The Mariners have lost four out of their last five games and tonight they face the toughest team in the NL once more. Felix’s uncharacteristic performance on Friday night followed by Strasburg’s performance last night, has made for a difficult series. The M’s only hope is that their recently dormant hitting will come through and give Iwakuma a much needed victory.
Last night’s game pointed out some areas of concern for the M’s when they left seven men on base, failing to capitalize on some key situations. What was even more concerning though, was that Ackley and Cano were the main culprits at the plate, leaving a combined four men on base. Looking ahead, the expected contributors have to contribute as expected. If the M’s are to succeed they need to know that they can rely on the heart of their lineup (Ackley and Cano). Sitting in the sixth spot in their lineup last night, the M’s 1B Logan Morrison went 0-4 and is still attempting to break out of his 0-15 slump in his last four games. LoMo (along with the other Mariners) needs to collect some RBIs tonight if the M’s are to defeat the Washington Nationals.
Obvious enough, in order for the M’s to make a post-season push, they need to have a stellar September. The M’s face the A’s (in two series), Angels (in two series), and Blue Jays next month. It is safe to say that the road to October is going to be tough, but the M’s definitely have the roster to do it. With a great starting pitching rotation and a bullpen that is second to none, the M’s just need to focus on hitting more consistently.
Seahawk’s roster cuts:
Trimming the roster down to only 53 players is tough for any NFL team, especially a team loaded with talent. The super bowl champion Seahawks experienced their fair share of tough roster cuts when they had to waive 20 players. Quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and B.J. Daniels were among the twenty waived players, it seems the Hawks just weren’t interested in keeping three quarterbacks on the roster. However, there shouldn’t be a shortage of quarterback targets, as they have kept seven wide receivers on the roster. Unfortunately, eastside native and Juanita HS alum Bryan Walters was not among the seven wide receivers that made the cut. The Hawks had to say goodbye to a few more notable players when they terminated the contracts of OT Eric Winston and CB Phillip Adams. FB Kiero Small, The Seahawks last pick of the 2014 draft, and FB Spencer Ware were both let go in the Hawks decision to keep only Derrick Coleman at fullback. The Hawks move forward without a few other super bowl champion players, G Caylin Hauptmann and DE Benson Mayowa.
Pre-season’s top performers:
With 437 yards passing and 78.6% completion, it would be unjust to leave QB Russell Wilson out of the discussion. Along with his three passing touchdowns, Russell managed to rush for three touchdowns and 61 yards on the ground. Finishing the pre-season with a passer rating of 133.8, it’s safe to say that Russell earned his title as sportymorty’s preseason MVP. Averaging 4.7 yards a carry, I can’t forget about RB Michael Turbin. Turbin rushed for 126 yards and a TD as well, giving reassurance of success to Hawks fans who may be concerned with the future at the running back position.
On the defensive side of things, MLB Brock Coyle and DE Cassius Marsh stood out as preseason top performers. Filling in for injured MLB Bobby Wagner for most of the preseason, Coyle led the team with 23 tackles. Coming onto the team as a rookie free agent, Coyle was more than a pleasant surprise for the Hawks this preseason. DE Cassius Marsh was equally as surprising and pleasant, as he recorded two sacks in just three games this preseason. Both players prove the significant depth of talent that exists on the roster.
Felix’s performance last night helped the M’s to a much needed 6-4 victory over the division rival A’s. Accompanied by Felix’s success was the hot hitting of the M’s lineup, highlighted by Dustin Ackley’s 3 hits and home runs from Zunino and Miller. The only signs of trouble arose in the 8th inning when the A’s scored 4 runs in their efforts to steal back the lead. Rodney acquired his 3rd save of the season, striking out the last A’s batter in order to secure the top of the AL West and a solid 6-3 record on the year for the M’s.
So far this year, the M’s have proven that they can hit. Practically the entire lineup has been experiencing consistency at the plate, except for the struggling bats of Seager, Romero, and Saunders. While high hopes exist for Seager, the same cannot be said for the other two. The only looming questions besides right field performance concern pitching. Can the M’s starting rotation ever get healthy? Will the bullpen improve? Of course only time will tell, but all in all the Mariners look quite convincing so far and it would be nice to see more of the same throughout the rest of the season.
Coming off a high in which they successfully dominated in almost every category, the Hawks will face a very weak Vikings team at home. Despite their overall weakness, the Vikes have one of the greatest running backs ever in their backfield. If he does play despite his current groin injury, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will present a significant challenge for the Hawks. The key to their success in this week’s game will be limiting Peterson’s success.
Although the Vikings are equipped with a prominent rushing attack, the Vikings are not a balanced football team, ranking fourth worst in opponent passing yards and 25th in passing yards gained. The areas in which the Vikings struggle are areas in which the Hawks must find success in order to win. Hopefully, the Hawks can capitalize with a successful passing performance and an ability to create turnovers with the legion of boom.
Eager to watch Peterson take the field against the Hawks, I am worried that he may give the Vikings a chance just as Bucs RB Mike James gave the Bucs a chance in week 9 when he ran for 158 yards. In order to win the Hawks have to minimize Peterson’s impact on the game, and continue their balanced offensive attack they displayed last week against the Falcons. Keep in mind there is still the possibility that Peterson may not take the field Sunday, in that case I look for the Hawks to win with ease.
Last Sunday the Hawks beat the Falcons in a dominating 33-10 victory. Throwing for 287 yards and two touchdowns, Russell Wilson led the team to victory. His efforts were only made possible by much improved offensive line blocking and a powerful rushing attack in which Marshawn Lynch rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown. Defensively the Hawks were equally as dominant in their abilities to stop the run and the pass, limiting falcons quarter back Matt Ryan to only 172 yards passing and a touchdown, and holding running back Steven Jackson to 11 yards on 9 carries.
In comparison to the games played against the Rams and the Buccaneers, last week’s game was a blowout, not because of the difference in score, but because of the difference in performance. In weeks prior to the Falcons game, the Hawks struggled to generate a balanced offense while protecting the QB, and they also failed miserably at stopping the run. This last week, Lynch set a new season high for rushing yards in a game, Wilson played excellently and was able to stand in the pocket comfortably, and the defense proved that they can defend the pass and stuff the run at the same time.
The Seahawks defensive efforts were collective in their performance, every facet played well and no single player stood out. The Falcons on the other hand had a one man tackling machine by the name of Paul Worrilow. Worrilow recorded 19 total tackles in his start for injured Falcon LB Sean Weatherspoon. After his breakout performance, Worrilow will likely be guaranteed a spot as a Falcons starter.
Despite the Hawks overall success, I’m apprehensive to give them too much credit in their ability to stop the run. Although they did hold the Falcons to a total of 64 rushing yards, they accomplished the feat against a rushing offense that ranks last in yards gained. This Sunday’s games against the Vikings will prove an adequate test for their run stopping abilities, as they face Adrian Peterson.
The key to tomorrow’s game is good pass protection. Lately the Hawks have struggled mightily in the realm of pass blocking, and it has shown in their slight victories over bad football teams. This Sunday the Hawks will attempt to beat the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The last time the Hawks faced Atlanta at the dome, the game ended in an unfortunate but close divisional playoff loss. This time around the Hawks are equipped to beat a much less dominant Falcons team.
The Falcons are currently 2-6 and haven’t shown any signs of a possible season turnaround. Despite their terrible record, hawks fans should not underestimate the Falcons, the Hawks have had significant trouble beating weaker teams in recent weeks. Much of their struggle can be attributed to the poor play of the offensive line. Russell Wilson is the most pressured quarter back in the league, he has been under pressure on 40% of his pass attempts. If the Hawks are to squeak by another weak opponent, they have to find a way to give Wilson more time.
Even though the Hawks have had trouble stopping the run, averaging 202.2 rushing yards allowed in the last two games, expect Richard Sherman and the legion of Boom to flourish against a struggling Falcon’s pass attack. Falcon’s quarter back Matt Ryan has thrown seven interceptions in his last two games, and his interception total will likely increase on Sunday as he faces a tough Seahawks secondary.
The Hawks secondary will remain consistent as their offense attempts to get on track. As long as the O-line can keep Wilson up right, the Hawks should move to 9-1 on the year.
Despite their disgraceful performance last Sunday against the Bucs, the Hawks pulled out the win. The sloppy victory has caused much concern, and I myself among many, am very worried by the two straight weeks of non-existent rushing defense and offensive line blocking. I place full blame for the 21-0 hole on the Seahawks, even though a terrible call against S Earl Thomas caused a momentum swing that favored the Buccaneers.
The Hawks poor performance ultimately boiled down to terrible play from the offensive line. Although they didn’t give up a single sack, the hawks O-line struggled significantly, and their struggles resulted in a battered and bruised QB. Russell Wilson was on the ground after almost every other play and the effects could be seen in his play. For the first time, I saw a Russell Wilson that was not calm and collected in the pocket, he was frantic and hurried. As a result of this, Russell made two unusually bad throws near the end zone that resulted in interceptions. Fortunately, the run game was on track as usual and Lynch ran for 125 yards.
Accompanied by the bad pass blocking, the Hawks had tremendous trouble stopping the run. The buccaneers ran for 205 yards against the Hawks. Lately the Hawks have been uncharacteristically terrible at run defense. It’s a mystery as to where the problem lies in stopping the run but if the Hawks are to contend for a super bowl, they must fix their championship caliber defense.
It’s reassuring that the Hawks can come back from 21 point deficits, but in the future they can’t dig themselves into holes this deep, because they may not always be able to climb out of them. Fortunately, even when he’s under distress Russell Wilson can lift the Hawks to victory.