Tag Archives: Earl Thomas III

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 – Team of Destiny? I’m In!

Seahawk Im In

From the few who’ve read articles I’ve written on Beer Thinker Sports, it’s a known fact that I am an unabashed Detroit Lions fan. And make no mistake, this article is me jumping on the Seahawk bandwagon…I admit it freely.

While most of my articles have been about the Lions, I’ve also written about my second hometown team, the Seahawks. Let me tell you that the Hawks recent success has buffered the pain and agony of being a Lions fan.

This season though, had me worried of being a fan of both teams. Lions started out the season 1-7 despite having success of an 11-5 season last year. Seahawks weren’t much better over the first 8 games going 4-4, including a game saving win by Kam Chancellor over the Lions in week 4.

If you look at both teams, on paper, one could say that they are pretty evenly matched. But the one distinct advantage the Hawks have over the Lions: Heart.

The 2015 Seahawks may be the most exciting team Pete Carroll and company have put together yet. He continues to stick to his guns and play rookies and undrafted free agents that have a quality that he looks for. Again, heart.

And just what is the definition in this respect? In my opinion, it’s the player that won’t give up, isn’t afraid to make a mistake but learns from them as to not repeat them and will give his all until the final second ticks off the clock.

Perfect example is that victory over the Lions in week 4. Lions had the perfect play drawn up against a tired Seahawk defense when Lions QB Matthew Stafford found Calvin Johnson at the 8-yard line with an open lane to the end zone with about 1:45 left on the clock.

Trust me here when I say I was on my feet yelling “Yes!” at the top of my lungs when the play developed. Johnson was hit at about the one but leaning forward over the goal line when it happened.

Kam Chancellor, in only his second week, clinging to Johnson punched the ball from his grasp…and sealed the victory for the Seahawks.

I was devastated. But had to admire Kam’s heart. He never gave up, never stopped and found a way to make a play.

I figured that if the Lions had scored on that play, they were going to win the game. After all, the Lions defense had harassed Russell Wilson all day and sacked him 6 times. And after giving up only a field goal in the second half, the defense was primed to give the Lions a rare West Coast road win.

But the collective heart of the Seahawks, as well as Kam’s ability to dig deep, denied the win.

Was it a turning point for the Hawks? I’m not sure. While the win evened their record at 2-2, they did lose the next two games to be at 2-4. There was the epic meltdown against the Bengals, blowing a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter as well as the 15 point lead against the Carolina Panthers at home.

The Seattle press wasn’t really lambasting the Seahawks but were beginning to question Pete Carroll’s coaching decisions. Allowing the offensive line to be in rebuild mode, with several players that were being defensive linemen converting to offensive line which resulted in an alarming rate of sacks on Russell Wilson. At one point, with the rate of sacks being allowed, the Seahawks were on target to give up over 65 sacks over the season.

Where I think the turning point for this season was the home loss against the Arizona Cardinals in week 10. The Cardinals came out hot in the first half, building a 22-7 lead. But the Seahawks made some adjustments and starting to peck away at the Cardinal lead. At the end of the third quarter, it was 25-17 as the Hawks gave up only a field goal in the third.

And in the fourth quarter, Marshawn Lynch scored on a 3 yard run and Bobby Wagner recovered a fumble and ran it back for another TD. Both 2 point conversions failed but the Hawks were right back in it, leading 29-25.

But Carson Palmer playing out of his mind this year, tossed a 4th quarter TD and Andre Ellington busted a 48 yard TD run to re-take control of the game.

But the heart of the team became evident in this game…and I think it brought them together to reel off 4 straight wins and all in pretty convincing fashion. Hawks averaged just over 35 points a game over the stretch of the 4 games and the defense allowed just 14 points a game.
The offensive line has finally come together and Wilson has only been sacked 10 times in that 4 game stretch. With the line playing as it is, it has allowed Wilson to show just how talented he is. He’s thrown for 16 TD’s and no interceptions over the last 4 games. That puts him with only 2 other quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish that feat, those being Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Not bad company to be in.

He is the first Seahawk quarterback to have two 5 touchdown games in a season. He is also the first Seahawk QB to have at least three touchdown passes in four straight games. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have four straight games with at least 3 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 70% completion rating.

Wilson isn’t the only Seahawk to play at a historic pace. WR Doug Baldwin, an undrafted free-agent who came to the Seahawks in 2011, put up some fantastic numbers over the last 3 games: 17 catches for 321 yards and eight touchdowns. He is on pace to be the first 1,000 yard receiver for the Seahawks since Bobby Engram accomplished that feat in 2007.

And the defense, the Legion of Boom, is back. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin are getting after QB’s. Along with rookie Frank Clark, the rest of this season is going to be very tough on opposing quarterbacks. Kam, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Deshawn Shead have brought back the attitude of the Legion, that nothing is going to get by them and no team is going to score on them. And if they do, they will pay for it.

And the dismantling of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday just clarifies each point. Russell Wilson added to historic pace with 3 more TD’s with Doug Baldwin catching two of them. Jermain Kearse made some very clutch catches and caught 7 passes for 110 yards.

And what about Christine Michael? Coming off the scrap heap for a second chance with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft? Once a promising RB with comparisons to Adrian Peterson, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys as the Seahawks felt, and rightly so, that Thomas Rawls beat him out as back-up to Marshawn Lynch.  He played sparingly with Dallas before being released in November. He signed with Washington as a practice squad player but was released November 17th, his career seemingly over at age 25.

The Seahawks and Pete Carroll are all about giving players another chance.  And Michael responded well to this opportunity, heeding safety Earl Thomas’ advice to reel it back and play without pointing fingers at himself for doing well. The result was 16 carries for 84 yards and a repentant Michael gave credit not to himself, but to the offensive line for his success.

Perhaps this will be the window of opportunity for Michael to have a successful career in the NFL.

Who knows, right? I don’t see Lynch coming back in 2016 as he is breaking down. I think the smart thing for him would be to retire now while most people can remember just what a remarkable running back he was.  With a tandem of Thomas Rawls and this version of Christine Michael, the running game would be in good hands.

The Hawks are 9-5 right now. If they can win out, that will put them at 11-5 which most likely will put them as the number 2 as a wild card. They will most likely travel to the NFC East division champion, most likely the team from Washington which I see them as winning.

Next up are the St. Louis Rams, a proverbial thorn in the Seahawks side if there ever was one…if they can win that game, I believe there will be a re-match with the Patriots and this time, the outcome will be very different.

I’m in!

GO HAWKS!

Kam Chancellor – The “Boom” in The Legion of Boom

The Heart of The Legion of Boom
The Heart of The Legion of Boom

We have all heard about “The Legion of Boom” right?  We know that Earl Thomas is the will of the Legion and that Richard Sherman is the mouthpiece.

But when you want to talk about the heart of this unit, you point no further than Kam Chancellor.

Here is a link to a video of Chancellors top hits:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-unD33mV8Os

One of the most memorable hits that I can recall was against San Francisco’s tight end Vernon Davis.  It had to be one of the most pure hits I’ve ever seen.  And regardless of the fact that Kam was flagged for the hit, it was, according to Chris Collinsworth, an “outstanding defensive play.”

Regardless of what anyone says, if it was a clean hit or not, at that very moment, the Legion of Boom made it’s presence known and Kam “Bam, Bam” Chancellor made a game changing hit.

In fact, since that time, Vernon Davis has caught the dreaded short-arm disease whenever he plays against the Seahawks.  He hears Chancellor coming…Kam is in his head.

Kam also set the tone early in last year’s Super Bowl against the vaunted Denver Bronco’s offense.  At 9:46 in the first quarter, Seattle up 5-0, Denver has the ball.

Manning drops back, finds Demaryius Thomas on a short crossing pattern.  Kam came up after Thomas catches the pass and knocks Thomas five yards back.  It was at that point that Kam sent the message to the Denver Bronco’s passing game:  That ain’t gonna happen.

Kam is also the emotional leader of the Legion.  When the Hawks lost to the Kansas City Chiefs to drop to 3-3 on the year, many NFL pundits had written the team off.  There had been much turmoil in the locker room.  The fact of the matter, it was that the team essentially lost it’s identity with a healthy Percy Harvin.

It’s not fair to place the blame solely on Harvin’s shoulders.  But he was the main protagonist.  And I have to applaud the decision by the Seahawks to trade Harvin when it was realized that despite all of his talent on the field, his off the field antics were destroying the chemistry in the locker room.

It was Chancellor who gathered the team together and gave an impassioned speech about playing for each other and to not let down the man next to you both on and off the field.  To trust each other, take care of each other and taking accountability.

Hard to dispute the facts but after that speech, the Seahawks haven’t lost a game since.

It showed up big time in the conference championship against the Green Bay Packers.  While the Seahawks kept getting knocked down, they never were knocked out.  They kept getting back up and just would not give in to defeat.

It shows me that Chancellor has two ways to deliver hits:  Physically and emotionally.

I will be wearing my newly purchased #31 jersey proudly on Super Bowl Sunday.  Bam Bam is going to be a key player against the Patriots and I almost pity Rob Gronkowski when he takes that first hit from him.

Go Seahawks!

 

 

 

Seattle Back In The Super Bowl, Beat Packers 28-22

The Seattle Seahawks pulled off one of the most improbable wins in NFC Championship history.

Before I get to the Seahawks, hats off to a very classy and well-prepared team, the Green Bay Packers.  This team played on helluva game and should be commended for how they came in to Century Link Field and took it to the Seahawks.

Another thing I want to say is that I am so glad that the officiating never played a part in the outcome of this game.  Last thing the NFL needed was yet another week of controversy heading into the Super  Bowl.

All right, on to the Super Bowl bound Seattle Seahawks.

Starting with the defense, while they may have been put back on their heels in the first half and part of the second half, it came down to the defense coming together as a unit.  It wasn’t one player who stepped up, it was eleven.

ShermanChancellorThomas

I will focus in on what I feel are three different players who are the heart and soul of the defense…Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III.

We all know the game that Chancellor had last week against the Panthers, culminating with the 90 yard pick six he last week.

But this week, it wasn’t about a single individual.  It was about the leaders stepping up their game and getting the defense to quit get pushing them around…I would imagine that Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas all spoke to the defensive unit with the message to play for each other and lay it all out right now.

To set the example, both Thomas and Sherman both were injured during the game but played on, feeding the warrior mentality to the rest of the defense.  Sherman was literally playing with one arm…and yet the Packers still couldn’t beat him.

WilsonKearseLynch

Now on to the offense.  In the first half, lets face it, they absolutely stunk up the place.  Russell Wilson, for the game, threw 4 interceptions.  Doug Baldwin fumbled the first kick-off they received.  They just could not get anything going.

But Russell Wilson being Russell Wilson, didn’t  let any of that get to him.  After their first touchdown, a fake field goal that punter John Ryan threw a TD to Garry Gilliam, Wilson began to play his game.

He stepped up his game to an amazing level at the last part of regulation and then again in OT.

Which ties in nicely to start talking about Jermaine Kearse.  Want to talk about redemption?  Here is a guy that Wilson threw to and 4 of those attempts were interceptions, two of which bounced off Kearse’s hands.  But who catches the game winning touchdown in OT?  Jermaine Kearse on a 35 yard post play.

And what can be said about Marshawn Lynch that hasn’t been said already?  There is no quit in the man.  25 carries for  157 yards and throw in 26 yards receiving, he kept the Seahawks alive when they needed him the most.

Is this a team of destiny?  I’m not sure about that but they are a team to be reckoned with.  Be it the Colts or the Patriots in two weeks, you can damn well be sure this Seahawks team will not be intimidated.

On to the Super Bowl!