All good things must come to an end, and this game probably marked the passing of the 'pretty good/dangerous/you don't want to play/could win a title if everything fell right' torch in the AFC from Seattle to anyone emerging, like Tennessee.
Was I right about Seattle or was I right about Seattle? The team with the most talent for the last few years that is being coached into underwhelming performances – literally saved by falling ass-backward into Russell Wilson.
I know I've said it several times in the past year+, but this truly is one of the most poorly coached teams I've ever seen. The worst offensive coordinator in football for years in the wildly overrated cheerleader head coach who had an image created by the luck of the draw of a very good GM and Russell Wilson coming along just at the right time because all his other purposed QB efforts were unmitigated disasters. I don't mean like the normal NFL swings and a miss at a quarterback -- I mean the purposeful pursuit of quarterbacks that were horrific and that the team paid a hefty price in money and draft picks for – Charlie Whitehurst, Tavaris Jackson, Matt Flynn. Those are all the plans right before Russell Wilson crashed into their living room is from outer space.
Seattle is damn lucky they are not 0–3 right now. They've been outplayed and played poorly in every game this season. I don't want to hear about losing their left tackle – several teams have lost offensive linemen and somehow put on plausible performances. Everyone has been so coaxed by the media that Seattle is so wonderful that no one sees it for what it is – we're still making excuses for them because our foundation is that Seattle is great so any problems must be temporary or unusual. They're not. They're normal and embedded -- and the team is failing because it's poorly coached.
This game was a great example of the Seattle downfall. 1-1 Seattle goes into 1–1 Tennessee with a lot on the line. The Seahawks had not looked good all year. The Titans are a team no one was taking seriously after losing to Oakland opening day. These are the kinds of games where a great team has to rise up and suppress the upstarts on their own turf. This isn't like Dallas losing to Denver at Denver. Denver could quite literally be the best team in football. Dallas too. Tennessee is good but they're not that good. Tennessee should've been a bit intimidated and skittish early on but they showed no fear. It was Seattle that resorted to late hits and trash talking…generally melting down. Tennessee just went about its business and didn't just beat Seattle – they destroyed them. They destroyed them in such a low-key, subtle, breezy way that it has to be a dagger in Seattle's heart knowing that's how it went down. It's not like Seattle's personal wars with Arizona where you throw the records out the window because everyone's playing on a crazy emotional high. This was Tennessee quietly kicking the shit out of Seattle. And Seattle did everything they could to deny it -- from penalties to trash talking to berating officials. Tennessee just kept pushing them around like they weren't there no matter how loudly they kept squawking. It was a sight to behold if you were a Seattle fan.
Seattle got beat in a similar manner by Green Bay in Week 1. Seattle should've been beaten by the 49ers in Week 2 – the 49ers were not intimidated after the first quarter and started taking it at the bully. The paper bully Seattle. In Week 3, Tennessee just toyed with Seattle. This game should've been closer. It would be different if Seattle lost on the last drive in an all out war. That's not what happened. They got smacked from the opening bell and just kept getting smacked.
I'd like to say that Seattle is done but they have one of the easiest schedules in football and playing in one of the worst divisions – so they may stumble their way to an NFC West title unless the Rams can pull off what seemed like the impossible a few weeks ago…and win the NFC West.
Conversely, I don't want to overlook Tennessee here. This was a statement game by them even though Tennessee barely speaks – they made a big statement without having to talk. Their actions spoke louder. This Tennessee team is really good – a nice O-Line, a franchise QB, plenty of pass game weapons, and a good enough defense to win their share of games. They've been drafting well and being mostly smart in free agency – and it's starting to show. Surprise, the general manager comes from the Bill Belichick tree.
Fantasy player notes...
-- This game for Chris Carson (11-34-0, 2-18-0/2) was exactly what I figured – against a so-so run defense he struggled to find running space. It's not a Chris Carson thing it's an offensive philosophy thing. This is why I advocated trading him last week and I'm doing the same this week. Carson looked just fine. I just hate the situation.
C.J. Prosise (4-9-0, 3-65-0/5) is the focus of the passing game aspect from the running backs, but Carson luckily leaked out of the backfield on red zone play and Wilson dumped it off to him and Carson made a slick move to race it into the end zone. If I thought that was going to happen frequently, I'd be all-in. I'm just skeptical it will be.
Carson as an RB2 – knock yourself out. But last week people that they were willing to pay RB1 money – and I wanted my share of the loot via claiming and trading. As he is valued back to an RB2/RB3 as his luster and sheen of freshness starts to wear off – I don't have any problem keeping him knowing he's more RB3 than RB1.
*Late news – Prosise is now out for at least a week, J.D. McKissic is being touted by Pete Carroll as the replacement. If people loved the Chris Carson scrappiness…wait until they get a load of the very talented, very scrappy McKissic. Fantastic hands. Great vision with the ball. A WRaRB twist on the RBaWR. McKissic is a trained WR and return specialist long underutilized and overlooked -- he may put a dent in Carson's output like Prosise did.
-- This game was 30-14 in the third quarter and getting out of hand. From that point on Seattle went into a pretty heavy passing mode. I say that because Russell Wilson (29-49 for 373 yards, 4 TD/0 INT) actually had a great fantasy game – I'm pretty sure it was just the circumstances. As much as I love Wilson, for the same reasons I don't love Chris Carson in this offense the same goes for Wilson. I hope he proves me wrong.
-- If it wasn't obvious before, all you have to do is watch this game to realize how much Doug Baldwin (10-105-1/15) means to Russell Wilson. He literally looks for him on every other play now. Didn't even try to pretend otherwise.
If Baldwin can't go this week due to his groin injury, I look for Tyler Lockett (2-30-0/3) to be more that guy for Wilson than Paul Richardson (2-30-1/7). Nothing against Richardson, but I think Lockett has more of that 'every target' appeal and relationship over Richardson. Richardson has more action this year…but Lockett has the deeper relationship in crisis with Lockett.
-- Jimmy Graham (7-72-0/11) was off to a slow start in this game and was sitting on the bench at a certain point and look like he might not come back in and then all the sudden I look up and he's got seven catches for 70+ yards. A great game for Graham compared to usual. Two things…
1) Remember this became a passing heavy effort which is unusual for Seattle.
2) I didn't see anything magical from Graham to make me change my negative opinion. He looks like he's moving a half speed and like he's walking on eggshells and doesn't want to break any.
They tried to throw him alley-oops in the end zone and it was just laughable. Later, Graham tried to leap a defender in the open field. The old Jimmy Graham might have popped right over him. 2017 Jimmy Graham got about a foot off the ground and got obliterated by the tackler. I've seen enough. I don't know what's wrong with him but something ain't right.
I'll take Jason Witten. He's moving around gingerly too…but that's just he's slow and savvy otherwise. Graham doesn't know savvy he still thinks it's five years ago. So did I, apparently, when I did his preseason draft guide projections.
-- I've mentioned it a few times, but Rishard Matthews (6-87-1/10) is really playing great football. He really has become the top WR for Marcus Mariota. Matthews is just such a professional and underrated WR. He made tough catches under duress even dismissing Sherman as needed. Matthews will never get the credit for how good a wide receiver he really is. Miami wasted him for years.
Because Corey Davis has been hurt this entire year. And because Eric Decker is half of his former self… I really like Rishard Matthews as a WR2.5+ in PPR from here.
4.7 rec. (8.0 targets), 67.0 yards and 0.33 TDs per game = Matthews 2017
Matthews leads the team in targets in 2017 to-date.
-- Watching this game that felt like DeMarco Murray (14-115-1, 1-5-0/2) was the clear starter and Derrick Henry (13-54-0, 1-10-0/1) his understudy. To look at the touch counts it was pretty close. I saw this as DeMarco's backfield with Henry has his sidekick.
Think about it. Murray was truly questionable to play this week with a hamstring issue. The hamstring has been bothering him for two games which allowed to Henry to outperform him – setting off a nationwide panic into Henry for FF. There was every reason for Tennessee to push a split between the two RBs this week…or even put Murray inactive to keep him healthy. But what really happened was Murray started like normal and took a heavy workload, the more important workload, and came through big in the end with the long TD run to put a dagger in Seattle.
I don't know what the touch count is going to be week to week, I just know Murray is going nowhere. He's not going to the bench for Henry.
-- I just want to note again that Adoree' Jackson (5 tackles, 2 PDs) played another great game considering he's a rookie. He doesn't seem phased. This is the new NFL -- cover corners coming in from college having grown up in the all-pass game world and they walk right into the NFL and are starters and shut down guys. I love Jackson's game and the way he's played right off The back.
With Adoree Jackson and second-year DB, future 2017 Pro Bowl'er, Kevin Byard (6 tackles, 1 PD) – Tennessee is building the foundation of a pretty good defense as well to go with their solid offense. This Titans team is going to be very dangerous in 2017. That opening week lost to Oakland may just be an anomaly.
Snap Counts of Interest…
66 = Lockett
62 = Richardson
51 = Baldwin
41 = Carson
27 = Prosise
01 = Rawls
48 = Demarco
30 = Derrick
50 = Delanie Walker
48 = Jonnu Smith