russell wilson post2

Playing football as the visiting team in Seattle this year isn’t something I would wish on any team. It’s either raining or misty, and I’m not sure which is worse, and when that’s combined with the late-season cold, well, the suck runs deep.

Oh, and it’s loud. The sort of loud that’s not meant for humans.

This is in part why the Saints were thoroughly and utterly embarrassed last night. The other parts were defense, defense, defense, and Russell Wilson, who led an offense that’s doing what elite offenses do in December: become more and more frightening.

During their 34-7 win Monday night which clinched a playoff — the first team in the league to do so — the Seahawks did more than just wallop New Orleans in every way imaginable. They extended a streak of home dominance that’s becoming quite daunting.

In the still young but brilliant Wilson era, a visiting team still hasn’t won in the otherwise cozy northwest confines which have brought the world quality (if pompous) coffee, and Pearl Jam, among other things I’m sure. Last night the Seahawks played their sixth home game of this 2013 season, and they’ve won four of those games by 20 points or more, with the overall scoreboard in those half dozen games sitting at 196-84. Yowzas.

That’s contributed to an equally daunting stretch over the past three weeks for these Seahawks, which includes one road game (at Atlanta in Week 10). The scoreboard over that time: 108-37.

Maybe you’ll note that two of those games have come against the far inferior Vikings and Falcons, and fair enough. The counter, though, is that the most recent dominance came against the Saints. Let us count the ways in which the dem ‘Hawks owned everything the Saints did (or tried to do) on both sides of the ball, while shattering fantasy football dreams for those praying at the toes of Drew Brees.

On offense…

  • Brees was held to only 147 passing yards, his lowest output in a complete game since 2008.
  • He did that while averaging only 3.9 yards per pass attempt, far below his overall season average of 8.0. Worse — so much worse — it was his lowest YPA in a decade.
  • With Brees stymied, the Saints generated only 188 yards of total offense. Their per game average on the year even if we include last night’s debacle? 396.1.
  • Those averages get better/worse depending on your perspective. The Saints were held to a putrid 3.4 yards per play, and they’re averaging 6.0 on the year.
  • They’re also sixth in the league while averaging 26 points per game, which is a lot higher than seven. Those seven points tied the Saints’ lowest single-game output during the Brees/Sean Payton era, and they also flirted with the worst loss during said era (a 31-point drubbing still stands).

And on defense…

  • The Saints defense under Rob Ryan and with its offseason additions has been a much improved unit, and they entered last night allowing only 309.9 offensive yards, the fifth best total in the league. Wilson then led an offense which posted 429 yards, 315 of which came in the first half.
  • Just as they did offensively, the nasty (the bad sort of nasty) Saints averages kept coming. The Saints were allowing 5.2 yards per play, which jumped by a full yard to 6.2. That particular average was far worse at the end of the first half when Seattle had finished scoring 27 of their 34 points, while chugging along at 7.9 yards per play.
  • Annnd one more: the Saints were allowing only 17.8 points per game, which was exceed easily in one half, and shattered overall.
  • The Saints’ secondary had given up only six passes for 40 yards or more through 11 games. In one quarter, Wilson completed passes for 60 and 52 yards to Doug Baldwin and Zach Miller.

Wilson was brilliant, finishing with 310 passing yards and three touchdowns, while adding 47 rushing yards to lead his offense there too. He completed 73.3 percent of his passes, and his yards per attempt exceeded 10.0 for the third straight game (10.3). He also posted his third straight game with a passer rating over 130.0 (139.6) while landing balls in the desired hands through a vast array of positions, from standard pocket chucking to rollouts in either direction, and fading lobs with pinpoint placement. It all added up to 28 fantasy points. Sorry, did I just drool on you?

He’s also a physics major.

With the tie breakers they’ve now accumulated, the Seahawks effectively have a three-game lead over the Saints and Panthers in the race for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and both of those teams have to play each other twice.

Godspeed to all who dare enter Seattle in January.

More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

From bad to hahahahaha ohhhh man

For most humans, a good way to mentally overcome a rough night is to be unconscious for a while in bed before restarting the next day. Unfortunately, the Saints didn’t have that luxury right away because their team plane broke down last night, and then they struggled to find a hotel in Seattle.

Gruden be grinding


The anatomy of complete incompetence

Turning to other non-Seattle dominating matters, the officiating disaster Sunday night to conclude the Redskins-Giants game continues to quite rightfully be a major topic of conversation. Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky provides a breakdown of how everyone involved massively screwed up what should have been a simple matter of communication.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that one blown call — even something incomprehensible like not signaling the proper down — can’t solely determine the outcome of a game. At that point Sunday night nearly 59 minutes of football had been played, with many other events and opportunities for the Redskins to change the final score.

The problem, though, is that one of the final events which concluded another loss was far out of the Redskins’ control during a clearly critical time.

Try to breathe normally, Aaron Rodgers owners

If those who own Aaron Rodgers in their fake football leagues have somehow still clawed their way to the playoffs, later today could be your ultimate end time.

That’s when Rodgers will have further tests performed on his injured shoulder/collarbone to determined his availability this weekend against Atlanta, and beyond, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.

To the surprise of no one, the Packers are winless in five games without Rodgers, though a sister-kissing tie is thrown in there. That means they have to win out to make the playoffs. So here’s what you’re looking at if Rodgers isn’t quite ready to play this week, and then the Packers lose to Atlanta: doom.

With their remaining games then pretty much meaningless, the decision would surely be made to shut Rodgers down for the remainder of the season, because that’s what a smart franchise does with the cornerstone of its future.

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