Sunday, November 11, 2012

17 Things I Love About the Jets Win

In no particular order.

1. Darell Bevell getting quicker on the adjustment trigger. It used to be that we wouldn't see any offensive adjustments until halftime. On Sunday, once it became clear that Russell Wilson was struggling with the defensive looks the Jets were throwing at him (for which no rookie should ever be condemned), Bevell moved immediately. He went back to the run to give Wilson some space, hoping to pull the Jets back up into the box. Then he started calling some screens to neutralize the pass rush. These proved to be effective moves, generated some momentum. Nimbleness on play-calling - definitely a big improvement.

2. Screens. If I'd told you in September that the Seahawks would soon not only improve at screens but make them a centerpiece of the offense behind a consistent Golden Tate, you'd have laughed at me. (Of course, if I'd told you back then that I would actually write another blog post one day, you'd have laughe at me too.) Ironic - our offensive line was actually better at executing screens today than it was at ordinary pass protection.

3. Golden Tate's touchdown dance. I'm sorry, but that little guy's exultation after his first-quarter touchdown just put a big grin on my face. Such a happy thing.

4. Richard Sherman. This guy is changing games. If he doesn't make the Pro Bowl, there is no justice in the world.

5. Russell Wilson's deep-ball placement. Another item on the long laundry list of things that Wilson has fixed in a hurry this year. The guy just puts that ball right where it needs to go. Sidney Rice is rewarding him for it, averaging 14 yards per reception on the year.

6. The Beast. I'm not sure he's gotten the memo that his back is hurting. What are they putting in those Skittles? Congratulations on your second 1,000-yard rushing season in a row, Marshawn Lynch.

7. Russell Wilson's demeanor. Part of it is that he's just not a hugely expressive guy - his face is a pretty set one, fairly reserved even when hollering into the phone at his draft party while his wife pulled a Mummy mouth next to him. But I'll bet the Seahawks' offense feels pretty safe under his direction on the field. One cool customer - unflappable and short memory.

8. Pete Carroll's QB grooming program. If you examine Wilson's progress carefully, you see a very intentional pattern of playbook development and decision-making training for Wilson. It's borne fruit. The Seahawks have kept themselves in games by minimizing turnovers, at the expense of boring a few fans along the way, but are now finding identity, chemistry, and favorite plays on offense. This program has been drawn up and executed brilliantly.

9. Bobby Wagner. With KJ Wright off the field today, Seattle's candidate for DROY was presumably handling all the defensive calls. Forget the 81 tackles stat - high tackle numbers could just mean that QB's aren't afraid to throw at you. What I like is his speed, reactions, and discipline. The tape backs him up even better than his stats do. Speaking of which...

10. LB coach Ken Norton. This guy has done real magic with our linebacking corps, and it showed up today with our depth as Mike Morgan made some positive plays in relief of KJ Wright and never gave up anything big. Both he and Wagner could have picked a tougher opponent to prove themselves against, sure, but still.

11. Having a bye next week. Was pleasantly surprised to see how many nicked-up players made it back onto the field this week, but this team has been wearing down and could use the week off. Lots of offensive experience to build on with the whiteboards at the VMAC.

12. That flea-flicker in the second quarter. No, it didn't quite result in a touchdown. But given Seattle's expertise in running the ball, and how many resources our opponents are devoting to stop it, I'd have thought we'd be seeing flea-flickers sooner.

13. Skill-position chemistry. Russell Wilson's receivers are really getting a feel for each other. Coordinating on scrambling drills, coming back for the ball, trusting Wilson's ball placement enough to stick with their routes.  Great stuff.

14. The read option. It's leading to some awesome Wilson scrambles for first downs. Very effective wrinkle.

15. NOT taking a knee in the final two minutes of the half. Gosh I hate that.

16. Zach Miller catching five passes. Much of that contract that has some fans wringing their hands is given to him for his run-blocking, which makes sense for a run-first team. But you love to see the guy Beastmoding his way to the first down marker and providing a security blanket down the seam.

17. Our playoff chances. Detroit has been shoved further down the schedule, leaving only Tampa and Green Bay to duke it out for wild-card spots with us. Only two truly mammoth games remain on Seattle's schedule, one at home (SF). The rest are against floundering teams, starting with Miami, whose quarterback threw three picks against a bottom-five passing defense today. At home.