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By: Frank T. Raines
A collection of FTR thoughts that weren’t turned into their own articles …
I wasn’t planning to write another 12 Thoughts column quite so soon, but . . .
Between the Seattle Seahawks thrilling overtime win over the Detroit Lions, the disappointment-turned-excitement of the PM slate of games, and a couple of follow-ups from the last 12 Thoughts article . . .
I have some thoughts.
Thought No. 1
How about that run defense?
In the Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle held L.A. under 100 yards, allowing just a 2.3-yard average on 40 carries.
Against Detroit, the Seahawks allowed over 100 yards, but just barely. The Lions ended the game with 27 carries for 102 yards.
Touchdowns have been an issue – L.A. had 3 and the Lions added another – but the run defense, as a whole, has been much better than (a) where it was last year, and (b) where most of us feared it would be this year.
Thought No. 2
As encouraging as the run defense has been (minus the 4 touchdowns), the pass defense is the exact opposite; I would call it “surprisingly concerning.”
- Week 1: Matthew Stafford completed 24 of 38 passes (63.2%) for 334 yards
- Week 2: Jared Goff completed 28 of 35 passes (80%) for 323 yards with 3 TDs and an INT
That’s a combined stat line of 52 of 73 (71.2%) for 657 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT through the first two games.
Thought No. 3
Also not good? The average of 30.5 points per game the Seahawks are giving up.
Admittedly, it’s just two games.
Yet, it could be, and arguably should be, worse than it is.
Week 1: The Rams had the ball nine times and either scored or had a chance to score on eight of those nine possessions. A blocked field goal on their third possession and a missed field goal on their fourth are the reasons the game wasn’t tied at halftime. (Well, that plus Jason Myer’s missed field goal on Seattle’s fourth possession, but that’s a thought for another
- Week 2: The Lions weren’t as efficient as the Rams: they only scored or had a chance to score on five of their eleven possessions. Yet, like the Rams, the Lions only punted once the entire game. Three “official” turnovers (2 fumbles, 1 interception) and two “turnovers” on downs are what kept the Lions from scoring 50+ points.
Thought No. 4
This thought WAS going to be about Geno Smith’s postgame attire and/or about the “I’m talking to America here” moment during Sunday’s game.
Alas, my fellow Field Gulls writers covered both of those already:
- “I’m talking to America here.”
- “Professor Smith.”
So, instead, I’ll ask a rhetorical question . . .
Who the ________ decided to show the New York Jets vs. the Dallas Cowboys in the PM slot in the Seattle area?
I understand that the broadcast decision was made before Aaron Rodgers’ season
ended was severely impacted on the Jets’ fourth offensive play against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. (And, yes, the strikethrough is a reference to Rodgers implying that he could return this season . . . which I’m not buying.)
But still . . .
Two of Seattle’s division rivals were playing at the same time as the New York v. Dallas game, and if even if it’s too much to ask to show us that game (or the game featuring another of Seattle’s division rivals), the Seahawks’ former quarterback was also playing in the PM slot.
Surely, someone at the network(s) knew that ANY of the other PM games would have been better options in the Seattle area – both ratings-wise, and from the standpoint of pure entertainment.
But, no, we got the snooze-fest that was Micah Parson and the Dallas Cowboys playing with the Zach Wilson-led Jets like they were a bored housecat playing with a mouse that has two broken legs. YAWN! (literally; I fell asleep at least three times during the game)
Thought No. 5
Speaking of a bored housecat and what was supposed to be a mouse with two (and, at times, three) broken legs (aka Aidan Hutchinson and Seattle’s offensive line) . . .
Heading into the matchup with the in-vogue Detroit Lions, Seattle was down both of their starting tackles, and pretty much everyone thought that the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft would have a field day against Seattle’s decimated line.
Even more so when the Seahawks lost their starting center midway through the game.
Not. So. Fast.
On 42 pass rush snaps, PFF credited Hutchinson with zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, and only six hurries. Plus a batted pass.
Yes, Seattle gave their backup tackles help, but the following numbers are still impressive:
- Left Tackle Stone Forsythe yielded no sacks, no hits, and only 3 hurries. His pass blocking efficiency (which is a PFF “Signature” stat) was 96.6%.
- Right Tackle, Jake Curhan did similarly well: no sacks, no hits, 4 hurries, and an efficiency rate of 95.5%.
To be fair, neither Charles Cross nor Abe Lucas allowed so much as a pressure in Week 1 (per PFF) and both had efficiency rates of 100% so there IS a difference between Seattle’s starters and their backups.
Still . . .
Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan did good.
Thought No. 6
While we’re on the topic of solid performances . . .
Let’s give a tip of the hat to rookie wideout Puka Nacua (R5, #177 overall), who absolutely DESTROYED the Seahawks in Week 1 (10-of-15 for 119 yards), then proved that his debut performance wasn’t a fluke by hauling in 15 receptions (on 20 targets) for 147 yards against the 49ers in Week 2.
Nacua may still be searching for his first touchdown (prediction: he’ll get it this week in Cincinnati), but he can take solace in knowing that he absolutely decimated a record that had stood for 43 years.
Most catches in first two games in NFL history: Puka Nacua. @AsapPuka https://t.co/imloWoWhly
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2023
Old record for receptions in a player’s first two games: 19
New record: TWENTY-FIVE !!!
Thought No. 7
Speaking of hat tips . . .
In the last ‘12 Thoughts’ article, I tipped my hat to a handful of non-Seahawks . . . and jinxed every last one of them 🙂
Hat Tip No. 1: Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff, holder of the 3rd-longest interception-free streak in NFL history.
Heading into the Lions’ home-opener against the Seahawks, Goff’s streak sat at 359: 40 behind Tom Brady’s streak of 399 and 43 behind Aaron Rodger’s streak of 402.
Enter Tre Brown, ender of streaks.
Hat Tip No. 2: Santa Clara QB Brock Purdy, the first QB in NFL history to win each of his first six career starts and throw at least two touchdown passes in each one.
Purdy was touchdown-free on Sunday.
As a bonus, Purdy’s streak of games with a passer rating over 95.0 also ended, although just barely: he finished the game with a rating of 93.1.
Hat Tip No. 3: Atlanta Falcons QB Desmond Ridder . .
To quote myself:
Atlanta Falcons QB Desmond Ridder has thrown zero interceptions over his first five career starts. According to ESPN, quarterback starts were first tracked in 1950, and in the 73 years since then, no one has ever done that in their first SIX.
Yeah . . . the Packers ended that dream on Atlanta’s first offensive series.
Hat Tip No. 4: Washington Commanders QB Sam Howell had both a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in each of his first two games, and was looking to become the first player ever to accomplish the feat in his first three games . . .
To quote Meghan Trainor: “Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no.”
Howell had two TDs through the air . . .
. . . but none on the ground.
Thought No. 8
Continuing the theme of quarterback disappointments . . .
Joe Burrow’s numbers in Week 2 (27-of-41 for 222 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT) were much better than Week 1 (14-of-31 for 82 yards), but . . .
He is clearly struggling, and the Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 . . . again.
Also 0-2 with a struggling QB?
The Denver Broncos.
Mookie provided excellent coverage of the wild finish by Russell Wilson and the Broncos on Sunday (while also providing me with a nice tip for some of my fantasy teams), so I won’t belabor the point here other than to say that Nathaniel Hackett may not have been the problem in Denver.
And . . .
Although the Kansas City Chiefs are 1-1, et tu, Patrick?
Statistically, Mahomes is doing okay: 21-of-39 for 226 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT in Week 1; 29-of-41 for 305 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT in Week 2.
But this is Mahomes we’re talking about and the simple fact is that he’s not getting it done when it counts the same way he has in the past.
Case in point: Through two games, Kansas City is 9 of 27 on third down (33.3%) and they were worse Week 2 (4 of 13, 30.8%) than they were Week 1 (5 of 14, 35.7%).
At this time last year, the Chiefs were 9 of 20 (45%).
Note: As a comparison, the Seahawks are 7 of 20 on third down this year (35%), and that includes the abomination that was the second half of the Week 1 game when Seattle ran a total of 14 plays and went 0-4 on third down.
Thought No. 9
As someone who “discovered” Taylor Swift with his then-7-year-old daughter, endured (slash enjoyed) a 2+ hour concert with said 7-year-old (and her best friend) on Taylor’s first solo stop in the Pacific Northwest, and to this day considers Miss Swift one of his favorite artists E-V-E-R (go ahead and judge; I don’t mind), I found this not-so-subtle reference during the Travis Kelce touchdown call on Sunday absolutely hilarious.
Ian Eagle is the anti-hero for making a Taylor Swift reference on Travis Kelce’s TD catch
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 17, 2023
The pre-game comments from Rich Eisen were equally uproarious:
View this post on Instagram
Here’s the transcript for those that don’t have an Instagram account:
“Even though that bone bruise and the injury one would think is ‘delicate’, he’s been able to ‘shake it off’. … I should have known ‘all too well’ that you would not know. … You saw it on Thursday night, when Travis Kelce wasn’t in there, it left a ‘blank space’. But I think he returns today and proves to be the ‘anti-hero’. Never goes out of ‘style’. putting on the lone wolf hat. … “Kelce coming out (of the tunnel). ‘August’ is over; now September.”
Kelce’s response (on Instagram):
“Well played Rich…. Well played .”
For those that don’t follow Tay-Tay’s personal life (or Travis Kelce’s for that matter), they have reportedly been “hanging out” together, but definitely “not dating”.
Thought No. 10
Speaking of tight ends . . .
Here are the stat lines for Seattle’s tight ends vs. Detroit:
- Noah Fant: 4 of 4 for 56 yards, long of 31
- Will Dissly: 3 of 3 for 35 yards, long of 16
- Colby Parkinson: 2 of 3 for 41 yards, long of 21
Add that up and it’s a combined line of 9 catches on 10 targets for 132 yards.
That’s 43% of Seattle’s receiving yardage from Sunday’s game.
Note: I suspect that percentage is abnormally high because of the circumstances of the game – specifically, Seattle’s lack of starting tackles – but it might be interesting (for someone else) to dig into that.
Thought No. 11
Through Sunday’s games, ten of the fourteen Week 2 contests were decided by one score, which is already two more one-score games than there were in Week 1.
Then the Monday Night games both ended up being one-score affairs, bringing the total to 12 out of 16 or a full 75%.
I’m betting someone in the league office is grinning ear-to-ear.
Thought No. 12
Jason Myers missed a field goal in Week 1 but it wasn’t that much of a storyline because of the overall atrociousness of Seattle’s second-half performance.
Against the Lions, he missed two more.
For the season, he’s 3 of 6.
Not that we should be surprised given that Myers has historically been an odd-years-bad / even-years-good type of kicker, and 2023 is an odd year.
This isn’t Seahawks-related, or even NFL-related, but it IS Seattle-related.
On Sunday night, after basking in the glow of a Seahawks win while watching the PM and SNF games, I stumbled across a paywalled article wherein ESPN’s Bill Connelly ranked the 39 unbeaten college football teams.
Admittedly, half the reason I clicked on the article was because the lead photo was of University of Washington QB Michael Penix, and it looked like he was trying to hug me through my computer screen.
Connelly’s criteria for his rankings is/was:
A combination of computer rankings and my own opinions. I tend to adhere mostly to what the numbers say, but I reserve the right to have terrible opinions and overreact.
He then adds:
For instance, I’m really overreacting to what Washington has done so far this year.
With that overreaction properly acknowledged, Connelly has the Huskies ranked at NUMBER ONE on his list.
Here’s his write-up:
Honestly, I’m going with my gut here, and my gut’s wrong quite frequently. But Washington has played two SP+ top-60 teams so far — not amazing, but more than most at this stage of the season — and exceeded projections by more than 20 points in both games. Michael Penix Jr. is posting downright disgusting stats (444 passing yards per game, 11.5 yards per dropback), and we’re still learning about the team’s ceiling, especially on defense. I don’t know how long this will last, but the Huskies have been the best team of 2023.
And here’s his X showing the full top ten:
SP+ top 10 if preseason projections were removed*:
2 Ohio State
4 Notre Dame
9 Ole Miss
* I don’t remove them because priors are extremely predictive. But I like checking in on this list sometimes.
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) September 17, 2023
Go Hawks! (and Huskies!)
Originally posted on Field Gulls