Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Love ‘em & hate ‘em Week 14 This past Sunday the Seattle Seahawks set single-game franchise records with points scored and margin of defeat in a 58-0 stomping of the Arizona Cardinals. The victory was the first divisional win of the season, and it occurred in superb fashion. This was an excellent example of firing on all cylinders – as the offense, defense and special teams each had huge impacts on the game to seal away the victory. Now the Seahawks stand at 8-5 and hold the fifth seed in the NFC playoff race. Here is what I loved and hated from Sunday’s victory. Love ‘em The Running Game Arizona’s run defense has depreciated throughout the season due to injuries, and the Seahawks attacked them where they were weak. Marshawn Lynch is the NFL’s second leading rusher behind Adrian Peterson, and he took it to the Cardinals early and often on Sunday. Lynch had a season-high 128 yards on a season-low 11 carries, while notching up another season-high of 3 touchdowns. Our offensive line provided holes for Lynch to get to the next level untouched, but he took care of the rest from there. Turbin had by far his best game as a rookie, carrying the ball 20 times for 108 yards. (Photo: Seahawks.com) Due to the early gap in scoring between the two teams, Lynch got some well-deserved rest while the Robert Turbin and Leon Washington carried the load the rest of the way. Turbin had by far his best game as a rookie, carrying the ball 20 times for 108 yards. Leon had an additional 7 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown in the closing minutes of the game. Add in Russell Wilson‘s 3 carries for 12 yards, and you have a team total of 286 yards rushing on 41 carries. You can’t ask for better production on the ground. Defense and Special Teams The Seattle defense has been considered an elite group all season long, and their prowess at home has always been their strongest point – constantly being fueled by the roars of the 12th man. With an appetizing match up against the struggling Cardinals this week, the defense was in for a big game. And they answered the call. Arizona had a total of 154 yards on 58 plays. 24 of those yards came on the 2nd play of the game. 130 yards came on the other 57 plays. That is an average of 2.28 yards per play. Incredible efficiency from a defensive standpoint. The Seattle front-seven hassled Arizona quarterback John Skelton all afternoon, holding him to a rating of 18.2. Skelton threw for only 74 yards on 22 attempts, with 4 interceptions, 0 touchdowns and a fumble. That’s a QBR of 0.4 – the NFL average is 50. Rookie quarterback out of San Diego State – Ryan Lindley – eventually stepped in for Skelton but had similar success with 59 yards on 17 attempts and 0 touchdowns. Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner both had two interceptions. Add in the fact that Beanie Wells had only 18 yards and the explosive Patrick Peterson had two fumbles on punt returns, and you have an all-around domination from the defense and special teams. Playoff Chances Before this game, Seattle was 7-5 in the 6th seed for the playoffs and fighting for a wild card spot. With this victory and the remaining schedule ahead, there are higher stars to shoot for. The Seahawks travel to Buffalo next week to take on the Bills. The Bills are 5-8 on the season and just lost to the Rams on Sunday. Not to mention they just lost running back Fred Jackson for the season. A very winnable game. After the trip to Buffalo, Seattle comes home to take on the division-leading 49ers at Century Link Field on Sunday Night Football. By far the biggest game of the season, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher. Following this, St. Louis comes to Seattle for the final game of the season. Now San Francisco has a more difficult road ahead. They are currently at 9-3-1. They travel to Gillette Stadium next week to take on the formidable New England Patriots. Arguably their biggest test of the season (whom the Seahawks have already beaten). They then travel to Seattle, and take on the Cardinals at home in their final game. If they can’t find a way to defeat the Patriots and Seattle takes care of business at home, the division title would be up for grabs. So – knock on wood – if Seattle can play to their ability for the remainder of the season, there is a good chance they could finish 3-0 and 11-5 on the season. That would require the 49ers losing to Seattle, and if they lose to the Patriots they would be 10-5-1 at best. That would give the division lead to Seattle, and home field in the wild card round. Throw in a loss from both Green Bay and the New York Giants, and Seattle has a shot at the 2 seed in the NFC. Guaranteeing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs to the team with arguably the biggest home-field advantage in the league. Please God let the stars align! With this victory and the remaining schedule ahead, there are higher stars to shoot for. (Photo: Kirby Lee/ USA Today) Hate ‘em Running Up the Score? It was difficult to find anything to hate from Sunday’s victory. And really, it was a near flawless game besides the one slip by Golden Tate that led to Russell’s first home-game interception. But that isn’t something you could hate, just an unfortunate occurrence. The media, however, gave me something to hate. Peter Carroll was being criticized by the media for “running up the score.” I find this laughable, considering how he approached the second half after a 38-0 lead. Russell Wilson was in for a few drives, but eventually got pulled for backup Matt Flynn in the third quarter. Flynn then took his first snaps as a Seahawk, and was handing the ball off for most of the game. Flynn had 6 completions on only 9 attempts for 68 yards. The fact of the matter was these pass attempts were on obvious passing downs. On all 9 attempts, the yards to go were 10, 10, 6, 10, 26, 20, 8, 23, and 6. An average of 13 yards to go, not hard to believe we would go to the air. (Numbers courtesy of Dave Softy Mahler) The entire second half was a showcase of Robert Turbin, who gave evidence of being a possible feature back in the future. Now there were a few shots taken down field in the closing minutes, but I don’t have any problem with that. Flynn was brought in here to be the starter, and got beat out by Wilson in training camp. Because of this, we never had the chance of seeing Flynn in the Seattle offense. In my opinion, this was an audition for Flynn to prove he was a capable backup and possibly a good option for trade-bate. I don’t think any calls Pete made were rubbing in the defeat to Ken Wisenhunt. We ran the ball, and passed when necessary. It isn’t our fault the Cardinals defense looked like a high school team. Let’s hope the Seahawks carry this momentum into next week and give the Bills all they can handle in week 15. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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