Sports with Art Thiel
5:00 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Can Seahawks Stay Undefeated Against Colts?

For the first time in team history, the Seattle Seahawks have a 4-0 start. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel calls that a “tremendous start.”

“I thought they were going to stumble in the first game against Carolina, and they nearly did,” he said. “I thought that was going to be a problem, because this team had a lot of things to get right in the exhibition season that I don’t think were quite there, especially in the offensive line.”

Art says the Seahawks exceeded his minimum expectation of 3-1, and it gives him reason to be optimistic—“except for week 5.”                             

Andrew Luck and the Colts

Of course, he’s talking about the Seahawks’ upcoming game against the Colts, especially the matchup between Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck, the Colts’ quarterback. Both are second-year quarterbacks.

“I’m really excited to see Luck,” Art said. “I saw him at Stanford, and he was a man among boys then, and I think he’s almost the biggest man among the quarterback men in the NFL. There are people who will say Luck is the number one quarterback now.”

And with the exception of Tom Brady, who gets grandfathered in, that’s not too far from the truth, says Art.

“Luck does make all the throws. He’s also an excellent runner. Despite being 6-[foot]-5, he’s very, very fast. And he will be a lot of fun,” he said.

Prepostor Russ Wilson Taking Hits

But Art says what he’ll be watching for most closely is “the number of times Russell Wilson gets clobbered.” Wilson got sacked five times against Houston.

“And the problem, of course, is the offensive line with the Seahawks. They have both tackles out … and there’s been some question about the center,” said Art. “As a result, the Seahawks are blocking poorly, and Russell Wilson is the guy who has to scramble for his life.”

As the season goes on, there’s been a “noticeable uptick” in the number of hits Wilson has endured, says Art.

“In fact, only Michael Vick has been hit more this season than Russell Wilson—46 times [to] 44,” he said. “And what I’m talking about here is not just sacks, but when the quarterback goes down after he releases the ball or is otherwise hit in the pocket that isn’t counted as a sack.”

That’s a lot of damage, says Art.

“And Russell’s a stout guy, but he’s not huge. And that’s going to pile up over the season, and I know one of the reasons the Seahawks start out slow is because the Seahawks are very conservative with their play-calling early to try to minimize potential for damage to Wilson,” he said.

The offensive line is the Seahawks’ leaky vessel due to both injuries and lack of talent, says Art, and it would have cost the game against Houston if Wilson hadn’t managed to outrun the defense in the second half.

“I’m thinking of calling him Prepostor Russ Wilson now, because he does things that no other quarterback in the league does,” he said.

Wilson just might be the force that delivers the Seahawks a win against the Colts, says Art, but at the same time, “It would not surprise me at all to see the Indianapolis Colts deliver the first loss to the Seahawks this Sunday.”

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.