Inconsistency, injuries and irregular play have riddled the Seattle Seahawks, who somehow, are the owners of an 8-3-1 record. Their struggles are only a microcosm of what the NFL has turned in to this year, and a team that exemplifies the current play of the NFL, the Carolina Panthers, came to town for a gold old fashioned NFC heavyweight showdown. Or beatdown. Long are the days of Cam Newton and the Panthers dabbing on sidelines, as they’ve been subjected to shells of themselves compared to their remarkable 2015 season. Winning and dabbing cures everything.
The Hawks won 40-7 in a decisive victory, but I wouldn’t be so quick to claim that they’re “ready to make a playoff push.” Hold your horses, sports analyst who gets paid to gasbag – if there’s one thing the Hawks have proven, along with the rest of the “good” teams in the NFL, is that it’s getting harder to predict anything from the NFL.
As great as the Hawks’ offense was last Sunday, it wasn’t too long that ago that they put up an absolute stinker in Tampa Bay. Five points were provided by a field goal and safety.
Already depleted and thinking of their off-season plans, the Panthers’ defense ranks in the bottom of the league in total yards given up, which gave the Hawks a chance to get a groove going on offense. The Hawks were able to establish a balanced game through the air and ground, as the returning Thomas Rawls scored twice, Russell Wilson threw a touchdown, and was sacked only three times as that offensive line continues find its way even in the late month of December, and has proven to be the deciding factor on if the Hawks’ offense play well and if the team wins or loses. Again, another microcosm of how the NFL is now…you can look and juxtapose the struggling and prospering teams just based off of their offensive line play and how (in) consistent their play is. The Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders are prime examples of this; just check their win-loss records.
Also, returning on the defensive side, Michael Bennett seemed to be in the groove of receiving his annual off-sides penalty.
In all seriousness, I’d be nervous to see a healthy Hawk defense, who haven’t had the benefit of their key players being healthy and on the field in at the same time. The cards must not be in their favor, though. As Hawks fans were celebrating the return of Bennett, in the Second quarter, the defense took a huge blow as Earl Thomas, in a case of friendly fire, collided with Kam Chancellor while in the air, breaking his tibia and was immediately ruled out for the rest of the season.
An injury that can’t be glossed over.
Right after Thomas left the field, the next play Cam Newton threw a deep pass on 3rd and 17 and connected with Ted Ginn for a touchdown. A secondary that depends entirely on the defensive line pressuring the qb, it will be interesting to see how the Hawks will try to replace Thomas.
Next week, they’re faced with going to vaunted Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers, who, you guessed it, seem to be “making a playoff push,” too. Man, who knows?
Tune in this week, (beginning Thursday), to find out who else will make their “playoff push” in another episode of the NFL!