Sherman and the Hawk’s March to Sea…attle
This season after being ranked the 6th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks one-upped their 2012 season and flew all the way up to the #1 ranked pass defense in the league, going from allowing 203.1 passing yards per game to an amazing 172.0 passing yards per game. Reason for their 31.1 yard difference per game has been the play of their superior corners in the league’s best shutdown corner Richard Sherman (pictured above) and 3rd-year pro out of Clemson Byron Maxwell. This season Sherman has been arguably the best defensive back in the game, intercepting a league-high 8 passes from opposing quarterbacks, returning one of those interceptions back for a touchdown. As well, both Sherman and Maxwell have been outstanding batting passes down. In 2013 alone Sherman and Maxwell combined for 29 passes defended, 16 coming form Sherman and 13 coming from Maxwell. Regardless though, coming into Saturday’s game, we didn’t know what to expect really. Considering the year that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense has had, even the most superior of pass defenses like the Seahawks can get torn apart like a roasted chicken in the middle of a flock of sea gulls on a hot Summer day in the middle of Mission Beach (don’t ask me about last Summer at Mission Beach folks…it was rough). And although I predicted the Seattle Seahawks defense to totally ravage the Saints passing offense, there was still some part of me that was convinced at least a slight bit that, with his experience and passing ability, Drew Brees would be able to pull it off somehow. However, that is not what transpired Saturday afternoon out in rainy and windy Seattle. In a valiant effort, Brees and the Saints were actually able to sustain some good drives and push the ball down the field, however when it came to actually putting some points on the board, the Saints usually potent offense was noticeably absent. Throughout the game in times when the Saints needed a key third-down conversion or redzone completion, they’re most reliable target, Jimmy Graham, was nowhere to be found. Seeing as though Graham was usually double covered, the Saints and Drew Brees needed to find other ways to spread the ball around. In the entire game, Jimmy Graham was throw to a total of 6 times and only caught 1 pass for 8 yards. 1 pass. Although Marques Colston did perform quite well in Sunday’s game against the league’s best passing defense, the rest of the Saints squad failed to be on their game. When playing a team as complete as this 2013 Seahawks team is, you need to have every single aspect of your football team running on all cylinders. The long and short of this game is basically that the Seahawks are just too powerful for any team, let alone the Saints, to beat. What this game showed us was that these 2013 Seattle Seahawks are for real. The Seahawks proved this past Sunday that while they weren’t necessarily “Shut-down” in the aspect of passing yards allowed, they were still able to hold one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Drew Brees to just one touchdown and 16 total points. Credit is due to the Seahawks defense, but I believe almost too much credit goes to them, seeing as that the Seahawks offense is also one of the better offenses in the league. Considering Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offense was going up against the defense that allowed the 4th-least points to opposing offenses in the regular season (19.1 points per game), it surprised and didn’t surprise me that they were able to put up 23 on the Louisianans. It surprised me that they were able to put up 23 in the cold and windy weather that both teams had to play through on Saturday. But in reality, the 23 that they put up on the board didn’t really surprise me at all. Just look at the evidence. Going into the game, the Saints rush defense was ranked 19th in the regular season, allowing 111.6 rushing yards per game along with 11 rushing touchdowns to opposing backs. As well, CenturyLink field was offering a Beast Mode Burger with a package of skittles in concession stands all across the stadium. I mean come on, how much more of a signal do you need? Well regardless of the signals, Marshawn “Mow Your Lawn” Lynch rushed for a monstrous 140 yards and 2 touchdowns on 28 carries (5.0 yards per carry). Had Lynch not have pulled yet another Beast Mode performance against the Saints in the playoffs, who knows who would have won this game. Another reaction I had was for Percy Harvin, poor guy. In his first game back from multiple injuries, he gets hit upside the head and has a concussion. Good thing that the Seahawks won the game, we’ll have to see how he performs this week if he in fact does practice. Don’t expect a miracle here with Harvin, he could be Football’s next Derrick Rose.