Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Takeaways: Seahawks End Regular Season on High Note

By Jackson Safon

The Seahawks beat the Rams 27-9 yesterday and in doing so, clinched the number one seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The offensive struggles continued early in the game but the ‘Hawks were saved by Malcolm Smith and the Seahawks defense as Smith intercepted Kellen Clemens and took it back for six on the Rams first possession of the game. The main storyline of this game however was the animosity between the two teams and how chippy the game was as a whole. This lead to an abundance of penalties including numerous personal fouls on both sides. Head referee Jeff Triplette had himself a field day, with 19 total penalties accepted and several more that were called, but offset throughout the game. The Seahawks were the only ones talking trash at the end however as they took control of the game and finished with a 13-3 record (which by the way is the record I predicted in my schedule analysis article).

1. Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?
It is that time of year again folks, where you will be seeing the video clip of Jim Mora and his playoff rant over and over. The good news however is this season the Seahawks are poised to make a Super Bowl run as the road to New York in the NFC will go through Seattle this year. After the first round bye that the ‘Hawks have, there will be three potential opponents for them, the Packers, 49ers, or Saints. Because the NFL is not bracket style, the seeds are reorganized after every round, which means the Seahawks will play the worst seed remaining and the two-seed Panthers will play the best seed remaining. This means there is zero chance of the ‘Hawks playing the Eagles until the NFC Championship. In my opinion, the order of difficulty in terms of potential ‘Hawks opponents is 49ers, Packers, then Saints, but I will go into more detail on the playoff matchups next week.

Could the Packers pull of a stunner against the 49ers?
Bleacher Report

As I said last week, with the offense sputtering somewhat, it will be up to the defense to lead the Seahawks to victories. Not only did the defense almost outscore the Rams by themselves this week, they completely and utterly dominated a Rams offense that moved the ball with ease last time these two teams played. In the week eight matchup in St. Louis, the Rams ran for over 200 yards on the ground, but yesterday they only managed 13. In the whole game. The 13 rushing yards allowed by the Seahawks ties a franchise record and just goes to show how dominant this defense can be. At season’s end, the defense ended up first in points allowed, total yards, passing yards, and interceptions. The only other teams that can argue for the best defenses in the league are the 49ers and Panthers, who coincidentally (or maybe not) are the two toughest teams left in the NFC besides the ‘Hawks. In any case, I believe the Seahawks defense is the best in the NFL and will be almost impossible to score on in the playoffs at the Clink.

P.S. K.J. Wright could make it back for the first playoff game the Seahawks have to play. Get excited folks.

K.J. Wright's return to the Seahawks defense could be the difference between a Super Bowl and going home disappointed.

3. Three stars
I am going to do a hockey inspired three stars for the game against the Rams because there is just so much to write about with the season ending and the playoffs coming up but so little time. One star goes Malcolm Smith. Smith had an interception that he returned for a touchdown that was good for the first score of the game but more importantly, he has filled in brilliantly for the injured K.J. Wright. The second star goes to Marshawn Lynch who came just three yards short of snapping his streak of games without 100 yards on the ground. Lynch was doing the dirty work while the passing game was struggling early on and really went to town. He will continue to be the focal point of the offense as possessions become more important in the playoffs. Three stars go to Golden Tate who had a career high eight receptions and 129 yards. He also had a long touchdown reminiscent of the play against the Rams in week eight when he received a taunting penalty for waving. There was no need for him to wave this time as it was very clear that these teams have gone in two separate directions, with the ‘Hawks securing the number one seed and the Rams heading towards a top pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The 2013 regular season has come to a close, with the Seahawks having tied for the best record in the NFL, but this is not good enough as this season started and still remains Super Bowl or bust.

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