I want to take you back to 1 minute and 45 seconds in to Seattle's game against Minnesota at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. The Vikings had won the toss and elected to receive, giving the Seahawks' defense the perfect opportunity to flex its muscles having been worn down and battered in road losses in San Francisco and Detroit over the previous two weeks.
The home team had been desperately in need of a home game, only what happened next wasn't in the script. Adrian Peterson danced his way around the right hand side of the line on his way to 74 yards to the Seahawks 1 yard line. Two plays later, the same player gave the Vikings a touchdown lead, just a week after a flogging so public on primetime at home to Tampa Bay that you could be forgiven for thinking Minnesota had considered five wins this season enough of an improvement over 2011 that another top ten pick next April would set them up for a playoff run in 2013. Football can seem so simple sometimes.
Following the aforementioned (bruising and) battering in Detroit, the Seahawks had endured a tough week at wide receiver. Ben Obomanu had been placed on injured reserve the Tuesday after the game with a wrist injury while Braylon Edwards was an extreme doubt for Week 9 with a sore knee having already missed Week 8.
The news on Doug Baldwin (high ankle sprain) was only slightly better although coach Pete Carroll made the surprising midweek announcement that the second-year player had a good chance of suiting up against the Vikings. His 11 catches on the season weren't about to strike fear into Minnesota's secondary, but this was news the Seahawks couldn't foresee coming as they left Detroit. Baldwin knows this offense and could be plugged in again immediately.
Despite Baldwin seemingly rapidly approaching rude health, it wasn't enough to prevent Seattle adding local hero and former Washington Husky Jermaine Kearse to the roster to replace Obomanu; Kearse would finish Sunday's game with one reception for six yards.
Wasn't I at the 13:45 mark of the first quarter this past Sunday with Seattle 7-0 down just a couple of paragraphs ago?
Baldwin was in uniform, Edwards wasn't. Much rested on Marshawn Lynch, as ever this season, and Russell Wilson. Yes, Wilson. Much had been written of the travails he'd faced this season, but perhaps the slide to 4-4 on the back of those defeats to the 49ers and Lions wasn't easy to forget for scribes and/or his critics. One not-so-minor detail that had seemed to be criminally overlooked heading into Week 9 was the rookie's form at the fortress of a home stadium that is the CLink.
Despite all that had gone on (or bad) on the road this season, Seattle's proved to be formidable at home in 2012, albeit with the merest of help from officials of the replacement kind against the Packers in Week 3. Did anybody manage to catch that one? Nope, me neither as I was undertaking burying my head in the sand for a week for charity.
The Seahawks are to be underestimated at a doubter's peril in their own surroundings during this campaign and Wilson's been the perfect complement to the cacophony coming from every curve of the stadium. Before the visit of the Vikings, Wilson had thrown 6 TDs and 0 INTs on home soil accompanied by a QB rating of 116.9. After Sunday, that line reads 9 TDs and 0 INTs. As for the QB rating, you may introduce 127.3 to the equation and calculate for yourself the upward curve.
Wilson entered the game with a depleted receving corps and never batted an eyelid. Flutter them he may though at his group of receivers, the feeling persists that the Seahawks are extremely fragile at the position. Baldwin's battled a plethora of ailments ever since the preseason, comprising hamstring and shoulder injuries and that's without mentioning the toe curling news of him losing his two front teeth in the season opener at Arizona.
Edwards, having missed the last two games, looks likely to return against the Jets this Sunday, but if his knee could suddenly swell up overnight, as it did before the game in Detroit two weeks ago, then how much can he really be expected to contribute for the rest of the season?
Then there's Sidney Rice who, whenever he gets hit, must have Seahawks fans wincing, his history of shoulder problems seeing to that. Should he make it through the rest of the season, it'll be his first full year since the 2009 season. Somehow, you have to think it simply won't happen.
Wilson is proving a talented and driven individual, but not enough to carry the offense on his own, armed only with the indomitable Beast that is Lynch.
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