So after all that this dumb season has brought, the Seahawks are now somehow well positioned to make the playoffs. What went right for the Seahawks on Sunday, aside from their comfortablish 29-13 win over the fighting Blaine Gabberts of Santa Clara? Let’s count it off:
• The Ravens beat the Rams 17-14, in one of the most pyrrhic victories in football history. Quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Justin Forsett both suffered season-ending injuries. This for the already injury devastated Ravens, whom the Seahawks will play in a couple of weeks. The Ravens frankly could have used the loss as they jockey for draft position to replenish their squad. Meanwhile, the Rams are all but out of the playoff picture, and saw their quarterback, Case Keenum (Case freakin’ Keenum is starting for the Rams), suffer a brutal head injury, try to play through it, and then make a catastrophic error late to hand the Ravens the game.
Both of these teams are in disarray for awful reasons. That said, the Seahawks need to beat both of these teams later this year. That seems a far easier task now than it did heading into this week. Football kinda sucks.
• The Falcons choked hard against the Colts. Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has seen his squad go cold, and has shown some really questionable judgment in decision-making. Nothing this week compared to his decision to kick a field goal while down four late against the 49ers a couple weeks ago, but coughing up a big lead to a mediocre Colts team is not a good look. The Falcons now sit only one game ahead of the Seahawks for the final NFC playoff spot and are trending down. And, oh yeah, 40-year-old Seahawks legend Matt Hasselbeck is the one who beat them. Guys, I still love Matt Hasselbeck.
• The Packers beat the Vikings to push both teams to 7-3. This makes the first NFC Wild Card slot a little further out of reach for the Seahawks, since Seattle already lost to Green Bay and they still have Minnesota to play. But they’re better off trying to hunt down the Vikings with all the tiebreakers in play. Essentially, this result means the Seahawks face a must-win against Minnesota, which is kind of tough. On the other hand, they face a must-win against Minnesota, who even before this week were considered a below-average team by advanced metrics. Given the rollicking catastrophe that this Seahawks season has been at times, needing to beat a mediocre Vikings team is not the biggest ask.
• The NFC East continues to implode, leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only team currently tied with the Seahawks, at 5-5, in the NFC without leading a division. And while first overall pick and alleged bad human being Jameis Winston has looked excellent of late, I refuse to fear the Bucs. I refuse.
RB Thomas #Rawls becomes 1st undrafted player to run for 160+ yds twice in their rookie season.
• Thomas Rawls revealed himself to be a truly excellent running back, and a rightful heir to the BeastMode throne. Rawls does so much right, it’s absurd he went undrafted. Seriously, aside from Rams running back Todd Gurley, no rookie has showed more promise than Rawls this season, and that’s in a year filthy with theoretically promising running backs. The Chargers took Melvin Gordon in the first round, and while he’s been running behind a bad offensive line, so has Rawls. And Rawls has looked infinitely better. The Seahawks getting first-round value out of undrafted free agents was the fuel in the engine of their recent success. Rawls’ breakout bodes very well for the future.
• Running through other things that bode well for the Seahawks’ future, Tyler Lockett is a very good receiver, and Russell Wilson is not broken. The parts of the Seahawks that are broken, while not fixable right now, are fixable in the future. If Lynch retires, the money freed up from the team's salary cap will allow the team to restock the O-Line and the secondary as they see fit. Where is this team lacking in talent right now? Obviously the offensive line, especially the newly banged-up version, is a problem. The cornerbacks on the team not named Richard Sherman aren't great. And whoever's job it is to cover tight ends needs to do better.
This is not a broken franchise in decline. This is a franchise hitting a speed bump, and getting a bit derailed. But somehow, they could well right themselves enough to play postseason football this year, and be well set up for the following season. Raiders fans would kill to be this Seahawks team.
Seriously, they would.
Breaking it down, the Seahawks thus far this year have beaten teams with bad quarterbacks and struggled against teams with good quarterbacks. And you’d think if that pattern continued they’d be screwed. But no. If Seattle beats Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Schaub, and Johnny Manziel, they will likely make the playoffs. If they beat Ben Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer as well, they will almost certainly make the playoffs. That’s a great place to be a week after being left for dead.
Also, no catastrophic neck injuries this week. That was nice, too. Jeez, this week of Seahawks football was, dare I say it, almost fun?