I'm still in shock. How about you?
There comes a point in most seasons where the lights come on for a team. For the Seattle Seahawks, the light flashed during their home beat down of the Cowboys and some (myself included) assumed the bright lights on Monday Night Football would help transform it into a full blown fireworks display.
But a funny thing happened tonight. The light flashed brilliantly in the form of a legendary first half defensive effort, fizzle, and then was re-lit in what were some nice Seahawks plays mixed with a comedy of officiating errors not seen in the history of the NFL.
I have to say that this was the most insane Monday Night Football game I have ever watched...ever.
After a game like that, it's hard to gather yourself and decipher what took place, but I've narrowed it down to three big things.
3. The Seahawks finally found their pass rush. Coming into tonight, the Seahawks pass rush had been MIA, only registering two sacks in two games. That was not getting it done when you consider all the work that had gone into putting it together.
Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (four tackles, two sacks, three QB hits) abused the interior of the Packers offensive line all night, causing so many problems that the Packers line started to reduce its line splits to alleviate pressure. This allowed the Seahawks outside pass rush to pin their ears back and attack Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers relentlessly (8 sacks, 12 QB hits).
Defensive end Chris Clemons (four tackles, four tackles for loss, one pass deflected) found his groove and Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse and right tackle Bryan Bulaga were no match for the onslaught.
Seahawks prize 2012 first round pick Bruce Irvin introduced himself to the national audience as well, with two first half sacks and several quarterback pressures.
So why is this important? With this attack, the Seahawks held the juggernaut Green Bay Packers offense to just 3.9 yards per play average and a pathetic 4.7 yards per pass for 12 points. All they needed was a little offense to win the day.
2. The Seahawks offense is still a long away from finding itself. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Besides another herculean effort from Marshawn Lynch (25 carries, 98 yards) and a beautiful 41 yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, the Seahawks offense looked very out of sync, penalty prone and extremely predictable.
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell did a wonderful job developing the scheme to contain Packers all pro pass rusher Clay Matthews, but in the process, seemingly sacrificed his entire offensive game plan. The Seahawks had 11 drives in the game, went three and out on five of them, punted on six and played a pathetic third quarter which gained negative yardage.
Too often the Seahawks simply lined up in a pro I set, ran on first, ran on second, passed on third and punted, putting the Seahawks stellar but exhausted defense back on the field. Truth be told, if the Seahawks could muster 14 points in the earlier stages of the game with some decent drives, the game doesn't need to come down to an epic end zone controversy.
1. The NFL has a mess on its hands, and there is no way to get around it now. What happened in the second half of this game was disgraceful. As a fan of the league for most of my life, the amateur hour stuff has to end. The Seahawks, the Packers and an entire world full of devoted fans deserve much more. Whether it was the aggregious non calls, phantom pass interference calls, continual stoppage of play, or the end of game debacle, the hits kept on coming on a national stage.
Roger Goodell will not be sleeping tonight.
Here's just a sample of the game-changing mistakes in the fourth quarter:
1st and 10 at SEA 20: Russell Wilson is flushed from pocket and throws bullet to TE Evan Moore who tips it into the hands of a Packers defender for an interception. But hold on, the official throws the flag for a roughing the passer penalty. 15 Yards.
1st and 25 at Seahawks 43: Russell Wilson fires shot down sideline to covered Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice, who clearly man handles defensive back in attempt to negate interception. But wait a minute, the Seahawks catch a huge break when official calls pass interference on Packers defensive back Sam Shields: 32 Yards
4th and 10 on Green Bay 24: Russell Wilson scrambles left on last second hail marry pass and fires shot deep into end zone. Seahawks receiver Golden Tate blatantly pushes off then catches game winning pass. Game over, Seahawks win!
The only problem with that is, the Packers defender clearly caught the ball and Golden Tate only gained contact as he was going to the ground. Even more confusing was the two officials contradicting each other with touchdown vs interception call.
What was left was a distraught and angry Green Bay team heading off the field in disgust, an elated Seahawks bench, and no one to kick or defend the mandatory extra point until eleven random Packers players found their helmets and lined up 10 minutes later for the extra point try.
This is the NFL. What happened tonight was more XFL or WWE. Roger Goodell should pay these referees whatever they want and now, before the season is completely lost to this nonsense.
The bright side? The Seahawks are now 2-1 and tied with the San Francisco 49ers for second in the NFC West. I'll also submit that for all the times the Seahawks came up on the short end of controversial calls, it should feel nice to be on the other side.
Then why does it feel so dirty?
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