Another week, another win for head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Winning on the road hasn’t been this team’s strong suit over the last three years, but 2013 has been an entirely different story.
Despite going winless on the road in the NFC West during his rookie season, quarterback Russell Wilson and Co. trounced the Cardinals in Arizona 34-22 on Thursday Night Football. Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense stole the show.
Seattle came out firing. On the Seahawks' first two offensive drives of the game, Wilson led scoring drives of 83 and 72 yards, respectively. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back.
Carroll said after the game, per the Associated Press via ESPN, "This was a really cool night for our football team. We wanted to get on the road and get this thing done and continue to feel good about our ability to win on the road."
Credit Arizona for closing the gap early on in the third quarter, yet it was only a matter of time until the Seahawks pulled away. Chris Clemons and the rest of the defensive line pinned their ears back and made quarterback Carson Palmer’s life miserable.
By the time the clock struck zero, Seattle had amassed seven quarterback sacks, 13 quarterback hits and two interceptions. As bad as Palmer was accuracy-wise, it didn’t help that he had cardboard cutouts standing in front of him posing as offensive linemen.
Additionally, a subpar running game only fueled the Seahawks' relentless attack on defense. On 18 attempts, the Cardinals backfield registered 30 measly yards with a long of six.
When you can’t run the football against one of the most talented defenses in the NFL, your quarterback and offensive line are going to be in for a long night. Shoddy offensive line play is something Arizona is accustomed to, but Thursday night’s performance from the hog mollies upfront was downright disgraceful.
The Seahawks offensive line, on the other hand, looked better than it had in weeks past. Max Unger’s presence at center has not only helped solidify things in the run game, but pressure up the middle in pass protection was subdued for the second week in a row.
Just imagine the consistency level of the offensive line when left tackle Russell Okung and right tackle Breno Giacomini return from injury. As the Seahawks get healthier, they are establishing themselves as the kings of the NFC, which is scary if you’re one of the other 15 teams in the NFC.
Let’s not forget, there is a chance All-Pro wide receiver Percy Harvin makes his 2013 debut against the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Carroll believes Harvin could practice next Tuesday, and if all goes well during the week, he has a shot at suiting up.
Percy Harvin will begin practicing next week after recovering from his torn labrum. Target date for his return? A chance it's MNF vs. Rams— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 17, 2013
This would be a lift for a passing attack that has looked average through seven weeks of play. Harvin would add an entirely new dimension to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense. The fifth-year pro out of Florida offers up game-changing speed, athleticism and versatility when he’s on the field.
How are opposing defenses going to defend Harvin, Lynch and Wilson? That’s the million-dollar question right now. Wilson isn’t the same player he was a year ago. He’s smarter, more patient and well-versed in Bevell’s offense.
Yes, the New Orleans Saints only have one loss to their name like the Seahawks, but are they as well-rounded as Coach Carroll’s club? No. There’s no question the Saints defense is outperforming expectations, yet as a whole, they don’t have the same talent level and playmaking ability as Seattle.
As it stands right now, no roster in the NFC has as much talent as the Seahawks do. When one takes the time to examine their roster, they will find key depth at just about every position. Sure, the tight end position lacks a legitimate vertical threat up the seam, but outside of that, inefficient depth is hard to find.
There’s a reason the Seahawks have the second-best defense, the second-best running game and the third-best turnover differential in the NFL. Talented players on both sides of the ball have helped produce one of the most feared teams in the league.
Seattle's schedule from here on out doesn't look daunting. With nine games left to play, the ‘Hawks will play in front of their home crowd five more times, and only two teams left on their schedule are over .500 (New Orleans and San Francisco).
Dating back to last season, the Seahawks are 11-0 at CenturyLink Field. Is 2013 the year where they break through and hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time? Until then, fans and media members alike will have the privilege of watching one of the most complete teams take the field on a weekly basis.
Instead of calling the Seahawks by their rightful name, they should simply be referred to as the “Kings of the NFC.” Based on their play through seven games, it only seems appropriate.