Week 17: Rams at Seahawks (Game Thread and News & Notes)

 

Here’s hoping all of you are having a great time over the holidays — I’ve spent most of this week pinballing from one family gathering to the next.  Really though, with the Seahawks playing as well as they are right now, someone could drop a Buick on my leg and I’d still think this was a pretty awesome week (well, after I stopped screaming in pain long enough to think about it, anyway).
 
I’ll do a full stats workup for the season after the Rams game, but here are a few tidbits in the meantime:
 
1)  Russell Wilson is one passing touchdown away from tying Peyton Manning’s rookie record of 26.  Reaching or surpassing that mark on Sunday would go a long way toward strengthening Wilson’s chances of earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors (speaking of which, I recently contributed an argument in his favor to fellow Bloguin football site This Given Sunday).
 
2) The Seahawks defense is allowing opponents to score an average of just 15.47 points per game, good for fewest points allowed in the NFL.  The Rams offense, by the way, ranks 17th in passing touchdowns (1.4 per game) and 29th in rushing TDs (0.33 per game).
 
3) Thanks in no small part to scoring 150 points over their last three games, the Seahawks offense is now 8th in the league in points scored, averaging 26.13 points per game.  Those 150 points make up 38.27% of the team’s point total for the season.
 
4) After struggling for much of the season on third down, the offense converted on all but two third down tries against the 49ers, and one of those was Matt Flynn’s final kneeldown at the end of the game.
 
5) The Rams' offense may not be terribly awe-inspiring, but they've been doing a fine job on defense.  Against the pass they're currently ranked 5th in touchdown percentage (2.8%), 8th in interception percentage (3.2%), and 3rd in sack percentage (8.0%).  St. Louis' run defense, on the other hand, is somewhat more middle of the road, ranking 18th in yards per attempt allowed (3.2) and 16th in yards per game (115.1).
 
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As most of you have probably heard, Richard Sherman won his appeal and had his four-game suspension for a positive drug test overturned.  Regardless of the reason for the positive result – the lab contaminated the sample, accidental or intentional ingestion, etc. – the bad press generated by the test has rather unfairly taken attention away from the brilliant season he’s been having and likely contributed to his not being voted to the Pro Bowl (he’s the first alternate, but still).
 
The driving force behind Sherman’s play is the chip he has on his shoulder from sliding all the way to the fifth round before Schneider and Carroll scooped him up.  Now the league has expanded the size of that chip to mammoth proportions with a Pro Bowl snub and a whopping dose of anger over his drug test being leaked to the press in the first place (all test results are supposed to be kept strictly confidential).  I almost feel sorry for the wide receivers who will be lining up against him in the playoffs.  Almost.
 
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Wilson isn’t the only Seahawk in the running for a big award.  GM John Schneider is getting thrown around as a candidate for Executive of the Year.  With all the talent he’s unearthed in his three years in Seattle, I’m having a hard time thinking of someone more deserving. 
 
Sherman’s Pro Bowl status aside, the Seahawks will be represented in Hawaii by at least five players this year.  LT Russell Okung and C Max Unger will start for the NFC, FS Earl Thomas and RB Marshawn Lynch are listed as backups, and RB Leon Washington will make the trip as a kick returner. 
 
Sherman, DE Chris Clemons, and FB Michael Robinson are first alternates for their respective positions, P Jon Ryan, S Kam Chancellor, and special teams ace LB Heath Farwell are second alternates, Wilson is a third alternate, and DT Brandon Mebane is a fourth.
 
 
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The team made some roster moves this week at the bottom of the depth charts.  CB Ron Parker was released today and replaced by WR Deon Butler, who was released last week to make room for S Winston Guy when he returned to the team after a four game suspension.
 
DE Hebron Fangupo, who was signed just last week after DT Jason Jones was placed on injured reserve, has been released and replaced by LB Allen Bradford.  Bradford has been a fixture on the team’s practice squad since last season and is a player I’ll be keeping my eye on.  After originally entering the league as a running back out of USC, Bradford was switched over to linebacker upon being signed by the Seahawks.  According to a few reports I’ve seen, he looks really, really good in practice.
 
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On the injury front, CB Walter Thurmond has been ruled out for this week’s game with a lingering hamstring injury, and RT Breno Giacomini and LB Leroy Hill are listed as questionable.  CB Marcus Trufant, on the other hand, will likely play this week after being upgraded to probable.   Every player appearing on the Rams’ injury report is listed as probable.
 
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Finally, here’s some obligatory playoff scenarios.  Regardless of Sunday’s game against St. Louis, Seattle has already locked up the 5th seed (i.e. first Wild Card berth) headed into the postseason.  If they beat the Rams and the 49ers lose to the Cardinals (not likely, I know, but bear with me) then Seattle would win the division title and become the #3 seed, guaranteeing them at least one home game.  If the Packers also lose versus the Vikings, the Seahawks would supplant them as the 2nd seed and get a first round bye.  
 
Granted, if that happens I'll probably receive a ton of angry emails from Packers fans complaining about Golden Tate's catch (for some reason fans of certain teams seem to think that Seahawk Addicts is the official team site — no, really), but I’m willing to take that risk.
 
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