* With Arizona proving its defensive chops against Tom Brady and his offense today, their 20-16 victory over the Seahawks last week is open to reinterpretation. It now looks less like an offensive turd on Seattle's part and more like a young team looking for its footing against an outstanding defense whose strengths matched up perfectly against our weaknesses. Take note: the NFC West is quickly becoming a defensive division.
* As Mike Sando eloquently put, this must-win victory game was stamped with Carroll's style. Physical running game, elite defense, special teams, efficient quarterbacking, turnovers from the opponent and only from them. Seattle's offense was listless until halftime, but the defense bucked up impressively on two long drives and outlasted Romo and an impressive array of receivers. Once Seattle finally re-committed to its running game, the ball started rolling and never stopped to give Romo more chances.
* We're definitely starting to see a "Good Russell Wilson" and "Bad Russell Wilson" emerge. Starting with the last major drive of the second quarter, the good half clicked in, started pulling down his passes and showing some poise and progressions. It was quite a noticeable difference. His collected demeanor after his touchdown to McCoy, and on the sidelines during the cruise to victory, were also striking. The guy is one cool customer. Lots of stuff to build on here.
* I hear some Cowboys fans weren't worried about the absence of NT Jay Ratliff, calling his replacement an upgrade. It didn't look like that today. Once the running game started coming online, Seattle's big boys were getting great push, including right guard JR Sweezy, last week's goat. John Moffitt, who rotated with Sweezy at RG, had a solid day as he
helped FB Mike Robinson clear a lane on Marshawn Lynch's 36-yard run,
then had a great pull block to seal the lane on his touchdown. I can't tell you how good it feels to see Seattle pushing D-lines back two yards again. Therapeutic after five long years of brick-wall impotence.
* Marshawn Lynch, for his part, doesn't appear to have lost a step. Here's hoping that he can stay in the business longer than most feature backs seem to these days. Robert Turbin is stepping right up beside him and also had a couple of nice checkdown receptions. I love the fact that we have two tough runners; it'll keep the offense's job easy if one of them suffers injury.
* It might have taken a little while, but TE Anthony McCoy is finally promising to join the long list of late-round picks that Seattle has turned into big contributors. The chemistry with Wilson is definitely there. Rob Staton at Seahawks Draft Blog was always calling McCoy a borderline first-round talent who dropped because of behavior concerns.
* Also hinting at emergence is Golden Tate, finally. He came up with a couple key plays, a big jailbreak catch for 20 yards and a sandlot reception in the red zone to set up Lynch's game-sealing touchdown jaunt. He might be a good match with a smart improvisor (is this a word?) like Wilson.
* Brandon Browner gave up a touchdown on his weekly whiff against a double-move. It's a frustrating tendency, but dang it, he just never stops coming up with interceptions to win us over again.
* The pass rush deserves more credit that it's getting. Yeah, we gave up a lot of scrambling, fourth-read conversions on third down, but Tony Romo is like that. Slippery and a brilliant artist on the run. Our guys were still all over him much of the time and had several very-near sacks. Result: Dallas scores one touchdown on blown coverage and never reaches the red zone.
* Seattle's coverage rarely surrendered easy receptions and often forced Romo to extend plays, giving our pass rush time. Yeah, Romo was up to the challenge and Jason Witten made a glaring easy drop late in the second, but that's Pete's defensive formula - coverage helping pass rush as well as vice versa. (Saw a Cowboys fan call Witten "the new TO". Tee hee.) To wit: Alan Branch, Bobby Wagner, Chris Clemons, Jason Jones, Bruce Irvin, and Chris Maragos combined for 6 QB hits. And between Clemons, KJ Wright (awesome day), Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman (almost his second pick), and Brandon Browner (his first pick), Seattle defensed seven passes (though they're probably closing in on the NFL record for dropped interceptions). Thanks to Adam Wright for those bits.
* Even so, a lot of these good things seem to wait until we blitz. Once Bradley backed off the aggression in the second quarter, Romo seemed happier, at least to a degree. Three-man rushes weren't a good answer for that strong a receiving group.
* Replacement refs suck wastewater, no matter whom you're rooting for.
* The offensive line remains very touchy with the penalties. Is this the sign of a young, raw team, or a byproduct of Cable's nasty physicality that will be hard to overcome?
* I'm having a hard time shaking the feeling that this team is very slow to start. Pete preaches finishing well, but that's not always feasible in this league and certainly won't be in Green Bay. If Pete wants to keep the running game in his toolbox at all times, this team had better improve in the first half.
* Props to Frank Omiyale. Didn't look like the pinball flag we expected against DeMarcus Ware. Maybe Tom Cable does know what he's doing!
* Stifling a playmaker like DeMarco Murray is a big credit to our linebacking corps.
* At this rate, by the time Pete Carroll is done as head coach, there will be enough .GIFs of devastating pancake-blocks by Seahawks on both sides of the ball to fill up the Internet.
On to Green Bay!