Who Are the Seahawks?

Our own Brian McIntyre was inspired to write a rebuttal to an anonymous Washington Post column about the Seahawks. When he found out that a Seattle scribe was responsible for this slapdash exhibition, he wrote the following refresher course for a guy who should know better…

In Wednesday morning's online edition of the Washington Post, I read a then-uncredited article where the author(s) wanted to know who the Seattle Seahawks are. Turns out the article was penned by Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times and the article originally ran in that publication on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008. What can I say? I'm more of a P-I guy.

Let's see if I can help him out.

The Seahawks enter the playoffs a mystery, the ultimate wild card, the one team that could truly do anything.

One and done? Wouldn't be surprising.

Super Bowl? Wouldn't be earth-shattering.

There's really only one team that fits that bill, Jerry?

What about San Diego, who were the best team in the NFL in the regular season in 2006 before they were one and done in the playoffs last January. They have talent up and down the roster, they beat the Colts already this year, and Norv Turner be damned, they could conceivably pull off "The Upset".

What about the AFC North champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are underdogs at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars? It's only been two years since they went to, and won*, the Super Bowl after entering the playoffs as the #6-seed.

In the NFC, don't the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fit that bill? They're a collection of thirtysomethings who lost three of four games to close out the season, but have the defense and big-play ability on offense that'll make them a dangerous team in the post-season.

For that matter, how about the New York Giants? Sure, they haven't won a playoff game under Tom Coughlin, but they just gave the Patriots a pretty game, didn't they?

We'd all be shocked if New England or Indianapolis lost immediately, but other than that, every team, even Dallas and Green Bay, is pretty much in the same boat right now.

Yet to Jerry Brewer, the Seahawks are the "ultimate wild card". That's interesting.

Who are they?

They're an offense with a former MVP running back that survives by throwing the football.

They're a defense with four Pro Bowlers that suffers through bouts of inconsistency.

They're a stable group of high-character players that often exhibits concerning erratic play.

And yet the Seahawks won 10 times this season and clinched the NFC West three games early.

Who are they?


1.) Yes, they have a former NFL MVP running back (Shaun Alexander) and are an offense that passes the ball more than they run the ball. It's not that whacky when you consider that the team didn't start throwing the ball more until the running game wasn't going anywhere and the former MVP running back was injured and on the sidelines.

They adapted to what their strengths were at the time. Rumor has it, there are places where teams actually get credit for doing that sort of thing.

2.) Is the number of Pro Bowlers a team has directly related to how consistent that defense is? Hmmm, let me check.

Seattle has 4 Pro Bowlers from a defense that ranked 15th in total yards and was tied for 6th in scoring defense.
Dallas has 3 Pro Bowlers from a defense that ranked 9th overall in total yards and was 13th in scoring defense.
Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis have TWO Pro Bowlers combined on defenses that ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the NFL in terms of yardage and scoring defense.

I'm no expert, but it sure doesn't seem so.

3.) Over a 16-game season, all teams will have bouts of erratic play. Sometimes it's caused by a poor snap on special teams, or assignment errors that leads to a sack on offense or a long touchdown run on your defense. Sometimes these errors are made by high-character guys, sometimes they're not. It happens.

4.) From the sounds of it, the Seahawks are a team that accomplished their first goal of the season (winning the division) early, which is a good thing.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks benefited from a schedule that turned out to be far easier than it looked in September. Seattle wound up playing only two playoff teams, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

Which means the Seahawks last faced playoff competition Oct. 7, when Pittsburgh trampled them, 21-0, in Seattle's worst performance of the year.

Since then, Seattle has only played three teams (Arizona, Cleveland and Philadelphia) that won at least half their games.

I agree, and something needs to be done about this before it gets out of hand. Maybe the NFL can institute some sort of "flex" scheduling function that will allow teams to play stronger opponents late in the season to appease sportswriters.

Then again, doing so would give the media one less thing to write about in the week leading up to games like Saturday's, so maybe we should just keep it the way it is. Maybe we could also realize that it's not the fault of team's like the Seahawks that the teams that were "supposed to be good" weren't, or perhaps that they weren't ready to meet the expectation levels the media placed upon them.

So the Seahawks have been lucky. They needed only a five-game hot streak to make their season. They struggled before that stretch and then cruised after it.

Guess who only needed a four-game hot streak to make the playoffs this season? Go ahead, guess.

They're a team with a former MVP running back that can't run the football. But they finished the season with two highly productive rushing performances.

They're a team that has discovered a formula: Let Hasselbeck's knowledge of Mike Holmgren's offense spur them and let the defense take over from there. But they finished the season by allowing 44 points to Atlanta.

1.) Yeah, it's called "The Baltimore Ravens without Ray Lewis" and the Atlanta Falcons 26th-ranked run defense. Chances are good they'll see more stout units in January.

2.) Yes, the Seahawks allowed 44 points to the Atlanta Falcons in the season finale. In the 4th quarter, the Falcons scored two touchdowns in 77 seconds on scoring drives of 19 and 10 yards thanks to a pair of turnovers by Seahawks back-up quarterback Seneca Wallace.

They're a team with a Super Bowl pedigree and enough talent to return.

But they finished the season with two losses in their final three games.

But those games didn't matter. But who loses to quarterbacks named Matt Moore and Chris Redman?

He's right, those games didn't matter. Finally, there's something Brewer and I agree on. But for poops and giggles sake, who does lose to Matt Moore and Chris Redman?

Well, the Chris Redman one I can't really say anything about other than the Seahawks offense did a nice job of continually setting Redman up with a field roughly the same size one would see in an Arena league game and the Seahawks defense ran a pretty vanilla scheme.

As for Matt Moore, well he did play pretty well against the NFC's #1-seed a few days after beating Seattle, and he also led the Carolina Panthers to a road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season finale. So my final answer to the question is "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers".

However, I am willing to discount that one because Tampa was resting their starters, so I guess I found another reason to throw away the Seahawks' loss to Redman last week, haven't I?

Still, they're in the playoffs, and they're dangerous, both to themselves and the opponent. Their first-round foe, the Washington Redskins, appears to be the kind of team that could turn the Seahawks' season sour. Great, physical defense. Another unknown quarterback. The Seahawks haven't been able to solve either this season.

The unknown quarterbacks that the Seahawks have struggled against (Matt Moore, Chris Redman) have already been discussed, but here's another possible reason for those struggles: Location.

Seattle "struggled" against Moore and Redman while they were on the road. Sandwiched between those two games was a home game against the Baltimore Ravens and rookie Tr oy Smith, whothe Seahawks handled pretty well in a 27-6 win.

Plus, Todd Collins doesn't really qualify as an unknown quarterback. Sure, he's been a career back-up to guys like Jim Kelly, Elvis Grbac and Trent Green, but he's a 36-year old veteran who has been in this particular offensive system for a very long time. That's a far cry from being an undrafted rookie free agent (Moore) or a guy who was selling insurance in Kentucky the last few years (Redman).

Despite their flaws, however, this remains one of the most talented and balanced teams in the NFL, one that causes us to expect more, one that has yet to be pushed.

Who are they?

The answer is coming.

Who are the Seahawks?

How about a 10-6 team that didn't play as well as they could have in the regular season, but won their division easily and were the 3rd best team in the NFC this season. They're a team that is very tough at home (7-1), thanks to the 12th Man and a talented roster that possesses the amount of post-season experience that gives them a legitimate chance to go deep in the playoffs.

But, you know, your answer was good, too.

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