November 1st, 2014-With what head coach Pete Carroll called a “get right win” against the Carolina Panthers last week that prevented the Seahawks from having an under .500 record in two years. That is not to say they played a flawless football game but it sure was a step in the right direction of getting back on track. There were still some mental mistakes specifically penalties but the Seahawks did correct their special teams mishaps from last week against the St. Louis Rams and may have played their best defensive game of the year with some help of some unforced errors from the Panthers. Carolina had plenty of chances in the red zone but was only able to muster up 6 points in the loss and had 2 turnovers in the game. It was a type of game that the Seahawks had to have to give them their confidence and swag back that seemed to be missing this season. They haven’t gotten the bounces, breaks that they had last year but most importantly they’ve had to deal with a lot injuries. They led the league last year in turnovers forced and this year they are pretty “mediocre” but a lot of that success was their ability to pressure the quarter back which they seemed to do against Cam Newton. On the Panther’s last possession the Seahawks sacked Newton 3 straight times, the final two by Bruce Irvin. The most impressive part was they only rushed four and Irvin was able to beat his man on his quickness alone. This will be a key for success for the remainder of the season. The return of Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell should help with the sack number once they return from injury. The offense continued to progress even with the Percy Harvin and Marshawn Lynch distractions. Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood saw their significant action for the first time this year with the absence of Harvin. Carroll insists these aren’t really distractions instead the team has gotten closer and everyone is focused on getting back to the task at hand: getting ready to play the Oakland Raiders this sunday. On paper it may look like an easy win for the Seahawks but we all know that anything can happen on any given sunday. Case in point the Rams game is a great example. The players are saying all the right things, seem extremely focused and know that the Raiders are a dangerous team despite their winless record. With a win on sunday, the Seahawks can give 12’s a little bit of breathing room and no one will press the panic button.
KEYS TO THE GAME: 1) Continue to give Lynch the ball. This will open up the passing game for Richardson and Norwood for more big plays down the field. When they had Harvin they were doing the exact opposite. By giving “beast mode” the ball will also put all the speculation of Lynch being unhappy to rest. The Seahawks have used him pretty sparingly this season hoping to keep him fresh for the later part of the season. We’re going down the stretch and its time to feed the beast. 2) Continue to pressure the quarterback. Last week against the Panthers they were able to get to Newton with a lot of different defensive of looks. They blitzed him, stunted him and rushed with just four which often confused Newton. If Irvin can continue to get the quarterback with his quickness they will get back to where they were last year: leading the league in interceptions. 3) Get healthy. The Seahawks continue to battle the injury bug on both sides of the ball. They’re a 15 point favorites and need to close this game out early to rest their starters to prevent any additional injuries. They need to be healthy going down the home stretch as they will face Arizona twice, San Francisco twice, St. Louis once.
INJURIES: Left tackle Russell Okung (questionable), strong safety Kam Chancellor (questionable), center Max Unger (questionable), safety Jeron Johnson (out with concussion), cornerback Byron Maxwell (out with calf), outside linebacker Malcom Smith (out with groin), tight end Zach Miller (out with ankle), middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (out with turf toe), and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (out with ankle)
TEAM TRANSACTIONS: Wide receiver/kick returner Bryan Walters has been released, safety Terrance Parks has been signed off the practice squad, defensive end Will Tukuafu has been signed to play full back and linebacker L.J. Foot is on the 53 man roster after experimenting him at full back last week. With Walters being gone the kickoff return duty will be handled by mostly likely the rookie Richardson. Parks was signed for the lack of depth with Chancellor and Johnson both being dinged up. Tukuafu (6-3, 285) played for the 49ers and has some experience as full back blocking for Frank Gore in short yardage situations. Foot is another product of the Seahawks trying to add depth to a position in which they’re pretty thin as of right now. He was being tested out as a fullback after being signed off the Cleveland Brown’s practice squad.
OTHER NEWS: Amidst the tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School all of the Seahawks players will wear a “MP” decal on the back of their helmets on sunday while the coaches, inactive players, staff will wear a “MP” lapel pin. Earlier in the week the Seahawks hosted the school for a practice before their playoff game on friday. They were greeted by Seahawks players and coaches through the VMAC (Virginia Mason Athletic Center). The organization also extended the offer to Oak Harbor High School who forfeited their game, giving Marysville-Pilchuck the Westco North Division title. Hall of Famer Walter Jones will be inducted into the Ring of Honor. He will be the 11th member who had number retired earlier this year will be honored during halftime of the game. He will join Steve Largent (wide receiver), Jim Zorn (quarterback), Dave Krieg (quarterback), Dave Brown (cornerback), Pete Gross (radio announcer), Curt Warner (running back), Jacob Green (defensive end), Kenny Easley (safety), Chuck Knox (former head coach), and Cortez Kennedy (defensive tackle).
PREDICTION: Seahawks- 31 Raiders- 17