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 unless otherwise noted.

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? 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 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.