning into a bona fide star right before our eyes, and the hitches to his game will slowly fade away. He looked athletic and strong on Sunday.

8. In general, I came away very impressed with the Seattle Seahawks offensive line, as they took full advantage of a struggling Falcons defensive line. Although they broke down on the outside a couple of times, I thought the Seahawks did an excellent job of protecting Wilson (he was able to have plenty of time on several deep tosses) and allowing Marshawn Lynch to hit nearly 150 rushing yards. The run blocking at the point of attack was especially positive, as it didn’t seem like the Seahawks line suffered much from the loss of top center Max Unger. They did a great job opening up holes for Lynch, who was absolutely incredible in this one. Lynch was all over the place cutting, and he looked as explosive as usual.

But back to the line. I honestly think the Seahawks starting bookend going forward should be Russell Okung at left tackle (well, duh) and Michael Bowie at right tackle. Bowie looked amazing on Sunday, and I counted at least five plays in which he dominated the pass rusher he was blocking. I believe that Bowie is a superior player to Breno Giacomini, who really isn’t a good starter anyway. The Seahawks need to play Bowie going forward to see if he can be “the guy” at right tackle, since he showed that kind of ability on Sunday. I thought he was one of the team’s unsung heroes in the big win. The Seahawks offensive line totally dominated in the running game, and Marshawn Lynch also totally dominated the Falcons D. The only times in which the Falcons run defense looked good were when veteran DE Osi Umenyiora showcased his physical talent by physically-making big plays.

9. Steven Hauschka has greatly improved his leg strength, and it showed yesterday. He is easily one of the best kickers in the NFL, and it goes beyond his almost robot-like accuracy. Hauschka was booting some terrific touchbacks (then again, he was in a dome and not in CenturyLink), and he was 4-4 on field goals overall. Plus, Hauschka also nailed a 53-yard field goal, a 44-yarder, and a 43-yard kick; the Seahawks need to trust Hauschka’s leg more going forward.

10. Walter Thurmond’s play to force a fumble from Harry Douglas was an amazing hustle play, but I really thought Douglas should have held onto that one. Even so, he the only Atlanta Falcons pass-catcher who played well, as he caught seven of eight passes thrown at him for 49 yards. It looked like he had a monstrous play (I nearly jumped out of my seat, which happened about five times on big runs or catches by the Seahawks offense) late in the game, but that fumble negated his hard work on that one. Still, he was the only Falcons wideout who was consistently open, as both Gonzalez and White were totally shut down. I consider myself to be a fan of Douglas’s, and he deserves a tip of the cap.

Quick-hit Thoughts

Doug Baldwin had another great game and continues to be one of the league’s most underrated receivers…Steven Jackson just isn’t getting anything done, and I wonder if there will be more cries for an increased role for the sprightly Jacquizz Rodgers…Rookie Christine Michael continues to look special, and I wonder if the Seahawks will give him No. 2 duties over Robert Turbin at some point this season (I know they are saving Michael up, though)…Seahawks DT Tony McDaniel joined Brandon Browner as players to suffer injuries, and Browner’s injury didn’t look good; I expect him to be held out after the bye until the big Week 13 game against the New Orleans Saints (it’s a great thing Walter Thurmond is a talented CB in his own right)…Awful news is that Tony Gonzalez suffered a toe injury and could miss next week’s game…Richard Sherman may not respect Roddy White, but he sure showed respect for the future HOF tight end by switching jerseys with Gonzalez; the respect appears to be fully mutual…Relax, Mike Smith is fine, because the problems are on defense and injuries to the offense; this team needs to make major upgrades on D and on the offensive line…Seattle Seahawks LB K.J. Wright had five tackles and looked amazing in run defense, as he helped make up for the loss of Red Bryant.

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