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Sport NFL Week 16 Blanket: Seahawks' issues derail any legitimate shot at Super Bowl run

18:50  25 december  2016
18:50  25 december  2016 Source:   si.com

Pete Carroll addresses idea of leaving Seahawks to coach the Rams

  Pete Carroll addresses idea of leaving Seahawks to coach the Rams Pete Carroll once had immense success coaching football in Los Angeles, so is there any chance he'd consider leaving Seattle to return?However, the most imminent issue with the Monday firing was the fact that the Rams are set to face the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.

  NFL Week 16 Blanket: Seahawks' issues derail any legitimate shot at Super Bowl run © Otto Greule Jr./Getty

Week 16 provided more clarity as the playoffs near. The Vikings, Saints, Panthers, and Colts have all been eliminated, while the Giants and Falcons officially punched their ticket to the postseason. The Nightmare Before Christmas was real for the Raiders and Titans who lost their young phenom quarterbacks for the season. Here is what else we learned from the penultimate week of the regular season…

BLANKET COVERAGE

Your resident “Wet Blanket of Reason” takes the temperature of the most intriguing storylines out of Week 16 of the 2016 NFL season:

Go crazy, folks

Seahawks may be one and done: Seattle, after falling 34-31 to Arizona, has lost three of five and look nothing like the team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls. Since safety Earl Thomas went down, the Seahawks gave up 38 at Green Bay and 34 at home to the Cardinals, with a 24-3 victory over the lowly Rams wedged in between. The Seahawks, who allowed Arizona to score on four of its final six possessions, just aren’t the same defense without Thomas. That might be OK if the offense could be counted on, but unless Russell Wilson plays Superman every week (350 yards, four touchdowns vs. Arizona), status quo doesn’t work for Seattle. Seattle's offensive line is so bad at this point (2.9 rushing average, six sacks allowed, 14 total QB hits), and with injuries mounting (WR Tyler Lockett is out for the season and RB Thomas Rawls left the game), it’s difficult seeing the Seahawks being much of a threat this postseason.

Report: Derek Carr considered an ‘extreme long shot’ to play in Super Bowl

  Report: Derek Carr considered an ‘extreme long shot’ to play in Super Bowl Should the Oakland Raiders make it to the Super Bowl without team MVP Derek Carr under center, it looks like he won’t be able to return for the big game. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Carr is considered an “extreme long shot” to play in the Super Bowl should the Raiders make it that far.

Loss of Carr a crusher for Raiders: The Raiders were one of the best stories in the NFL this year. Young, daring and unflinching, Oakland appeared poised to at the very least inject a lot of fun into the AFC playoffs this season with QB David Carr, WR Amari Cooper and OLB Khalil Mack. But after Carr suffered a broken fibula (same injury, same day as Titans’ Marcus Mariota) and was ruled out for the season, Raiders just won’t be able to hang with the AFC big boys. Backup Matt McGloin is a gamer and gives the Raiders a better shot than the Titans, but Carr’s passion and play drove the Raiders. It’s a shame, but good things are coming for the Raiders.

David Johnson is something else: The Cardinals’ running back tied Hall of Famer Barry Sanders for the NFL record with 15-straight games with a 100+ scrimmage yards. He became the first Cardinal to go over 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season and now leads the NFL with 20 touchdowns after scoring three against the Seahawks. Johnson has been so good it makes you wonder why the Cardinals were so disappointing this season.

Report: Seahawks, Bennett agree to 3-year, $31.5M contract

  Report: Seahawks, Bennett agree to 3-year, $31.5M contract The Seattle Seahawks and defensive end Michael Bennett agreed to a three-year contract extension, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Seahawks, but it was revealed that Bennett signed a contract worth $31.5 million, with $17.5 million guaranteed.

Great comeback by 49ers: After losing RB Carlos Hyde to a bad leg injury, the 49ers showed a lot of moxie coming from 21-7 down in the fourth quarter and winning on a touchdown and two-point conversion with 31 seconds left. Considering the way the season has gone, it was somewhat surprising to see the emotion on the 49ers’ sideline after Rashard Robinson’s game-clinching interception. Good sign for a team that hasn’t had much success this season.

Winston needs to be better: The Bucs’ defense was torched by Drew Brees and the Saints, and that led to a 31-24 loss, but QB Jameis Winston needs to be better to win these types of games in the future. His two interceptions to Jairus Byrd just can’t happen when the season is on the line. Yes, Winston was under pressure throughout this game but needs some work in the offseason with his footwork and making his release a bit quicker.

Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks has a word with an official during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on December 24, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. © Steve Dykes/Getty Images Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks has a word with an official during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on December 24, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

Officially speaking

I didn’t like the pass interference call against Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner on 2nd-and-goal from the Seattle 3 yard line early in the fourth quarter. Both Wagner and Gresham were going for the ball and it wasn’t a well thrown ball by Carson Palmer. Instead of 3rd-and-goal, Cardinals had first down at the 1 and scored to go up 21-10.       

Devin Hester signing with Seahawks for NFL playoffs

  Devin Hester signing with Seahawks for NFL playoffs As teams get ready for the NFL playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks decided to bring in return guru Devin Hester, according to Jay Glazer. The team’s regular return guy, Tyler Lockett, was placed on IR last week following a broken leg that needs offseason surgery.Hester was waived by the Baltimore Ravens after less than a full season with the team. It wasn’t a great season, with blame on lingering hamstring injuries and practice reps. The 34-year-old had five fumbles and only averaged 7.2 yards per punt return.

Amari Cooper, 83 overall: Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree emerged as a solid wide receiver duo last season. Cooper had his ups and downs, but he was the better overall wideout for the Raiders. The two have the same overall rating in Madden 17, which is also on par with Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, and trailing DeSean Jackson (84) and Michael Floyd (85). Cooper should see his rating go up with each passing week, but he should have begun the year above Floyd, Mike Evans and Randall Cobb. © Getty Images Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree emerged as a solid wide receiver duo last season. Cooper had his ups and downs, but he was the better overall wideout for the Raiders. The two have the same overall rating in Madden 17, which is also on par with Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, and trailing DeSean Jackson (84) and Michael Floyd (85). Cooper should see his rating go up with each passing week, but he should have begun the year above Floyd, Mike Evans and Randall Cobb.

Coolest thing I saw         

The 3rd-and-8 catch by Amari Cooper that sealed the win for the Raiders over the Colts was unbelievably clutch. Vontae Davis, one of the better CBs in the league, was draped all over Cooper yet he still made the catch in a huge spot.

Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) looks for an open receiver during the third quarter against the Bengals at NRG Stadium. © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Texans quarterback Tom Savage (3) looks for an open receiver during the third quarter against the Bengals at NRG Stadium.

After the whistle

As of this moment, the AFC playoff quarterbacks are Tom Brady (Patriots), Matt McGloin (Raiders), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Tom Savage (Texans), Alex Smith (Chiefs) and Matt Moore (Dolphins). You could also throw in the fact that Average Joe Flacco (Ravens), Trevor Siemian (Broncos) and Matt Cassel (Titans) are still alive. Is this some kind of a joke? Man, between injuries, average players and ineffective play, things could not be setup any better for the Steelers and Patriots. At this point, if Roethlisberger and Brady aren’t in the AFC Championship at Gillette Stadium, it would be a major shock. Like colossal choke level. Compare the AFC to the NFC, where you have Dak Prescott (Cowboys, with Tony Romo backing up), Matt Ryan (Falcons), Matthew Stafford (Lions), Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Eli Manning (Giants) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers), and it’s not even close. AFC, we kind of have a quarterback problem.

Paul Richardson makes insane one-handed touchdown catch .
Twitter erupted after the insane one-handed touchdown grab by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson.

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