This is another morning where there aren’t really second thoughts, simply additional ones. So call this instead a six-pack of Monday Morning Musings.
1, Was it just 11 days ago the Seahawks went to San Francisco as underdogs against the 49ers? How quickly things can change in the NFL as the Seahawks are already considered to be as much as 10-point favorites for Sunday’s rematch in Seattle. The line obviously speaks to two things — the way the Seahawks are playing and the way the 49ers are playing.
It frankly didn’t really seem shocking to see the Raiders beat the 49ers Sunday with all that is swirling around San Francisco right now.
Seattle,meanwhile, is playing as well as any team in the NFL (though Green Bay and New England might also raise their hands).
Still, it is a little hard to comprehend how starkly the fates of the Seahawks and 49ers have turned over the last two weeks.
2. The only real bummer for Seattle out of the weekend is that its playoff positioning pretty much remained the same. Certainly, winning enhanced Seattle’s odds, and beating the Eagles could help for homefield down the road.
But if the season ended today, Seattle would be in the same spot it was prior to the weekend — the No. 5 slot in the NFC and headed for a game at Atlanta against the Falcons.
The Falcons play at Green Bay Monday night. But even if they lose to fall to 5-8 they will still have the lead in the NFC South, which is on track to put the 2010 NFC West race to shame.
3. Seattle’s hopes for overtaking Arizona obviously took a little hit when the Cardinals rallied from a 14-6 halftime deficit to beat Kansas City 17-14. It was the type of game the Cardinals have been winning all season and showed that Seattle fans maybe shouldn’t take for granted that Arizona will stumble down the stretch.
This week, though, Seattle will at least go into its game against the 49ers knowing exactly what is at stake as Arizona will play at the Rams on Thursday night, a game in which St. Louis is a 3-point favorite based in part on having won its last two games by a combined 76-0 against the Redskins and Raiders (and how to explain Oakland winning two of its last three against KC and San Francisco and losing 52-0 in between)?
4. One of the few injury mysteries of the week had been the status of cornerback Jeremy Lane, who ultimately missed a second straight game with a gluteus injury. And we know now for sure Seattle’s preferred strategy with Lane out, which is to move Byron Maxwell to the nickel and play Tharold Simon outside, but then have Maxwell play outside in the base defense (or, when Seattle has just two cornerbacks on the field).
Maxwell said he knew all week he would likely play inside to take on Eagles’ receiver Jordan Matthews, who he held to two catches. We’ll see how this evolves when Lane returns. But one of the positives of some of the mid-season injuries was that guys like Simon got a lot of work. Other than his penalties, Simon has played well.
Simon offered one of the more entertaining quotes afterward when he said he got his penalty for “dog hounding’’ a Philly defender on a punt in the third quarter. Officially, he was called for offensive holding.
Simon explained with a little smile that he “accidentally put him to the ground’’ while he was blocking. He said he knows that “anytime someone goes to the ground they are throwing the flag.’’ Simon has now been called for 11 penalties, tied with Michael Bennett for the most on the team.
Simon said he is frustrated about it because he was called just “two or three penalties in three years in college. It’s just emphasizing stuff more over here. And I’ve just got to get away from some of the stuff I do and just keep playing ball and just keep trusting myself. Most of the penalties are not trusting yourself, and just simple stuff.’’
Penalties again were a little bit of an issue for Seattle as the Seahawks got called for eight for 87 yards to four for 69 for the Eagles (though it sort of seemed like the penalties the Eagles got hurt them more, notably the 44-yard defensive pass interference.) Seattle has now been called for 110 penalties to 55 for its opponents, keeping intact the 2-1 differential with which it entered the game. Seattle has three more penalties than any team in the NFL, with Tampa Bay second at 107.
5. There are all kinds of numbers about this game that really stand out such as the play differential — 85 for Seattle to 45 for an Eagles team that came in averaging 73 per game.
Here’s another that speaks to Seattle’s domination — the list that is included in the official NFL gamebook of the 10 longest plays for each team.
Every one of Seattle’s 10 longest plays was 15 yards or longer. The Eagles, meanwhile, had just two plays that were 15 yards or longer, and six on that list that were nine yards or fewer. That means that 36 o Philly’s 45 plays went for five yards or fewer.
6. All of Seattle’s defensive stats got better Sunday and now are truly beginning to look like the 2013 team, which set a number of franchise records.
Specifically, Seattle is now allowing just 274.5 yards per game — the Seahawks allowed 273.6 last season, a franchise low.
Seattle is also now allowing 84.1 rushing yards per game which continues to be well below the 101.6 of last season and the 94.4 of the 2005 team that is the franchise record.
Seattle is now allowing just 3.5 yards per carry, better than the 3.6 of the 2005 team and the 3.9 of 2013.
Finally, for every link you might want on the game, click here.