Coming out of last Sunday's matchup against the Chicago Bears, it's really hard to think about anything other than rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. The last two drives he orchestrated in the fourth quarter and overtime were magical to say the least.
He used seven different receiving options on the final two drives, and Darrell Bevell's play calling was pristine. It took all hands on deck to wear out and overcome one of the best defenses in the league. After a fourth quarter collapse one week prior, there's no question Seattle needed this victory as they try and hang on to the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Heading into Week 14, the Seahawks finally return home to host the Arizona Cardinals after two straight games on the road. The Cardinals are currently losers of eight straight and have only been averaging 9.6 points per game with rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley under center.
It's also worth mentioning that the last time Ken Whisenhunt's club won at CenturyLink Field was 2009. As the 'Hawks look to go 8-5, let's take a look at the good, the bad and everything in-between.
Would it really be fair to talk about anyone besides No. 3 under this heading? He was the Seahawks offense on Sunday, and without him, they wouldn't have beat the Bears. I don't care how much money Matt Flynn is making—we all see why Pete Carroll chose Wilson over Flynn.
According to the analysts over at Pro Football Focus, his best game as a pro came against the Bears for a multitude of different reasons. Thanks in large part to the Zone-Read option plays towards the end of the game, Wilson graded out as a plus-2.2 as a runner.
He also managed to grade out as a plus-3.0 as a passer—his third highest output of the season. It also pronounced his fourth straight game with a passer rating above 100. The four straight games with a quarterback rating above 100 has helped him tie the franchise record for most 100-plus rating games in a season.
If he can manage to keep the streak going this week, he will hold the franchise record with seven games. Remember, one week earlier, he set an NFL record as he became the only rookie quarterback in NFL history to post a 125-plus quarterback rating in three consecutive games.
Moreover, Wilson has done a tremendous job at protecting the ball. On the season, he has only turned the ball over 11 times—eight of the turnovers came via interceptions and the other three were fumbles lost. However, the last interception he threw was back in October against the Lions.
Every week it seems as if he progresses forward in every way possible. He has done a better job of protecting the ball as the season has rolled on, and he has become a better decision maker as well. When I watch him, at times I forget that he is still a rookie.
The rookie class of Andrew Luck, RGIII and Wilson could go down as one of the best rookie quarterback classes in the history of the NFL.
Without question the distinguished "bad" label belongs to the Seattle Seahawks secondary, more specifically, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. We all know that both players are facing impending suspensions, but surely that factor shouldn't loom over their head the way it did against Chicago, should it?
Apparently it did as both Sherman and Browner were abused by Jay Cutler's favorite target, Brandon Marshall. Marshall posted a season high 165 yards on 10 receptions and posted a season-long catch of 56 yards.
By breaking down his numbers even farther you realize that most his yards came against Sherman and Browner equally. Marshall caught six of seven targets against Browner for 77 yards with a quarterback rating of 104.7. Against Sherman, Marshall caught three balls for 74 yards and a quarterback rating of 109.7.
Without a doubt, he proved to be the Seahawks biggest challenge all season long. The last time the cornerback trio played this poorly was against Detroit on October 28th.
Heading into Week 14, it appears as if Sherman will be all alone against All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on Sunday. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported earlier today that Browner will indeed start his suspension immediately and miss the final four games of the season.
NFL announced that Seahawks CB Brandon Browner suspended four games without pay, effective immediately.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 5, 2012
For those of you out there who wanted the suspensions staggered, you have gotten your wish. Browner will be eligible to return for the first round of the playoffs if Seattle does indeed make it, and if Sherman loses his hearing on December 14th, he won't be eligible to return until the NFC Championship game.
After a rough game against the Bears and the suspensions being handed down to one corner this week, there's no question, it has been a tough week for the Seahawks secondary.
Stock Watch (Week By Week Evaluation)
Rising: Russell Okung
Left tackle Russell Okung just keeps getting better every week doesn't he? Okung has rocked back in his stance 369 times in pass block situations and has yet to allow a quarterback sack. If you go back to 2011, it marks 12 straight games where he hasn't surrendered a sack.
Falling: James Carpenter
After coming on strong early on his return, offensive guard James Carpenter has seen his stock take a hit after a couple of different injuries have now shut him down for good. Yesterday, Seattle placed him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
Rising: Malcolm Smith
Coach Carroll said it and PFF agreed: Malcolm Smith played fantastic against Chicago. He did everything he was asked to do in coverage and played the run exceptionally well. LeRoy Hill should be back this week, yet it's worth noting that Smith's high level of play could make him a replacement for Hill down the line.
Falling: Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner was coming off his strongest performance of the season against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, but as they say, the NFL truly is a week-to-week league. Wagner recorded eight solo tackles against the Bears, but was embarrassed in coverage. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Earl Bennett all exploited him to the tune of four catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns allowed.
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