Russell Wilson is amazing. This is- I think- the first game of his NFL career that did not feature a deep ball attempt. That's noteworthy because Wilson's deep ball is one of his biggest strengths, and his best games have always been those were he forces defenses to play their safeties deep. Instead, this was more like a vintage Matt Hasselbeck performance: a mixture of zippy intermediate passes and dinks and dunks. It's not a style naturally suited to Wilson, but damn did he look good doing it. Very exciting progress. I know that RG3 is practically a shoe-in for RoY, and Luck is coming on strong himself, but if Wilson keeps this up, he's going to have one of the best rookie seasons in history. And not in a flukey "defenses will figure him out next year" kind of way, but in a legitimate growing up kind of way.
The Vikings are a good, if hobbled team. Even when Peterson looked like he might threaten the single game rushing record at times during this game, it was hard to feel bad about it when he was making cuts in bullet time and on almost any other play the defense looked lights out. Seriously, Adrian Peterson is kinda good. That sick run for 70+ yards in the first drive of the game was the most impressive run I've seen in years. Most backs would lose 3 yards on that carry, but after two stiff arms, a sideline tightrope act, and a hummingbird dart inside that juked out half of Seattle's secondary, I almost didn't care if he scored after that. I had stars in my eyes. Seattle overcame one of the best looking games of Peterson's life, and they did it with a complete team effort.
I realize that Minnesota is not an elite team, and that this was at home. But this game was the most polished performance I've seen from the Seahawks since at least the Saints playoff game. Today, the Seahawks looked not like a 4-4 team, but a 14-2 team. A champion. If Wilson can look this polished, if the team can keep the penalties to an ordinary level, if the defense can be reasonable on 3rd and long... if those things happen our Seahawks are one of the very best teams in the NFL.
And maybe they will be. This is actually Seattle's 4th game in a row that I would say Seattle has played pretty well, but that was masked by drops against the 49ers and an awesome performance from Matt Stafford against the Lions. Maybe we could see a repeat of last season where the real version of the team shows up in final 8 games and puts the NFL on notice.
I'm so excited man. I'm like Jon Gruden with Russell Wilson right now.
Random thoughts and observations
-Firstly, I had a lot of respect for the Vikings today. Their fans showed up in droves and they endured an asskicking after twice holding leads. Percy Harvin badly hurt his ankle and yet still came back in the game to help his team win a game, even as a decoy. Christian Ponder didn't have a great game, but he had a mostly mistake free game while playing gimpy. Jared Allen and the rest of their D-line did a very respectable job accumulating sacks and TFLs. Adrian Peterson displayed a sensational individual performance. The Vikings gave us close to their best shot and our team still crushed them.
-Tim Ryan or "80s beard" as I like to call him called yet another Seahawks game today. This is actually the third Fox covered Seahawks game in a row that featured Tim Ryan and Chris Meyers (Carolina, Detroit, Minnesota). I think they do an outstanding job, particularly Ryan who always seems to be on top of everything. When Pete Carroll was going nuts on the sideline after Minnesota's final field goal, nobody knew what was going on, but in seconds Ryan already noticed how the play clock had hit zeroes and solved the mystery for us.
-Marcus Trufant had a brutal missed tackle that allowed a catch and run 3rd and long conversion- which would later result in a Vikings TD. He also got burned on a play later on and committed a no-doubter DPI. Pretty much his only highlight was a fumble recovery. The broadcast said he forced it too, but to my eyes it looked like Bobby Wagner was the one who stripped it. Still, it's games like this that should make a certain roster decision easier when Thurmond is activated again.
-Brandon Mebane must be a jedi, because he can read minds. That's the only way I can explain his ability to fire off so much faster than anyone else does, even the offensive linemen.
-Other than a horrible unneccessary roughness call against Browner, I thought the officials did an excellent job today despite a high number of tough decisions- especially in regards to spotting the football.
-The Seahawks have quietly put their penalty bugaboo behind them the last few weeks. May it stay behind them forever. I was amazed to hear that Okung and Giacomini are #1 and #2 in the NFL for O-lineman penalties. It feels like they've been so much better in that regard lately.
-Has anyone ever had a more discreet career year than 2012 Marshawn Lynch? He's been fantastic this year, but he's not getting a ton of attention mainly because the NFL is bursting at the seams with surprise stories in 2012. Lynch is on pace for 1514 rushing yards and has 4.8 yards per carry. Both marks would demolish his previous bests.
-Our pass rush looked great. It wasn't very long ago that our pass rush was Chris Clemons and nothing else. Today, every spot brought pressure with good consistency. It was the perfect recipe for a QB that is naturally inclined to throw the ball away or run for a few yards under duress.
-What's up with Greg Scruggs new celebration dance? It kinda looked like a dance move from Gangnam style- a video which Pete Carroll linked on his twitter about a month ago.
-Jeron Johnson had a hit and miss game, but with more good plays than bad. It's a shame he isn't blessed with a bigger/faster body, because he has a nose for the football.
-The entire secondary had a fantastic game, most especially Sherman and Browner. I seriously can't remember a receiver catching a pass against Sherman all game. Kam Chancellor was a bit of a duck, getting burned by AP and (I think) Harvin, but overall our secondary was a big reason we won this game.
-Golden Tate had probably his best game as a Seahawk. It's incredible how far he's come since just last season. I wanted him off the team 14 months ago after a miserable looking preseason. He's gone from a guy that couldn't run a route or find a first down marker to a legitimately good possession receiver who can make plays. Perhaps inspired by Jerome Simpson (once a Bengal now a Viking), he attempted the same acrobatic goal line TD jump, and succeeded albeit with less pinache. The judges wouldn't score it a 10, but it was still a TD and one of the cooler plays of the 2012 Seahawks season.
-Rice could do nothing the rest of the year and he'd still be a Seahawk almost guaranteed in 2013. He's owed $7 million next year, but $7 million is a bargain for what he brings to this offense. Zach Miller is owed $11 million next season. I don't see any possible way he gets that money, but he's starting to make that inevitable decision look pretty interesting after stringing together several strong games.
-Outside of a couple individual lapses, it seems Pete Carroll might have fixed our 3rd and long problem. No longer were targets wide open in soft zones for easy conversions- other than one play where AP caught a 2 yard pass on 3rd and 2- but I think that had more to do with Chancellor respecting Peterson's game-breaking speed.