What We Learned From the Seahawks Win, Plus a Playoff Preview and the Great NFL Coaching Purge

Will the record holder for most touchdown passes in a rookie season please stand up?

Russell Wilson continued to scribble out portions of the Seahawks’ record book, and the NFL’s for that matter, and write himself in. Wilson now has tied Peyton Manning for the most touchdown passes thrown in a rookie season. Not something people would have expected for a Quarterback who was selected after five other QBs, one of whom isn’t even starting (Brock Oswiler is Manning’s backup.)

It Doesn’t Come Cheap

(That sounds nothing like any kind of title, it’s mainly there to make my other bolded title look better by default.)

The Seahawks demolished the Cardinals, Bills and 49ers in recent weeks. Maybe you heard. Point is that another blowout probably wasn’t going to be beneficial, at least for the playoffs. The Seahawks had to work for this win. That will be nice when the playoffs roll around and teams won’t be losing by astronomical amounts.

Playoffs

“Playoffs? Don’t talk about—playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?!”

That would be Jim Mora talking about, you guessed it, the playoffs. Yes, the glorious playoffs are here. We all get to wait and see who delivers the play of the postseason. Last season it might have been Kyle Williams’ muffed special-team handling, maybe Mario Manningham’s Super Bowl catch. The year before that, gave us Marshawn Lynch’s brilliant touchdown run against the Saints. Hopefully this year someone will provide us with a play that belongs in the same breath as the Lynch run or David Tyree’s catch. Because frankly, as much as I just amped up the Manningham catch and Williams’ trouble holding onto the ball, those plays are summed up in one word: anticlimactic.

The playoffs are a different animal this year in the NFC and almost the same relative animal in the AFC. The “National” Conference returns only Green Bay, Atlanta and San Francisco from last years’ playoffs with Seattle, Washington and Minnesota as the newcomers. The AFC meanwhile has the exact same lineup (Houston and Cincinnati played in the 3-6 game last year and will do the same this weekend, they must love playing each other) with the sole difference being Indianapolis taking Pittsburgh’s slot.

In the first round of the playoffs, I think Andrew Luck is going to win many a playoff game in his career, but I can’t see the Ravens losing this game. Not with it being a home game, not with it potentially being Ray Lewis’ last game, not with it being possibly Lewis’ last home game period, win or lose. The Ravens will beat the Colts 33-21.

The Bengals will definitely be more competitive than in last year’s 31-10 romp. That being said, I don’t think the Bengals can keep up with the Texans top-ten ranked offense and defense. Houston wins 24-14 over Cincinnati.

Over in the NFC I like the Vikings to beat the Packers. The Vikings won last week over Green Bay, and nothing says momentum like beating a team and then playing them again. Adrian Peterson could very well have another field day. It will be a surefire win if the Vikings’ 9th-ranked pass defense can bottle up Aaron Rodgers, Bahia Verde’s (that’s Spanish for “Green Bay” for all you folks at home) 20th-ranked run offense could stick out like Clay Bennett in Seattle. Minnesota wins 27-21.

The Great Coaching Purge: NFL

It’s being dubbed “Black Monday,” but the day that a good portion of the league lost coaches was mainly due to lack of quarterbacks. Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, San Diego and Philadelphia all made changes. All of those teams, with the exception of Chicago (Lovie Smith probably got fired for not getting it done in the postseason, or even getting there) and maybe San Diego, have serious long-term questions at the quarterback position.

I’ll check in next week with the divisional round preview. See you then.

The Best in World of Sports: An Atlas of Atlases

In Greek mythology there is a Titan named Atlas who held up the world, or held up the sky so that it didn’t crash down on the Earth.

In the world of sports, each team has its own “Atlas” who keeps the team from falling flat.

Some of the best “Atlases” in recent sports memory:

  1. LeBron James- Cleveland Cavaliers. During LeBron’s tenure the Cavaliers were essentially James and a never-ending roll call of role players. Shaquille O’Neal and Ben Wallace were the only really good players who James played with in Cleveland. And at that point both were in the respective twilights of their careers, and Wallace wasn’t scoring much (as per usual). Cleveland was so bad without “King James” that they set an NBA record for the longest losing streak: 26 games after he made the decision to go to South Beach.
  2. Derrick Rose- Chicago Bulls. A small sample size, but while Rose dominated Game One of the first round of the playoffs versus Philly, he tore his ACL towards the end of the game. After holding on for the win in that game the Bulls went on to lose the series 4-2 to the eight-seeded 76ers. As a follow up, this year with Rose out for an extended amount of time, most pundits and talking heads have Chicago in the 6-8 seed range in the playoffs. Quite a drop-off for the team who had the best record in the East last season.
  3. Luis Suarez- Liverpool. If you take away Suarez’s fantastic production, the Reds would likely be in the relegation zone if not in last.
  4. Dwight Howard- Orlando Magic. Orlando is so bad without Howard it compelled me to write an entire piece on it, you can see that here. Orlando is going nowhere fast.
  5. Steve Nash- Phoenix Suns. Obviously earlier on in Nash’s career he had Amare Stoudamire and friends, so the team wouldn’t be that bad off without him. However, the Suns of the past couple years have needed Nash to help them stay out of the cellar. With him they were camped on the stairs going to the cellar; now they’re the cellar’s likely tenants.
  6. Mike Trout- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout supporters love overusing the stat about the visible improvement of the Angels’ record with him, as opposed to their record without him. Take away Trout and a lineup that includes Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells goes nowhere offensively. Continue reading

Peyton Manning and the Tim Tebow Mess

Peyton Manning is a Bronco. Tim Tebow might be a Jet. In other words, how’s the rock you’ve been living under?

Manning picked Denver over other options such as the Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and Dark Horse X.

Tebow meanwhile has solidified himself as an asset for Denver. Before the Manning arrival, Tebow was their QB. Everyone had Tebowmania. (That was all the rage until something called Linsanity showed up, which has also faded into the rear view mirror it seems.) He was more of an asset in the sense that he not only sold tickets, but also played well in the fourth quarter.

Now he has moved on to “trade asset”, and it seems that the Broncos leaped at, what they felt, was the best offer: a trade of the former Gator and a seventh rounder to the Jets for a fourth and sixth rounder.

Or at least that’s the word on the street.

The word on the street has shifted to something that reads like this- “Jet-Broncos swap hits something of a snag.”

After presumably being displaced by Manning, where then is Tebow a good fit?

In the past, Tebow thrived at Florida in a 2 QB offense, as well as an offense that was tailored to him and his style of play. The same tailoring happened in Denver.

Tebow is a good fit somewhere where the team will commit to him and run an offense designed for him.

Would anyone make that big of a commitment?

Here are the teams in the offseason who, according to media outlets, looked into quarterbacks. Or teams who in fact signed one-

Seattle Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals

Tennessee Titans

Denver Broncos

Washington Redskins

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

Miami Dolphins

Now, let’s re-examine the list again. Seattle signed Matt Flynn to compete with Tavaris Jackson. Arizona made a substantial financial commitment to Kevin Kolb. Tennessee wouldn’t go from the present-future duo of Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker to Tebow. Denver picked up Manning. Some combination of RG3 and Andrew Luck will go to Indianapolis and our nation’s capitol. The 49ers re-upped Alex Smith’s contract.

And then there’s Miami. Tim Tebow back in Florida? Tebow in the same town as LeBron James?

Now  throw all that out. From a purely football standpoint, it might make sense for the Dolphins.

The current situation at signal caller for Miami is, pending any moves, Matt Moore, David Garrard, JP Losman and Pat Devlin.

(Read- Tebow is an obvious choice.)

Miami’s previous “future” QB was one Chad Henne, who stayed in Florida after signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Which is my corny transition to… the Jaguars.

There were rumors about the Jags trading to get him on draft night when he was a rookie. Obviously that didn’t happen, and the Broncos (under previous leadership) moved up to get him.

The Jaguars currently have recent-lottery-pick Blaine Gabbert at QB as well as established backup Luke McCown.

The Gabbert-Tebow conundrum would certainly be an interesting one. But either way, should the situation come to pass, a recent first-round pick is going to be kicked to the curb.

Now to address the Jets rumors/failed deal. Tebow in New York would certainly be a coo from an advertisement/branding standpoint, but from a football standpoint, it’s a mess.

Tebow isn’t starting in the Big Apple. The Jets wiped out any long-term issues they had with current QB Mark Sanchez by dropping a 40 million contract in his lap. So because of that, the Jets aren’t going to have a QB controversy/competition. Maybe if Sanchez was playing on a cheaper contract, then maybe it’s a battle between the two, but that’s not the case.