Didja Hear About the Seahawks? Not the Refs, the Defense
The refs. Of course you want to talk about the refs. Who didn’t yesterday? [These people--ed.]
It wasn’t just the water cooler topic at work, it was the hallway topic, the lunchroom topic, the elevator topic, the copier room topic and the bathroom stall topic.
Yes, the refs screwed up. No, I’ve never seen a worse call. Yes, we all owe a beer to side judge Lance Easley, a banker from Santa Maria, CA who until this season had never refereed a professional or major college game.
What got lost in the official hysteria was something that’s less fun to talk about, but way more significant–the legendary defensive by the Seahawks’ defense.
–8 sacks of Aaron Rodgers.
–Holding the potent Pack to 3.9 yards per play (they averaged 6.6 ypp in 2011).
–Allowing just one pass play longer than 20 yards (the Pack had 70 such pass plays last year).
After three games, the Seahawks have allowed the fewest points in the league. They’re currently on pace to permit just 208 points on the season, which would shatter the team record set by the ’91 Hawks, and is nearly 200 points fewer than the 407 allowed by the decrepit 2010 Hawks in Carroll’s first season.
Part of the reason the defense has been so successful at preventing points is that the offense has been so conservative. Russell Wilson threw two long touchdown passes Monday, and that was about it. However, he also didn’t turn the ball over, and his steady play, combined with Jon Ryan’s stellar punting, meant that Green Bay started all 9 of their drives in their own territory. The Packers’ average starting point was their own 18 yard line.
Monday’s Hail Mary aside, this won’t be a season of leaping catches and breakaway runs. “We’re raising a quarterback in the system,” Pete Carroll told ESPN 710 yesterday. “It is a struggle for some people to understand that, but we’re going to keep moving along. There will be a time when it won’t feel exactly like it feels right now. But it’s not time.”
In other words, train yourself to appreciate good pass coverage, solid tackling, and quarterback sacks. That’s where your NFL thrills will come from in 2012. From the looks of it, there will be a lot of them.
Last Friday night–it seems like a lifetime ago–I swung over to Memorial Stadium to watch Skyline High’s Max Browne, who ESPN rates at the #2 high school quarterback in the USA. Roosevelt High’s Roughriders did nothing to disprove that ranking–Browne led Skyline to a TD just 59 seconds into the game. He didn’t even play the whole first half, letting a backup get some reps with Skyline comfortably ahead. Browne will compete for the starting QB job at USC next season–he throws an accurate deep ball, I can attest to that.