Wednesday, April 24, 2024

THE CHEAP SEATS with STEVE CAMERON: Seahawks just needed time for defense to shine

| December 28, 2020 1:05 AM

Don’t even bother.

Don’t be telling us that after the first half of the season, you really thought the Seahawks would have one of the more imposing defenses in the NFL by playoff time.

We know you’re spoofing.

After the first eight games, these currently rough-and-ready Hawks were on pace to become the worst defense in league history for yards allowed.

As far as stopping power went, they were Charmin soft.

But now?

Well, since the Legion of Boom nickname already has been used, we’ll have to think of something else to call the Seattle defense — the one that absolutely stuffed the Rams 20-9 Sunday to wrap up an NFC West title.

By the way, however, one guy truly did believe the Seahawks defense could turn into a dominant unit, and Pete Carroll knows a little bit about that side of the ball.

Just give us time to get healthy and spend time together, Carroll said during the catastrophic first several weeks.

We’ll have a good defense.

SO, LET’S give Pete credit, and also toss in GM John Schneider.

The two men work in tandem as well as any coach and general manager in football.

Dual applause then, for acquiring the spectacularly good safety Jamal Adams, for plucking away injured corner D.J. Reed from San Francisco, and for landing edge rusher Carlos Dunlap in a trade that cost almost nothing.

And in the draft…

They were criticized for selecting linebacker Jordan Brooks in the first round, but he was in on the biggest play of the game Sunday — during that goal-line stand that kept the Rams a half-yard from the end zone.

They were criticized because defensive end L.J. Collier seemed to produce almost nothing in his first year, but now Collier has become a brute in that spot.

They also snagged rush end Alton Robinson in the fifth round of this past draft, and he’s become a serious factor in the revitalized pass rush.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that the Seattle defense won Sunday’s game all by itself, but…

Holding the Rams to just a couple of field goals until Russell Wilson could engineer the first of two scoring drives truly determined the outcome.

THE HAWKS are getting closer and closer to that model Carroll and Wilson steered to a pair of Super Bowls.

They aren’t sexy like the Chiefs or Packers (or even Tom Brady’s Bucs), but the Seahawks win big games when they’re tough on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

And they’re getting there.

True, Wilson spent a considerable time dividing time between looking for receivers and thinking about survival during Sunday’s slugfest, but hey…

It was the Rams, and it’s hard to imagine a more terrifying group if your occupation is pass-blocking.

Aaron Donald gives you two choices — double him, and risk one of the other beasts on that front seven putting your quarterback into an intensive care unit, or…

Just try to block him with one interior lineman, and assume he’ll be in the backfield about a split-second after the snap.

Wilson, though, held up as he always does — taking his five sacks and countless hits, and still making the right plays.

RUSS SET up the first TD with a gorgeous 45-yard throw to David Moore on a play where it looked like he could run for big yardage.

But Wilson will always take a huge play if he can get it.

And of course, he scored himself on a cute little play on which he kept faking a throw to tight end Will Dissly until Wilson was so close that could just tip-toe into the corner of the end zone.


It wasn’t a thing of beauty, this division-clinching win over the Rams.

Even when the Seahawks are at their best, they’re going to hurt for style points.

But football isn’t figure skating or gymnastics.

It’s about how many you score compared to the other guys.


The Seahawks of Carroll and Wilson have always been comfortable playing like that, working on the assumption that Russ and the defense will beat you in the fourth quarter.

IT WOULD be a stretch to predict that Seattle is headed back to the Super Bowl, but it’s fair to say that they’ll be a really tough out when we get to playoff time.

Ask the Rams, who had a sure touchdown denied when Adams zoomed across the width of the field — after a blitz from the other side — to catch running back Darrell Henderson from behind.

Following that bit of heroics, the Rams couldn’t score on four runs beginning at the 2-yard line — including the last pair from about a foot outside the end zone.

Ask the Rams if they’d rather have Russell Wilson or Jared Goff at QB, trying to win the tough ones.

That would be the same Goff who threw a mindless pick to Quandre Diggs when the Rams were in scoring position during the tight first half.

Nah, don’t bother asking.

It’s all too obvious.


Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns appear in The Press on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Moments, Memories and Madness,” his reminiscences from several decades as a sports journalist, runs each Sunday.

Steve also writes Zags Tracker, a commentary on Gonzaga basketball, which will run this Thursday — then return to its regular Tuesday slot when the Zags begin conference play.