Beyond Golf — 01 February 2015 by Bob Sherwin
SB XLIX: It’s back-to-back, baby

From EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again this year, football fans understand that the one place to go on the web that provides reliable, certifiable and justifiable opinion on Super Bowl XLIX it is, of course, Golferswest.com. As you prepare your party horderves we give you something else to chew on. We not only will offer what we expect will be the final score, just like anyone else does, we go beyond. We tell you how it all will go down today. We did the same last year for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, with the Seahawks diverting only slightly off script. If we’re right, we’ll celebrate like a blind squirrel. If we’re wrong, we won’t ever do it again this year. And, by the way, Patriots fans might want be a little deflated (had to go there) reading this. We’re West Coast, baby, Seattle based. We don’t Belichick here. It’s a Seahawks perspective and it’s a victory, two in a row, and here’s how:

GLENDALE – First, some random thoughts.

  • In the area of motivation, the Seahawks have it all. They’re going for rare back-to-back rings. That defense wants to be known as the greatest ever. They had the finest defensive effort in a SB last year against that formidable Denver offense and if they back it up again today, they become legends, with a leg up on the Hall of Fame for at least three players in the secondary.
  • The one area that worries any fan of any team is turnovers. They change momentum, turn fortunes and break hearts. Don’t think that’s going to happen for the Seahawks. That was two weeks ago, the NFC Championship Game scenario. Four early interceptions and falling behind Green Bay 16-0. QB Aaron Rodgers was 80-1 with that kind of lead. Change that to 2. It would be statistically and logically impossible for the Hawks to have consecutive miserable efforts like that. Turnovers will happen, but the Hawks will hold the edge.
  • Pats’ TE Rob Gronkowski is a mighty weapon, mainly for his size and hands, not his speed. He can catch but the Hawks defenders can catch him. Not only will we see Kam Chancellor lay some early licks on Gronk but both sides expect that and it won’t have the usual impact. What the Hawks likely will do is stop the Gronk with overwhelming force. They will gang tackle him, with vigor. That’s going to wear him down by the second half.
  • Besides Gronk, what else do they have, Brady and the smurfs? None of the other Patriots receivers kept the Seahawks secondary up last night. The quick-release system is concerning but the Hawks have seen better (Denver, Green Bay) and done better (XLVIII).
  • LeGarrette Blount, the Marshawn Lynch of the East, is a tough, rugged runner. But he’s a career backup. He’s no Bus. He has already been released by Pittsburgh this year. Belichick might even diminish his role, subbing in Jonas Gray or more Shane Vereen, just to foil the Hawks pregame preparation. Blount will be blunted.
  • The Seahawks need the run to win and if Marshawn Lynch is successful, as he is capable, won’t that be fitting for the Hawks chatterbox to be the MVP. Can you see the NBC production crew scrambling and fretting to interview him.
  • You say QB Russell Wilson is not in the same class as Tom Brady. Historically, yes. But Wilson is not history. He’s today – and the future. He’s a winner and is talented and motivated enough to win back to back. He is 10-0 in his short career against Super Bowl quarterbacks. That says it all.
  • This secondary reminds us of another highly successful team, Seattle’s biggest rival, the 49ers. When Bill Walsh put together his dynasty in the early 1980, he took the unusual step and filling his secondary with three rookies, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Carlton Williamson and another young player Dwight Hicks. It changed forever how teams can build a champion. Seattle has done it the same way, with its young DBs, Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Bryon Maxwell. That is the most comforting element of the game, for Seahawks fans. They will make the difference.

THE GAME

To start the predictions, the winner of the coin toss will defer to the second half. The Patriots will kick off.

It’s urgent that the Seahawks avoid an opening three-an-out. That’s a momentum killer, especially with the ‘home crowd’ standing and pulling for the Hawks (it’s an overwhelmingly favorable Seattle crowd here). There’s no doubt that the Hawks have already scripted the first few series. It’s likely they will not exclusively use Lynch as the primary force – initially. They know that Belichick loves to take away the opponents’ strength. He’ll have his defenders focus on Lynch. To counter, Wilson will exploit the Patriots using their greatest strength, the short passing game. Wilson, Baldwin and Kearse.

The Seahawks will move down field with offensive tendencies favoring the pass but will finish their opening series with a three-yard Lynch touchdown.

From the start, that may not be a good thing because it sets up a little Seattle letdown and a Patriots resurgence. The Patriots will go after Sherman and they’ll do it with Gronk. They want to see if Sherman’s sore elbow will hold up so they’ll use the big body of Gronkowski to catch short passes in Sherman’s area. They want to force Sherman to tackle him. That’ll be an early personnel and personal battle.

Brady will bring his team back, deep into Seattle territory and they’ll settle for a field goal. The Hawks’ next drive stalls and Brady engineers a long touchdown drive – the main focus for the Pats will be sustained drives – finishing with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Amendola, 10-7.

The Hawks continue to have troubles getting it together, building the Patriots defensive confidence and justifying the pundits I-told-you-so analysis.

Another New England touchdown and Seattle field goal makes it 17-10 by intermission.

As they have been all season, Seattle is a second-half team and the defense will lead the way. They will begin to reach Brady, knocking him down, maybe even a message roughing penalty. The Hawks will disguise their schemes, confusing Gisele’s husband. He’s not the same.

Seattle shows right away that it won’t be stopped. After forcing the Pats to punt, Wilson, Lynch and Willson combine to chew up chunks. Wilson finishes it with a short scamper around the left side, tie game.

New England manages a decent drive, finishing with a long field goal near the end of the third. That will be their final score.

Seattle takes over. Wilson to Willson. Lynch romps. Lynch touchdown. Baldwin, Kearse and even a Robert Turbin electrifying run. They score 17 straight points for a final score of 34-20. Lynch MVP. Wilson does it back-to-back. Coach Carroll, the former Patriots coach, comes full circle, and the Patriots are deflated (going there again).

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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