Whenever the Seahawks score a touchdown, the immediate–and appropriate–fan reaction is: again??? Over the past five games, the team has been beating their opponents by a margin of 20 points per game and the standout of standouts has been wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who’s caught 10 touchdown passes in the past four games.
Since the 30-13 Seahawks win Sunday against the Cleveland Browns came relatively easy, let’s talk for a second about HOW IS THIS HAPPENING!? HOW IS THE TEAM SO GOOD ALL OF A SUDDEN!?
Well, actually, no one knows. Not Russell Wilson. Not Pete Carroll.
It’s true, I asked them.
But, just for fun, here are nine reasons why the Seahawks shouldn't be playing this well.
Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, until a few weeks ago, were just average receivers. Whenever anyone talked about the Seahawks' offense there would always be the caveat that the team’s wide receivers were pedestrian. They had big hearts and played like rabid underdogs, but they weren’t the athletic super humans like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson or Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. Yet, Baldwin and Kearse, along with rookie Tyler Lockett, have been tearing up the field and getting open through guts and guile.
Rookie wide receivers like Tyler Lockett aren’t supposed to be successful. You always hear how teams that take wide receivers high in the draft should be patient. This is for players who are selected in the top 10 picks, even. Lockett was taken in the second round with the intention that he’d primarily be a kick returner. Expectations for him as a receiver were definitely low. Despite this, he’s turning into a Pro Bowler right before our eyes while remaining one of the league’s best return men. Lockett is one of the three rookie standouts this year, along with the injured Thomas Rawls and the defensive beast, Frank Clark.
Marshawn “Lynch Pin” has been injured most of the season and somehow the team found a backup that’s equally amazing and now he’s injured, too. Backup running back, Thomas Rawls, took the team by storm, amassing hundreds of yards on the ground and touchdown after touchdown. He made the city forget about Lynch for a minute, which is no small task. Yet, he’s injured now too! But the Seahawks seemed undaunted against Cleveland Sunday. Between Christine Michael’s 84 yards on 16 attempts (5.25 yards/carry) and Bryce Brown’s 43 yards on 9 carries (4.78 yards/carry), the team was strong and remains balanced.
Just a few weeks ago everyone was saying the offensive line is terrible. This is the most astounding fact of the season. In the first five or six games, anyone who watched the Seahawks would complain about the offensive line. Words like “sieve” and “porous” came to mind quickly. The offensive line is, of course, where everything starts; it’s how the running game is shaped, how the quarterback is protected and where the battles on offense are won. It was a minor miracle the team went 2-2 to start the season, and it’s a major feat the team is 9-5 now with how bad the line looked. The team has shuffled players in different positions and gotten healthier, but still, it’s sort of unexplainable.
After the most devastating Super Bowl loss in history, there was a dark cloud hanging over the team. This can’t be underestimated. If a team loses a game like that, the fundamental core of every relationship can be questioned. There was such a big burden of blame that fell on the Seahawks, such embarrassment and public shame, that the team could have gone down the drain this season due to lack of trust in the coaching staff or just from the pressure. But the team has survived, they won the games they needed to win, they trusted the team process and they’ve rebuilt their chemistry. Pete Carroll should probably win coach of the year.
In the past three years, the team has played just about the most number of games possible. People always talk about LeBron James and how he has so many miles on his legs from playing in five straight NBA Finals. Well the same can be said about Russell Wilson and the rest of the team. Over the past three seasons they’ve played basically the most amount of games possible and they’re headed to another playoff. The body starts to hurt after one NFL game, but 51 games in three years – my knees just buckled thinking about it.
The team’s secondary isn’t the Legion of Boom this year. That’s true, but they’re starting to come on. Richard Sherman has been looking better each week and has had a string of interceptions as of late. Kam Chancellor, while he was injured this week, has been strong against the run and a hard hitter upfield. The injuries have allowed backups to come in and get some run and some experience. While the secondary, especially in the passing game, is the team’s weakest link, they’re getting better and better at the right time.
Star tight end Jimmy Graham is hurt. He’s been one of our themes all year. A recurring question is "Where has Jimmy Graham been?" But ever since the Pro Bowler went down to injury, the team has been clicking. It’s odd that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell couldn’t find a way to use one of the most athletic tight ends in football, but somehow the team responds better to Kearse or backup TE Luke Wilson in the safety net role, rather than Graham. The team is also able to put a better blocker in on the line, with Graham known for being a sub-par blocker.
No quarterback should be as good as Russell Wilson has been. He’s on some all-time streak now. The guy who many said couldn’t play in the league has been its best quarterback over the past five games. Even presumed league MVP, Cam Newton, has been a shade below Wilson. Over the past five games he has 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions, while also running for 147 yards on 28 carries (5.25 yards/carry). He’s also passed the eye test as a steadying force for the team and proven leader. Before the center of the team felt like it was a triumvirate of Wilson, Lynch and Sherman. Now, it’s Wilson’s team. No question.