BY Art Thiel 12:20AM 12/16/2016

Thiel: Seahawks fix flats, roll to NFC West title

The mysteries around Russell Wilson’s accuracy and the defense’s pass rush were addressed, and the Seahawks, decked out in Grinch green, spoiled the holidays for the Rams.

Doug Baldwin hauls in a one-yard TD pass — yes, the Seahawks are capable of one-yard TD passes — Thursday night against the Rams. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Entering the game Thursday against the Rams, the Seahawks were worried about two faltering aspects of their enterprise: QB Russell Wilson’s passing accuracy and the pass rush.

Well, there was a third thing: Uniform color. Wearing fashion borrowed from the love child of the Grinch and Mr. Yuk is no way to appear on national television. It’s hard to measure the impact of “Action Green” on the outcome, but the national cost in retina damage will plague a generation of fans.

“A little bright for me,” said DE Cliff Avril. “But the 12s love them. So bring them back . . . I don’t know.”

What was certain was that the Seahawks indeed improved the air game and also bashed rookie Rams QB Jared Goff sufficiently that some lost dignity was restored. Oh, and the 24-3 win clinched the NFC West title.

Even if the rest of the division was the sick man of the NFL, last week’s 38-10 loss in Green Bay, the worst in the era of Wilson and coach Pete Carroll, induced a little humility in a team not known for a vast reservoir of humble.

Some order, it seems, was restored.

“Huge significance,” Carroll said of winning the division at 9-4-1 with two games left against Arizona and San Francisco. “It’s something we really do take pride in. We continue to show that we’re up there.”

The path to the division title was, he admitted, strange.

“It’s been different than any of the other years we’ve had,” he said. “Other teams in the division have struggled. So it made (the title) available to us . . . even having four losses. Think about how so many games have been so close, save the Packer game. We’ve just been out front the whole time.

“The good part about it is that we have a couple more games left and we can continue to work at it and see if we can develop some momentum.”

That may be useful because the win Thursday wasn’t all that persuasive. They were up only 10-3 at the half, and this was, well, the 4-10 Rams who fired their coach Monday. LA has a very good defense, but an offense that was even more an eyesore than the Seahawks’ wardrobe malfunction.

Since the Rams beat the Seahawks 9-3 Sept. 19 in the shoddy return of the NFL to Los Angeles after a 21-year absence, they have changed quarterbacks and head coaches. Neither has worked out yet.

The switch to Goff, the draft’s No. 1 pick from Cal, instead of veteran Case Keenum, established why former head coach Jeff Fisher didn’t want to do it at all. Goff (rhymes with off) was 13 for 25 for 135 yards, with a directional malady mystifying in its breadth and depth.

But the Seahawks’ four sacks may have had something to do with his yips, well before a blast that forced him from the the game in the fourth quarter.

As he closed on the end zone after a 25-yard scramble, Goff intersected with CB Richard Sherman, running full speed from the other side of the field. Cleanly, Sherman blasted him out of bounds so hard that the referee ordered him checked. He walked off the field and into the concussion protocol.

“Most quarterbacks are going to step out of bounds, since they usually take their yards and concede,” Sherman said. “He looked like he was setting up to take a dive into the end zone. We don’t give free meals, so he had to feel it.”

As for the Seattle quarterback, Wilson made a case, against his most nettlesome nemeses, that he had awakened from his five-interception nightmare against the Packers. He had three touchdown passes, including a 57-yard beauty to WR Tyler Lockett that ended the element of competition early in the fourth quarter.

He finished with a 122.1 QB rating only because his final pass of the game was a wounded duck picked at the goal line. “That,” said Carroll, “was nuts.” Otherwise he was 19 for 25 for 229 yards, and absorbed only two sacks for a combined loss of two yards.

Relative to his other recent games against the Rams, who had beaten the Seahawks in four of the previous five meetings, the effort was majestic, especially after the Packers debacle.

“You’ve got to have amnesia,” Wilson said, explaining the quick turnaround in a short week. “I didn’t hang on it too long. I know and believe who I am.”

What he and his teammates also are, are division champs, which means at least one home game in the playoffs. If they can advance from the No. 3 seed to No. 2 in the next two weeks, they will get a first-round bye. That means they will need to win only one home playoff game to advance to the NFC championship.

After a 38-10 loss, the path didn’t seem so apparent. But now, despite the unfortunate retina damage, things have cleared up.

 


YourThoughts

  • Pixdawg13

    Art, don’t be subtle–tell us what you really think about “Action Green”.

    • Kevin Lynch

      I say make the suits in the front office wear these colors. That may color the way they look at the advantage in marketing.

      • art thiel

        The idea is to sell more crap. Mission accomplished.

    • art thiel

      Retinas are our friends. Treat them as such.

      • John M

        Too subtle, Art. your initial description was right, even righteous. Strange on the fake punt when they stayed with a pretty conservative game plan. Maybe they called it “coaches little joke play.” It will take Ryan years to live down that “Replacements” bobble . . .

    • art thiel

      There was nothing subtle about the uniforms.

  • Effzee

    If they’re going with alternates, how about a throwback to the 80’s uniform? The Seahawks All Blues are my favorite uniforms in the game of American Football. The Action Green was an abomination. Was it supposed to look like the moss on the trees in the Olympic National Forest? It couldn’t have been a marketing maneuver, because that would not make sense. See: retina damage. I’m guessing the people who put value in what they saw on the field last night are the same folks who might buy an Action Green jersey. ;-)

    • WestCoastBias79

      Agreed, I love the 80’s silver and blue. However, apparently in the NFL you’re only allowed one alternate jersey a year, and you can’t change the helmet paint color all season. It’s why when the Broncos played in their color rush (which weren’t nearly as hideous) with the old school horse jumping out of the D (which is WAAAYYY better than their current hideous wreaks of the 90’s logo) it was on the same navy helmet instead of blue. The only change you can do is to the graphics. The Seahawks could do something with a silver graphic on top with the old logo though. I’d like to see it. I’d hazard a guess they’d sell more old school looking jerseys than slime green.

      • art thiel

        I believe the Rams changed their helmet for this game from the gold horn to the white horn. thought the white horn look great. So Roman Gabriel.

        • WestCoastBias79

          You can change the stickers, not the paint color. It’s a feature of the No Fun League.

    • antirepug3

      “The Action Green was an abomination.”

      It was, is and will continue to be an abomination…

    • art thiel

      Kids will eat it up. Of course it’s a cash grab.

  • PokeyPuffy

    what the heck is up with the fake punt when up by 3 touchdowns in the 4th? It certainly looks like some type of payback message, however it is Ryan that got the payback and may be unavailable for the Cards game. Not smart or classy coaching. Carrol should be taken to task on that

    • Jamo57

      The Rams have always had some special teams gadget plays they have run vs. the Hawks, a few have resulted in wins for the Rams. I sort of looked at is as an homage to Jeff Fisher from his buddy Pete, as Jeff heads out the door. Or a tip of the cap, “we can do it too”, to the special teams coach who was holding down the fort. Too bad Ryan got hit though, but it is tackle football.

      • art thiel

        I think it was to give future opponents something to think about.

    • Steed

      Good point. The game was pretty much won and there was no reason for the fake. Jeff Fisher wasn’t even there, so it didn’t even work as revenge for all the trick plays he has pulled on the Seahawks over the years.

      • art thiel

        This was about the Seahawks’ future, not the Rams’ past.

    • Diamond Mask

      I disagree. We’re playing football on national TV. They obviously already had the play ready to go and so they sprung it when if it didn’t work it wouldn’t fatally wound the Seahawks. I’m sorry about Ryan too but that’s hardly Carroll’s fault. When Ryan is feeling better he’s going to take some grief in the film room about bumbling that football.

      • Jamo57

        Looking at the replay last night, I think Ryan fumbled the ball as he was starting to go into a QB-like slide. I’d have to look at it again, but I think that was his intention. He will take a lot of grief for the un-athletic move once he’s recovered from the “real” football players. ;-)

        • art thiel

          I think he was shifting the ball to the other side, away from the nearest tackler.

      • art thiel

        Ryan’s fumble was not something Carroll can coach around. But what he could have ordered was Ryan to slide after contact neared.

    • ll9956

      I completely agree. That was a brilliantly designed play, but now the Hawks can’t use it again any time soon. Why waste a gem when you’re ahead by 21 points with 5 minutes left in the game?

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      • art thiel

        They want teams to have to prepare for it, likely giving Lockett one less blocker to evade.

    • art thiel

      Carroll claims they wanted to run it all game, then admitted he wanted to pad the rushing stats. But the real reason is he wanted it on video for future playoff foes to prepare for.

      Still not enough to jeopardize Ryan.

  • skabotnik

    It was interesting to watch this game in light of Sherman’s comments earlier in the week. There were four players sent into the concussion protocol, injury timeouts all over the place, plus mistakes and penalties galore. The unis weren’t the only ugly thing about this game, though it was nice to see Russell get back on track and the D was fierce all game.

    • art thiel

      Four days of rest is a shitty thing to do to players, refs and fans.

  • Jamo57

    So perhaps the NFL is heading the way of the MLS and offering title “uniform placement”, to corporate sponsors. What I’m trying to figure out is, will the Hawks have Prestone or Highlighter as their title sponsor.

    • Matt712

      Power Bait

    • Husky73

      Perhaps it was an homage to the Sounders?

      • Jamo57

        I would rather think that than the Oregon Ducks. ;-)

    • art thiel

      My only analogy to MLS occurred to me in the first half: The capacity to win with no shots on goal.

      • art thiel

        Are you stealing my tweets?

    • art thiel

      I prefer Mr. Yuk.

  • Diamond Mask

    “I will not wear that gaudy ‘action green.’ I will not. It is not in my color wheel and I’m not going to wear it.”

    Sandra Bullock, Blindside

    I have to say there certainly wasn’t any problem telling the two teams apart on the field or in a pile. Apparently the color also affected the eyesight of the referees. They were having difficulty assessing correct ball location.

    I was impressed with the Rams intensity last night. Their defense was frightening. Testimony to our numerous false starts. Some coach is going to have their hands full with the Rams but there’s talent there.

    • art thiel

      Seahawks O-linemen were peeing their pants.

  • 1coolguy

    “Well, there was a third thing: Uniform color. Wearing fashion borrowed from the love child of the Grinch and Mr. Yuk is no way to appear on national television. It’s hard to measure the impact of “Action Green” on the outcome, but the national cost in retina damage will plague a generation of fans.”
    Perfectly described.

    • art thiel

      Thanks.

  • rosetta_stoned

    We had guests over, so I watched small parts of my first Seahawks game of the season.

    Apparently, I haven’t been missing anything. And it appears Russell Wilson hasn’t been missing any meals, either.

    Go Dawgs.

    • art thiel

      Don’t mistake the kevlar jacket for Krispy Kreme.

  • WestCoastBias79

    It’s a blessed time when an NFC West Title is met with a collective meh. It wasn’t so long ago that the ceiling was Wild Card Participant and Super Bowls were for other teams.

    That said, even with the Packers loss, get that number 2 seed, and a Super Bowl is a very real possibility. There’s no transcendent team in the NFC, or really the NFL this year.

    • art thiel

      Lots of teams with lots of flaws. Loss of Thomas will really hurt in the playoffs.

  • “Radioactive Snot Green” is what I’ve called it from the beginning. It’s a reasonable highlight color – it’s eye-catching. As the main motif, it’s headache-inducing. Aside from that, the O-Line still needs some more unity, and Jon Ryan is definitely in need of some guidance if he’s going to add RB to his resumé. Still, it was a fun game. It’s always good to win the division, even when the division is awful.

    • art thiel

      The division title has been a foregone conclusion for so long I think many fans failed to appreciate it, especially after losing four of the past five to the Rams.

  • Husky73

    How can the #1 pick in the draft throw the ball so terribly? His motion, the wobble, the lack of arm strength, missing wide open receivers…how could the entire NFL be so wrong? Remember, it was a given that Goff would be either #1 or #2. I saw him play at Cal, and he was nothing special. The Rams gave up six picks to draft him first. He was supposed to make the big Hollywood splash for the Rams’ return, and he is Heaven’s Gate.

    • Comrade Suge

      He’s a rookie and on a terrible team. As for why he went so high? Same reason why Jake Locker went so high: tall (around 6-4, 6-5) and a cannon arm (despite Goff and Locker having accuracy issues).

      • Husky73

        Gosh (or Goff), I must have been watching a different QB…his arm strength was poor. He under threw numerous passes by a LOT, a couple that should have been touchdowns.

        • art thiel

          Suge is right. Hard road stadium, a good defense and a rookie head coach. Lighten, please.

        • Comrade Suge

          You must have been watching someone else. His arm strength isn’t an issue. It’s his accuracy.

          • Alti

            What kind of loser beta male stalks a girl on Disqus – like you are @duckstream?????

    • art thiel

      He was way over-drafted, but this was his third pro start. Hold off on the judgments.

      • jim

        Correction—-It was his 5th pro start.

  • Comrade Suge

    As far as those complaining about the uniforms. The players like them, end of story. I remember a time when fans used to mock Oregon for all their uniforms, you notice most of the people doing the mocking were people in their 40s and 50s. Like a Nike exec said: “who exactly sets fashion trends in the world? Young people or sportswriters in their 40s and 50s?” Notice how pretty much every team and brand (Adidas, Under Armor, etc) has followed Oregon’s (Nike’s) lead.

    • art thiel

      Tell the Nike exec that while he’s right, think about the damage to the eyesight of the 10-year-old Vietnamese girl making these things for $1 a day.

    • Alti

      What kind of loser beta male stalks a girl on Disqus – like you are, @duckstream??????????

  • jim

    Jared Goff should NOT be allowed to go back on the field. He’s going to get hurt. Real bad. He just does not have the sense necessary to QB an NFL team at this time. And, I’m skeptical he ever will.

    • art thiel

      He’s a rookie. He’ll be fine.

      • jim

        I hope so my friend. Who wants a young fella to fail ? But, I am not going to bet on him.