12’s the Magic Number

Only two weeks in, and it's already clear no one will want to travel to Seattle in the playoffs after the crowd's MVP performance vs. the 49ers; more Week 2 thoughts and ... Johnny Football!

The Seattle crowd made life difficult on the 49ers, to say the least.
The Seattle crowd made life difficult on the 49ers, to say the least. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Thirty years of covering the NFL demands you have perspective after a night like last night. After all, it’s Week 2. Arizona won in Foxboro in Week 2 last year. Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first nine minutes in Week 2 last year. Strange things happen in September, before true patterns develop.

But it’s hard not to wonder this about the NFC playoff race: If Seattle wins home-field advantage, what team is going into that cauldron of sound and fury, CenturyLink Field, and winning a football game? I mean, the 49ers are really good, the best team on a given day in football. In their last two games in Seattle, they’ve lost by a combined 71-16, scoring one touchdown. Their backs have rushed for 2.8 yards a carry. They’ve been penalized 179 yards. San Francisco has been a hot mess in only one place since 2012 dawned—Seattle—and no one can tell me it doesn’t have a lot to do with the crowd.

It was so loud, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor told me, that the Seattle defense, which normally has an edge when the crowd is going nuts, had trouble hearing middle linebacker Bobby Wagner call the plays in the defensive huddle. The defense had to use hand signals for those who didn’t hear what Wagner was saying, even in a tight huddle. But it was still a huge edge for Seattle, because obviously it was impossible for Colin Kaepernick to communicate in any way but a non-verbal one. On the Niners’ third futile series of the game, they had a false start and a delay of game in a three-play stretch, and the delay whipped the crowd into a more feverish pitch. Probably the most amazing thing is the place was louder after the 60-minute weather delay, and after halftime: It got to 136.6 decibels in the third quarter, 16.6 decibels louder than the sound generated by a jet engine on an open runway.

You could cut the energy in the stadium with a knife. It was different from a regular game—so loud I could feel it in my chest, and it gave me energy.

“What an amazing night for the 12th Man,’’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after his team embarrassed San Francisco 29-3 in a strange affair featuring a one-hour lightning delay. “I’ve been coaching a long time … I’ve never heard a crowd like that. What a frickin’ night for those fans. Our guys felt it. They played to it.”

“It was electric,’’ cornerback Richard Sherman, the star of the show, told me from Seattle. “You could cut the energy in the stadium with a knife. It was different from a regular game—so loud I could feel it in my chest, and it gave me energy.’’

Table of Contents

Here's what you can find in this week's Monday Morning Quarterback:


Page 1—The performance of the Seahawks' crowd Sunday night should have the rest of the NFC worried.


Page 2—The other top storylines of the week, featuring thoughts on Johnny Football vs. Alabama, Andy Reid getting ready to return to Philly and Mike McCoy's conviction.


Page 3—Fine Fifteen; The Awards section, featuring Ryan Tannehill, Mario Williams, Devin Hester and more.


Page 4—Comparing Manziel's and Tebow's 'Bama performances; Quotes of the Week; Tweets of the Week.


Page 5—Ten Things I Think I Think, featuring what I liked and didn't like about Week 2; my thought on the worst team in the league and setting the record straight on the Josh Freeman-Greg Schiano rumors; The Adieu Haiku

Seattle hasn’t lost at home since Christmas Eve 2011. Nine straight wins. Average score of the last four of those wins: 37-8. That’s why the Seahawks know how important home-field advantage in the playoffs is. Last year, as the fifth playoff seed, Seattle traveled to Washington in the wild-card round and won, then to Atlanta in the divisional round and lost on a long field goal in the final seconds. Had they won that game, they’d have had to play the NFC title game at San Francisco.

The same scenario could play out this year: the Niners or Seahawks winning the top seed in the NFC, and the second-place team in the division earning a wild-card spot and needing three road wins in 15 or 16 days to make the Super Bowl. Which is why Pete Carroll had his team trained well in the wee hours of this morning. “This wasn’t the Super Bowl tonight,’’ said Sherman. “We haven’t won anything yet. We have to act like we’ve been here before. This was just another game, to tell you the truth.’’

No one believes that. And Sherman certainly didn’t act like that in the days before the game. On Thursday, when it looked like fellow starting corner Brandon Browner wasn’t going to play because of a strained hamstring, Sherman went to his coaches to ask if he could shadow Anquan Boldin in certain schemes. Normally, Sherman is the left corner. Period. He moved around to shadow Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson some last season, but mostly he stays left. “The coaches said it was fine,’’ said Sherman. “Sunday night football, everybody is watching, so watch this. I had him when he was split out, when he was in the left slot, right slot. Didn’t matter.’’ Sherman covered Boldin on about 75 percent of the snaps. Last week the Niners receiver caught 12 balls for 208 yards. This week: one for seven yards. And that one catch wasn’t when Sherman was in coverage.

“It makes me feel good—like I can execute a game plan the way it’s called,’’ Sherman said. “But no, I’m not surprised.”

The Seattle secondary played with anvils in the their shoulder pads, and the pass rush (minus the suspended Bruce Irvin and rehabbing Chris Clemons, who accounted for 19.5 combined sacks last year) buzzed around Kaepernick all game. The Seahawks’ front never let Frank Gore breathe. San Francisco backs ran 11 times and gained 13 yards. They’d better figure a way to run it by the time of the rematch Dec. 8 in Candlestick.

The Seahawks were on their best behavior early this morning. No bulletin board stuff from them. They know the truth, and the 49ers do too: If the road to the Super Bowl goes through Seattle, it’s going to be the biggest disadvantage in recent football history for the road team.

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412 comments
GAML
GAML

The article is about the Seahawks and the 12th man an most of the replies are about lame teams with dismal performances. 

RickGiberson
RickGiberson

Redskins should change their name to the Hogs,  Have a pig in a tux for a logo with a monocle in his eye  and a top hat!

BlaineWest
BlaineWest

Green Bay only at 12 in the Fine Fifteen? You might want to check the alcohol content of some of that brew you enjoy sipping Peter!

bryanflyn
bryanflyn

Peter,  go ahead and catch up with Breaking Bad - it's worth it.  I challenge you to watch the first episode (pilot), they're all on Netflix,  you'll be hooked!

jleland42
jleland42

Check the history; a team Peter King didn't mention in his MMQB will win the Super Bowl this year. It's a lock.

bulltorch
bulltorch

this whole breaking the record is not as impressive.. because the record they had broken was not contrived... it was actually during a game... where seattle's was them planning to yell at the top of their lungs....

lmb2171
lmb2171

what happened to the mailbag?  I haven't seen it the last 1 or 2 weeks.  Did it go away?  Get renamed?  

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

Can someone on Twitter ask Peter King to do some research and come back to us on the epilepsy issue.

I note the Mailbag is for Tw@tter users only which is a shame because I refuse to use that when I am on Facebook already!

JustinRitzel
JustinRitzel

Yeah the Packers ranking is a real head scratcher here. I think Peter is basing his rankings a little too much on a given team's record and not on actual play. Sure, they are 1-1, which is not as good as some other teams. But in their loss they went toe to toe with the defending NFC champs, and in their win they throttled a team from last year. Not to mention, they have the best QB in football right now, and the #1 offense after two weeks.You would think that garners a little more respect. 

Redtheidiot
Redtheidiot

Peter, how about an explanation from the league why the officials didn't call illegal formation on the last play of CHI-MN game.  Not that it will help but at least I would like to hear it.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

Mr. King:  Here is the answer to your dilemma regarding taking offense at the team named Redskins.  It's simple.  Just substitute "Pig" for "Red" and call them the Pigskins.  It works well for this team with the Hogs in their cheering section and "pigskin" being a connotation for a football.  I doubt if the entire porcine community will be offended although they may raise a stink from time to time.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

A few things, regarding the Wisky - AZ State game, you are correct in pointing out the problems at the end of the game.  But you said QB Stave downed the ball thinking he was positioning it for a last second FG but did it so quickly that the officials weren't sure what happened.  Wrong, Mr. King.  When Stave knelt and put the ball on the turf the whistle immediately sounded by the ref making it a dead ball.  The official closest to the ball just looked at the AZ State DL laying on the ball with his finger up his butt.  It should have been a delay of game penalty on AZ State.  I think Stave should have handed the ball to the closest official (as Coach Arians preached to his players in the MMQB story) but the real error is by the referee not taking control of the situation immediately.  

I tried to watch the replay on your page but got a black screen with the message:  "...this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement."  What's up with that?

Kudos on the tribute to Todd Helton - the great Rockie and Peyton Manning's punter at Tennessee.

Non- kudos to you listing the Packers at #12 and also making James Jones an offensive player on the week he did have a fine game)  but not putting Aaron Rodgers in that spot is a fail on your part. 


BY
BY

Horrible reason for picking Greg Schiano as goat of the week, horrible. Ever seen a punt blocked/bad snap/return for a td? If he makes the FG then Brees needs a td. Those are the breaks and no coach, not even the sainted one (Bill Belichick) can predict them. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever read in this column.

doowopdave
doowopdave

Your rankings are a complete joke. The Packers nearly beat last year's NFC champs in San Francisco to open the season, absolutely crushed last year's NFC East champs yesterday, and you have them ranked 12? The 49ers barely get past the Packers in week 1, get clobbered by Seattle last night, and you rank them 3rd? You either haven't watched the last 2 Packer games or you are a complete idiot to think there are currently 11 other teams playing better ball than the Packers right now. I agree with your 1-3 rankings and would put the Packers 4.

UNDEJS30
UNDEJS30

I know I am echoing some other posters in saying this, but what is Peter King smoking DROPPING the Packers 6 spots after one of the most dominating offensive performances in NFL HISTORY??  Let's briefly review the season up to this point.  The Packers lose a thriller of a game, ON THE ROAD, to the defending NFC champions while missing two starters in the secondary who happen to be their top safety and top slot CB (Hmmm...wonder how Boldin and V.Davis were so dominant in the slot??)  Even with that obstacle, it was a game that went down to the wire, with GB leading halfway through the 4th quarter.  The Packers bounce back the next week by sprinting out to a 31-0 lead against 2012 playoff team Washington midway through the 3rd quarter before coasting the rest of the way. En route to this blowout, they become the first team in NFL HISTORY to have a 450 yard passer and 125 yard rusher in the SAME game...the QB (Rodgers) becomes only the second player in NFL HISTORY (along with Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle in 1962) to throw for at least 475 yards and 4 TD's without a pick. The Packers are one of the oldest teams in the NFL with a history that goes back over 90 years, and Rodgers ties the record for most yards in franchise history (and this game actually mattered unlike the previous 480 yard game with nothing at stake).  They also have a 100 yard rusher for the first time in 44 games, snapping the longest streak in the NFL for that (and it wasn't close).  With ALL these developments in clear view, and considering how SF only dropped to #3 in the rankings after getting THROTTLED in a non-competitive game to their arch rival, HOW can you justify dropping Green Bay ONE spot (let alone 6???)  How can you say 11 teams in the league are better than the team who just put on one of the most impressive offensive displays in league history?  You can't say the defense justifies the drop in the rankings, because the defense had given up 0 points midway through the 3rd quarter and were holding their end of the bargain....this just shows the list has NO thought  put into it.  It is just someone claiming to be an "expert" throwing garbage against the wall at random while not actually watching the games of the teams he attempts to rank.

On a related note, I LOVE James Jones, he is a great WR....but how is he the offensive player of the week over Rodgers?  Jones did not score a TD and he fumbled the ball into the endzone, costing the Packers a TD while giving the Skins the ball on the 20.  Rodgers, meanwhile, was breaking records and played flawlessly.  Tell me again how Jones is the offensive player of the week?  That makes no sense...Jordy Nelson had 2 TD's, Cobb had 9 catches, over 100 yards, and a TD...and Starks broke the 44 game streak while averaging over 6 yards per carry and scoring a TD of his own....Again, it is nonsense.  Rodgers didn't even get a mention for his historic feats beyond briefly pointing out his two game averages so far this year. Pick it up, Mr. King.  I usually enjoy reading your work, but this week's column really has shaken my trust and confidence in your credibility.  I'm not saying GB should be #1, but no reasonable person would drop them 6 spots after the performance they had.

FrankStrazzulla
FrankStrazzulla

dont know which Seattle crowd is tougher: the Seahawks or Sounders?  Imagine if you imported the end-zone fans at the Soundsrs to the Seahawks?

ianlinross
ianlinross

I think Manziel is a throw-back. Kind of a Bobby Lane type of player. He's young, famous, a competitor, and he's going to enjoy himself. And he's not going to do things the NCAA's way. If he matures and grows into a well-rounded player, he's going to win somebody a Super Bowl. 

In the meantime, I hope somebody gives him Brett Favre's number for special counselling.

MatthewCortina
MatthewCortina

Green Bay throttles Washington and drops from 6 to 12? I get RG3 is struggling but you can only play who you play. Houston struggling two weeks in a row, Miami at 4??, San Diego?!, Cincinatti could be 0-2 after tonight! All ahead of GB in these polls. I'm not saying they're #1 but jeez...

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

As for Manziel, people are giving him too much automatic, sole credit for what MIKE EVANS actually made possible for him against Bama.

Evans was the real star of the Aggie offense last Saturday.  The Bama DBs absolutely could not cover him AT ALL, and it allowed Manziel to pad his stats after those two game-changing picks he threw (those interceptions are basically why the Aggies lost).

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

So how are you feeling about picking the Pats for the Super Bowl (again) this year, King?

Still scratching my head over that one.  Mystifying how you believed a team that relies on an offense which lost Welker and Hernandez, and will subsequently rely on rookie starters and a notoriously injury prone #1 receiver replacement in their absence, will somehow be *better* than last year's team.

I used to argue against your perceived Patriots bias, but after that preseason prediction, I'm having to reevaluate you.

Hawk29
Hawk29

@bulltorch actually if you they had been reading the decibels during Beastmodes run, or when Romo fumbled in the play offs that  the record was broken then.  Also, it had to be spontaneous and they couldn't put on the board to make noise now, which is why the official record didn't happen until the 3rd quarter. 

Adrian4
Adrian4

@bulltorch Actually this was far more organic than the previous record. That was done at a soccer game in Turkey where the crowd was specifically told when to yell at the top of their lungs. I was at the Seahawks game, there was never any written or audio announcement in the stadium about the record. The 136.6 decibels just came on a regular defensive play.

djs425
djs425

@bulltorch actually it was contrived but even if it wasnt, it still counts. Tell Guinness what their criteria is though. I'm sure they'll laugh at you

Mike26
Mike26

@JustinRitzel The Packers are the bestest team ever all the time and should always be #1.

nyjets011269
nyjets011269

@BY Totally agree.  A kicker should be able to nail a 47 yard FG.  

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@doowopdave So they lost one and won one, they're 1-1. Was that your point? Or was it that they have lost two in a row to the same team that was just clobbered by someone else?

Mike26
Mike26

@doowopdave The Packers are the bestest team ever and should always be #1.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@UNDEJS30 There are fewer things as pathetic as someone getting so bent out of shape by a few spots on someone's 'Top 15" list that they write a book about it. Lame. Get over it. Green Bay may have had a good game, but they scare no one.

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

@UNDEJS30 excellent comments. Let him and the other so called experts under rate us, we can have the last laugh when we beat the Media darling Peyton Manning and the Broncos in NYC.

patsfan94
patsfan94

@leehwgoc No, their defense giving up 10 yards a play was why the Aggies lost.

gbgentleman
gbgentleman

@Redtheidiot @Shane Mac Currently the Redskins should keep the name...I mean I'm be ashamed (and blushing red) if I played as badly as they did in the last couple of weeks.

benseattle
benseattle

@Redtheidiot @Shane Mac  

Excellent post.  If you like fact-free, don't-bother-with-reason, skip-the-cogent-arguement mindlessness demonstrated here.  THIS topic is why "Washington Redkins" isn't immediately banned and if not, then does that make the New York Niggers okay with you and the rest of the NFL?

FrankStrazzulla
FrankStrazzulla

@Redtheidiot @FrankStrazzulla have you ever watched a Sounders game?  they average 45,000 per game and have had recent sellout crowds....in other words, please know what you are talking about before shooting off your mouth!

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

I agree as of today, but one has to support his team until the bitter end

Hawk29
Hawk29

@evileyefleagle Boeing was headquartered in Seattle since World War 2, but about a decade ago they moved to Chicago.  They still employ more people in the state of Washington than any where else, so while their office is in Chicago now because of the tax breaks, we still take pride in Boeing as a major employer.

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

I looked up Boeing.  They're listed as a Chicago firm.

I also looked up Lombardi and World Series Trophies.  Seattle's not listed.

benseattle
benseattle

@Joebuckster @FrankStrazzulla @Redtheidiot  

Man, do I love a public display of ignorance.  If you need to find Seattle, just look up Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Weyerhaeuser and Boeing.  When you're bored (or "starved") head to the symphony, ballet, Bumbershoot or Hempfest.  Try the Mariners (better yet, don't.) 

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@FrankStrazzulla @Redtheidiot Soccer sucks, that's why he doesn't know (or care) what you are talking about. Just like the rest of us. Seattle is just starved for entertainment, obviously. Where is Seattle again, by the way??

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