Wow. I’ve never had as much fun watching the Seattle Seahawks as I did last night.
In an incredible team effort in all facets of the game, the Seahawks validated my prediction a couple weeks ago. They came out of their bye and absolutely DESTROYED the New Orleans Saints by a lopsided score of 34-7.
I, like all of the 12th man, no doubt, was left grinning from ear to ear when the clock ran out. The game was, for all intents and purposes, a perfect and stunning display by the best team in the NFC- nay, the entire NFL. Seattle made the Saints, who was only a game behind the Hawks for the top seed in the NFC entering the matchup, look hopelessly pedestrian on both sides of the ball.
I’m still grinning, and it’s been entire day after the fact. But how can Seattle fans not be feeling this way, when the Seahawks played a complete and dominating game?
Seattle’s offense, led by the young Wisconsin Badger alum Russell Wilson, torched a top five defense in New Orleans. Wilson put up Super Bowl MVP-like stats, completing 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a phenomenal rating of 139.6. One of those scores, an eight-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Coleman, wasn’t quite what Wilson’s intent was, but hey, the way Wilson was playing, he earned that happy accident. Wilson also led the team in rushing, tucking and running eight times for 47 yards. The Saint’s couldn’t stop Wilson, who completely outclassed Drew Brees and remained perfect at CenturyLink Field.
Speaking of Brees, Seattle’s defense clearly prepared well for the veteran from Purdue. Seattle’s front seven was incredibly hungry off the line, and they forced a turnover halfway through the first quarter, which resulted in a 22-yard scamper by Michael Bennett into the end zone to make it 10-0.
Cliff Avril came in from behind Brees for the sack, and in the process forced a fumble that flew into the air and ended up in Bennett’s hands. The play created a fantastic uproar from the 12th man, who also aided the defense in neutralizing Brees’ communications with his offense. The defense used the energy from their fans to stuff the run and hold Brees to a mere 147 passing yards and an average of four yards per pass (Russell Wilson averaged ten per pass).
The Super Bowl winner Brees was replaced by a frustrated and inefficient Brees, and Seattle only allowed him to lead the Saints into the end zone once. Other than that scoring drive, Brees and the Saints’ offense was completely snuffed out by the incredibly energized Seahawk defense.
Seriously, the energy of the Seattle defense was palpable through my TV screen. I got such a kick out of watching guys like Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, and Michael Bennett running around like maniacs. But the guy who was the most fun to watch, for both myself and commentator Jon Gruden, was safety Earl Thomas.
Thomas played with incredible intelligence, and he seemed to recognize what the Saints were lining up to do before Brees even started his cadence. If you watch Thomas each week, you can definitely see why he could take Defensive Player of the Year. He’s got a nose for the ball, as exhibited by his crunching tackle of Mark Ingram on a running play. His energy never falters, and it’s so darn impressive.
One guy that deserves mention is Byron Maxwell, who stepped up for Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. Maxwell played lockdown defense and was not the weak link that Brees was probably hoping to exploit. Maxwell had a couple great deflections, one of those occurring in the end zone. He played so well that when Thurmond returns, he may find his position filled.
There are literally no bad news coming out of Monday night’s performance. Seattle solidified itself as the best team in football, and they also came closer to sealing up home field advantage for the playoffs. And now Seattle fans get to look forward to another great matchup next Sunday, a road battle against the 49ers. Honestly, if you’re a Seahawks fan, how can this get any better? A February appearance?
After what I saw last night, that’s looking ever more probable.
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