Tag Archives: Cliff Avril

Seahawks vs. Vikings – No Lynch? No Problem, Hawks Win 24-13

Hawks Vikings

I woke up this morning and grabbed the Seattle Times off the front porch, made coffee and amid the headlines about the Seattle Mariners retiring Ken Griffey Jr.’s number, my eyes drifted toward a small blurb about Marshawn Lynch not playing in tomorrow’s playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

To be honest, I don’t think this will be a determent to the Seahawks.  Yes, it would have been nice to have Beast Mode behind Russell Wilson, with all of his playoff experience and his ability to rise to the occasion when needed.

But consider just how well the Seahawks have played (except for the Rams game) over the second half of the season without him and Jimmy Graham.  All they did was set franchise records for most yards in a season (6,058) and for the fourth time in team history, finished among the top four in total offense in the NFL.

The Seahawks have ridden Lynch to two Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them.   And while I appreciate the talent and drive that Lynch has on the field, I think the true identity of this team has come out in Russell Wilson.

Wilson went nuts in the second half of 2015.  Much of that came after the bye when the team made adjustments to the passing game in getting the ball out quicker from Wilson.  The result of that, Wilson was sacked only 15 times in the second half after getting dropped 33 times in the first.

Benefitting from Wilson’s excellent second half has been Doug Baldwin who has really come into his own, setting team record for most receiving TD’s in a season (14) and achieving 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Let’s not forget about Tyler Lockett who was drafted to upgrade the return game.  Not only has he done that but he also finished with 51 catches for 664 yards and six TD’s.  The Seahawks may have found the deep threat they have been seeking in this kid.  He has the talent to become one of the best receivers in the game.

Jermaine Kearse also has had a solid season with 49 catches for 685 yards and 5 TD’s.  But he also does the little things that allows other players to shine.  On crossing routes, he often frees up the other receiver in ways that he doesn’t get flagged for picking the defender.  He blocks well and has made some of the most clutch catches to keep drives alive.

The combined stats for the trio of Baldwin, Locket and Kearse is 178 catches for 2,418 yards and 25 TD’s.  I’m pretty sure that any team in the NFL would love that production from their wide receiving corps.

And it’s not like the rushing game was tossed out the window after Lynch went down and later when Thomas Rawls got injured.  In stepped cast-off Christine Michael and Bryce Brown along with Fred Jackson who has been good as a third down back.  And let’s not forget fullbacks Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu who get the calls to either block on short yardage situations or leak out pass the defensive line to gain critical yardage in screen pass situations.

No Jimmy Graham or Luke Willson?  In steps Cooper Helfet and Chase Hoffman, both of whom had some clutch catches in the Arizona game.

So we don’t have Lynch…that’s OK, we have everyone else that will keep it going until Lynch is ready to play.

Let’s not forget that defense which for the fourth year in a row finished in the top five in the NFL.  They were second in total defense, giving up 291.8 yards a game, second in passing defense, allowing 210.2 yards per game and first in the NFL against the run, allowing a mere 81.5 yards per game.

The key to this game will be the same as it was when the Hawks beat the Vikings 38-7 in week 13.  Mitigate yards gained by Adrian Peterson and dare QB Teddy Bridgewater to beat them with his arm.

And all Bridgewater has to do is throw into the teeth of the Legion of Boom of Richard Sherman, Deshawn Shead, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.  That is if he has enough time avoiding the rush of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane and Bruce Irvin.

The weather isn’t going to factor into this game.  It will affect both teams the same.  What it will boil down to is overall talent between the two teams.  And while the Vikings defense is ranked 13th overall, the way the Seahawks offense has been clicking, they will wear them down with the run game and the short passing game.

I’m not afraid of the Vikings offense which finished 29th overall in 2015.  While they are ranked 4th in rushing (I mean come on, it is Adrian Peterson) they are ranked 31st in passing and 31st in receiving.

So what’s the focus going to be?  On Peterson, put at least two spies on him and try to create turnovers.  Peterson has fumbled 7 times this year, losing 3 of them.

I’d put Bobby Wagner on him first and second down and have Bruce Irvin cover him on third down if he comes out of the backfield.  Wagner is a sure tackler and Irvin has the speed to stay with Peterson and isn’t bad in coverage.

That is if Peterson can get past the road block of Brandon Mebane or Aythyba Rubin up the middle or if he can get around the corner and avoid Bennett and Avril.

Looking forward to this game as the Seahawks will beat the Vikings 23-13.

GO HAWKS!

12th man flag

 

Seattle Seahawks and “The Call”

Sad Seahawk

It has been five days since the 12th Man was stunned by the Seahawks loss to the New England Patriots.  Not sure how anyone else felt but for me, it was a blow to the stomach and I had all the air knocked out of me.

I haven’t looked at a sports page, listened to very little sports talk radio and have avoided the NFL Network and ESPN altogether.  Because I just can’t stand how the last call of the game has been diagnosed to the Nth degree.

I allowed myself some time to get through this.  This loss was more difficult to process mainly because of the suddenness of it.  We were right there at the one yard line, Russell Wilson calmly at the line and then New England rookie Malcom Butler drove the stake into the heart with an amazing play.

A lot of things have been said about “The Call.”  Some have indicated it was the worst call in Super Bowl history.  Others have wondered long and hard that why, with 26 seconds on the clock and with the freak of nature running Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, would you even consider throwing a pass.

Here is what I know:

  • I am not the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks with 80,000 screaming fans yelling, all kinds of traffic coming in on the headset, trying to make a decision in 45 seconds.
  • I am not the quarterback who has such a belief in the system he plays in, that he never considered questioning the call.
  • I am not the wide receiver who was assigned to bump the corner back.
  • I am not the receiver who was supposed to make the move to the ball.

We can all sit back, with the help of instant replay, stop action and slow motion in high-definition media, tear apart the play frame by frame.  We can drag a play that took all of four seconds to execute, into a full 10 minute dissertation on every single thing that supposedly went wrong.

When the play occurred, there wasn’t a Seahawk fan that didn’t think the Seahawks weren’t going to score and be the first repeat champions since the New England Patriots.

But it wasn’t just that play that got us.  The spectacular interception by Jeremy Lane in the first quarter and in instant later, after being tackled, he is out of the game with a severe broken wrist.

Earl Thomas, who stated that if the Super Bowl had been played the previous week, he would not have been able to play with that injured shoulder.

Richard Sherman was not near 100% with a rotator cuff injury he sustained while playing in the NFC Championship.

Kam Chancellor wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to play due to a knee injury sustained at the Friday before Super Bowl practice.  Through what Pete Carroll calls a superhuman effort, Chancellor strapped on a speed brace and gutted it out.

Cliff Avril, so key all year long on the defensive line, went out in the third quarter with a concussion.

And even with all the injuries, the Seahawks were right there, poised to win the game with yet another spectacular comeback.

But we just didn’t quite make it…and we are all trying to find a place to place the blame.  You know what?  There is no one to blame.  The play was called, the players actually executed the play fairly well and Malcom Butler just made a great play.

There is one last thing I can say about this:  It’s over, it happened and we still have one helluva football team to cheer for.

The Seahawks will learn from this…they will use it to come back stronger and hungrier than before and be one of the rare teams to make a Super Bowl appearance three years straight.

It’s just gonna seem like one helluva long wait!

Go Seahawks!