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Seattle Seahawks: Early Super Bowl Storylines to Watch vs Patriots

Pete Carroll vs Previous Employers

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was the Patriots’ head coach from 1997 to 1999. His predecessor was/is current Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick.

Gronk Containment

It is probably safe to say teams have a tough time containing New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk has 82 catches for 1124 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. It’s also safe to say that he’s a matchup nightmare at 6’6 and 265 lbs.

Most teams don’t have the personnel to match up, but the Seahawks do. Kam Chancellor and KJ Wright will be tasked with shutting down one of the best tight ends in the league. Seattle held Denver’s Julius Thomas to four catches on 27 yards during last year’s Super Bowl, so they aren’t exactly inexperienced when it comes to shutting down elite tight ends.

Russell Wilson vs Tom Brady

Russell Wilson has beaten Tom Brady before. In fact, Wilson has made a habit out of beating elite QBs. Not only has he beaten Brady, but he has also gone 2-0 vs both Eli and Peyton Manning as well as Drew Brees. He’s now 3-0 vs Aaron Rodgers. If you had to pick a quarterback to help your team take down a Hall-of-Fame worthy QB, you’re taking Russell Wilson.

Power Running

Marshawn Lynch is far and away the best example of a power running back in today’s NFL. If you were to look up “power running back” in the dictionary, you’re going to get a picture of Beast Mode. Although not to Lynch’s standard, New England has power backs as well in LaGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray. It’s safe to say that power running will dominate the Super Bowl.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Kingdome Crossover/Flashback – Seattle Seahawks: Stats from the Opening Win Over Green Bay

Here are some of the stats of note from the last Seahawks/Packers meeting. Obviously some things have changed (cough…Percy Harvin…cough).

  • 34, 2.8.

These were Eddie Lacy’s rushing numbers on Thursday. He totaled 34 yards on 12 carries with 2.8 yards per carry. By comparison Marshawn Lynch had 110 yards on 20 carries and 5.5 yards a carry. Yeah… Beastmode still has it.

  • 100 yards from scrimmage racked up by Percy Harvin

Whenever Percy Harvin was on the field, Seattle seemed to go to him. They got the playmaker the ball in a variety of ways and it was a success. The former Viking didn’t score a touchdown, but you can bet he’ll get a boatload of scores if Pete Carroll continues to get him the ball this much.

  • Two

The numbers of times Russell Wilson has beat Aaron Rodgers.

  • Zero

The number of times Aaron Rodgers has beat Russell Wilson.

  • Zero

Also the number of times Aaron Rodgers threw towards the receiver Richard Sherman was covering on defense. Say what you will about Sherman and whether he’s the best corner in the game, but if he can force a team to sacrifice nearly a half of the field to avoid him, it only speaks to his talent and skill.

  • Two

Number of consecutive games (counting the Super Bowl) that the Seahawks have forced a safety.

  • 143

The difference in the team’s total yards. Seattle gained 398 yards while the Packers only managed 255.

  • 207 to 80.

Seattle’s rushing yards compared to Green Bay’s. A lot of this had to do with Eddie Lacy leaving the game with a concussion, but a lot of it had to do with Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ defense being so respectively dominant.

  • One

Sacks recorded against the Seahawks. If you can call it one. Russell Wilson lost zero yards on the play. And while he didn’t gain any either, it looked like more of a scramble and a duck out of bounds than an actual sack. This is a huge positive for a Seahawks offensive line going against Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

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Detroit Tigers: Why Tom Gorzelanny Is the Perfect Signing

The Detroit Tigers’ bullpen has been the team’s ultimate downfall in recent postseasons. From Jose Valverde’s implosion, to the unlikely events in Boston, to the meltdown against Baltimore, the Tigers have had their share of problems in the department of relief pitching.

Take the bullpen struggles and couple them with a newly-minted, but largely-untested, back of the rotation and you realize Tom Gorzelanny is the perfect signing for the Tigers.

He’s not the biggest name, and he won’t summon thoughts of Trevor Hoffman when thought of by the fans, but he’s still a quality addition—an addition that makes sense for the Tigers.

Detroit’s bullpen is bad. You can look at statistic A or statistic B, but the bottom line is that the unit was poor in 2014.

Gorzelanny wasn’t the top option on the market, and with another team may not have been valued as much. However, with the Tigers Gorzelanny is an impact signing.

When I say he wouldn’t have been valued as much with another team, I’m in no way knocking Gorzelanny he had a fantastic season last year, with a 0.89 ERA in 23 innings—it’s just that other teams have more pitching depth.

With the Tigers, Gorzelanny has the potential to make an impact as a reliever and a starter.

The former Pirate made his name as a starting pitcher with Pittsburgh, winning 14 games and posting a 3.88 ERA in his first full major league season. After that, Gorzelanny struggled and eventually moved to the bullpen as a swingman, making the occasional start while predominantly working out of the bullpen.

From 2011 to 2013 he posted a 3.67 ERA in 188 appearances, 26 of which were starts. The lefty struck out 240 batters in 262.1 innings during that span.

The genius of the signing is that Gorzelanny provides ample cover in the Tigers’ two potential problem areas: the bullpen and the back end of the bullpen.

Detroit’s bullpen will be a very different looking bunch in 2015. Two of the team’s most consistent performers, Joba Chamberlain and Blaine Hardy, aren’t likely to feature as prominently. Chamberlain is a free agent and unlikely to return, while Hardy struggled down the stretch and will face competition from the likes of the returning Bruce Rondon and Ian Krol as well as newcomers Alex Wilson, Josh Zeid and Angel Nesbitt.

Gorzelanny is the also the perfect deputy for new starting pitchers Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon.

Should either Greene or Simon struggle, they can shift to the bullpen and work on improving while Gorzelanny fills in for a few starts.

In addition, should Simon have trouble replicating his All-Star numbers from 2014 (which is completely possible given his second-half struggles with the Reds last year), manager Brad Ausmus can flip-flop the two. Gorzelanny has experience in the rotation, while Simon has had success in a relief role. He turned in a 2.78 ERA in 99 relief outings for Cincinnati from 2012 to 2013. He threw 148.2 innings over that span, striking out 115.

If Gorzelanny thrives as a reliever (as his track record would suggest) or does the same in a starting role, it will be a successful signing. Even if he does a little of both and posts respectable numbers, the Tigers will have made another shrewd signing. The transaction was especially shrewd considering Gorzelanny signed for a reported $1 million, much less than fellow pitchers Zach Duke and Andrew Miller fetched.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Important Stats from Panthers vs Cardinals

For the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks enjoyed a bye to kick off the playoffs. The Hawks were able to sit in the comfort of their own homes and watch the competition slug it out.

Due to seeding, Seattle will host the Carolina Panthers with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship Game. Confidentially in 2014, the Seahawks also played an NFC South opponent (the New Orleans Saints) at home in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Here are five stats to keep in mind when the Panthers make their way to CenturyLink Field this weekend.

  1. 123—rushing yards by Panthers running back and Washington native Jonathan Stewart. Arizona struggled against the run heading into the game. Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore ran for 113 and 144 yards respectively against the Cardinals, but Stewart has been on somewhat of a tear as of late. The Hawks will have to be careful with Stewart.
  2. 198—passing yards by Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. If you take out a 39 yard screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker, the total drops to 159. Of the six QBs the Hawks have faced in the last six games, they’ve held five to under 200 yards passing. The only two to eclipse that mark, Shaun Hill and Ryan Lindley, didn’t have great games. Hill had 243 yards but also threw two picks. Lindley compiled 216 yards and had only one interception, but completed a mere 18 of his 44 passes. Neither Hill nor Lindley threw a touchdown. In fact, the past six QBs the Hawks face threw a cumulative two touchdowns, both from Eagles signal-caller Mark Sanchez. The caveat is that Sanchez threw for only 96 yards. One of his touchdowns came on a drive that started at the Seahawks’ 14 yard line. The other drive started four yards away from midfield at the Philly 46.
  3. 39—most receiving yards by a Carolina receiver. Those 39 yards came on the Whittaker screen, which was the running back’s only catch. No other Panther had five catches, with Kelvin Benjamin coming the closest with four. Benjamin was the only Carolina pass catcher with more than 33 yards when the two teams met earlier in the season. He finished with 94 receiving yards, 51 of which came on one play.
  4. 35—rushing yards by QB Cam Newton. The Carolina signal caller ran for 35 after putting up yardage totals of 51, 63, 83 and 49 in recent weeks. He only had 24 yards on 12 carries against the Hawks earlier in the season, his second worst game in terms of average yards per carry.
  5. Nine—number of different receivers who caught passes against the Cardinals. The Hawks will have to watch out for Newton spreading the ball around in general, but these aren’t Tom Brady’s Patriots. Of the nine, only four caught more than one pass. Of the five with one catch, three (Brenton Bersin, Mike Tolbert and Stewart) combined for a cumulative four yards. Whittaker’s 39 receiving yards came off a screen pass (stop me if you’ve heard that before) and was predominantly thanks to the running back rather than Newton.

The Seahawks take on the Panthers on Saturday, the winner will advance to the NFC Championship Game.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Detroit Tigers Fun Fact of the Day: Rajai Davis’ Batting Average Against Lefties in 2014

Detroit Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis hit .356 against left-handed pitchers in 2014.

It’s a fun fact, however southpaws probably don’t view it that way.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Gonzaga Bulldogs: 4 Stats to Know from Friday’s Win Over Saint John’s

14

14—points scored by post player Domantas Sabonis. The freshman is second on the team in scoring with 12 points per game and leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 boards per game. This was the fifth different game in which Gonzaga had a different leading scorer.

Four

Four—the minimal number of rebounds for each Gonzaga starter.

One

One—number of Gonzaga starters who failed to score in double figures. That one starter was Kyle Wiltjer. Wiltjer poured in 32 against Georgia in the semi-final.

Five

Five—points by freshman guard Silas Melson. Melson was forced into burning his redshirt after Josh Perkins suffered a broken jaw. The guard played in 11 minutes and showed promise.

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Stats to Know from Win Over San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks: 5 Stats to Know from Win Over San Francisco 49ers

Seven

Seven—the number of incomplete passes by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson was 15 of 22 on his passes and is 32 of 44 in terms of passes completed and attempted over his past two games.

Two

Two—the number of interceptions thrown by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Niners QB has thrown eight interceptions against Seattle dating back to the beginning of last season. He’s only tossed two touchdowns during that span.

102

102—the number of receiving yards by Seahawks tight ends Tony Moeaki and Luke Willson. The duo combined for five catches.

28

28—the number of rushing yards by Niners running back Frank Gore. Gore has 42 yards on 21 carries in his last two games against the Seahawks.

Four

Four—the number of sacks by the Seahawks. Seattle’s pass rush continues to get back on track, and may well be back. Kaepernick was also hit five times.

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.

Juventus: Notes and Stats from 2-0 Champions League Win Against Malmo

Tevez scores again

Carlos Tevez scored yet another Champions League goal with his 88th minute strike clinching the win for Juventus. Much was made of the striker’s lack of goals in Europe, but the Argentine now has three goals in five Champions League games this season.

Four man back line success

Massimiliano Allegri went to the four man back line once again on Tuesday and it paid dividends. Stephan Lichtsteiner was particularly dangerous on the right and Simone Padoin had some positive moments going forward on the left. Juventus have lined up with a four man back line during the last four games. The combined score in those games? 14-2 in Juve’s favor.

Llorente continues his strong form

Spanish striker Fernando Llorente only has four goals this season, but three of them have come in the last two games while all four have occurred in the previous six contests.

Claudio Marchisio’s day

One of the reasons for Juve’s recent success has been the resurgence of Claudio Marchisio. The Italian midfielder has two assists in his previous two outings and produced five shots against Malmo. None of the five found the back of the net, as Marchisio was continually denied by keeper Robin Olsen, but the midfielder had a strong day nonetheless.

Possession Game

Juventus finished the game with a whopping 61% of the possession.

All stats courtesy of http://www.whoscored.com/ unless otherwise noted.

5 Stats from Gonzaga’s Win over St. Thomas Aquinas

Four

Four—number of players who scored 17 or more points. These players included Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley as well as Angel Nunez and Domantas Sabonis.

2

Combined points by point guards Kevin Pangos and Josh Perkins. However, the duo combined for 14 assists.

41.2

41.2—the percentage of three pointers made by GU.

Seven

Seven—number of field goals missed by Wiltjer, Wesley, Nunez and Sabonis. The four combined for 82 points and outscored St. Thomas Aquinas by 27 by themselves.

24

24—points by senior Angel Nunez, easily a career high.

Seahawks Cardinals: 5 Stats to Know from Sunday’s Win

77.3

77.3—Russell Wilson’s completion percentage during the game. It was the QB’s most efficient game of the season, and possibly his best as well.

Three

Three—the number of sacks complied by the Seattle. The Seahawks finally got there pass rush going, and it showed. Cliff Avril finished with two while defensive tackle Jordan Hill added another.

Four

Four—number of catches for tight end Tony Moeaki. The former Chief racked up 34 yards on those four catches. With Zach Miller out for the season, Moeaki could play a large part in the offense going forward.

Eight

Eight—number of receivers to catch a pass from Wilson. Wilson likes to spread the ball around, and during the win over Arizona hit Moeaki, Riccardo Lockette, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Kevin Norwood and Luke Willson for completions.

73

73—number of rushing yards by Wilson. The Super Bowl winning QB continues his ground assault on opposing defenses. He has rushed for at least 70 yards in five games this season, including his last three.
Next up for the Seahawks is Thanksgiving night showdown with the 49ers.

 

All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.