Is Poona Ford going to play more? Are the Seahawks going to the playoffs? That and more in our latest mailbag.
You’ve got questions in the wake of the Seahawks’ surprising defeat at San Francisco on Sunday, we’ve got answers.
Question: The Seahawks postseason hopes are still good, right?
Answer: Yes. All Seattle really has to do is win one game and finish 9-7 to get in.
In fact, a victory over Arizona is enough by itself.
Because of NFC tiebreaking procedures, there is one scenario where the Seahawks could beat Kansas City but then lose to Arizona and lose out on a playoff spot.
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Specifically, if that were to happen and Washington won its final two games against Tennessee and the Eagles, then Washington could win a tiebreaker for strength of schedule, which would come into play because the two teams did not face each other this season and would have the same conference record.
Minnesota would also have to win out, in that scenario, and pass Seattle for the fifth spot, creating the Washington and Seattle tie.
But that’s obviously all pretty remote and the reason that the various statistical sites all still give the Seahawks a really high percentage of making the playoffs.
If Seattle wins out, then it’s simple — the Seahawks finish 10-6 and get the fifth seed.
If Seattle were to lose out, then at 8-8 a number of scenarios could come into play.
But essentially, Seattle would just need at least one defeat by Washington and the Eagles — the two teams that could pass them at 9-7.
And because they play each other on the last Sunday in Washington, they both can’t finish 9-7.
Seattle also would need two defeats by the Vikings.
Carolina still has really remote hopes.
Via NFL playoff tiebreaking guru Joe Ferreria, the Seahawks have five scenarios for clinching this week.
They are — 1) a win and a Washington loss or tie. 2) a win or tie and a Minnesota loss or tie. 3) a tie and a Washington loss and a Philadelphia loss or tie. 4) a win plus then clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker on Washington. 5) a win plus a Minnesota tie and clinching strength of victory tiebreaker on Minnesota.
If any of this is confusing, just go back to step one — a victory over Arizona is enough to get it done.
Q: Where do the Seahawks rank in holding penalties after all the flags they got Sunday?
A: The play of the offensive line has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season for Seattle.
But Sunday was a rough one, for sure, with the five holding penalties, four coming in the last 7:06 of the game or overtime.
Seattle had been below league average in holds until Sunday — the Seahawks have been called for 22, which is three more than the league average, according to NFLPenalties.com. The 21 accepted is tied for ninth most.
Maybe it’s a 49er thing as Seattle has been called for eight holds in the two game against San Francisco, all on offensive linemen.
“I think things changed a little bit in the second half,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “We had 10 penalties in the second half. I don’t know how that happened but it did. We’ve got to make sure that we’re not trying too hard and overdoing it and just believe in what we’re doing (and) stay with it. Sometimes, that can get you.”
Ethan Pocic, filling in for an injured Jordan Simmons and D.J. Fluker, was called for two of the holds. J.R. Sweezy also was called for two of the holds and has a team-high six on the year.
“Really disappointed in that, because that’s about finishing and doing right. It just didn’t happen,’’ Carroll said. “That’s too bad, because we’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of emphasis in trying to finish games by doing the right things instead of that kind of stuff happening because that’s what can occur. It was really clear to these guys and everybody felt bad about their part in it, coaches too. We’ll try to get it cleaned up this week.”
But it’s still been a year of improvement for the line. After usually ranking last, or close to it, the past two seasons in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, Seattle’s offensive line is 18th this week.
“All it took was a fifth- and a second-round pick for the Seahawks’ prolonged nightmare at left tackle to go away,’’ PFF Wrote. “Duane Brown has been worth every pick and penny paid to him this season. His 79.7 overall grade ranks eighth among all tackles in the NFL.’’
Q: Why isn’t Poona Ford playing more?
A: He actually is starting to get more snaps in continuing to look like the team’s latest undrafted free agent find.
Ford played a career-high 30 snaps against the 49ers for what was also a career-high 50 percent of the snaps available.
He made it pay off with three tackles for a loss, and was given a grade of 90.7 from PFF, the best of any Seahawk and third among all defensive interior players. He has a grade of 89.6 for the season, which is 12th among all interior DLs.
“Yeah, he’s been really aggressive,’’ Carroll said Monday. “He’s shown really good instincts to get a feel for taking advantage and making plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. He’s going to get some more playing time.”