Wild Card – Survivormen
by fellow 12 @ClintonBon
3 In, 3 Out is a concise, yet somewhat satisfying recap of 3 things that went well for the Seahawks and 3 things that ummmm… didn’t. The coverage will go deeper than the average bear – for instance this will be nearly the only mention of …
— Steve Weatherford (@Weatherford5) January 11, 2016
WILD CARD – SURVIVORMEN
Start a fire. Find shelter. Seek out fresh water. Forage for sustenance. Survive in the playoffs. As Ringo Starr so uniquely sang it, “Have to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues, and you know it don’t come easy.” Sunday – Bloody Sunday for our American Ninja Punter – nothing came easy. Yet, we march onward to what will feel like a balmy day quite south of the Mason-Dixon… Bring it on.
Let’s start with what actually won us the game as we visit the ghost of Sunday past in the form of our first “IN” !!!
IN – Our Entire Run Defense
We’ve got news for the entire NFL. This might be, and I believe it is, our best defensive unit yet. One aspect of our D that is undeniably the strongest it has ever been is our stifling run defense.
Once again we squared off against the league’s top rusher, and once again, the Purple Streak, Mr. AP, Mr. All Pro … went nowhere… slowly.
From the very first play where Bennett crashed through the line, held up AP and Sherman finished him off, until Rubin washed down the line like a gliding 5 – 10 split in bowling to smother #28 at the line, our run defense was once again, brilliant.
The run defense was ludicrously disciplined when they didn’t penetrate, and when they did find open space, they met AP yards behind the line of scrimmage setting up many a 2nd, or 3rd and long situations on Sunday.
OUT – The Abandonment of the Intermediate Route
Hey, we all love #3’s deep ball prowess because after all, Russell Carrington Wilson throws a sexy deep ball. Turns out when it’s – 2° out, throwing an oblong leather ball gets tougher – who knew!???
During the match, I was excited that we were taking our shots, but about 7 minutes into the 3rd quarter I was wondering if we’d use the middle of the field for any intermediary passes at all. It was quite clear that Russell simply couldn’t be accurate deep in these conditions, yet we kept going back to that (frozen) well, with little to show for it.
The on-field, game pace, was plodding along like a Larry Holmes 12-rounder. Perhaps Cooper or Chase simply didn’t get open, and maybe Kearse couldn’t as easily sit down in zones as he had done so in the weeks leading up to the post-season, but it felt to me as if we just weren’t ‘going there’ against the Vikes, and we ought to have more often.
There’s no cure here except to not play a game in these conditions again… ever.
IN – The Great Escape… in Detail
History tends to erase most detail. What’s left is a vapor of memory and highlights that ingrain the brain and make it into the history books. Often, the nitty gritty details are simply forgotten with time.
I know non-Seahawks sports fans forget, and dare I say I think large portions of 12s even forget, that our paths to our last 2 Super Bowl appearances have been incredibly tumultuous. Of course there was the Ryan-to-Gilliam-infused Packers NFC Championship last year, but the year before that… versus the Niners… do you remember THE play that changed the course of the game?
Down 10 in the 2nd quarter v. the Niners, we needed a jolt… a scrambling Wilson created a broken play scenario, somehow found Baldwin for a 51-yarder, leading to our first points of that classic match. It turned the tides, it ‘cut the Russian’, and from that moment on it was our game to win.
Nearly 2 years later, it was once again Wilson, making a great escape and helping to save our season. It’s so darn good, let’s watch it again shall we!
Snap goes by Russell Wilson off the busted play finds Tyler Lockett pic.twitter.com/Zh5VZ0x9vf
— MarcusD (@_MarcusD_) January 10, 2016
Three really smart things happened during this play and folks other than @DangeRussWilson deserve some love too!
- OK, we do have to start with #3. To me the most impressive part of this play is the juke move he gives to the hot purple pursuit seemingly crashing down on RWC. Watch that video above and right at this moment (below) he actually has the idea to shoulder juke left, before getting to his feet and darting right. No juke, no great escape. The details matter.
2. Our only All-Pro kept his wits, found an opening, caught the ball, picked up the block, and nearly scored. Tyler Lockett did every, single, little, thing right here… Don’t let your Seahawks history lose these details.
3. Jermaine Kearse could have leveled the Vikings CB, Xavier Rhodes. Instead, he calmly applies a pick that is just as effective and couldn’t possibly draw that little yellow downer. They say defense wins championships… yeah, well so do details.
OUT – Decisions… Decisions
Early in the match, finding ourselves down 3-0 and facing a 4th and 13 from the Minnesota 30, Coach Carroll decided to forego a 47 yard attempt by Hau$chka and instead opted to try and convert from that curious down and distance.
I gotta be honest. I was doing some head scratching here. I fully get that FGs are more difficult in – 2° environments like
Pluto Minneapolis, but then why not punt n’ pin a team deep here when it’s evident that moving the ball is tough sleighing? Did Ryan’s earlier faceplant play a role here in the decision? I’m unsure.
The other thought bouncing around at that time was, let Hauschka attempt this one to gauge early in the match his range in this unique setting. Alas, we returned the ball to the Vikings 7 yards further downfield as a 4th down check down gained as much as it could before coming to its predictable conclusion.
Still scratching my head over this one… you?
IN – a Boy Named Christine
21 carries. 71 hard earned yards. Zero fumbles.
He ran with aggression. He protected the rock. He was a huge reason we won this game. Brandan, still got that autographed Michael rookie card???
Let’s see if we can keep on cashing in on this boy named Christine as we head to the divisional round.
OUT – Leaving it to Them
We survived. As much sorrow as I felt when Malcolm Butler made a really good play in SB XLIX, I felt relief at about the :24 second mark in Sunday’s 4th quarter. One feeling jabbing at me as the euphoria of surviving wore off (hours later mind you) was that we had 2 late 4th quarter opportunities to put this game away, and we failed to do so. We got the ball back, with the lead at 5:53 and 2:13 of the 4th quarter and delivered consecutive 3 and outs in both situations.
The 3rd and 1, changed play at the line, that ended up being a bit of a broken play in its own right was particularly difficult to shake.
From here on out, the competition only gets better. If we have an opportunity to finish the Camthers late in the 4th quarter, we must do exactly that. Sweep the leg fellas so we don’t leave our fate up to the leg of a guy named Gano.
Have to give a special shoutout to my mom who I enjoyed this game with. Thing is, she’s a legit Vikings fan and was brought to tears as the kick knuckled left. Better luck next time Ma, just not against our ‘Hawks is all.
— Clinton Bonner (@clintonbon) January 10, 2016
1, 2, 3… What’s Next!?
The 15 – 1, MVP-led Camthers. Ohhhhhhhh my. What do you expect?
I expect offensive rhythm. I expect a points total over 55. I expect a trip to our 3rd consecutive NFC Championship game on back-breaking late game heroics from the LOB. I expect victory.
Till next time ye faithful 12’s… Go ‘Hawks!!!
Have an “In” or an “Out” you want discussed? Drop us a comment or send Brandan and Adam a tweet @SeaHawkersPod.
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