BY Art Thiel 05:22PM 10/28/2018

Thiel: ‘Aussie sweep’ amid many Seahawks grins

The Seahawks accomplished many validating feats in the 28-14 win over the Lions in Detroit, but it was punter Michael “Big Balls” Dickson who drew all the conversation, and chuckles.

A persuasive 28-14 win left Pete Carroll validated. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

It was Throwback Sunday for the Seahawks in Detroit.

176 yards rushing. Perfect quarterback rating. No turnovers, and three by the opponents, who had less than 15 points and fewer than 50 yards rushing.

The Glory Days, Part Deux.

Except that all anyone wanted to talk about — actually, the better phrase: “giggle about” — was rookie punter Michael Dickson’s fourth-quarter run from the end zone to a first down. It was as unplanned as a puppy’s first encounter with a stairwell, and just as amusing.

“You mean the Aussie sweep?” said his grinning coach, Pete Carroll. He feigned that some sort of plan was afoot when the Australian, apparently unaccustomed to American football protocols, broke about two dozen of them in his nine-yard dash around right end that stunned the Lions, the Seahawks and fans in two countries.

“The intent was to take a safety,” Carroll said, bringing things down to snicker level. “I don’t know if you could see it, but Michael was smiling as he turned the corner. He knew he could make the first down. Incredibly beautiful play.”

Smiles were not confined to the man from Down Under going over the top.

The Seahawks’ 28-14 triumph (box) over the Lions was not just a road win over a team that earlier had beaten the Patriots and Packers. It was a validation for all the off-season maneuvers that generated generated controversy, anxiety, skepticism and trepidation about the post-Legion Seahawks.

The glow of validation fairly radiated from Carroll.

“I like our team,” he said. “I like what’s going on. I like how they feel about it. We’re totally  clear; there’s no mystery how it gets done. We’re not going to fool anybody.”

So if success is not founded on disguise and surprise, then what is it? Imposition of will. As it was in the heyday of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances for Seattle. Doing your stuff better, smarter and harder than the other guys do their stuff.

The offensive and defensive lines won the game.

The O-line was given orders for what turned into 42 rushes for 176 yards (4.2 ypc). That meant the Seahawks needed to throw only 17 times. The 14 completions produced 237 yards, mostly because the Lions had no choice but to have single coverage on receivers, who didn’t need much separation because Wilson had time in the pocket to be precise. He completed his first 10 passes, a personal best.

The smooth efficiency over the past six games resulted in only three turnovers.

“He played a great football game today,” said Carroll of Wilson. “A beautiful game. He took advantage of the game plan. When you run the ball like this, you get (237) yards over the top.”

The Seahawks even managed to work in TE Ed Dickson, the veteran free agent playing his first Seattle game after a long injury hiatus. His first reception was a 12-yard TD from Wilson just before the half, followed in the third quarter by a 42-yard catch-and-run that caught the Lions unprepared for the alleged blocker who turned into a primary receiver.

The D-line helped hold the invigorated Lions rushing game to 34 yards, including 22 on eight carries for rookie RB star Kerryon Johnson. Against the Rams, the Seahawks held Todd Gurley to 72 yards in 22 carries. QB Matthew Stafford needed 40 passes to get to 310 yards, most of it underneath routes that defenders contained with open-field wrap-ups.

“The defense senses our commitment to the running game,” Carroll said. “The (Lions)  have to take care of that. It gives us a chance to throw over the top. You can talk about all the other stuff, but they were held to (34 yards) today for a team that wants to run the football. It starts with (DTs Jarran Reed and Shamar Stephen). We didn’t do anything special today, just played our scheme and did the stuff we wanted to do.

“(Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright) are the beneficiaries of all their dirty work. The (D-line) is really good at it.”

Not counting the final-minute possession of the second period, the Seahawks scored TDs on the final three of four first-half possessions for a 21-7 halftime lead that limited what the Lions could do offensively the rest of the way.

Detroit did pull together an 85-yard drive for a score inside the final four minutes. After forcing a three-and-out, the Lions were ready to make things anxious for the visitors. That’s when Dickson, with 2:18 left, made his dash that opened his candidacy for the Punters Hall of Fame.

“Yeah, I’ve got big balls,” he told reporters. “They call me Big Balls Dickson.”

Carroll was a tad more elegant.

“I thought it was awesome,” he said. “I can’t love a play more than that. He went against tradition and old thinking. He saw a situation and took advantage of it. It was truly a surprise.

“Last week in London, I mentioned to him: ‘Sometimes you just gotta take off and go.’ Little did I know next time out . . . ”

The 4-3 Seahawks have won four of their past five, and five of the first seven have been on the road. They get the Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at home next Sunday, but Carroll didn’t seem concerned about venue or foe.

“Doesn’t matter where we play right now,” he said. “We’re playing how we want.”

Back to the future.


SPONSORED POST

Support SportspressNW

The idea is simple: Want to help? Please, and thank you. Don’t want to help? Please and thank you for continuing to read. Our content is free to all. No paywalls. No tricks. See the ways you can support SportspressNW.

YourThoughts

  • Ron

    Now let’s hold your horses and your “giddy” up. The Hawks haven’t beaten anyone yet.

    They lost to the 3-5 Broncos.
    They lost to the 4-3 Bears.
    They beat the 3-4 Cowboys.

    They barely beat the 2-6 Cardinals.

    They lost to the Rams.
    They beat the lowly 1-6 Raiders.
    They beat the 3-4 Lions after a bye week of rest.

    If the Hawks can win a couple games in November then we can talk about the
    playoffs. But an O-fer-November will doom their playoff chances, starting
    with the Chargers, who are coming off a bye week themselves, then followed by the
    Rams, Packers, and Panthers. It could be a November to forget.

    • Diamond Mask

      Thanks for that Ron. We get it. Now go take a cold shower to match your mood.

      • Tim

        Now that’s a great comeback!

      • Mark Thurston

        In Ron’s defense I would say that there were many prognosticators predicting the hawks would finish 4-12 and if you drank any of that kool aide, its no wonder you may have written the season off. I think Pete Carroll should have sued for defamation base on that alone. Pete Carroll has never had a record worse than 6-10 and that was his first year with the New York Jets. . He’s been a Champion at all levels. And its about time the rest of the world gave him his due. Pete Carroll is a GREAT COACH. . .Say what you will about his style of coaching. . Pete Carroll is an All Time Great.

        • art thiel

          If he gets these guys to the playoffs, he’s a candidate for coach of the year, which he hasn’t won.

      • Ron

        Please excuse me for wanting real proof before we annoint these “The Glory Days, Part Deux.”

        • art thiel

          I engaged in hyperbole, but I should have added a photo of my tongue in cheek.

          • Ron

            Just be careful that hyperbole doesn’t get you confused for the likes of Trump. Maybe include a photo of him. BTW, are sports columnists the enemy of the people?

          • art thiel

            Certainly, a worthy goal. I will do my best.

    • StephenBody

      Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
      – Vince Lombardi

      If you can’t learn the ART of finding satisfaction in what has already been attained, you won’t be happy with whatever comes after it. Realistic expectations. I started this season believing this is a rebuilding team and was going to be okay with 4-12. They’re at four NOW and improving weekly. Every game is a gift.

      • Ron

        Vince Lombardi believed in being tougher on his team following wins rather than losses, so they wouldn’t get complacent by finding satisfaction in what had already been attained.

        • art thiel

          The tactic is almost a universal these days.

      • art thiel

        I said 8-8, from which I have yet to yield. I saw in training camp the potential for the run game, but did not see so many newbies succeeding on defense.

        • StephenBody

          Anything over 4-12 is fine by me. I’m waaaay more interested in potential for next season and the two or three after that.

          • art thiel

            I can’t think that far ahead. By then, this coiumn could be in Cyrillic.

      • SalishSea8

        I believed 7 and 9 since PC is our coach and RW. They refuse to give up and play each game as the last. So even with sub par talent they will compete in a season of games.

    • art thiel

      Can you live with a 2-2 November? The Rams are not as formidable as some believed. Upset special?

      • Ron

        A 2-2 November would be a win. 3-1 would be considered contenders. 0-4 qualifies as pretenders,

        • Chris Alexander

          The Hawks held their own with the Rams before really finding their stride.
          Yes, they lost, but they had a solid chance to win. And the Rams looked VERY beatable this week against the Packers. Were it not for the fumble right after the Rams took the lead with a FG, I doubt there’s anyone in America who would have bet against Aaron Rodgers marching the Pack down the field for the win; it’s truly a shame he didn’t get that chance.

          The Rams would need an epic collapse at this point for the Hawks to win the division but the #5 seed seems somewhat reasonable when looking at the rest of the NFC, especially if the Hawks beat the Panthers to secure a tiebreaker over them.

          My prediction is that we beat the Chargers at home (24-14), squeak out a win over the Rams, lose by 7 to Green Bay on the short week, then close November by thumping the Panthers 31-13.

  • WestCoastBias79

    Well, I thought UW would be good and the Seahawks mediocre. I seem to have things flipped. November sees some good teams, but if they can keep playing like this and stay relatively healthy, I like their chances in the churn of the NFC middle.

    • Husky73

      The Huskies are 6-3 and people are upset. The Seahawks are 4-3 and people are happy. Go figure.

      • art thiel

        Always expectations. It’s a big part of the fun of sports.

        • Husky73

          You are quite correct, Dr. Melfi.

        • Chris Alexander

          Correctamundo. People are disappointed in the Hiskies because the expectation was that they would challenge for a spot in the Playoff, even after losing to Auburn in Week 1. So while 6-3 is a respectable record and they could still win their division if WSU stumbles before the Apple Cup, it will still be a disappointing season because the expectations were so high.

          As has been pointed out by several here, expectations for the Seahawks, with only a few exceptions ranged from 4-12 to 8-8, MAYBE 9-7. Thus 4-3 after an 0-2 start is enough to make us start considering playoff seeding and tiebreaker scenarios.

          Expectations … you gotta love them.

      • SalishSea8

        The Cougs are 7-1 …entertaining football.

    • art thiel

      You are not alone in being flipped.

  • Husky73

    Who are those guys? (Paul Newman)

    • art thiel

      Not sure I see the Chargers ready to jump off the cliff, but Seahawks are arching eyebrows in a few places.

  • Theyfinallyfiredcable

    Certainly the strength of opponent increases now , as to Ron’s comment . But not to be overlooked is the number of home games ( the Clink is a hell of a home field advantage ) , as well as the style of play they’ve gotten back to ; run the football aggressively – eat the clock and hold time of possession – force the other team to be one dimensional on defense , and play field position with that amazing punter . If they can continue to do that , they’ll be in every game ..

    • art thiel

      Carroll said what you described was his plan. Few thought his moves made him closer.

      • John M

        Well, you drummed it into us, “maybe 6-10 with Wilson on crutches.”

        • art thiel

          I recall saying 8-8. I think you’re peddling fake news.

          • John M

            Maybe the spread. Years take the memory . . .

  • Diamond Mask

    I thought the Lions were pretty tough. I guess we’ll see because the Seahawks looked pretty awesome today. I think the Chargers have looked good at times this year so again…we will see. I hate to get ahead of myself but the defense looks reasonably self assured and at least today Wilson looked frighteningly good. The key to all of this is the O-Line and I’m not sure but I think they might be ready for a nickname……any suggestions other than “Wishful Thinking” or “Pipe Dreams?”

    • art thiel

      I don’t think they’ve reached nickname status. That seems to require a two-season minimum, and no O-line last two seasons in the free agency era. You may have to settle for merely playoffs.

  • John M

    The Dixon play was a heart thumper, but just as impressive is the aggressive catches by the receivers and the way the DB’s have sync’d up. Everyone made plays today. Rivers is always a challenge fort he Hawks, but today they would have beaten him in Cal. As for the Huskies, well, bottom line is they made too many mistakes and just didn’t play well overall . . .

    • art thiel

      Wilson isn’t hesitating to throw to covered receivers.

      • SalishSea8

        Just like the 2016 RW. Where Baldwin was getting his pay day.

      • John M

        Ah . . . you remembered. True though. Fun to watch again . . .

  • Tim

    Hell yeah. Great win. Fun season so far…way more compelling for all the right reasons than last year. I can’t believe our offensive line…are they really this good?

    • art thiel

      O-line play always improves with continuity. As far as talent, Brown and Fluker are definite upgrades. On paper, they figured to be better, especially going from zone to power. Did I see them being this good? No.

      • Bruce McDermott

        Watching Brown get ahead on sweeps and sustain his blocks like he did was impressive. Dude is not playing like a 10+ year tackle…

        • art thiel

          Glad you’re watching that. He and Fant as TE make quite a tandem ahead of Carson. Pure nose-breaking power.

    • Chris Alexander

      John Clayton was on The 5th Quarter during the bye week and remarked that Pro Football Focus had the Seahawks O-line rated #1 for pass protection over the previous 3 games (Weeks 4-6). They looked even better yesterday. It seems they may indeed be a pretty solid unit Especially since they seem like they’re better run blocking than they are in pass protection. They had a really rough start to the season so they’re still ranked in the bottom third of the league overall but don’t be surprised if they move into the Top Ten by the end of the season.

      • art thiel

        Some people are skeptical of PFF, but they apply their data analysis uniformly, so it least is a fair measure for comparison.

        These five are all in at least their third year. That’s a big deal, as is Brown’s leadership.

  • jafabian

    The running game is so improved even the punter is running the ball! But can he throw like Jon Ryan and Thunderfoot Weaver???

    • art thiel

      Shh. You’ll give Carroil a stroke.

      • jafabian

        I’ve wondered what Ty Montgomery thought about this. A rookie Aussie punter who admits he doesn’t completely understand American football being given the freedom to run the ball after being told to take a knee. Probably snapped when he found out!