Props to both the Niners and the Seahawks tonight, I haven’t seen a single player all game wearing any pink!
Actual football content, after the break:
The BBC Sky Sports Network anchor called the Seahawks victory over the Patriots last Sunday unlikely or improbable. Sure, it was unlikely if you aren’t paying attention. But if you looked at the Football Outsiders numbers, combined with a little knowledge of both teams’ rosters, you’d have seen that it was a very close match-up from the beginning.
Seattle has quietly built one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. They are the 2nd best in the league by DVOA, even better than the 49ers (who rank 3rd). They’re a balanced unit, ranking 2nd against both the run and the pass. New England, however, boasts the 2nd best offense in the league, and they are just as balanced as Seattle’s defense (2nd best at passing the ball, and 3rd best at running it). Intelligent fans knew that the ‘Hawks D matched up neatly against the Pats O, and that the other half of the game was just as even. New England’s 18th ranked defense versus Seattle’s 22nd ranked offense.
I knew all along it would be a close game, and even expected a Seahawks “upset” since the game was in Seattle. Once the game started, even when the Pats were “comfortably” up by ten points, I would have doubled down on Seattle. One of the few good points made by TMQ Gregg Easterbrook is his theory about coaches in cold-weather games: the team who’s coach is bundled up like a softy is more likely to lose, and a team who’s coach looks comfortable roughing the elements like the players have to is more likely to win. Just look at these pictures of Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll:
The Sky Network guys are British. Football doesn’t mean the same game to them as it does to us. The NFL Network booth crew didn’t have that excuse. They’re doing a terrible job, failing to comment on anything truly important in the game. Two examples of things they missed:
- In the 2nd quarter, Marshawn Lynch was on a tear, breaking tackles, and just missing going into “beast mode.” On one play 49ers CB Tarell Brown made a hell of a tackle on Lynch; there was no one behind him, and if he missed, Lynch was going all the way to the end zone.
- In the 4th quarter, ‘Hawks CB Brandon Browner made a great play picking off Alex Smith in the end zone. He then made an absolutely awful play returning the ball back out, getting tackled on the three yard line. He cost his team 17 extremely important yards of field position. The Niners caused a three-and-out, and the ‘Hawks were forced to try a short snap and a dangerous punt from the back of their end zone. Browner’s return negated almost all of the value he gained by picking the ball off in the first place.
When Seattle got the ball back after the 2 minute warning, down by 7, the announcers did mention that Russel Wilson has completed only one pass in the half. That’s crazy!
After counting the hang time on Wilson’s rainbow bombs last week, he looked like he was putting more zip on his throws this week. Still, one has to wonder whether they would be better off starting Matt Flynn. Wilson is a very limited passer, even for a rookie. He’s not the best scrambler, either, but he has good receivers, a great running back, and a solid line blocking for him. The thing is, Flynn would have all those thing to take advantage of as well.