BY Art Thiel 07:41PM 11/02/2014

Thiel: Seahawks return to the mode of the Beast

The Seahawks took the NFL world’s advice and fed the Beast Sunday against the Raiders. Given all the injuries, it was remarkable that anythng worked.

The Seahawks’ biggest weapon was Marshawn Lynch on a screen pass. He gained more yards through the air than on the ground. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

In a game bereft of panache on offense, due largely to the absence of starters on the Seahawks part and the absence of talent among the Raiders, the one memorable play Sunday at the Clink went for a tidy three yards. Marshawn Lynch in the first quarter carried himself and what appeared to be the equivalent of the population of Singapore into the end zone.

“I think maybe six of them was my own team, so it’s all good,” said Lynch post-game, which in itself was almost as memorable, since he stayed for a few questions, apparently at the urgent behest of the NFL to fulfill his contractual obligation to play nice with the media.

Lynch was gang-tackled by the Raiders, then gang-pushed by the Seahawks, and the Seahawks won the mosh pit, providing a 7-3 lead that was never lost. On a day when QB Russell Wilson admitted, “I didn’t play well at all,” and when special teams missed a field goal and had a punt blocked, the Seahawks won 30-24 largely because of what many implored the Seahawks to do for much of the season’s first half.

Feed the Beast.

They did. He had 21 rushing attempts for 67 yards, and five pass receptions for 76 more. The production came after another week’s off-field tempest that featured Lynch as the target of media speculation that Seahawks bosses had grown weary of his “act.”

That side of the eccentric Lynch is almost never seen by the public. What the public sees is a fearless ninja who makes bad things OK and good things great. The bosses never have, and wouldn’t dare, disparage his game-day punches. Fans have a hard time imagining the Seahawks succeeding without him, no matter what the issues are with the salary cap in 2015.

“He was terrific today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Gosh, it was one spectacular play after another. That was so cool to see him out in the out in the open field, where he could really tear it up.”

In fact, the screen pass to Lynch after a play-fake was about the only play that worked in the second half. Without it, the Seahawks are 4-4 at midseason with a loss to a previously winless team, and dead to the rest of the world that isn’t numbered 12.

Instead, they are 5-3 and able to cling to a belief that if/when some health returns, the Seahawks will resume a posture of championship dignity. What that looks like in the NFL, on a day when the Denver Broncos lost at New England by 22 and the Santa Clara 49ers lost by three at home to St. Louis, is subject to debate.

But it certainly looks a little like what the Seattle defense demonstrated.

After acquiring three turnovers and holding the Raiders to 226 yards total offense, including 37 on the ground, the defense looked familiar, even if it was against a rookie QB and a winless outfit.

“We played so well (24-3 lead) in the first half,” Carroll said, “it really felt like it was the style we loved seeing.”

But matters frayed in the second half,  mostly due to injuries that left newcomers and inexperienced players in bad positions. At one point, the offensive line, missing LT Russell Okung and centers Max Unger and Steve Schilling, and losing LG James Carpenter to a sprained ankle, had youngsters Alvin Bailey, Garry Gilliam and Patrick Lewis in at the same time.

“It was a circus out there,” said Carroll, “just getting the guys in their spots, moving guys around.”

It had some impact on Wilson, who ran away endlessly from the Raiders rush and was wild high when he did set his feet.

“He wouldn’t tell you that,” Carroll said. “He took it. We’ll have to wait and see the film and see how much pressure was caused by that.”

Wilson, in fact, was baffled as to why he was 17 for 35 for 179 yards, two near-picks and a passer rating of 63.9.

“Usually, I know why,” he said. “If something is off, footwork, or whatever. I usually try to find out during the game and adjust. I felt like I was in it. Whatever I was trying to do, it wasn’t working.

“I know I can play better; I know I will play better.”

In a way, it may be some relief for the Seahawks to win a game when Wilson isn’t Superman. They get another modest opponent Sunday in the New York Giants, also st home, then commence a brutal run of formidables for the rest of the season in which it will be capes up for all superheroes.

Lynch isn’t always capable of bridging the gap during Wilson’s Clark Kent phase. But he did prove on one play Sunday that he could not only carry the Seahawks, but the Raiders too.


  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    All three of our running backs had a few decent runs but nothing was more classic than our money guy in that Bull into the endzone run that was trademark beast. It wasnt suprising that it came against his childhood team. It would shock me little to see the silver and black make a run for him in trade in the off season.That makes me cringe. Marshawn is just a unique back and i hope they can figuire out the numbers to keep him.
    The swagger was back from the defense too in this game. They just werent going to have any of the mucking it up stuff like they had in the Rams game. We needed the “swagger power” from both our star running back and our jazzed up defense to get this scary one into the Win column. The mark of a champion is to win crazy brawls like this one and kudos to the Raiders for not giving up. Eli Manning is no rookie so they need to bring that swagger to the next game and display the killer instinct. Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      I don’t think Marshawn cares about his hometown team, he just wants the money and the ball.

      • lb

        He loves the fans cheering and the skittles, seems like it’s awkward with the staff and some of the team, but appreciated Pete’s comments after the game about him. Any chance Michael Robinson joins the coaching staff after he helped consult Marshawn on his hold-out LOL

        • art thiel

          I think Robinson is headed to a nice media career, and he’s good at it. I don’t think Pete will have him back after Pete felt he was too open about what he knew.

  • jafabian

    The announcers gave Marshawn too much credit for pushing the Raiders D-Line back. He started moving towards the goal line once the Seahawks O-Line came in and started pushing him towards it. His YPG for the game was only 3.2 but that could be attributed to the patchwork O-Line. Same with Wilson’s 63.9 rating. Tom Cable has quite a job on his hands, just like last season. But they did okay last season. Disappointed that they seemed to have lost their spark in the second half.

    • art thiel

      Five Seahawks made their first NFL starts: Bailey, Lewis, Shead, Simon and Tukuafu. Don’t be disappointed in anything that happened Sunday.

  • Diamond Mask

    This is the NFL. Every game is going to be a battle. Now we need to get healthy and Russell needs to change his cereal/socks…something.

    • art thiel

      Wilson needs to know somebody has his backside in the pocket.

  • 1coolguy

    I sure hope in the offseason and in the draft the Seahawks pick up a good 3 or 4 O linemen that are excellent players so that at least two of them can start next year. last year was patchwork on the O line and they brought it together in almost a miracle. This year simply exposes how poor health in the offensive line shows how thin it is. hopefully we’ll get the starters back by the Cardinals game in two weeks.

    • art thiel

      As I said before, who knew how valuable Paul McQuistan was last year?

      • 1coolguy

        Yep – and also flag prone Giacamini.

  • Matt712

    …And yet #24 should’ve gotten about 10-12 more touches than he received. The Hawks were up 24-3 at halftime but continually tried to make a passing game work with a quarterback who was clearly strapped with a Kryptonite athletic supporter and a tight end whose hands were encased in cement.

    Bevell is suspect here, as he has been all season. The Raiders were so far into Seattle’s playbook that only a lack of physical execution on multiple (passing) occasions prone to 0-7 (0-13) teams kept them from steeling this game – healthy o-line or not.

    I couldn’t escape the feeling that Lynch got the ball as few times as was wanted from the Seattle sideline – it’s just that he was about the only thing that was was working.

    Injuries have clearly affected Special Team. I’m unwilling to give the offense an equal pass.

    • rosetta_stoned

      Agreed. It’s too bad they didn’t include Bevell in the Percy Harvin deal.

    • art thiel

      None of us can know how much playcalling was dictated by injuries and substitutions. Sometimes plays are thrown away because some matchups become unmanageable. For obvious reasons, the coaches will never say so.

  • ll9956

    After the first half I thought it was nice to not have another nail-biter. But that’s exactly what it became in the second half. Those illegal receiver down field penalties were killers, especially the one that nullified a big gain by Beast Mode. Even though there were several inexperienced O-line guys in the game due to injuries, they should have been coached better on the basic rules.

    • art thiel

      I repeat: Five players had their first NFL starts.

  • Gerald Turner

    Robert Turbin is quite a versatile player. Bet a lot of team would like to have him.

    • art thiel

      But is he good enough to succeed Lynch?

  • Warchild_70

    I’ve never seen such patchwork on the team to play that well. It was as striking as my my Mothers’ quilt’s. Coach Cable must have had a handful of Tums chased with a Peptol Bismol when Carpenter went down! All in all an ugly win is a win I’ll take any time. GO HAWKS!!!

    • art thiel

      In this game, most of nine penalties were understandable.

  • RadioGuy

    A win is still a win, even if it’s an ugly one where you’re playing with greenies at too many positions and have to rely on the clock running out against an opponent who clearly has the momentum. I’m with Matt712: When your O-line isn’t able to get it done and you’re playing in conditions that make passing an adventure, give the ball to the guy most capable of grinding out yards on his own and try to create a little space for him to do his thing. Be happy with the W because it very easily could have been worse.

    • 1coolguy

      It’s just very tough when the o-line is so decimated. Sweezy was the ONLY veteran on the o-line after Carpenter was injured. No way that allows for time for the QB or holes for the backs. Until the O-line gets back together with Okung, Unger and Miller back, we are in bunker mode.
      Just look at the 3 and outs yesterday and the opportunities we had where we didn’t convert. One example is the series after the Sherman interception where we had the ball at their 20 and after 3 useless plays had to kick a field goal.
      The O-line was nonexistent in that series. Just be glad Wilson is not in the hospital after the last 3 weeks – it’s a near miracle he is not.

      • art thiel

        Britt had his worst game, and he had more experience than all but Sweezy.

    • art thiel

      Missing veteran O-linemen is a big deal, even if some fans refuse to acknowledge significance.

  • notaboomer

    percy harvin had 11 catches for 129 yards.

    • Pixdawg13

      And the final score was Jets 10, Chiefs 24.

      • notaboomer

        picky picky

        • art thiel

          We never saw the final Jets stats on assault charges.