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This thread is for discussion of Sunday's NFC Championship between Carolina and Seattle: before, during, and after the game.
You can find discussion of the AFC Championship between Pittsburgh and Denver here.
It's kinda funny, but listening to ESPN and other news sources, you'd think Steve Smith was the new Chuck Norris. Bring me Sunday already so I can either get over this "impending doom" feeling, or bear witness to the greatest Seattle sports moment since 1979.
not to be Mr. kiss of death here, but lets not forget our friend regression to the mean.
Yeah Smith had an amazing game.
He had an great year. But really, how likely is that to happen again? I am probably in the minority, but I like the Seahawks defense.
I think all real Seahawks fans believe that they're going all the way this year. As a fake Seahawks fan, I'm feeling some trepidation. (If you're wondering, "How can I tell if I'm a real Seahawks fan?" Here's a simple test. If you are a fake 'Hawks fan, like myself then last year when they were 3-0, and 15 minutes away from going 4-0, you say, "They might be the best team in the NFC!" If you are a real 'Hawks fan, like my wife, you confidently predict, "they're going 8-8." I used to think the true fans would believe they would somehow still manage to 8-8 even after they hit 12 wins, but I've since discovered that around 12 wins you succumb to all of the optimism you've been secretly holding in your heart for 20 years.)
I started to give in to the Seahawks optimism after they took Philly behind the woodshed. I don't care if Inanimate Carbon Rod was the QB, that was the kind of game the Seahawks found a way to lose over the past couple of years.
I also think (hope?) that the Panthers will show regression to the mean this week. They've been playing out of their collective gourds for 3 straight weeks on the road, and I'm not sold on them doing it for a 4th week. Of course, I also tend to think someone can't keep flipping "heads" on a coin because eventually "tails" is due.
Bring on Sunday! Go 'Hawks!
Go! Carbon! Rod!
Rod's got hands. ~what hands?~
Aaron basically did his preview in the audio file. A lot of it will be whether Seattle can slow down Smith, and whether Seattle will be able to pass to Jurevicius all day long. My suspicion on both is 'yes'.
Is there any sense in Seattle that perhaps the team & players are letting the whole thing go to their heads ? Are they succumbing to the 'this is our year' hype what with getting the playoff monkey off their back, the Colts & Pats imploding last weekend and Carolina's mounting injuries. Just asking/hoping as am on the Panthers at 16/1 !!
Not so far, no. They're kind of overwhelmed, but the big thing in Seattle is 'can Seattle stop Steve Smith'. There's very little sense of entitlement that I can see, and most fans are at best cautiously optimistic. As pointed out above, a real Seattle fan believes that they'll go 8-8 even if it's mathematically impossible for them to do so.
Also, woohoo! Bill Simmons has picked the Panthers to win this game! (linked in name)
Seattle's going to the superbowl, baybee!
Cautiously optimistic is a good mood to be in as a Seattle resident. I haven't been a diehard Seahawks fan over the years but certainly am glad to see the team's success.
With that said, Mike Holmgren better construct a clever and balanced offensive plan; the running game has done well all year but this may be the biggest challenge yet. He'd better not go pass whacky, even though they have a great passing game. That means, run on 3rd and 2; and run on 4th and 1 at Carolina 35.
Oh, and the Sea Gals better show some professionalism by being very visually pleasing, even on such cold, dreary, and grey northwest days.
You heard it hear first!
No reasons, just seeing if i have the magic mojo two weeks in a row.
So what gives? AFC discussion thread has nearly 50 posts from both sides (granted many are from "we hate/love your/our city!" camp, and nothing to do with the game)...All we got here is some morbidly, quietly optimistic Sea-birds afraid to spread their wings. Where are all the Cats (among the Seahawks?)
The Seahawks are way to balanced to lose this game. As long as Alexander doensn't feel the effects of the concussion, they will be too much to match even if Steve Smith has 2 TD's. Peter Warrick will be returning punts over Williams, so take the worst punt returner in the league out of the equation and you have Hawks + the 12th man = 1 ass whoopin.
Seahawks - 35
Panthers - 17
#9's been reading too much TMQ, I think. Next he'll be getting angry when we blitz on 3rd and long :p
#12 - Believe it or not I don't think I've seen a single poster speak up about being a Carolina fan all season, although some people certainly like them to beat Seattle (see: Andrew the Eagles fan, who has basically been the FO-community version of Skip Bayless since long before Skip Bayless was)
I don't see Seattle running over the Carolina line. Like I said here previously this week, the Redskins defensive line did a good job... Seattle should've been called for holding on the first two TDs.
Hasselbeck was lucky the Redskins didn't have 2 int's last week... save Carlos Rogers' hands the 'Skins potentially could've gone up 10-0!
I see no reason to believe Steve Smith won't continue his romp around the NFC.
Seattle will be able to pressure Delhomme sometimes, but his line will give him time... it's a matter of Delhomme hooking up with 75% Smith, 24 % Proel, and 1% Carbon Rod WHEN he has the chance (and conversely the Seahawks covering).
Alexander better not be jumping up and down like a schoolgirl in the second quarter on the sidelines.
I forsee the referees playing a big part....
I see Seattle winning by a hair... (it will come down to a missed FG).
Walt, you've got the 'Hawks fan psychology down perfectly. It was precisely with the 12th win when I finally admitted to myself that we were likely to do better than 9-7 this year.
I wonder, btw, if the definition of a "real" Hawks fan is someone who made it through the Evil Ken Behring Years intact.
I think it's very simple. The difference between Seattle's offense vs. Carolina's defense is much greater than the difference between Carolina's offense vs. Seattle's defense. The game may be close, but I don't see Carolina winning without a significant turnover advantage (which is what I thought last week of Seattle vs. Washington, yet Seattle turned it over 3 times and still won by 10 -- quite an amazing accomplishment, really).
Sometimes, the Panthers simply throw Smith short passes and screens in the desperate hope that he will single-handedly create a big play. Don't expect this to change on Sunday, as Seattle's defense led the NFL in passes by opponents to their No. 1 receivers.
How is No. 1 receiver defined, for your purposes (I apologize for being late to the party)? Is it the perception of who the No. 1 is? The stats to that point in time? I'm sure this is somewhere on site and I haven't backtracked far enough yet to find it.
Nifty Colbert Report reference. You should have stuttered four or five times through the article if you REALLY wanted to get the full vibe, though.
I(a seattle fan) was looking back at ESPN's "experts" picks over the season and came across two disturbing and almost certainly meaningless patterns.
Merril Hodge has correctly predicted the outcome of every Seattle game this year. He's taking the Panthers on Sunday.
Carolina has only lost this season when Espn's panel has unanimously predicted they will win. While a unanimous vote of confidence from the gang didn't always result in a loss(the Panthers were 6-5 with this precondition), it seems that not being picked to win by the entire panel really got the Panthers' ire up(5-0). This Sunday the panel is not in agreement.
Smith was unstoppable all season, leading the league in receiving yards and touchdowns. But last week, Smith shifted into another gear of unstoppable, with 218 yards and two touchdowns against a defense that considered itself one of the best of all time.
Probably a little nitpicky, but why no credit for the 26 yards rushing? Yards from scrimmage are yards from scrimmage, right? (Smith also had a TD run against the Giants the week prior.)
"Merril Hodge has correctly predicted the outcome of every Seattle game this year. Heâ€™s taking the Panthers on Sunday."
That's bizarre. He just picked Seattle to win on NFL Matchup last night. I guess he's covering all his bases!
#12: Seahawks is a lame nickname. What is a seahawk?
#15: "Sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talking about the Dude here - the Dude from Carolina. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the Dude. The Dude, from Carolina." John Kasay is the Dude.
"#12: Seahawks is a lame nickname. What is a seahawk?"
Seahawk is another name (along with fish hawk and fishing eagle) for osprey, which is a large bird in the hawk family. The name osprey comes from the Latin word for 'bone breaker'.
It's wing spread can be nearly six feet, and it's diet consists entirely of fish.
Anyhow, I'm predicting a Seahawks win, but ever since Steve Smith revealed himself to be the reincarnation of the Messiah in the playoffs, I've been slightly nervous.
Seattle is the better all-around team, and this is the fourth road game in a row for the Panthers, but they have been on a roll, so Seattle will have to have one of their better games all-around to pull it out.
I appreciate Steve Smith for his amazing abilities, but 212 yards is really only 115, plus two plays in which the CB covering him tripped, in which he may or may not have run for a touchdown, if he even caught the ball.
Not taking away, because clearly he did catch the ball, and the CB's failings are precisely that - the CB's, not his. However, saying that he turned it up a notch last week may be over-stating it just a little.
So when a WR and CB's legs get tangled up its ok to delete those catches because the cornerback fell down? Rather than point out the rediculous concentration and balance of the WR that subsiquently burned him for 6? And on the first one I might point out SS looked like a mirror image of the Reggie Bush left sideline come-to-a-complete-stop-turn-go-to-the-endzone run against Fresno State.
And yeah I'm a Carolina fan, not my #1, but deffinately a fan.
Wait, there's a second game on tomorrow? ;)
I agree, you can't take away those long passes, because even if the CB stayed up, the balls were thrown well and Smith is, well, Smith.
Steve Smith is sort of turning into the new Vrabel Goal Line Pass. Everyone knows its coming. Why don't they defend against it?! It's right there! Double team him! Get safety help! Do SOMETHING! It boggles the mind.
I think both teams score 27 points or more tomorrow, but I haven't checked the weather report. Neither team is dominant enough, in relationship to the other, to avoid making luck a huge factor in the outcome. Anybody here good at predicting missed field goal attempts?
Ahh. Intelligent writing. I really needed this after (stupidly) reading one of Skip Bayless' columns on ESPN.com. It it so mindnumbingly bad that I must include a link to it.
It seems obvious that the SeaHawk fans have not seen any Carolina games this week. Steve Smith really is amazing. He is having the best year of any WR ever. Period. It is extremely difficult to win four games on the road and the refs have been giving the home teams, especially Seattle, huge advantages. Actually, all home teams not playing Pittsburgh. If the refs allow the line to hold and call the games one-sided like they did against the Redskins than Seattle will win. However, if the refs call a good game than Seattle better show up with more than that crap they brought last week. A season of beating up on the worst division in football and teams not trying hard isn't going to do it against a team that has been through the crucible of the toughest division and late schedule in football. Seattle better hope that the injuries and fatigue catch up with the Panthers. I haven't seen anything from them so far.
#29-Thanks for posting the article. I loved it! As a Panthers fan, it pretty much sums up my feelings about the game Sunday.
#30: Maybe Carolina should have tried harder in the regular season, then they would have home field advantage and the refs would call the game for them instead.
Or maybe the refs are just equally bad for all teams. The only thing you've come up with for your complain, morganja, is that PIT has been called less than home teams. Maybe they just committed fewer penalties? Especially in the absence of a truckload of penalties to complain about, it's not very convincing.
Anyway, this isn't the AFC thread. Steve Smith is good, yes, but we have also yet to see a team actually gameplan for him properly. He's Vrabel at the goal line, every single play- no one seems to pay him any attention. Whether or not Seattle will also make that mistake, or play him like the Bears did when they embarassed the cats in the regular season, is to be seen. Football isn't like basketball; no matter how good one player is, it is never impossible to take that player away or at least severely limit his impact. And with Carolina, that's a real problem, because they have no one else.
I think this game is about the third most important in Panthers history, but perhaps the most important in Seahwaks history.
I don't know about Carolina. I've seen them in the bowl before. But this is most definitley the most important game in Seahawks history, no question.
From the quote of the day:
"We're always asking each other what we were thinking. We have a unique relationship. We argue at times. He gets mad at me. I get mad at him. It's almost like two women. I won't talk to him for a couple of hours because I don't like something he did. He'll say, 'What's the matter?' and I'll say, 'Nothing.' It's a really good relationship."
-- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith on his relationship with quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Now you know...and knowing is half the battle!
A little old but this article sums up the feeling of any Seahawks fan:
re: #36 - I guess Seahawks fans have to hope that right before kickoff, Delhomme tells Smith he looks like he's retaining water.
I don't hear enough complaining about respsect from Seahawks fans! Almost no-one picked your team, and you guys hosed your conference this year!
Of course, not complaining about respect is a good thing.... Either way, I'm pulling for Seattle. They deserve it.
Fnor - I think, for a lot of Seahawks fans, the respect thing is almost peripheral at this point. I mean, we've been fashionable pre-season Super Bowl picks in past seasons and nothing happened.
After 30 years, you just sort of want to see the answers on the field. The predictions, one way or the other, seem pretty irrelevant. Except for the fact that Skip Bayless is a jackass.
If we win, there will be plenty of time for respect.
mosey on over to my link for more on the 'Seahawk' bird...
Every Seattle close win or loss goes under the microscope, but Carolina lost to New Orleans and Miami, played close games with Arizona, Detroit, and Buffalo. In their loss to Dallas they gave up 200+ yards on the ground, and just last week they gave up 21 points to one of the worst offenses to make the playoffs in quite some time. This team is beatable.
Oh, and I am aware that the losses to Miami and New Orleans were early in the season, but so were Seattle's losses to Jacksonville and Washington.
Good luck to both teams and their fans. Let's hope for a great game!
I think fans of both teams are better off with a Seahawk victory. Panthers fans have had too much success. They need to suffer more to achieve the "tragic sense of life" so eloquently described by Goethe. Seahawks fans have mastered the tragic sense of life, but they in turn must learn that even in tragedy there is still hope.
C'mon, Walt, gimme a break. "Tragic sense of life"? You guys are an expansion team, for cryin' out loud.
What? How long? Thirty years?
Never mind, I'll just go in a corner now and feel really old.
You haven't been paying attention to the Panthers if you think we haven't suffered. Never mind the 15 game losing streak. Let's talk about Rae Carruth murdering his pregnant girlfriend, Fred Lane murdered by his wife, the greatest Panther of them all Sam Mills dying of cancer this past year, Fields with Hodgins disease. What has Seattle suffered? Mediocrity over thirty years? They're owned by Microsoft. What do they expect?
TomC: What, are you 210 years old? 30 years isn't a long time? My 90-year old aunt would concede that 30 years is a long time.
Morganja: If you don't think 30 years of mediocrity is suffering, I suggest trying it.
Anyway, my post was a joke. I claimed that Carolina fans would be better off if the Seahawks won. I quoted Goethe. Do I actually need to put the little smiley face on it?
Damn, Walt Pohl. Do you want to talk about it? Surely there's something outstanding you've done in the past thirty years? Anything?
Walt - I guess we both need smileys. I was trying to poke fun at the fact that even though I was 5 years old when they came into the league, I still think of the 'Hawks and Bucs as expansion teams. 30 years of suffering is indeed enough to make any fan base legitimately due.
If Seattle puts two guys on Steve Smith, I think they win by 10. If they adopt the Chicago gameplan (stubbornly stick to your moronic scheme and ignore the opponent), they'll probably lose.
I'm worried, because Seattle didn't exactly double-cover Moss a lot of the time last week.
I'd like to welcome AFC thread-followers in as they file out of dejected Mile High. We're 20 minutes to kickoff and in addition to the Inanimate Carbon Rod (of course), we've also heard from Goethe, the Dude, Chuck Norris and (perhaps) Linux. Morganja is your pilot; he'll be letting us know all the plays where Walter Jones totally got away with a hold on Mike Minter, which has already occurred four times during pre-game stretching.
TomC: Sorry about that.
morganja: Take your sorry trash talk back to whatever illiterate fan site you came from. This is where the adults discuss football.
I agree with Sid on this one. However, I also think Ray Rhodes is not a fool. They will double or triple Smith on every play.
Seattle will win. 24-17.
Bayless (as well as some posters here) is typical of the mindset that just wants to shrink the country and assign us to Canada so that they don't have to think about us. I'm sure that after the Seahawks go on to win the Super Bowl that the official NFL video will have to be titled "Seattle Seahawks: We Apologize for the Inconvenience."
Funny that morganja would accuse Seahawks fans of not seeing any Panthers games. Judging from the number of appearances on Fox, it's hard to imagine the rest of the country seeing much else (after the Giants).
Walt - No worries. But I think you might have reacted a bit strongly to morganja's fairly harmless ribbing. Anyone who writes what he wrote in post #42 can hardly be accused of trash talking.
Oh wait, maybe that's what you were referring to, in which case I congratulate you on your fine use of irony and further demonstrate the need for strategically placed smileys to aid literalists like me.
Anyword on pregame trash talk to Steve Smith?
Woo! A good game I can actually relax and just enjoy! This will be excellent.
I must admit that I preferred the trumpet-player national anthem, but at least Ms. Underwood isn't jazzing it up too much.
Give me Chris Botti any day.
Ah, apparently Seattle has decided to cover Steve Smith.
News flash! In a change of pace, Seattle's punt returner does NOT fumble.
16 of 16 on 3rd and 1, and he's stopped by a defense that's been terrible on 3rd and short all year long. Weird.
How much did those last 2 plays cost Alexander in market value? 2 mil?
Oh for Christ's bloody sake, why couldn't Carolina have started out like this LAST week?
(Yes, I'm a bitter Bears fan.)
Good spot by the UK studio guys. Nick Goings is playing on the punt coverage team for Carolina and so is Brad Hoover their FB. As short handed as they are at RB, is this wise?
Great catch by Wallace
Wow, that's the best catch by a QB I've ever seen.
WTF?!?! Senaca Wallace? You're kidding?
Panthers showed strong getting the stop after a 2nd-and-1.
Hey, two straight three-and-outs for that no-name Seahawks D!
It's not for nothing Carolina was ranked 20th (IIRC) against TEs. Stevens open time and again. Wide open in the middle of the field for the TD.
Is anyone watching this game?! Will the game thread even reach 200!?!?
Joe Theismann and Mike Florio picked them as well. They're doomed.
Just went to the ESPN page for this game. They list players to watch for Carolina: Delhomme at QB, Smith at WR, Foster at RB. Someone at ESPN isn't reading the injury reports.
It's because FO has like 5-10 rabid Steelers fans.
I'm betting on yes. I'm also betting that I'll have a lot to do with it (posting every ad break, basically).
Carolina has run 8 plays... for 4 yards. Go blue D.
Carolina looks pretty terrible.
So there are 4 Seahawks within 3 yards of Smith and Delhomme still throws it to him?
Looks like Michael chose the wrong weekend to watch Lofa...he's jumped every run, and now the pick...wow...
Steve Smith is officially overhyped. After 9 Carolina plays, they put up this "NO catches today" graphic under Smith. Like it's the end of the world or something.
Finally saw what the 'Hawks D is doing to cover Smith. They ran the WLB out to jam him first. Nice to put a bigger body on him before letting him get into coverage.
Nice to see the use of the TE in the game plan.
So, someone that's been there-- do the fans really rock the noise like I'm hearing, or are we getting the Fox Specialty Microphone?
J. Stevens, SEA, 44 yards, 6 points.
Carolina, 4 yards, 0 points.
3:35 left in 1 qtr. For those people not watching the game.
I actually like Troy Aikman, but that was a laugh-out-loud moment just now:
TA: Walter Jones is such a great left tackle; he never gets help.
(Replay simultaneously shows Robbie Tobeck moving over to help Jones on Rucker.)
Still it's amazing how feeble Carolina looks when the other time decides to actually play defense against its best player.
You know what I like about the Playoffs? All that uncalled holding. Mmm, mmm, good.
um ... facemask?
Seattle is doing what Chicago didn't bother to do: double-cover Steve Smith. Jake Delhomme locks in on Smith, and Tatupu took advantage with that INT. I forsee a long day for Carolina ahead.
BTW, Hasselbeck did a nice job selling pass after handing off to Alexander earlier.
To any shocked Broncos fans reading this thread:
I lived in Arizona for 19 years, and there are two absolute certainties I learned while living there. Through the 119 degree summers with 28 degree winters; through the Republican-dominated DC delegation and Democratic governor; through the droughts and monsoons, there has been one certainty in the last 10 years: Never, ever, ever, EVER EVER trust Jake Plummer to come through in the clutch.
Now, I didn't watch the game, but I meant to write this earlier: I've watched Jake the Fake since he started at ASU, and I can tell you, he's no Danny Woeful (you read that correctly). I was among the many who were shocked when he landed 20 for 5 in Denver, and was just waiting. Just waiting.
So, Denver fans (especially Kibbles): I'm sorry, but we (Zonies) told you so.
Now, I'll be interested to see how he actually played in the game.
Now we can just wait for Matt Leinart...
RE 84: I've been waiting to see the LB/CB double cover on a WR for a while now. I run a website with custom Madden plays (click name) and I've built a very successful defensive formation largely around this strategy.
Has anyone seen this strategy used before in real life?
who else does Carolina have?
Is He Hate Me active for this game?
If Shawn Alexander doesn't break 100 yards today, can we start to call him overrated?
and its all over but the crying :)
Oh yeah, and the other one (forgot, distracted by INT replay): Never underestimate AZ Senators' love for the spotlight. Only two AZ certainities.
Big helmet-to-helmet hit, and it doesn't look good for Goings. Who runs the ball for Carolina?
And now Goings wobbles off the field. I guess Brad Hoover will have to try to establish a credible running threat for the Panthers.
Wow...what a collision between Goings and Tatupu. Goings headed off the field. If I was the coach, I'd have a doc do a quick check of Tatupu as well. He may be quite alright, but check to see his eyes are focusing, he knows where he is, etc and then back on to the field.
RE 93, it gets used on people like Tony Gonzalez of Antonio Gates, but I haven't seen it on a WR.
Is Carolina down to running Brad Hoover now?
92. I haven't read other FOers thoughts, but I thought Plummer did alright, apart from the interceptions obviously... he was getting fairly harrased by the burgh and scrambling around pretty well to keep plays alive.
RE: Post 66-- What a bit of ESP. Goings goes out.
WOW! Delhomme tosses another INT!
So much for Delhomme's playoff QB rating. That throw puts Jake to shame.
Delhomme floats another one and Manuel intercepts! Hawks get another drive starting in the red zone!
Wow, Ray Rhodes is really making Ron Rivera and Lovie Smith look like fools.
Re. 93 - I've used your site - I'm quite a fan of the full house formations. Is it not possible to put the actual madden playbook file up for download?
And Jake throws an int... doesn't look like it's a good day for QBs named Jake..
On a couple of Plummers worst looking plays PIT was getting significant pressure with 3 rushers, which is doubly bad for him since that means not only is he being hurried, but there are 8 men back covering 3 or 4 recieving options. I know on one play he was sacked/threw it away when PIT rushed 3 and DEN had 7 blockers!
puts Jake Plummer to shame, I meant.
WHY couldn't Jake have played like this against the Eagles two years ago? (Probably, because the Eagles didn't get any pressure on him. Still, it hurts to watch.)
Delhomme: 0/6, 0 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Hasselback: 8/8, 93 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.
*Sid writes game over in his notebook*
17-0 Seattle. It's 12:30am in the UK. Can I go to bed already? :)
Alexander gets a TD. Nice followup to the 18-yard run where he picked his way through traffic in nice fluid fashion.
'Hawks up 17-0!
Judging by history, the Seahawks will try really hard to give this away. They may not suceed, but expect some late-game drama. In other words, James, no. ;-)
I don't care what anyone calls it, an osprey is not a hawk.
RE 109: unlike most Madden gamers who use custom playbooks, I don't play on PC, which makes offering downloads kinda tough.
I would apologize for going off-topic like this, but seeing the current score, I don't think I'll worry about it. Yeesh.
The Seattle fans are still expecting a collosal collapse... so no bed until the 2nd half James.
Terry Bradshaw said on the pregame that the Steelers beat either of these teams in 2 weeks. I hope he's watching closely. The Seattle D is playing great! I just want a good, competitive Super Bowl. (That and world peace ;-))
Allright Mr. Delhomme... can't do much worse than that now, can you?
He Hate Me Rides Again!
Ballsy call on 3rd-and-1.
#118: There is no such animal as a "seahawk". As far as I can tell, it's a some kind of horrible misinterpretation of that Errol Flynn movie. I.e., there used to be a "Sea Hawks" teams somewhere on the east coast, and people here got confused, liked the "Sea" part of a half-remebered reference and we all said "Go with it!".
I.e., they're actually pirates.
Perfect read on that attempted screen to Smith. Lewis read it so well he headed the ball out of bounds!
You know, I think Seattle might -- just maybe -- have some respect for Steve Smith.
If Seattle put 11 on Smith, will Delhomme still try to throw to him?
1:36 am in Amsterdam. What do I want more, a good football game, or some sleep?
Oh. Another three-and-out. Never mind.
Ok, I'll stick around. :) principally because I remember the regular-season meltdown against the Rams last year. And as I write, Delhomme sacked, it's 4th and forever and Carolina punts. This is getting ugly REALLY fast.
(130) True, but for some of us it's a good kind of ugly.
On the play where they called holding, Bernard dragged down Delhomme by the hand. There was a similar play in the Steelers game.
Bernard looking very good early on. Delhomme looking pathetic with Steve Smith getting take away.
I think he'd just chuck it at John Fox and say "Coach, I did my best."
Is the 21 point rule in effect, cause we're not going to just watch you two play all day.
DO NOT F WITH STEVE SMITH!!
awww... penalty :(
Block in the back? poor old Steve.
So now for Steve Smith to touch the ball, he has to punt return.
Oh man, Smith returns for a TD and there's a flag taking it all the way back to the CAR 35. That kind of game....
anyway, good. i hate tickytack block in the back calls.
He was so close to calling the penalty, too!
That Steve Smith (genuflect) is the real deal.
More controversial officiating.
How 'bout that Steve Smith?
If I were a Seahawk or a Seahawk fan, I'd be pissed.
I want to know what Fox said to convince the refs to pick up the flag.
WTF? They picked up the flag?
Annoying, but if that's the only way the Panthers can score, then I think the 'Hawks will live with it.
I think that was a block in the back. Who got paid off to take away the penalty?
yo, is morganja around here?
they're picking up that flag because fox is whinging about it? after you get that horse@#$! 10-yard illegal block call on the first punt of the game?
yeah, we've seen this one before, too. is vinny testaverde's helmet in the house?
B - Is that John Fox or FOX Network?
If Seattle put 11 on Smith, will Delhomme still try to throw to him?
Hey, they put 10 on him and punted to him, look what happened...
Oh comon man...
Now the rest of the league is starting to rub off on Hochuli!
Great shot of Holmgren when the flag was picked up. He looks like he just shat his pants.
So now Seattle needs to figure out how to double-team Smith on punt returns.
"I want to know what Fox said to convince the refs to pick up the flag."
Fox: Ratings are going to be nonexistent if you don't give us this TD. Tags will have you umping pop warner ball tomorrow if you call this.
Good response to the punt return with a nice calming drive for a FG.
Steve Smith is like any other egotistic WR, apparently. Throws tantrums when the defense takes him out of the game.
BTW, I thought that was a bad call on the illegal contact on Darrell Jackson.
I actually like the non-call. He wouldn't have made the hit, it was a pansy little tap, just let them play. Or are we just penalizing any sort of touching, now?
Re 147, 152:
Maybe we should watch the Fox-bashing. Be a shame if the server had any "accidents."
Does Carolina not believe in putting Smith in motion to at least try to get him some space? Compare to the Steelers game, where Hines (and everyone else) was moving on almost every play.
I think you're geting your foxes mixed up....
...and 15 more on top of it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Wow, how about the hook the ball took after it looked like it was going in?
This fisheye view for field goal attempts we've seen today is rather less than welcome.
I, in general, think that CBS' football coverage clobbers FOX's, but you think they'd pick up on that radical little idea of actually zooming on the field goal as it travels to make it easier to follow.
...Or maybe I'm just in the minority here.
And Smith should have caught that (1st and 10).
We have got to be at like 200 comments now.
Anyway, 2-5-CAR30 (:43) S.Alexander left guard to CAR 31 for -1 yards (J.Peppers).
That play call made no sense. They needed to try and get more yardage with time ticking away. Running the ball there was just stupid.
Bobby Engram has two catches, and I think they are both for first downs.
Please let the second half go exactly like the first half did. As long as Rhodes keeps a LB, a CB and a Safety on Smith, the Seahawks will hold the Panthers to under 200 yards offense.
So can Delhomme produce a 2nd half like he did in the Super Bowl, or can I go bed at the end of the 3rd?
I meant John Fox. I like the ambiguity though, cause a consipiracy between the refs and the TV execs is always fun.
Beautiful drive after the second half kickoff, with MVP type runs from Alexander and a TD pass to Darrell Jackson.
Seahawks up 27-7!
This is unprecedented. A team from Seattle with, dare I say it?, a killer instinct.
So I guess Seattle didn't score so many points because they played a crap schedule? I was skeptical, but not any more. Does it seem like every time Hasselbeck throws a pass, his receiver is wide open?
James from London, if the Panthers don't answer with a TD, I think you can go to bed.
What a job by Bryce Fisher of sniffing out that screen and utterly shutting it down.
Wait for the Seahawks to get another TD. It's always 17 point leads that they blow in the 4th quarter.
I bet the official word on the flag picked up on the punt return for a TD will be that the Seahawk turned his back right before the 'contact'. He did try to pull up. Good call. The one on Seattle was a bad call earlier.
The refs are making a real effort this game. Much better officiating than I've seen all playoffs.
Its almost impossible with no RBs left for us. Jamal hasn't run all year. I doubt he knows all the plays, especially blitz pick-ups. Not looking good for the good guys.
Seattle's defense has really showed me something today. Ray Rhodes has really earned his money with this defensive scheme.
morganja: Take your sorry trash talk back to whatever illiterate fan site you came from. This is where the adults discuss football.
Walt, take it easy big guy. I obviously hit a nerve with that 30 years of mediocrity comment. Hang in there. I didn't mean to pile on. Just look in the mirror and tell yourself that you're good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like you.
is any player allowed to call a time out, or did the carolina sideline call a time out?
That must be part of Holmgren's master plan -- never lead by 17. That's why they went straight from +13 to +20.
Down by 20 pts, 4th down, have to take a TO because there aren't enough players on the field for the punt return. We're all professionals here.
Wait a second, is Nick Goings out of the game?
*Sid closes his notebook, which has "game over, Seattle wins" in it, and says "Good night, Seattle! Seahawks all the way, baby!*
Yeah. He took a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter. He's gone for the game.
Yeah, he nailed Lofa Tatupu on a carry earlier, and left, shaken up. Jamal Robertson replaced him. I guess Brad Hoover would be the Next Man Up.
What was weird about that collision early on was that it really looked like Tatupu took the worst of it. Then it was Goings that was shaken up and had to leave.
Go to sleep. It's Smithless in Seattle, and this one was over in the first quarter.
175- as a lifelong Seahawks fan, I'd like to say I'm really glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read the end of that comment, because I'd have ruined my keyboard. Heh.
And even a 5 game road winning streak in the playoffs is pretty damn impressive, particularly given that it was all as the wild card team, so there was never a week to recover. There's certainly no shame in running out of gas a little.
Jeez, Delhomme's QB rating is 1.8? That's Ryan Leaf-esque, isn't it?
And it just got worse. (Delhomme's rating, that is.)
Another INT from Delhomme just as the Panthers seemed to find a groove.
186: I beleive the expression is "Alex Smith-esque"
You know you're in trouble when you're explaining yourself to Chris Weinke.
Is there any reason not to throw Weinke out there for a few snaps just to confuse the defense at the very least?
Even Seattle can't blow this one. The Panthers can't run, Delhomme can't throw, his line can't block, the D can't stop the run or the pass and the Special Teams unit can't even get 11 men on the field.
This is over and I'm going to bed.
What was that?
What? No way this ball came out before the end zone.
Why did they stop the clock before the punt? Was there a timeout?
Yeah. It was marked at the 4, I believe.
You also forgot "and his receivers can't catch the ball." Even when Delhomme throws on target, his receivers can't catch it. Maybe it isn't his fault on the interceptions - he's just figuring "hell, if they can't catch it when I throw it right at them, maybe they'll catch it if I make them work for it."
I wonder if Lovie Smith and Ron Rivera are watching this game. What must they be thinking? They've got to be scratching their heads right now contemplating such strange and alien concepts as "double coverage" and "putting your best corner on their best receiver".
Man, why bother showing the passer rating at this point? Just list it as a "passer rating of 'suck'".
Seattle titles: 1917 Stanley Cup; 1979 NBA
If Carolina wants to do better next year, they should get Delhomme to grow a beard.
You forget our WNBA championship of 2004! Yeah, that makes me half a man, I know...
So any Superbowl thoughts? Before this game, I was thinking everyone would have Pitt as the favorites, but now I'm not so sure ...
What in the devil got into Matt Hassselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger today? They're both great QBs, but Roethlisberger finished with a 72% completion percentage, and Hasselbeck is running a 74% completion percentage. In conference championships? Against real opposition? That's just crazy.
203: The way Pittsburgh's defense knocked around the Colts and Broncos, I wouldn't give the Seahawks much of a chance.
Why are Hasselback and Alexander still in the game?
That got higher TV ratings than the Seattle Mets victory in the 1917 Stanely Cup Finals. I think.
Hous (doesn't count, really)
I'm waiting for Steve Smith to suggest the team get the Burger King to help cut down on the double teams.
Pittsburgh is already a 4 - 4.5 pt favorite... the general perception is still that the AFC is superior.
205: The Colts were incredibly rusty, and the Broncos were starting Evil Jake Plummer. Not that the Steelers haven't been really good, but no matter how much you respect them, I can't see saying that they've completely outclassed Seattle.
And the Panthers have scored on offense! I can honestly say I didn't see that coming.
Might be worth noting: Pittsburgh only outgained Denver by about 40 yds today. If you count penalties, Denver actually outgained Pittsburgh.
Yah, I agree. I think people aren't realizing exactly how good Seattle's offense is. For some reason there's still this odd belief that it's all Shaun Alexander.
Should be a great game. Some sick, sick part of me wants Pittsburgh to lose so that they can commisserate with Philly fans.
Then again, note that I think the Seahawks didn't realize they actually had to play the game anymore. The score came just after the shot of Hasselbeck unscrewing the top of the Gatorade container.
Little early, there, Matt.
Oh: and I would like to reiterate, f'ing forcefully, #206.
On behalf of the Steelers Nation I would like to take this time to not only congratulate the Seattle Seahawks on conquering the National Football Conference, but to also wish them a hearty good luck in what should be one helluva of a Super Bowl. Congratulations. You guys deserve it as a City.
Also, hats off to the Carolina Panthers for not only making it this far into the NFL playoffs, but how you did it. As true road warriors.
This is a grand day Pittsburgh and Seattle.......lets enjoy the revelry together.........
Agree. Really tempting fate here.
213: And how much of that came in garbage time against the prevent? 50%? 60%?
One reason statistical measures have consistently underestimated the Steelers throughout the year is that they are an outlier in that no other coach shuts down the offense the way Bill Cowher does when he feels the game is "in hand" (though he didn't do it as much today). Do you really doubt that if they really needed to, Ben could have put up another 150 yards or so? They effortlessly dismantled the Denver D.
Craig Terrill with the forced fumble! (I'm down to rooting for former players on the college team I root for.)
That's what I meant by "might be worth noting." Pittsburgh definitely shut down Denver, but Seattle has just dismantled Carolina.
There ya go. Well over 200.
Anyway, I stopped watching with 6 minutes left, but interesting call to go for it on 4th and 7. I guess Seattle didn't feel like punting from the 34.
Congratulations to Seattle. Great game plan and great execution. Refs called a good game too. Even though we got beat bad I consider this a great game. This is what football is all about. Out-smarting and out-executing the opposition. Carolina just ran out of steam and bodies on a four game road trip and Seattle made them pay. I hope the Super Bowl is as good as this game was. I like both of the teams so no easy rooting against the Patriots like I normally do. Good luck in Detroit representing the NFC!
#14, I present to you morganja, the lone Carolina fan on FO.
And I want to re-emphasize, ospreys are not hawks.
Wikipedia disagress with you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osprey
"And I want to re-emphasize, ospreys are not hawks."
Seahawk is a nickname for ospreys, not a real classification. It's just something they are called. Some scientists consider them really related to hawks, some say they are closer to falcons.
Either way, they are going to the Super Bowl. Absolute crushing game by Seattle.
Ospreys are in the Accipitridae family, which are commonly called "hawks." They are in their own genus, Pandion, but there are 19 genera in the Accipiter family, so being in your own genus does not disqualify you from being a hawk--the black hawk has its own genus, as do the gray hawk, Harris's hawk, and the northern harrier (formerly called marsh hawk.)By just about any current classification scheme, ospreys are definitely hawks.
Re 224, 225, 226, 227: and in a related note, the Steelers and Seahawks won football games today.
228: Ponder this, the Steelers are neither made of steel nor actual steel workers, but a football team.
quick prediction: AGS will be Pittsburgh vs Denver (that's a gimmie), EPC will be the Seattle dbs shutting down Steve Smith.
Wow. I so want to see game film on how Smith was covered so effectively. That was an astounding plan by Rhodes.
At the place we were watching the game, every time the #12 flag came up we genuflected. Heh.
I was surprised that Jurevicius didn't get the ball more, but other receivers (SENECA WALLACE???) did just fine. That was just pure domination on both sides of the ball. I wonder what the DVOA is going to look like after that beating?
Pitt and Seattle is going to be a great game I think. Some really interesting matchups up and down the board.
And as a fan, I'm still expecting someone to tell me 'pysch! Seattle didn't WIN. Haha!'
Given how completely the Seahawks were able to shut down Steve Smith by doing the obvious thing, it's astonishing to me that the Bears didn't do the same thing. (Not to take anything away from Smith. In the NFL you shouldn't be able to build a playoff-caliber offense around one guy).
I'm curious what the sentiment is like now among my fellow 'Hawk fans. Euphoria? Trepidation?
Shock, disbelief, amazement, wonder, well you get the idea. I think I may reach acceptance and euphoria about an hour before gametime two weeks from now.
Funny how 60 minutes of football can wipe away 30 years of bad memories.
I'm still totally shocked, #232. The one native Seattler that was with us was eerily quiet.
I still expect that somehow the Hawks will be disqualified from the superbowl. Like Ed Hochuli will come up and rule offsides before the game, and cite some odd rule from 1907 and the game will be given to the Panthers.
It's just so...weird. I don't think anyone started really celebrating at all until the fumble.
In defense of Chicago's defense, its much easier to shut down Smith when there is no running game to worry about. Nick Goings going down was the last straw for that offense. What would Seattle have done if they had lost Alexander AND his backup AND that Backup? They still wouldn't have been as bad off as the Panthers were because Carolina's offense is built off the running game.
I would like to add that there is no excuse for that crappy field in Chicago. It was incredible how many injuries there were from that spray-painted dirt pile. The NFL needs to start holding teams to some kind of standard on their fields. I think moving the game to a stadium with an actual field is appropriate. The player's association should step in here. It hit the Bears just as bad and if I was a Bear player I would be pissed that I was forced to play on a dangerous surface like that.
I'm looking forward to the Superbowl. Should be an awesome game. Congrats again to Seattle and Pittsburgh.
I attended a Seahawks gathering for displaced Seattle fans in the Bay Area, and the hugs didn't start going around until the fumble.
Carolina's offense is not and has not been based off the running game for a long, long time. They've been ranked in the low 20s all season. They are not a good running team. They haven't been a good running team for a couple years.
Chicago's mistake was not playing the run (which they didn't do so bad a job of) - it was not altering their scheme to deal with Smith. They played the same cover 2, didn't rotate their better CB to Smith, didn't double him. On one play they put their dime CB on Smith without safety coverage. Come on! That's not a run-defense. That's them not scheming correctly against Smith.
Compare to Seattle, who put a LB and a CB on Smith most of the game and bracketed him most of the time. That was a brilliant scheme, and with Delhomme not able to pass to Smith he became...well, Delhommish, throwing bad passes and being confused.
I do hate Soldier field too, damnit.
PS: Nick Goings did well against Chicago, but did very poorly against Seattle. Even when he was playing he wasn't getting much in the way of yards. If Seattle wasn't worried about the run game then Chicago should have done better against Goings - and they didn't.
Ah, but can you not also find eagles in the family Accipitridae?
Yep, there's really no excuse at all for the Bears' defensive game plan last week. And I say this as a Bears fan (just as I did back in post #108).
Sean Salisbury is picking Pittsburgh over Seattle because they have better "nastiness". Oh man..
I remember talking with a Philly fan friend of mine who opined that Ron Jaworski is every bit as good an analyst as he was a quarterback.
Same with Salisbury.
Salisbury was 0-2 this weekend, I think.
A few thoughts...
The Bear's coaching staff should be sick that they scored three touchdowns at home against the Panthers and lost the game.
Jake Delhomme, in regard to playoff stats, is the poster-boy for the concept of sample size.
Mike Holmgren is a terrific offensive coach, especially in regards to quarterback play.
Seahawks fans must wish that Holmgren would have had the GM duties taken away earlier. Then again, if Holmgren hadn't been given GM power, he probably wouldn't have gone to Seattle to begin with.
I don't have a rooting interest in the Super Bowl, but just out of curiosity, I'd like to see Seattle take the early lead. I think Seattle can run the ball on Pittsburgh, but if Roethlisberger and friends keep jumping out to early multi-touchdown leads, we'll never see if that come true in the second half.
What would worry me if I was a Seattle fan is that neither the Redskins or the Panthers pose problems for a defense in the way Pittsburgh does. The Panthers looked really good for two games due to one dominant wide-receiver, but that is an easier type of team to defend than what Pittsburgh does. I think Holmgren should count on needing at least 27 points to win.
LMAO! Wrong, in a word.
Oh, and Skip Bayless is still a moron. It's amazing how one man can sound so stupid and ignorant so consistently.
Well, Jaworski did pick Seattle this week. As did Hoge (at least on NFL matchup). They both picked Pitt as well.
I respect Jaws' because if he makes a pick, it's because of reasonable study of the opponents and not random crap like 'nastiness'. And I can't honestly say that Pitt is the wrong choice; they're playing as well as anyone in the league has this season, and they're doing a great job preparing for games and doing good plays.
Seattle is too, mind you, but they've not been tested against the elite of the AFC yet. Still, I have hope.
Pittsburgh hasn't been tested against the elite of the NFC, either.
There's an 'elite of the NFC'? :)
In more seriousness, there is a perception that the AFC is much better than the NFC, especially at the higher levels. It's somewhat hard to gauge though. The two conferences that most people say were the 'best' were the AFC West and NFC East, who played each other - and I believe the AFC West got the best of that. But as you say - the AFC North played the worst NFC division, and the NFC West played the worst AFC division.
I do know that people will look at Seattle's opponents and victories - even in the playoffs - and declare that they're still untested, while Pitt has played Indy, Denver, Cinci 3 times, NE and Chicago and gone 5-2.
My big worry is that Seattle really hasn't played against a QB this good all season. This is something that teams in the AFC do all the time - and Pitt has - but Seattle's most skilled QB opponent would probably be Delhomme, Vick or maybe Bulger. Ben is a different kind of player.
I'm curious - when a good offense meets a good defense in the superbowl, who tends to win? My gut says the team with the better D wins, but I admit I don't have the actual backing on that.
#233: But what if they lose the Super Bowl? When will they get another shot?
The Eagles lost the Super Bowl in 1981, and didn't get back until 2005, when they lost again.
#238: Without Steve Smith to pass to, I think the Carolina receiving corp has less talent than the Uday and Qusay tandem of the Philadelphia Eagles, Todd Pinkston and James Thrash, with a dash of Freddie Mitchell thrown in. Not all of what happened is Delhomme's fault. What Carolina needs to focus on in the offseason is making up for the likely drop in the quality of the defense due to simple variance and get a #2 receiver and see about getting a hold of a FA running back. The Edge would be a great fit, helping out in the running and passing game. Of course, this is predicated on abandoning DeShaun Foster.
Seattle did get a pair of possessions against Manning.. and held him to 3 points. Beyond that, no, they haven't played anyone named Brady, Palmer, or Roethlisburger, or even gotten substantial time against Manning.
That said, I do find it laughable that anyone could say that Seattle is "untested" after beating DC, and then completely dismantling the red-hot Panthers. They've certainly been tested, even if not quite to the point that Pittsburgh or other AFC teams are.
#250: Oh, I don't think that Seattle hasn't been tested - but you can bet that it'll be said. They'll look at 'unsatisfying' wins against Washington, NYG, Dallas and one good game against Carolina and say it to the rooftops. I think that the two games against Washington and this Carolina game are very good indicators, particularly on defense, but I don't think a lot of people will look at it that way outside of the FO crowd.
#249: It's not all Delhomme's fault, but this is honestly what he does. If you take away Smith (or his 'good' receiver) he tends to force throws and try and make plays, and a lot of times those things turn out badly. It's what he did against Chicago in the first game, and it's what he did against Seattle. Some of the blame goes to his subpar receiving corps, and some of it goes to putting in a 3rd and 4th string back. Some of it goes to his line, who had problems protecting him against 3 and 4 man rushes. (did Seattle blitz all day?) But it's something of a formula to beat Delhomme - take away his #1 option, and he becomes very erratic.
I think that getting a quality RB in FA is a bad move. I suspect what they should do is get a good WR in FA and pick up a good back in the draft. There are plenty of good RBs in the draft this year, and a good #2 WR will likely be able to contribute immediately.
I agree. Plummer did play well for the most part. Arizona fans are just bitter.
Precisely. I still maintain that the horrible coaching was what cost the Bears that game, more than the actual execution.
I hope the Super Bowl is as good as this game was
This game was horrible. You want a bad Super Bowl?
Seattle's offense is mostly built off the running game, moreso than Carolina.
Oh yeah, one last thing -
Bill Simmons keeps his streak of incorrectly picking Panthers games alive. On behalf of Seahawks fans everywhere, I'd like to thank Bill Simmons for his ineptitude.
RE:252 compared to carolina just about every team's offense is "mostly built on the running game". Carolina had one of the bottom four rushing attacks in the league(whether you're going by DVOA or yards per rush). The Seahawks only average 2 or 3 more rushing attempts than passing attempts per game and those numbers have been skewed by how often they've shut down their offense toward the end of games.
Re: 234 - Kal
"Itâ€™s just soâ€¦weird. I donâ€™t think anyone started really celebrating at all until the fumble."
It was weird for me. I was celebrating a lot early on when Seattle was making plays, but I mean, it was literally just minutes into the second quarter when I knew the game was over. So, by the time things got down to the end, I had already come to grips with Seattle going to the Super Bowl.
As for the Super Bowl, I think it's silly how we had half the world saying Carolina was going to win this NFC Championship game, Seattle came out and totally and absolutely dismantled them, and in the next few days, people are STILL going to call them 'untested'. They beat everyone in the NFC East (the toughest division in the NFC... supposedly), played the Indy starters for 2 series and ended up with 14-3 lead in those two series, just dismantled the 'hottest team in the playoffs', and Seattle still hasn't been tested simply because they are from the NFC, rather than AFC.
#248: I don't think the AFC South, which fielded two playoff teams (Indy and Jax) in the "much tougher" AFC could be considered the weakest AFC division.
#119: I might be tempted to build your playbook in the PC version if you want to offer it as a download. I might borrow a few of your formations in the new playbook I'm crafting, in fact. ;)
That said, GO SEAHWAKS!!!!
-Bills fan, with Seahawks fan girlfriend, yes, I'm whipped
superbowl baby!!! SEAHAWKS!!!
Its been a long time coming!!!
Whats the word on superbowl parties in seattle???
Can we watch the game on the jumbotron in qwest field???
If not, whats the hot spot for hawk fans on first ave.???
What do you know>? Soft Shaun is still healthy. Call him soft all you want. He is still on the active roster and he still makes an impact on the game. This late in the season, its more important to have a consistant rb than it is to have a big play rb. That said, watch for the seahawks run game to be an important diversion from the prolific seattle pass attack. Seahawks by 10.
In regards to 220, we thank you for your hospitality, and welcome the challenge. When systematically removing the doubts that a Superbowl-less franchise presents, we would love nothing more than to penetrate that steel curtain of yours and to etch our own "super" win into the annels of sports history. Until then, we offer only our congratulations, and challange. Forgive us for our fanatisism, its been a long time coming. WOOOOOOO!!!!!
Re:239. Yes, eagles are in the Accipiter family, which basically comprises diurnal raptors, but diurnal raptors are refered to as "hawks" in a catch-all way. When you see an eagle flying in the distance, your first impression is almost always "wow, that's a big hawk," then the fact that it's an eagle clicks. An eagle is basically a glorified hawk (as opposed to an Iggle, which wasn't a glorified anything this season.) Football Outsiders: what other NFL discussion board includes a serious discussion of ornithological taxonomy?
When I said that the Panthers offense is built on the running game I mean not that they ran for tons of yardage or yards per carry, but that they scheme their offense based on running the ball. When the running game is going, even at 3.0 yards per carry, they force the defense to put eight men in the box or otherwise respond, thereby opening up the secondary for play action passes and unfavorable matchups with Steve Smith. When the defense isn't forced to respect the run than their offense goes nowhere. Note that what happened on sunday was not unusual for the Panthers. They came out running and even though they weren't going anywhere they were playing to their gameplan. Game after game this year we've seen the Panthers come out and get 6 yards on three runs and punt the ball to start the game. They keep doing it and defenses keep stopping them and all of a sudden they got Steve Smith deep or crossing the middle with one on one coverage and they've scored another touchdown. Stephen Davis is on IR, Foster out with a broken ankle, when Nick Goings went down the Carolina offense went down. Credit Seattle with recognizing that they did not need to respect the run game and shutting Steve Smith down with dedicated defenders. With Deshaun Foster in the backfield, Seattle wouldn't have been able to so easily ignore the run and essentially take two players out of the game to defend Smith.
Seattle earned their bye and their home team advantage and this is the payoff. They got an exhausted Panther team with no running backs, beat up and injured and a relatively easy road to the SuperBowl. But that is how SuperBowls have always been won. A good team with good luck will get you a championship. Seattle was lucky in that they had such an easy schedule and caught the Panthers on their fourth consecutive road game beat up. But they didn't make the schedule. They didn't make the other teams in their division bad. They played what they were given and won. What is amazing about the Patriots run wasn't that they were good for four years but that they managed to be both one of the good teams and constantly lucky for so long. The best team doesn't always win but that is also what makes football so great. Every game, every play is huge. Seattle played good football, did what they had to do to win, and won with grace. I wish them luck in the SuperBowl and finally can watch the game glad to see either team win. They both deserve it. I'm sure they will both come out with great gameplans, hit hard, execute and if one walks away the victor because of the way a ball bounced then that will be a great game. You can plan hard, work hard and put yourself in position to win, but most of the time it takes just a little bit of luck to put you over the top. That's what makes football the best show on earth.
Congrats to the Seahawks...
Enjoy it, Seattle fans. The first Super Bowl after a long drought is always fun, no matter how it turns out. Don't misunderstand me, that's not a prediction, just a memory of my teams first Super Bowl visit. But win or lose, I'm sure the Seahawks will do better than the Patriots did back in 1985. :D
Eight weeks ago, the Vikings were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in DVOA. Now they're 6-6 and probably done. What went wrong?
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