This March The Mac Store will make a donation to Make-A-Wish Washington with every new Mac purchased during the month of March AND give you a $10 gift card. Make wishes come true for local children battling life-threatening medical conditions at The Mac Store. Four convenient Washington locations – Seattle, Redmond, Kent, Olympia. Come on in!
1 - Special Teams: Despite the Golden Tate long punt return, I thought the special teams unit was well below average on Sunday. Jon Ryan had a rough day. Not only did he have a punt blocked, but he only averaged 37.2 yards per punt and never really changed the field position in favor of Seattle. Another glaring issue was the kick return unit that only averaged 19.8 per return. Robert Turbin is not a kick returner and they should really look at another option, perhaps Jermaine Kearse because there is no element of break away ability with Turbin. The time they put Golden Tate back their on the final possession, Tate had perhaps his worst return as he only took it out to the 15 and it appeared he ran into his own guy.
2 - Last San Francisco drive of the second quarter after Seattle had taken the lead. The 49ers went 72 yards in 9 plays and took 3:41 off the clock. The Seattle defense had two defensive holding penalties on that drive; however, the one on Sherman was declined. But, Seattle had an opportunity to go into the half with momentum, but their defense could not force a stop. Really the bigger issue on that drive and the whole game was the fact that they could not generate constant pressure on Colin Kaepernick. Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avrill combined for one sack and just two quarterback hits - simply not good enough.
3 - The offense in the second half was a disaster. To be fair, the guys on the other side of the field are pretty good, but Seattle's offense could do nothing in the second half. Seattle ran 24 plays and gained 83 yards and their drives resulted in three punts, field goal and an interception. The time of possession in the fourth quarter was telling...San Francisco had the ball for 10:07 and Seattle had it for just 4:53.
4 - There is only one team in the NFL that can beat Seattle. Unfortunately, it's themselves and it was on display again yesterday. 9 penalties for 85 yards is just too much in a game like that. Now, before everyone screams, not EVERY penalty was a bad call against Seattle. Now, certainly there were some questionable calls, but that's the case in any game. And, this has been a trend for Seattle under Pete Carroll; it's not just bad luck or a group of referees that are out to get Seattle. Most people complained about the Michael Robinson penalty, which he was called for hands to the face. The rule clearly states you can't do that. Now, we can all debate if we like the rule or not, but it is a rule and it will be called. Rule 12, Article 4 - Offensive blocker cannot thrust his hands forward above of an opponent that strikes the neck, face and head. I like the fact that Seattle is aggressive, and I don't really care about the defensive holding or pass interference penalties. Seattle is going to get their fair share of those penalties because they play so aggressive. But, the penalties on offense have got to stop because they are negating explosive plays and are severely hampering this team.
Keys for the Seahawks:
Really looking forward to watching both Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane perform tonight. It's one thing to be the back up and come in for a handful of plays and not have the expectations placed on you like there is with starters. How these two respond tonight will certainly go a long way in shaping how the game unfolds.
My assumption would be that Sean Payton and New Orleans will come out tonight and really challenge those two young defensive backs and see if they are up for the challenge. A lot has been made about Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Jimmy Graham being the focal point of the teams passing game, however, something tells me tonight that we will see Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and Lance Moore getting a ton of opportunities in the passing game this evening.
Seattle is a more physical team than New Orleans. On both sides of the ball tonight Seattle must establish that physicality from the get go. I know the Saints want to play more physical this year, but they are no match with what Seattle has to offer. If Seattle routinely punches New Orleans in the mouth , I think the Saints will eventually wilt in the fourth quarter and Seattle will be victorious.
For whatever reason I feel that Russell Wilson is going to have a real special game tonight and will once again establish himself as the best young quarterback in the NFL. I'm not sure what his line will read, but I can envision something like this: 25/30 290 yards, 2 passing TD's, 8 rushes, 60 yards and 1 rushing TD. I think the Saints under Rob Ryan will take some chances in their blitz packages and Wilson, in my opinion, will routinely make the Saints pay.
Sarkisian to USC
In what was the biggest news of the day, Steve Sarkisian has left the University of Washington and has taken the head coaching job at USC. First of all, Sarkisian has every right to leave for USC. For Sarkisian it's his hometown and he probably has always dreamed of coaching at SC and the opportunity presented itself and it was too good to pass up. But, I find him very disingenuous. Sarkisian spent a lot of time praising UW and saying over and over again that Washington is a premiere job and you can win championships at Washington. As recently as this year on his coaches show, Sarkisian said his goal was to coach at Washington one more year then the late Don James. He talked about winning more Rose Bowl titles than James. He talked an awful lot about the legacy of James. However, at the end of the day it wasn't about Washington or James, it was about taking care of Sarkisian himself. And, I guess at the end of the day that's all that matters, but, Sarkisian is just one of hundreds and hundreds of coaches who do what's best for them and will say and do anything perpetuate their public facade.