By Mike Salk
When you wax a division opponent by 58 points, you are bound to see a few novelties. Forcing eight turnovers turns out to have been the second most in Seahawks history. They broke the franchise record for points scored in a game. And 284 rushing yards sure looks nice as well.
But the final score doesn’t really matter in a game that was over long before even halftime.
What matters is the Seahawks showed something we haven’t seen from them before: a killer instinct.
We know this team is talented. They have yet to get blown out this year and have shown the ability to play with any team they’ve faced. Whereas the team Pete Carroll and John Schneider inherited found itself often inhibited by its lack of talent (and, as a consequence, blown out), this one is strong across the board. Each position group has some explosive talent. Each position group has some level of depth. That means each position group can hold its own with anyone and survive an injury (or suspension) or two.
Marshawn Lynch had three touchdowns and a season-high 128 rushing yards on just 11 carries against the Cardinals. (AP)
But it often takes time for talented teams to learn how to win.
We saw the Seahawks lose four early games to teams with records at or below .500 this year. In most of them, they made mental and physical mistakes that sabotaged their superior talent.
Not on Sunday.
Nearly all of those mistakes were made by an Arizona team that would have been better off not even getting off the bus. John Skelton threw four interceptions, only one of which wasn’t an awful pass or an even worse decision. Patrick Peterson fumbled twice – both were his fault. The Cardinals took the season of giving quite literally.
But the Seahawks also took advantage of the gifts they received. Marshawn Lynch was dynamic; he adjusted plays to find holes and ran through tackles in his unique way. Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner caught
passes intended for them errant throws. The Seahawks’ special teamers stepped up. Their depth cornerbacks shut down Larry Fitzgerald (one catch for two yards).
It doesn’t matter how poorly your opponent plays, you have to put them away and the Seahawks did exactly that.
So now we know the Hawks are capable of a blowout. Cool. But does that mean we should expect more of them?
I say no. This team is still built to play defense, run the ball, and win close games. That recipe does not lend itself to many blowouts. The NFL is too evenly matched to see even comfortable wins very often.
But does it mean that we need to start expecting “bigger” things for this team?
It sure might. I’m not as much impressed that the Seahawks won by 58 as I am that they played so well in Week 14. The NFL is such a grind that often the best team in the regular season is not playing the best in January. But a team hitting its stride in December can set itself up perfectly for a January run.
The Seahawks seem to be one of those teams playing its best at the perfect time. Now we’ll see if they can make the most of it.