This Sunday’s win wasn’t just a victory for the Seahawks; it was a victory for the philosophy of Pete Carroll and his vision to win forever. It established that the only way to win a game in the NFL, aside from having a surefire Hall of Famer at quarterback, is running the football.
Look at how the Jaguars and Rams did last year, with Gurley and Fournette leading the charge. They didn’t make flashy plays, but boy were they consistent. And in today’s age of patty cake and phantom pass interference calls, the only reliable constant is the run game.
Listen, I’m all for exciting plays, but deep down you gotta admit that the NFL has gotten soft over the past ten years. Remember when guys like Shaun Alexander, Tiki Barber, and Clinton Portis would spin their way to 1200+ yard seasons on the ground? Or when Ray Lewis and Leonard Little would literally murder people? Nowadays you see every friggin’ ref throw a flag anytime a quarterback even touches the ground (QUINTON DIDN’T EVEN HIT HIM). It’s pretty pathetic, especially since we would never get those calls with Russell Wilson being a mobile QB who gets antsy in the pocket.
I personally think that the reason why Seattle disappointed in 2017 wasn’t because of injuries (because Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson were DEFINITE upgrades over George Fant and Malik McDowell), but because they got lost in translation and too reliant on the whims and tendencies (a typical misnomer for “innovation”) of the NFL.
Thankfully, it seemed like Sunday’s game was a return to form for the Prison Rulez style team that punched their way into a Super Bowl appearance in Glendale. Credit goes to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who solved a lot of the offense’s issues with an unbeatable gameplan. Sure, his first two weeks on the job were cause for concern, especially with how the offensive line run blocked against two of the most prolific pass-rushers in the league. But my faith was renewed with the way he protected Russell’s abilities as a passer. Chris Carson rumbling his way for 102 rushing yards on 32 carries is the exact type of physical dominance that we want to build around. No nonsense, controlling the line of scrimmage, and making sure you always commit to the run, despite the odds.
Naysayers will bring up the numbers and complain about efficiency, to which I say: how can you quantify statistics within the greater intricacies of the game? Numbers are rational but the players aren’t, and therefore the game of football is irrational. I don’t pretend to know what playing in the NFL is like but I will say this: every handoff from a singleback formation that earns three, two, or even one yard is another step forward. Efficiency is what happens when the positives outweighs the negatives, and given who the Seahawks have at quarterback, it seems prudent that they would rather take small positive gains — however minimal they might be — than risk it all with Russell. (Go Hawks indeed, but not too fast.)
Another important aspect of this performance identity-based. Most of the offseason, fans complained about Pete Carroll doubling down on an outdated, ineffective philosophy from the 1970’s and building his team with fullbacks, blocking tight ends, and a first-round pick at running back. On Sunday, this vision was realized as the Seahawks out-toughed their opponents with a team-wide 2.9 yards per carry.
This is a definite improvement from 2017, but more importantly, the Seahawks won the way they are supposed to win. Gone are the random 100+ yard games from Doug Baldwin and gone are the boring blowouts where we are forced to watch Matt Flynn play through the 4th quarter because we have a big enough lead. Back are the tough, no-nonsense Seahawks; the Seahawks who established the ground game and will only rely on the ground game.
That’s definitely something you should be excited about.