With the Seattle Seahawks riding a two-game winning streak against the Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams, it would seem things are finally coming together for the young team. With a record of 4-6, the playoffs might seem a bit out of reach given the 49ers 9-1 record; nevertheless, there is still plenty of football left to play and learn from.
As the 'Hawks prepare for this week's matchup against the Washington Redskins, here are a few trends we can see continuing based on the team's performance over the past few weeks... and in some cases, since the start of the season.
For the moment, things are looking up, but it's not all perfect.
No surprise here...
Over the past three weeks, Marshawn Lynch has chewed up yardage, opposing defenses and lots of time off the clock. For the most part it's worked, as the Beast has reemerged after a long absence earlier this season, giving hope that the 'Hawks might have a running game to support the shortcomings of the aerial attack.
While it may be true that the Redskins run defense did a decent job this past Sunday containing Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (25 carries for 73 yards, 2.9 yards per carry), one has to imagine that won't stop the 'Hawks from calling Marshawn's number throughout the day.
The big boys up front made St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford look terrible on Sunday. Can you imagine what they're capable of doing to Rex Grossman?
As for the Redskins run game, some people have doubts about the 'Hawks run defense.
Sports Illustrated's Eric Mack reviewed the Redskins overtime loss to the Cowboys and shared the following gem:
"Roy Helu got the bulk of the carries and should remain the starter and the Redskins should focus more on the running game in future weeks. The Seahawks are decent against the run, but Helu should be a better starter next week than he was against the Cowboys."
Decent against the run?
Better starter next week?
We'll see about that.
Right now, the Redskins offensive line is not the greatest, and the possibility of left tackle Trent Williams being out with an MCL injury should only help make life interesting for Grossman and Helu this Sunday.
The last line of defense has shown its mettle in recent weeks with steady improvement as cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner have held their own.
Danny O'Neil at the Seattle Times went so far as to give high praise to Browner for his play against the Rams with his "Three Things We Learned" review of Sunday's game:
3. Brandon Browner's coverage is a real asset to the defense.
Yes, he had another penalty, but that was just 5 yards. The Rams clearly wanted to test him, and Browner showed he was ready. Brandon Lloyd played in the Pro Bowl last season, and he's exactly the kind of smaller, quick wideout that could give Browner trouble. But Browner's physical style clearly affected him Sunday. Lloyd was targeted 14 times, and caught only five passes. Seattle's defense has ranked in the bottom six teams in the league in passing yards allowed in each of the past three seasons. That is changing this season thanks in part to the physical style of Browner.
The two will have a decent challenge on Sunday against 'Skins wideouts Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth, but should get plenty of help from their safeties, just in case.
The tandem of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are fast becoming two of the more dynamic 'Hawks on the entire roster. If I had to predict which unit would still be together and thriving in three years time, I'd wager on these two.
Let's just hope this whole unit, especially Kam, can avoid any major penalties or fines... this week and for many more to come.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it can't all be good news.
And in fairness, it's not Miller's fault really, but he has to wonder when he will get the chance to roam free again as opposed to serving as an extra lineman?
Week after week, it's been much of the same: maybe one or two catches for 20 to 30 yards... that's it.
Miller's stats for this entire season—15 receptions, 133 yards, zero touchdowns—really don't tell the whole story, but as far as free-agent signings go, this has been a bit of a disappointment for everyone.
Prior to the injuries to James Carpenter and John Moffitt, it seemed that the offensive line was coming together, but with those two shelved for the remainder of the season, it would seem likely that Miller will stay in to block for the foreseeable future.
It makes you wonder how things might have been different if fellow tight end John Carlson had stayed healthy.
Who is consoling who here?
Tarvaris and Mike just can't seem to consistently get on the same page.
Much like Zach Miller, Williams numbers this season are cringe-worthy and hardly reflect the potential talent he's capable of displaying.
Perhaps we need Sidney Rice to serve as a mediator?
He seems to be the only one capable of bringing the best out of the two players, as we witnessed against the Rams.
Or perhaps ask DeAngelo Hall to cover Mike for a few downs?
Do you really still think the Hawks are getting Andrew Luck?
Finally, if you know what the acronym QBOTF stands for, I appreciate where you are coming from.
The QuarterBack Of The Future debate can be a fun topic to argue, but there is an appropriate time and place for it.
Six games still remain on the schedule, so can we all do ourselves a favor and see where this team is going before we start putting together a wish list for Pete Carroll and John Schneider this offseason?
Fact is, Tarvaris Jackson simply can't win for trying, even when the 'Hawks somehow manage to do so.
Such debate ultimately cheapens what the whole team is trying to achieve by focusing on one, albeit a very important, facet of the game that for the moment is out of our hands.
Odds are against Tarvaris being the long-term starter, but for now can we let the guy do his job in trying to help this young team mature and win?