I want to see more offensive firepower out of the Seattle Seahawks. But what I want and what really happens are usually two very different things.
After a strong finish last year, I’ve been hoping Russell Wilson would develop his crew into a top-flight scoring machine. They struggled to score 10 points against the Cardinals, settled for 23 points against the Giants and couldn’t get 20 points to beat the 49ers. I don’t think this team is what I think it is.
They’re looking more like a great defensive team with a game-managing, just-don’t-screw-it-up offensive style. They’re looking more like the 2000 Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV had one of the greatest defenses of all time. Like the 2013 Seahawks, they lead the league in turnover differential. Both teams are top 2 in yards and points allowed. The Ravens were just behind the Titans that year in yards per game. The Seahawks trail the Panthers in points allowed by one-tenth of a point. Both teams have a vocal leader. The Ravens had Ray Lewis. The Seahawks have Richard Sherman.
Both teams run the ball first. Baltimore had Jamal Lewis run for 1364 yards. They ran the ball just over 50% of the time. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch currently has 1160. The Seahawks are running 54% of the time.
Baltimore went five straight games without an offensive touchdown that year, but the defense was always there. Seattle has been up and down offensively, but the defense has always been stout.
Matt Stover kicked 35 field-goals for Baltimore. Steven Hauschka has 31 so far.
How are they different?
Baltimore was impossible to run against, yielding only 60.6 yards per game. Versus the pass, they were more forgiving: eighth in the league with 187.3 yards per game. They were twenty-second in the league with 35 sacks. They were built on middle linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive tackles Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa.
Seattle is built to stop the pass, leading the league with 173.8 yards per game. You can run on the Seahawks. They are thirteenth in the league with 107.5 yards per game. Their core is the Legion of Boom, composed of defensive backs Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. They are ninth in the league with 42 sacks.
The Ravens had quarterback trouble all year. In week 8, the fourth game of their touchdown-drought, Tony Banks was benched for Trent Dilfer. He became the definition of “game manager”. Dilfer knew his job was to not turn over the ball, win the field-position battle and let his defense win the game.
Quarterback has never been the question with the Seahawks. Russell Wilson has been the undisputed leader after winning the job from Matt Flynn last year and having an impressive rookie year. Yet Wilson prides himself in not putting the team in bad situations with mistakes and protecting himself from injury.
I feel like I’m admitting to weakness. People look at Trent Dilfer as maybe one of the worst quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl. Comparing him to Russell Wilson is a poke in RW’s eye. At this point in the season, I want Wilson to be an elite passer. I want him to be making stars out of Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. I don’t want to stick the “game manager” tag on him. But I call it like I see it. I criticize my favorite team out of love.
I want Seattle to be winning games with offense, rather than trying not to lose.
Why not be like the 2000 Ravens?
After all, I am talking about a Super Bowl winner. However you get that trophy, just get that trophy. That Baltimore team is a classic “Defense wins Championships” model. The point is to have more on the scoreboard than your opponent when the clock gets to zero. If they don’t score, you can’t lose.
Perhaps Pete Carroll is way ahead of me on this one. He’s been playing this way since he came to Seattle: run the ball, dominate physically, win the turnover battle and stay out of trouble.
Punt your way to a Super Bowl ring
In 15 games, Seattle is allowing only 1.6 yards on 16 punt returns with 25 punts downed inside the 20. They look at punting unlike any team I’ve seen. They don’t kick the ball as far as they can then chase it. They punt it where they want and prevent returns. The longest allowed this year is 10 yards. By continually out-punting their opponents, they keep them back where they want them. Rather than seeing a punt as failure, they see it as the first play on a successful defensive stand. This helps the offense get the ball back closer to the goal than the previous possession.
So Seahawks, lets win this thing like the 2000 Ravens. Wishing Russell Wilson to throw bombs all day and run like Michael Vick is a product of playing too many video games and watching too many Sports Center highlights.
It’s about winning. The other numbers are unimportant.
David Klenda, also known as Eighty Six, is Division Leader for the NFC West and AFC West. Find him at Eighty Six the Poet or on Twitter as 86ThePoet . He also writes for Bright Hub . Find his ebooks at Smashwords .
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