On first look, it seems difficult to imagine anybody predicting this type of domination.
But looking back on the Seahawks’ 34-7 dismantling of the Saints on Monday night, perhaps we should wonder how we all didn’t see this coming. What’s more, maybe we as a nation have been underestimating Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, as difficult to believe as that sounds.
All Wilson did against the Saints was complete 22 of 30 throws for 310 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — good for a 139.6 passer rating. Oh, and he had a game-high 47 yards rushing on eight carries, to boot.
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"He did a great job," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "He played the game that he always plays."
Well, if this is what we’ve come to expect from Wilson, especially when he’s working behind a patchwork offensive line that rarely gives him much protection, it’s not a stretch to put Russell in the MVP discussion. I’m not handing him the hardware, but he deserves to be in the discussion.
Exhibit A: He still hasn’t lost a home game since turning pro (14 straight) and has 22 career wins as a starting quarterback, tied with Ben Roethlisberger for the most all-time through a quarterbacks’ first two seasons in the league. Wilson still has four games left to play.
Exhibit B: He has the Seahawks at 11-1, and with what amounts to a three-game lead in the race for the top seed in the NFC playoffs. In other words, the road to the Super Bowl will likely go through CenturyLink Field, where a visiting team has NEVER beaten Wilson.
Exhibit C: Those 14 straight home wins by Wilson? The longest winning streak in Seahawks’ history. They have been playing since 1976.
As for what remains, let’s break down this team’s final four games of the regular season:
Week 14: at San Francisco
Week 15: at New York Giants
Week 16: vs. Arizona
Week 17: vs. St. Louis
From the way this team has been playing, it’s reasonable to assume a 3-1 finish with reason. Even with a split, the Seahawks will still be at 13-3 and will have the top seed locked up.
Carroll: "We made the playoffs. But that's not our goal. We want to win the division and get home field advantage." #MNF#NOvsSEA
The last thing the Saints wanted was to start slow and allow the Seattle crowd to get into a frenzy.
After going three-and-out on their first possession, disaster struck the next time the Saints got the ball:
That’s Cliff Avril stripping the ball loose from Drew Brees with Michael Bennett picking it up and rumbling 22 yards for the touchdown that put New Orleans in an early 10-point hole.
Things only got worse from there. The Saints were outgained 315-90 in the first half as the Seahawks jumped out to a 20-point lead at halftime. What’s more, the Saints set a dubious season-high when they allowed 17 points in the first quarter. It turned into a nightmare kind of night for Brees, who saw his streak of 43 straight games with at least 200 passing yards come to an end.
Richard Sherman on Brees: "He wasn't comfortable the whole game."
He finished with just 147 yards on 38 attempts on Monday, which is the lowest of his career when he has at least 35 attempts in a game. The Saints offense, which came into the game averaging more than 400 yards per game, could only muster 188, which is their fewest since 2003.
SOMETIMES, EVERY BOUNCE GOES YOUR WAY
Don’t believe me? Check out this play in the third quarter that more or less iced the game:
That’s a pass ricocheting off Kellen Davis’ hands and right into the waiting palms of fullback Derrick Coleman, who then took it into the end zone. The refs had to confer for a minute because Coleman had stepped out of bounds before catching the ball, but since he re-established position in bounds and wasn’t the first receiver to touch the ball on the play, he was eligible to make the catch.
Take it away, Pereira!
Yikes. That was confusing. It was a catch as he got both feet down and then made a football move by extending the ball into the endzone.