Monday, October 13, 2014

It was the Seahawks who were "Romoized"

Although I've live in the state of Washington longer than any other place, I feel no allegiance to any sports team within its borders. That includes the Seattle Seahawks. All week I was hearing "jokes" about how Dallas was going to be "Romoized" and other references to Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo's reputation for making "bonehead" mistakes at inopportune times. The Seahawks' secondary was going to "feast" on Romo's bumbling. I've heard Seahawks fans deride Romo in various disreputable terms, sometimes suggesting something of a prejudicial nature. I have no liking of the Cowboys, but the arrogance of Seahawks' fans provoked the desire to see Romo and company teach them a lesson in humility.

Things didn't look too good to start. The Seahawks' opened with a 64-yard drive that ended in a field goal, and the Cowboys' first possession on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and 10-0 Seattle lead. But after that, the Seahawks looked strictly second-division. The Cowboys scored on three long drives that was an even more shocking display of defensive porousness than in the San Diego game.  Worse (or better, depending upon your point of view), the Seahawks' did nothing offensively after their first possession, only scoring a touchdown on a drive of only 14-yards after muffed punt. Other than those two special team miscues, even the fabled "12th Man" had no discernable effect on halting the "shocking" role reversal. 

Although DeMarco Murray gained 115 yards (his sixth straight 100+ game), he still required 29 carries to do so. In converting several third-and-longs, Romo showed an uncanny ability to leave the Seahawks' vaunted secondary flatfooted on perfectly timed passes in tight windows that most quarterbacks they faced were incapable of making, even under duress. The same could not be said of Romo's counterpart, Russell Wilson, who had perhaps his worst game of his career, completing just 14 of 28 for 126 yards and an interception, for a 47.6 rating. Some questioned why the Seahawks went away from the running game, but a 32-yard run by Lynch disguised an inability to run against an clearly improved Dallas defense. 

What this game demonstrated is what many of us suspected: As deep as the Seahawks' are, without their defense and rushing attack performing at a high level, Wilson is simply not the kind of quarterback who can be depended upon to "pass" a team to victory. On several "eye level" views, it was clear that when Wilson was forced to stay in the pocket, he could not see receivers downfield who the television announcers wondered why he wasn't throwing to. 

Does this suggest that the Seahawks are a team that has been "figured out" by their opponents, or at least there is a "blueprint" on how to nullify its offense? Probably not in the short term, but perhaps just enough to make them considerably more vulnerable than previously believed.

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