Andrew Luck. I was an unabashed supporter of the "suck for Luck" campaign, as hinted at by the photos I used in the charts. But looking at the last several years of NFL draft history, the team picking #1 overall averages just barely over 1 win a season. In other words, winning just one game can seriously jeopardize picking #1, the same way that losing just one game seriously jeopardizes a college football team finishing national champions. In college football, you lose one game, and you pretty much know its over unless you get very lucky. Before today, I would have given Seattle a 25% chance to pick 1st overall. Now, I'd put those odds at almost 0%. Assuming the Seahawks stand a meager 40% chance of winning and therefore a 60% chance of defeat on average, that means the odds of finishing 1-15 are a miniscule 0.1%. Even an 80% chance of defeat average still gives the team only a 0.5% chance. And even if Seattle beat the odds and did go 1-15, what if another team manages 0-16? 1-15 might not be enough.
Long story short, now is a good time to get off the "suck for Luck" bandwagon. I hear Matt Barkley is pretty good. Robert Griffin III might force his way into the conversation too. Luck would be a match made in heaven for Seattle, but landing his services probably isn't going to be "do or die."
Now that that's out of the way, lets talk about some Seahawks football:
-Today hardly had a playoff atmosphere, and I know some might even call it a "snoozer." But I personally found the back and forth struggle compelling throughout. Neither team held a lead bigger than 7 points, and the team that held that watermark lead ended up losing the game. Because of the tight nature of the game, the crowd stayed energized and active throughout. There was a weird mix of positive and negative energy. "Charlie" chants were faintly audible on the television broadcast, and the 12th man booed on several occasions. But they cheered a lot too, including on Tarvaris Jackson's game winning TD scramble. It was a weird game in which the fans almost seemed like they didn't know what to do, and in the hearts of some, may not even have known which team they really wanted to win. It was weird.
-Aaron Curry may not have started, but every time I watched the linebackers to get looks at KJ Wright, Curry was there in the SAM spot instead. The whole drama about Curry losing his job seems to be overblown. He and Wright alternated throughout the game. Finally, some real competition being used by Pete Carroll.
-The Seahawks once again gave up 4 sacks. Unlike previous times, I actually blame the offensive line more than Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson is slowly showing sings of increased comfort feeling pressure and navigating the pocket. He still needs to be better, but I'd say he's halfway there. Also, he finally showed some willingness to run the ball today, and I generally found most of his rushes to be wise decisions.
-John Moffitt seems to blow a block that leads to a sack almost every game. That continued today. Moffitt hasn't been a disaster, but he's solidly below average. Or pretty much exactly where you would expect a rookie 3rd round guard to be in his effectiveness. On most snaps, he's adequate, but he eventually needs to stop making 1-2 big mistakes a game. I don't know why, but I feel optimistic about Moffitt growing into a solid right guard some day. I think its because a mistake here and there can be corrected. Consistently terrible play snap for snap cannot.
-Marshawn Lynch averaged less than 4 yards per carry today, but he looked great doing it. He misread a few runs which turned into tackles for loss, and in particular he relied too much on a pretty bad blocking fullback. But for the most part, it was easy to notice that Lynch was hitting the hole fast, running with a lot of energy and carrying defenders for extra yards. He was sitting around 5 yards per carry entering the 4th quarter before a rough final frame dropped his average. I still don't think Lynch is the right back for this running game, but games like today made holding that opinion harder than usual.
-The first 7 and a half minutes of today's game was preempted by bonus coverage of the Lions overtime victory over the tragic Vikings. At least in the Portland area, anyway. If you missed it, its worth watching a highlight package for today's game because 4 minutes into the 1st quarter, before it was on TV, Earl Thomas had a sensational interception, and during the return, Kam Chancellor laid out a monster hit on Todd Heap. The pick was called back because of a penalty, but it was still a great play by our two young safeties.
-The Seahawks had 3 sacks today and brought decent pressure on most snaps. I'd like to see better, but today it was enough to throw Kevin Kolb off his game, resulting in the first poor performance of his Arizona career. The run defense was rock solid as well, limiting Arizona to 3.2 yards per carry and was impenetrable on short yardage situations.
-The more I watch our defense, the more I think of it as a weird version of the 3-4 instead of a 4-3. Like a 3-4, it has three huge lineman up front with 3 linebackers and then a 4th guy who plays on the line but is built more like a rush linebacker. A lot of the criticism for Pete's defense is the lack of pressure from a 4 man rush, because in a 4-3, front 4 pressure is critical. But in a 3-4 defense, front line pressure isn't expected and the rush comes from blitzers who can attack from anywhere. Seattle's defense is technically a 4-3, but the way it delivers pressure and stops the run is much more like the way a 3-4 operates.
-In a game where the Cardinals outgained the Seahawks by 63 yards, it was their own ineptness finishing drives and scoring points which sealed their fate. This was no more evident than Jay Feely's 1 for 3 performance, including him falling inexplicably short on a clutch 4th quarter kick to tie game. As you may recall, he's the same kicker who missed 3 game winners against Seattle in 2005. The latter two of which, both in overtime, also fell short.
-Brandon Browner had a strong game today I thought, doing well to keep Larry Fitzgerald from dominating the game. Browner did allow the Cardinals only touchdown, but he was in excellent position and really, I think it was more of a gutty throw and great catch by Fitz than a busted coverage. Browner could have made a play on the ball if he had looked for it, and Earl Thomas came only a couple inches short of intercepting it himself.
-Trufant's inteception was vintage stuff. Every now and then, Trufant shows glimpses of sub-elite ability. After Tru scared us with a horrible season in 2008, its good to see he's not slowing down as much as we thought he might.
-Overall, I thought the secondary played great today. Kolb was forced to check down quite a bit, and if not for a penalty, he would have been picked 3 times.
-Sidney Rice had a great debut, breaking 100 yards in his first game. He looked every bit as good as his stats indicated. Stay healthy dude.
-I know there are some who miss Matt Hasselbeck and wish that he were still here. You know who probably misses Hasselbeck the most? Mike Williams.