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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

John Blanchette: Even as questions persist, Seahawks’ playoff-clinching victory still produces ‘a hell of a feeling’

Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) celebrates during an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Landover, Md.  (Associated Press)
By John Blanchette For The Spokesman-Review

Questions, questions. Man, do the Seattle Seahawks love to leave us with questions.

Do you suppose there are answers to match?

Let’s give it a shot.

Q: With Sunday’s 20-15 victory over the Washington Football Team – WFT for short – the Seahawks clinched an NFL playoff spot for the eighth time in nine years. Is it really that big of a deal?

A: Well, only New England matches that regularity, and the Patriots whiffed this year after the Head Hoody decided Tom Brady didn’t have another run in him. But let Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, who spent his first three NFL seasons with the LOL Jets, handle this tossup:

“Hell, yeah! That’s a hell of a feeling! I’m not used to this, guys, forgive me. I know you’re used to Seattle, you know, always going to the playoffs. I’m not used to this. I’m used to sending my cars home by this time. Hey, I’m (usually) already packing up, learning where I’m going next, where’s the vacation, when am I seeing family. I’m just excited, man. This is what you dream of.”

So apparently that’s a yes.

Q: Aren’t you afraid of confusing WFT with…?

A: Stop right there. The acronym you’re looking for actually applies to the Seahawks, usually in the fourth quarter. And you’ve already asked that question, many times before.

Q: Speaking of the fourth quarter, how can Seattle’s pass rush not lay a hand on Washington’s Dwayne Haskins Jr. the entire game, then sack him three times with the game on the line?

A: “They just cranked it,” said coach Pete Carroll. “We didn’t have to do anything special. We just let the guys cut it loose and it just all of a sudden took life – and (took it) right out of them. Why would that all of a sudden happen? Well, those guys just stepped into that next level of going for it.”

Q: A follow up – any thought of, uh, letting them cut it loose sooner?

A: Sorry. You’ve had your question.

Q: OK, then what about cutting the offense loose? Just 121 yards passing? Four completions of 10 yards or more? Nothing longer than 15? How do you go from Let Russ Cook to a starvation diet?

A: You must be trying to push Pete’s buttons.

“You go ahead and be concerned,” Carroll huffed. “We did exactly what we wanted to do. We didn’t want them (Washington’s defensive line) to be a factor in this game. To give up some yards and stats, I’m not worried about that at all. I don’t know what Russ’ numbers were – 18 of 27? – that’s another Bart Starr-type of game. That worked out great today. It’ll be different next time. But on this game against that team, we neutralized their strength, and that’s what we had to do to get it done.”

Q: Who’s Bart Starr?

A: That’s what Google is for, noob.

Q: Let’s chill out. What’s been the most reliable area for the Seahawks?

A: Special teams. Though they rank near the middle of the NFL in returns, the Seahawks have almost never hurt themselves with bad coverage or poor kicking. The Jets managed a 67-yard punt return last week, but wound up missing a field goal after.

Meanwhile, punter Michael Dickson is nails at pinning opponents deep – WFT started drives at its own 4, 10, 4 and 14 after his four punts Sunday. The Seahawks are fourth in net punting, and placekicker Jason Myers is perfect on field goals – he set a franchise record with his 31st straight in the second quarter. And defensive back D.J. Reed has added some zip to punt returns.

Q: Speaking of Reed, is this a Seahawks triumph or a 49ers face plant?

A: Both. When he tore a pectoral muscle last year, the Niners waived him, general manager John Lynch telling him he wouldn’t play this season. The notion was that teams would ignore him because he wouldn’t be available until November.

The Seahawks didn’t – “this is (general manager) John Schneider working his magic,” Carroll said – and he’s been a revelation, filling in as a starting cornerback even though Seattle wanted him as a nickel. He had an interception against his old team last month and another Sunday.

“Being 5-foot-9, it’s a statement for me,” Reed said. “Corners that are 5-9 aren’t corners anymore – they play the slot. Every time I play on the outside, I feel like I’ve got to make a statement.”

Q: OK, but why do the Seahawks always seem to play down to their competition? Sure, Washington had won four in a row, but they were 2-7 before that and Haskins had been benched.

A: Maybe you should check scores around the league.

Q: Wow, did the Rams really lose to the Jets?

A: See? It’s not just the Seahawks with all these questions.