Seahawks are winning with a unique combination
By Mike Salk
Are you ready to jump on?
Are you ready to buy your ticket and jump on the Seahawks train that is rumbling towards January with a ferocious and violent attitude?
What’s so fascinating about the Seahawks right now is that they are doing this differently from nearly everyone else.
They don’t look like the Saints, Patriots and Packers – high powered passing attacks on ‘roids. They don’t look like the Ravens or 49ers, built over time with a gigantic offensive line and a front seven on defense that relies on a superstar middle linebacker and great pressure off the edge. They don’t have a drama-queen quarterback or blazing speed on the outside like the Steelers and they don’t have multiple top picks (and heart attack victories) like the Lions.
Cornerbacks Brandon Browner, left, and Richard Sherman both had interceptions on Sunday. (AP)
The Seahawks are a young, tough, violent team. It’s that simple.
They are winning with violence on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the violence is found in Marshawn Lynch. The big back runs with a violence that we haven’t seen since Earl Campbell was leaving defenders with just the pieces of his breakaway jersey.
Tarvaris Jackson is tough. Real tough. He has played through injuries and that has allowed his teammates to trust him. When he’s played, he’s been careful (often too careful). He understands his role is to lead the team and stay out of the way.
Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate have supplied the youth. Both players have stepped up their games recently and filled the holes left open by Sidney Rice and Mike Williams.
Defensively, the violence is everywhere. From the big bodies in the secondary to the use of a gigantic defensive end, the Hawks play a more physical style than nearly any team in the league. They choose to play oversized corners and to allow them to push around smaller wideouts at the line of scrimmage. They choose to play a defensive end (Red Bryant), that looks like a defensive tackle, eschewing some of the pass rush they might generate at that position in favor of the sheer size advantage that they get instead.
David Hawthorne has been the resident tough guy – playing the entire year through a knee injury.
K.J. Wright and Richard Sherman have been the most important youngsters to step up. Wright’s emergence allowed them to remove Aaron Curry from the equation – a move that has paid incredible dividends. Wright has instincts Curry could only dream of, snuffing out screen passes and showing a great feel for the ball. Sherman allowed them to survive injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond and he has elevated the play in the secondary.
The choices to go with youth, toughness and violence have their downsides. For one, the national media doesn’t notice those traits and doesn’t spend time lauding them. Toughness isn’t flashy, youth isn’t recognized and violence is often lost behind speed and craftiness. Violence and youth are a terrible combination for those who want a clean game, free of penalties and overaggressive mistakes.
The Seahawks may not look like the other contenders and that may make them seem fluky or inferior.
Don’t be fooled.
This team has won five of its last six games for a reason. They are hard to beat and they play a style that puts their opponents in bad positions. That’s why they stand two games (and some help) away from the playoffs. Get there or not, they have accomplished something this year.