Kingdome Crossover- Chronicle of Couch Volume Two: One Couch, One Game

This isn’t going to be as plentiful as the last time I did this. Before that it was a Tigers-Rays regular season game in Tampa, a Euro 2012 semi-final where my Italians knocked off the mighty Germans 2-1 thanks to a brace from Mario Balotelli and that year’s NBA draft. This time I’m taking it a little easier. Seahawks/Titans is the only order of business.

1:05

Titans receiving the kickoff to start the game. Here comes Ryan Fitzpatrick. If these teams played last year in Seattle, it would have been interesting seeing as former UW Prodigy Jake Locker and old friend Matt Hasselbeck were the Titans options under center. Now Hasselbeck is making fun of Andrew Luck’s cellphone in Indianapolis and Jake Locker is out injured. Ergo Ryan Fitzpatrick.

1:12

Russell Wilson starts the game off with a completion to Luke Willson after Tennessee punts away. Max Unger is back in the fold, Michael Bowie starting at right tackle.

1:13

For Tennessee to have any success, the general consensus is to put pressure on Russell Wilson. Good luck in the loud noise. Honestly, good luck. It’s so loud in there you can’t think about what you want for lunch, let alone play an NFL game.

1:17

High snaps continue for the Titans as they have second and 14 inside the 10. Chris Johnson is lined up on the “H” in Seahawks in the endzone pre-snap.

1:23

Titans score first on a field goal after showing a somewhat dejected-looking Jake Locker on the sidelines. Here’s hoping they don’t continually show the Ferndale native on the sidelines unable to play in his home state. A sad drinking game for any who partake in it.

1:28

Seahawks utilizing the read-option more and more as Russell Wilson gets a first down on a run. Also concerning that the Titans moved the ball somewhat easily on their first drive. They took it from inside the 10 to a short field-goal. All this is concerning considering that the Seahawks have generally shut down Chris Johnson. It’s been all Ryan Fitzpatrick. Seahawks have to improve; teams of their quality and ambitions can’t let Ryan Fitzpatrick carve them up at home. It’s a recipe for disaster.

1:33

The Titans have nearly double the yards the Seahawks do so far, not good. As I say this, Earl Thomas picks off Fitzpatrick on a high throw. Looks like he thought 6’1 Nate Washington was as tall as Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

1:35

Supposedly the Titans repeatedly watched tape of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake against the Saints. That’s positive thinking. Also, it never gets old watching it. Go ahead, indulge yourself.

1:41

CBS graphic shows Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the fourth most giveaways by a quarterback since 2011 with an astounding 50. Fifty. Titans backed into a corner with turnover-happy Fitzpatrick in Seattle against a team that forces a lot of turnovers. Going to be a long day if the Titans’ QB can’t buck his recent trend of turnovers.

1:42

Another semi-dejected Locker sideline shot. That’s two.

1:44

Fitzpatrick throws another high pass on a completed slant rout on third down. You have to wonder if the noise is a factor with all the high snaps and throws. Meanwhile Chris Johnson runs into another wall running the ball.

1:46

Titans left tackle Michael Roos went to college at Eastern Washington. So that’s fun.

1:49

Golden Tate gets hit in the head on his way out of bounds during a tackle. Multiple penalties not called by the refs.

1:50

“We’re in Seattle. It’s not raining.” This the latest from the commentators.IT DOESN’T RAIN EVERY DAY!

1:52

Seahawks going to run into money problems at some point in time. They will have to give Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, etc. The Seahawks should have money to spend long term with Sidney Rice and Zach Miller’s respective contracts coming off the books. ‘Hawks have long-term replacements lined up with Anthony McCoy, Luke Willson, Jermaine Kerse and Doug Baldwin respectively.

1:57

Beast Mode slams it into the endzone for his fourth rushing score of the year. Incidentally, also on fourth and one on the goal line.

2:08

Steven Hauschka being tested for concussion-like symptoms on the sidelines. Or at least that’s what it looks like. Not a good thing to see, let alone from your kicker, important position that. Also carries more importance considering how superb Hauschka has been this year on kicks.

2:10

Jon Ryan warming as if to kick a late field goal. Have to wonder who emergency holder is. Was previously Ryan’s gig.

2:12

Ryan lines up for the late field goal, bad hold, botched play results in a turnover. Tennessee returns it for touchdown. The importance of special teams, and even holding, becomes clearer than ever.

Halftime

Potential 10-3 lead turns into 10-7 deficit. Sighs heavily. Also Houston lost again. They could have at least been helpful and beat St. Louis for us.

2:40

So far no semi-dejected Jake Locker sightings in the second half. On a non-related note, Seahawks have to get into a more consistent flow on offense. Too much stop and go. Tennessee is much better than advertised.

2:43

Everything goes wrong for Seattle. Sidney Rice sticks the ball forward for no apparent reason after a catch for a first down. Titans knock the unprotected ball out and recover the fumble. In the ensuing pile-up to get the ball, ‘Hawks called for a flag. Extra 15 yards added on after Tennessee recovers the fumble. Fun times indeed.

2:46

Seahawks lose the challenge on the play. Why on earth did Sidney Rice reach the ball out? I just can’t wrap my head around it.

2:47

Fitzpatrick continues to make throws that look antsy. Lots of high snaps and throws.

2:51

Derek Coleman fumbles on a catch out of the backfield, ball gets knocked strait out of bounds. Seahawks catch somewhat of a break. Second down.

2:56

Who would have thought that Russell Wilson and Ryan Fitzpatrick would be out-rushing Marshawn Lynch and Chris Johnson? Strange times.

3:06

Titans have the ball after a Hauschka field goal. Great to see the kicker back out on the field. And another Locker sighting. That’s three if you’re playing along at home. Chris Johnson continually getting stopped on nearly every run. Only 33 yards so far. At least it’s a step up from last week’s 17 yards.

3:09

Seahawks got somewhat lucky with their scheduling this year. They got the AFC South in terms of another division they had to play outside of their own. It would have been easier if Seattle got Indy and Houston, the division’s best teams at home and had to travel to the two lesser teams on the road. However, it’s better for the team going forward to face the adversity on the road. The Seahawks are always going to be favored at home. Might as well face adversity, and gain from it, on the road than win some cupcake games. This will likely help the team in the playoffs and moving forward. Also the telecast just showed a seagull flying across the field. Strange.

3:10

Chris Johnson looks shaken up after a long screen play. Titans look short after Darius Reynaud tried to slam it in there for a first down on third and short. Titans going for it.

3:15

Tight end Luke Willson makes a nice block on a long run from Robert Turbin. The rookie has shown well in the running and passing game so far. Boy can Pete Carroll and friends draft ‘em.

3:20

Hauschka kicks a field goal to put the team up 13-10. 11:23 left in the game. Seahawks will get a test here in terms of closing out a close game.

3:23

RICHARD SHERMAN YOU ARE RIDICULOUS. The league’s best cornerback gets another pick. No dejected Locker shots following the pick. Seahawks back to work on offense.

3:25

The Seahawks outgaining the Titans 188 to 33 in terms of total yards. A huge turnaround from first half when they only outgained the Titans 153 to 121. Another example of Pete Carroll’s ability to make adjustments at half time. Not a terrible thing to have in your back pocket.

3:30

Sidney Rice makes a ridiculous catch on the sidelines, keeping both feet in bounds while falling out of bounds. That and a Beast Mode touchdown the next play equals a 20-10 lead for Seattle.

3:35

After signing Sidney Rice and trading for Percy Harvin, the team has now taken the Vikings top two offensive weapons, at the time, not named Adrian Peterson. Watch out Minnesota, we’re coming for Cordarelle Paterson in 2015.

3:41

Earl Thomas absolutely losing it after applying a big hit on Damian Williams. Sprints 30 yards and then knocks over Kam Chancellor. Did I mention all this was on an incompletion?

3:44

Another dejected Locker shot. That’s four.

3:45

Five on the dejected Locker shots.

3:46

A field goal pulls Tennessee within a score. Tennessee now has a dilemma whether to kick off and play the timeout game or to onside it. They kick it long and Jermaine Kearse rips off a big return.

3:53

Seahawks have to keep getting first downs and run down the clock. As I say this, Lynch rips off a big game. Six is the count on the Locker shots.

3:55

Seattle lines up in victory formation, runs the clock out. Game over. Seahawks move to 5-1. Next up for Seattle is Thursday in Arizona. Yikes. Crowd chanting “hey, hey, hey goodbye.” Got to love it.

You can see the piece in it’s entirety at Kingdome here.

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.

What We Learned from the Seahawks 50-17 Win Besides the Fact that Buffalo is Also Pitiful

It’s really not a joke. The Seahawks aren’t pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone who seems to miss their games (i.e. everyone who lives outside of the great state of Washington.) Yes, Buffalo is a bad team, and Arizona was/is too, but you can’t ignore 50-plus points in consecutive games.

  • The Record Book just won’t go away. Russell Wilson continues to take records and break them as if he was eating a sandwich for lunch. After strong play last week, Wilson now holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game for the Seahawks. Something he did in the first half with three rushing scores. No Seahawks QB has ever rushed for that many touchdowns in an entire game.
  • Read Option. The Seahawks continually used the “Read Option” to their advantage on Sunday. On the play, Wilson receives the snap with Marshawn Lynch to his right in the backfield. If it looks better for Wilson to run it himself, then he fakes the handoff to Lynch and goes behind Lynch with the ball. If the play looks like the team would get more out of it if Lynch ran it, then Wilson simply hands off the ball. The point of the play is that the QB makes the split-second decision on what would work best. Hence it being called the “Read Option.” The Seahawks used this play to continually rip off huge gains versus a porous Bills’ defense.
  • Passing Dan Marino. Last week I told you with one more touchdown Russell Wilson would pass Dan Marino in terms of number of passing touchdowns in a rookie season. With his TD pass to Zach Miller, Wilson moved his total to 21, passing Marino’s 20.
  • Win and You’re In. The Seahawks can clinch at least a wild card berth with a win on Sunday against San Francisco. The Seahawks would clinch the number two seed in the playoffs, and receive the first round bye that comes with it, if they beat the Niners and Rams to close out the year. And, if the 49ers lose both of their remaining games, and if Green Bay loses one of its last two games. Plus, they would get home field advantage at home in the divisional round (they’re 6-0 at the Clink this year.)
  •  50-50. The Seahawks are now one of three teams in NFL history to score at least 50 points in two straight games. This feat hasn’t been accomplished since the 50’s. This is fantastic for a team who was 28th in the league in total offense last year. Other quarterbacks who have yet to accomplish this or haven’t: Tom Brady (very surprising,) Peyton Manning (equally surprising,) Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Joe Montana, John Elway ( I think you see my point.)
  • Winning. The Seahawks now have tied their highest win total since 2006, the year before they went to the Super Bowl. That team was 9-7.

Super Bowl Worthy? I posed this question last week, and now it should be a given. The Seahawks are Super Bowl worthy. Finally.

Seattle’s Best: The Best Night in Seattle Sports in a Long Time

If you live under a rock, or maybe you don’t watch Monday Night Football, then you missed one of the greatest games in the shows’ history. It was a classic, one that Seattle won 14-12.

The Seahawks, with the 12th Man in tow, held the All-World Offense of the Green Bay Packers to a meager 12 points. They made Aaron Rodgers look like a crash-test dummy at times. Putting him on the ground an astounding nine times. That’s nine sacks. The ridiculous part? Chris Clemons had four of them in the second quarter alone.

Yes, the game was controversial. Yes the “replacement” officials botched the entire thing, but boy was it fun to watch.

Obviously Packers fans have a different view of this, but that’s water under the bridge. Your team lost, and that’s fine.

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Taking the Wind Out of the 49ers Sails: Why They Aren’t the Best Team In Football, or Even Their Own Division

If I had a nickel for every time the San Francisco 49ers were lauded for praise for their play in the first two weeks of the season, I might have more nickels than Mitt Romney.

(See here, I can do political stuff, too!)

If you aren’t a 49ers die-hard fan who has the right to think their team is the best, as all die-hards do, then I’m going to stop you from ponying up any more money on them in Vegas.

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Thanks David Stern (sarcasm, sarcasm, a little passive aggressiveness and, wait for it … sarcasm)

Have you been watching the NBA playoffs? Have you seen the Oklahoma City Raiders, as the politically correct people call them? Have you seen how good Kevin Durant is? Have you seen Russell Westbrook go bananas? Have you seen James Harden’s beard? And have you seen Seattle?

I cringe at the fact that the Raiders are so good. Actually, take that back, I do think they are a decent NBA team, it’s just the constant feeling that they could have been in Seattle. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. They could be the talk of Seattle now, instead the talk of Seattle probably includes the word Robbed.

Take that word and flip it into whatever synonym you see fit, because we were robbed.

It continually kills me to see the Raiders succeed. Yes, that’s right; I’m to the point of not mentioning their name.

It’s not as if this is a city like New York, or Dallas where all of the sports teams generally succeed. The Yankees seemingly always make the playoffs. The Giants won the whole thing last year, and the Jets aren’t too bad either. And in Dallas, the Mavericks went from perennial playoff squad to title winners last year. The Rangers have won the last two AL pennants.

The point with that last blip is that the pill is easier to swallow if a team leaves, and if the other professional teams in and around the area are playing at a high level.

Which brings us to our next point. Where have the big playoff moments been in Seattle? The Storm won a title in the WNBA and the Sounders are a really good side, but our last big-nationally-talked-about-you’ll-remember-where-you-where-when-it-happened-moment was when Marshawn Lynch unleashed the beast and went on a smash-and-dash 67 yard run to clinch the win over the defending champion Saints in the playoffs. And that’s coming up on two years ago. Before that it was a Seahawks Super Bowl should-have-been-win that was botched by officiating, and before that we have to go back to “the Double” by Edgar Martinez. And that’s going back a ways.

But to get back on topic, Stern and his joined-at-the-hip buddy Clay Bennett have robbed us of a successful, Big 4 (that’s MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) team. One that would have taken the city to a whole new level of sports pandemonium. Instead we are forced to sit and watch the Raiders succeed.

Stern and Bennett not only took away our team, they took away a team that is pretty darn good. And one that might be that good for a while.

One of my favorite moments in Sonicgate is when they flash to a kid showing a sign that reads: “Clay Bennett Ruined My Childhood.”

What we should remember here is that it isn’t just Bennett’s fault. The blame falls on others shoulders as well, people like Greg Nickles and Howard Schultz. But the main culprit not named Bennett is Stern.

Isn’t it funny that when we had the Sonics situation on our hands, David Stern barely lifted a finger? And then when we see Sacramento’s arena deal and team security thrown into uncertainty, Stern does almost everything godly possible to keep the team in Sacramento. He practically got them another year in Sacramento. And that’s the problem. He is in love with small markets.

I know everyone and their dog are rooting for the Raiders in the playoffs in and around the Oklahoma area, and the revenue off that is great and all, but wouldn’t you look a lot better if that were in say, Seattle?

Anyways, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Bennett ruined my childhood. You see, my childhood has been great to this point. But I was in middle school when the Sonics left. I even wrote an essay on it for English class, saying why the Sonics should stay and all that. But that one year in middle school was also the year I really got into basketball. I mean I played it at every waking hour at school when I didn’t have classes. I was, and still am, obsessed with it. And that’s the sad thing. I never got to go to see the Sonics in person and barely saw them on TV. I’ve gone the last Andre-the-Giant-sized handful of years without an NBA team. Because the Sonics left I shifted my attention to the college ranks to get my winter basketball fill. Washington wasn’t amazing at the time so I watched a lot of Gonzaga and Washington State, seeing them both make the NCAA tourney.

And that’s just the thing today. For folks to get their local basketball fix their options are UW, WSU, Gonzaga and Seattle U. That’s it in the state. Seattle U is making the transition back to D1, and WSU and Gonzaga are on the other side of the Cascade Mountains. Not too many people are going to make that trek 2-3 times a week from the Puget Sound area to see basketball. Which leaves us with the Huskies. This is the first team in NCAA history not to make the tourney after winning the regular season championship in a power conference. They lost to South Dakota State by 19…

Let me say that again. They lost to South Dakota State by nineteen whole points!

I tend to get caught up in baseball over the summer, so that makes it a bit hard to follow the Storm intensely.

So, thanks to Stern and his little buddy Bennett (and some others) the biggest basketball draw in the Pacific Northwest over the winter and spring is a team that lost to South Dakota State by 19 points. Did I mention it was at home? Maybe if the Raiders win a ring and the NBA doesn’t come back to Seattle soon you very well may have ruined my childhood, Bennett and Stern.

The Peyton Manning-To-Seattle Proposition

I’m probably not the first to write about this, nor will I be the last, because to put it plainly, Peyton Manning is a free agent. PEYTON FREAKING MANNING IS A FREE AGENT.

As noted, everyone is writing about this. From teams who need a quarterback like the New York Jets or Arizona Cardinals, or teams who don’t and would like to see him as a backup so their team doesn’t have to play against him (cough New England cough).

Maybe this is a pipe dream at best, and Peyton Manning might be considering only AFC teams or whatever the case may be. But the underlying theme here is that he would be a good fit in Seattle.

For that matter any of the NFC West teams with Manning probably jump to division favorites. (With the exception of maybe St. Louis, sorry Rams fans.) That being said, it would seem like the NFC West would make sense in the fact that Peyton could probably win right away, where as in a place like Miami, there could be issues with facing Tom Brady as well as the Jets defense a combined four times a year.

But Seattle looks like the best fit, at least from my position. The Seahawks have some promising bullet points for Manning to consider:

  • One, the Seahawks have a running game that Peyton didn’t have recently in Indianapolis. (Not that Peyton Manning needs a running game to lean on. He’s Peyton FREAKING Manning.)
  • Two, the Seahawks defense is a piece (read pass rusher) away from being a top-10 and/or elite defense.
  • Three, and this may surprise people, but the weapons are there in Seattle. The receiving core is an underrated one. Sydney Rice thrived with Brett Favre and even Tavaris Jackson before he was hit with injuries. Think of the potential with Peyton throwing to him. Doug Baldwin was quietly one of the better rookie receivers in the league last season. Zach Miller will look to be more of a pass catching threat after spending bulks of playing time helping the pass protection area. Mike Williams also thrived with a good QB (read Matt Hasselbeck) and could regain that form if Peyton comes to Seattle. John Carlson will be back from injury if the team chooses to re-sign him (they should look into it.) Leon Washington is a game changer, plain and simple.
  • Four, the offensive line. The Seahawks have a really good young offensive line. The whole line, with the exception of Robert Gallery, has less than four years of experience in the league. While that may be a downside to some, it’s a plus here. The Hawks line is going to be good for a long time. The other key to the QB’s protection here is that the O-Line is surprisingly deep. Breno Giocamini, Paul McQuistain and Lemuel Jeanpierre provided and still provide Pete Carroll with invaluable depth up front.
  • Lastly, win now. The Seahawks, despite the 7­-9 mark, are going to compete. The aforementioned defense is there. So is the running game. So are the receivers. Look, San Francisco isn’t going to go 13-3 again. (If they do, jokes on me.)  Things are going to be more level this year. Even more so than last year. Now obviously Peyton Manning makes just about every team a winner, but to have a team that’s on the cusp of being a very good team, and add one of the best QBs ever. It makes for a very nice dilemma to have.

By process of elimination to get to Seattle, here are places where Peyton isn’t a good fit:

  • Miami- Lack of established running game could make for iffy situation. Then again he succeeded in Indy.
  • New York Jets- Media circus and uncertainty with team might be disastrous. Also lack of weapons and locker room questions.
  • Washington- Redskins don’t have much in the offensive weapons department outside of Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Chris Cooley. Also an equally tough division to play in.
  • Arizona- Larry Fitzgerald and a closed arena. There are the only draws in Zona. Good luck selling it outside of that.

So there you have it, Seattle and Peyton Manning, makes a lot of sense.