BY Art Thiel 12:25AM 10/18/2013

Thiel: Seahawks now kings of the road, too

As Marshawn Lynch crashed, Russell Wilson dashed and the defense smashed, Arizona had to wonder what it would be like if the Seahawks cleaned up things. 58-0?

On his way to the end zone, the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch delivers a forearm shiver that knocks the helmet from Arizona DT Darnell Dockett. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

TERSE TRUTH

The statements Thursday were thick as a desert dust cloud. Russell Wilson threw a first-down pass while horizontal, in the grasp of a tackler and a moment from a faceplant. Marshawn Lynch knocked the helmet off Darnell Dockett as he ran through one of the baddest men on the planet. The defense had seven sacks and two interceptions.

The Seahawks won big on the road with big-time players.

The most cherubic question hanging over the club — can it win decisively on the road? — was answered decisively in a 34-22 win on national TV in Glendale, AZ., over the Cardinals, a short-week triumph that was also short, done by the end of the third period.

To reach a franchise-record 6-1 mark, the Seahawks scored touchdowns on the first two possessions, survived three strip-sacks of Wilson, converted seven of their first 10 third-down chances and buried Arizona QB Carson Palmer under wolf-grey apparel so thoroughly that NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was moved to describe the defense as “eleven predators.”

Having lost six of the past seven games in Phoenix, the Seahawks followed up a taut 20-13 home win Sunday over Tennessee four days later with a win whose mid-game drama evaporated after two touchdowns within four minutes of the third quarter for a 31-13 lead. While misplays and mistakes were numerous, the good stuff was sufficient to suffocate at home a division rival that was bludgeoned 58-0 in Seattle 10 months earlier.

FISTS TO SKY

  • In the third quarter, Wilson on third down scrambled left and was run down from behind by a tackler who had Wilson’s legs wrapped up. As he fell, he kept his head and arm up, and a moment before he slammed down, flicked a short pass that diving TE Zach Miller caught for a first down.
  • Later in the same drive, Lynch, on a dive play from the six-yard line, stuck his forearm into the face of loudmouth, 290-pound DT Dockett. The big man’s helmet popped off, his knees buckled and Lynch ran through him for a gain that left him inches shy of a touchdown. The Seahawks made it on the next play by faking to Lynch while Wilson found obscure, third-string tight end Kellen Davis (yes, he is a team member) alone in the back of the end zone.
  • On Seattle’s first drive at the Arizona 31-yard line, Wilson ran right, away from a heavy pass rush and threw hard, high and fast to WR Sidney Rice, who broke off a post route and ran toward the end zone corner to make a touchdown catch that landed well beyond the reach of anyone but him.
  • On Seattle’s second possession, Wilson, again under siege, looped another ball into the end zone, this one speared by Miller fully extended toward the goalpost. The catch, in Miller’s hometown, showed why his recent injury absence was a big deal for the offense.
  • The play that set up the drive began after CB Brandon Browner and Arizona’s star WR, Larry Fitzgerald, battled for possession of a long pass that became a jump ball.  FS Earl Thomas flew across their falling bodies at the Arizona 28-yard line to make a diving interception at the sideline as he flew out of bounds.
  • In the third quarter, Palmer, under pressure, threw softly off his back foot, and Browner stepped around an Arizona receiver at the Seattle 49-yard line for his first interception of the season. He rumbled free of harm until . . .

PALMS TO FOREHEADS

  • . . . he fell down for no apparent reason other than a heavy deposit of gravity underneath University of Phoenix Stadium. Lynch cleaned up his work two plays later for a 31-13 lead.
  • In the second quarter, Golden Tate, after a few misses earlier in the season, finally broke free for an apparent 54-yard punt return for a touchdown, only to have it nullified by an illegal block in the back by LB Mike Morgan.
  • The same Seahawks possession ended up with a fourth and one at the Arizona 42. Coach Pete Carroll called for a dubious QB sneak against the Cardinals’ stout front, and Wilson was dropped for a yard loss. The Cardinals took over and drove to a field goal, their first points in six quarters against the Seahawks, who had run up 72 unanswered.
  • On Seattle’s next possession that began at its 15, Wilson was strip-sacked by Arizona D-lineman Matt Shaughnessy, and the ball was recovered at the three, from where Rashard Mendenhall scored on the next play.
  • Late in the third period, another strip sack of Wilson produced another fumble recovered by Arizona. Six plays and 11 yards later, a field goal cut Seattle’s lead to 31-16.

CARROLLING

On the win: “We wanted to get this done and feel good about our ability to win on the road. . . . The game got tight, and we pulled away.”

Defense: “They got only 30 yards rushing and we got seven sacks. I’m really proud of that. We were really solid on the line of scrimmage. They never got anything going rushing. It’s been that way for couple weeks like. I’d like to speed up our development along the D-line, but seven sacks is pretty good.”

On Wilson: “Russell did a bunch of good stuff. He’s become such a special aspect of our team. Unfortunately, he got knocked around some and we gave up fumbles. That happens sometimes.”

On being 6-1? ”We don’t feel like we’re playing as clean as we want. We haven’t had an across-the-board clean game like we want. It feels like we’re still a young team, still growing. I feel like we can overcome the things that are going in the wrong direction. But I’m still disappointed that we gave one away (the loss in Indianapolis) a couple of weeks ago.”

On Arizona’s mid-game rally: “We missed our chance on the (nullified) punt return, then things shifted. We didn’t make a fourth down, and their pressure got better as the game went on. We didn’t feel like they stopped us as much as we stopped ourselves.”

On staying cool: “For a young bunch, we have a very strong resolve for handling the rigors of ups and downs. We don’t like when it’s not going right, but we don’t lose our cool.”

On converting third downs: ”Seven of 12 is awesome. I know we have a good third down team; we know it’s in us. When that happens, it’ll be hard to stop us.”

On Marshawn Lynch: “Marshawn keeps going, keeps churning, and he fires everyone up. He’s a tremendously inspirational player. I don’t know if people on the outside know what he means to us.”

WILSON!

On the prone throw to Zach Miller: “It was just one of those plays. I kind of got away from the defender and Zach made a great play. I just made a little shortstop flip.”

On Miller’s return: “If we can spread the ball around, that’s what we want. Sidney Rice got wide open on that big scramble, that’s what we need. Miller’s catch in the back of the end zone was sweet. Zach is such a great blocker, how he moves his feet . . . so strong. Kellen Davis got his first touchdown.”

On Lynch: “Can anybody be any tougher? Can’t be too many any better.”

On TD in the first two drives: ”(OC) Darrell Bevell called up some great plays. We stayed on schedule. The only negatives were my fumbles. I have to find a way. That’s on me.”

His goal is to be 1-0 every week, but did he realize he was 2-0 this week? “Oh, yeah. I guess that’s right!”

THE CLOSER

The Seahawks have fixes to make, but right now they are remarkably adept at overcoming their shortfalls with spectacular playmaking. The returns to health of tackles Russell Okung Breno Giacomini and WR Percy Harvin have Seahawks fans dreaming of December. Controlling a game on the road was a first this season, a significant breakthrough.

Arizona is yet another team beset by mediocre quarterbacking. Looking around the league, there appears to be a 5-foot-11 guy standing 300 feet tall.


YourThoughts

  • Kage McClued

    Well writ.

    • art thiel

      Thanks.

  • Guest

    “…disappointed that we gave one away (the loss in Houston) a couple of weeks ago.” ?

    • RadioGuy

      Yeah, didn’t Seattle actually WIN that one in OT? I thought I was watching it on TV but maybe it was a “Twilight Zone” rerun in color. Somebody should tell Matt Schaub…he’s probably looking for a building to jump off right about now.

    • art thiel

      Fixed. Thanks.

  • Gerald Turner

    Beast Mode is a monster but still
    mortal, even with Skittel enhancement, (its the green ones you know),
    fatigue may become an issue, just when will he be platooned by Turbin
    and Michel? Oh, wait, is that the second half of the Rams game that I
    see?

    Biggest wasted wacky goofy silly end
    zone crossing pose this year, Golden T, no holding please, you just
    squandered the best year book cover ever.

    Mr third string tight end has soft
    hands, TD ball cuddling hands, keep him on the roster.

    The bright shining light of this future
    season is what I held close to my heart in the darkest hours of the
    Jim Mora era, ( OK it was just one season, but did it not seem like
    an eternity of grief and anguish?).

    I keep hearing story of the Percy
    Harvin chimera, and once believed in the mythical creature Kristin
    Michel, can dreams become reality on Monday Nights?

    The Rams? Mach up thought process
    explanation please.

    • art thiel

      You’re the first person who brought up Jim Mora in a long time. Was he here?

    • jafabian

      I think I saw Marshawn flip off the OC when he play was called for someone else after his TD was called back from a penalty. Bet he had extra Skittles waiting for him later on.

      • Joe Fan

        Just watched the video – definitely the middle finger was raised towards the sidelines. I thought it was a great call however. AZ defense would have been waiting for the Beast.

        • jafabian

          I don’t get the freakin’. He should have called beacon!

        • art thiel

          Maybe he was assuming the touchdown and calling for the 1-pt PAT.

    • art thiel

      Um . . .yeah, I think.

  • giorgio547

    I am repeatedly reminded by my sports aficionado son to just wait until the
    offensive line is healed…

    • art thiel

      Your son is wise, although the long layoffs will patience too.

      • giorgio547

        Layoffs = money…

  • jafabian

    The problems with the O-Line and at FB were obvious at times here but Wilson and Lynch were able to make adjustments. A bit surprised the Carroll/Schneider team hasn’t pulled a rabbit out of their contingency hat but I interpret that as them thinking later on in the season it’ll all come together. Can’t complain when you’re 6-1. Love how Dave Wyman said last night the Hawks will win against St. Louis. In fact, their next four games before their bye week has the Hawks going against teams under .500. 10-1? Could it happen?

    • art thiel

      Read our story about the rest of the schedule: Combined 14-29.

  • Diamond Mask

    Painful to watch us lose those fumbles near the end zone but our defense was so lights out it was difficult to be worried. Bayless said this morning that our defense hits hard and talks smack and as a result we demoralize opponents physically and mentally. That sounds good to me. I also think that comparing our defense to “11 predators” is an excellent analogy. I’m pretty sure our defense will like it too.

    Still not sure about those uniforms though. They look like they just need a good wash in Clorox.

    • Joe Fan

      Agree on the uniforms. They reminded me of the similarly colored WSU uniforms – dull!

      • oldcrimson

        When our biggest complaint is uniforms, we’re dealing in a new realm. This is the NFL’s equal to First World Problems…

        • Joe Fan

          “Stop freakin’, call Beakin”

          • art thiel

            I like it.

            My new favorite bad commercials. Can’t stop watching.

        • art thiel

          Then there’s the valet parking , , , so busy . . .

    • bigfoot9p6

      They’re undefeated in those uniforms! Stick with ‘em, I say.

      • art thiel

        Could be that opponents fear a hygiene problem with those unis.

    • http://cine111.com/blog/ Mark T. Ingham

      Regarding the 11 predators, this was overheard in the Card’s O-huddle: “There’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man. We’re all gonna die.”

      • art thiel

        Wonder if their blood will drip through the ship’s seven decks . . .

    • art thiel

      Word is out around the NFL that this defense makes for a severely unpleasant afternoon. And you’re right — the “wolf-grey” unis look like over-washed whites at a minimum-security prison.

  • Cecelia Sandvik

    Great article! Love this team. Makes me forget all about the dreadful baseball team of ours. This city desrves this kind of season. The best part is they are so young! This is just the beginning of what could be a 5 year run!

    • art thiel

      Nothing to worry about this season, but a long run depends on how management handles the roster when it’s the turn of Wilson and other premium youngsters to get big money. Some good players who are popular (e.g, Michael Robinson) will have to be moved to make room.