There was plenty to talk about in the wake of Seattle's 31-24 win over New England on Sunday night -- including a last-second matchup between Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor jersey and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowksi that ended in a game-deciding incompletion -- but let's start with this important takeaway: The Seahawks look pretty darn scary. They feel like they're more hardened, more resilient and more certain of where they fit into a potential championship picture. Sunday night's victory, one that came against the NFL's best team thus far, only added one more piece of evidence to that likelihood.
Mayo was a rotational player with wholesale NFL jerseys this season, playing 36.2 percent of snaps. He compiled one sack, one pass defensed and 47 tackles. He played just seven snaps in Saturday's Divisional Round win over the Kansas City Chiefs jerseys before being injured in the third quarter.
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Saturday might have been Mayo's final game in a Pats jersey. The linebacker, who took a pay cut in 2015, has a $4 million bonus due at the start of the new league year if the team exercises their option. It would count $11.4 million against the salary cap.
While the Mayo news isn't positive, the bigger issue will be the health of Pro Bowler Jamie Collins, who suffered an oblique strain against the Chiefs. If Collins is limited Sunday versus the Denver Broncos, the Patriots' linebacker corps will be very thin.
As much as we've grown to see Seattle as a team boasting big personalities and plenty of bravado, what's often overlooked is its collective mental toughness. This is still a team made up mostly of players who were largely underestimated coming into the NFL -- including Chancellor, Wilson and Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman jersey -- and that means they're usually going to relish playing with their backs against the walls. In fact, there's something to be learned from the Seahawks already having seven of their nine games this season being decided by seven points or less. That's an indication that this team is once again proving how well it can operate under pressure.
"You're always concerned when you're not playing," he said, via ESPN.com. "I prepared myself to play, the coaches made the decisions on who they wanted to play, and I'm not going to ask any questions or make any excuses or look for any wholesale jerseys. I'm just going to get dressed, get back on the plane and see what happens."
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This is the second time in as many years the Patriots signed a big-named veteran, paid him some real money and watched him walk away (Reggie Wayne in 2015). Knighton already made about $650,000, according to various reports. He'll earn more than that when he is snapped up over the next two weeks.
Knighton seemed to be an obvious Vince Wilfork stand-in. With few true nose tackles in the NFL operating with such success, Knighton had his pick of a few teams this offseason and ended up choosing the Patriots over his former team, the Washington Redskins jerseys. The Patriots also tried out former first-round pick Nick Fairley before watching him sign with the Saints.
What the Seahawks did best against New England was answer every seemingly crushing blow the Patriots delivered. When Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount was gashing them on the ground -- on his way to three touchdowns -- Seattle found a way to turn Prosise loose on the New England defense with a variety of runs and pass plays. When Tom Brady seemed to be carving up the Seahawks secondary, Wilson started spreading the football to a variety of his own receivers (Seattle finished with 420 total yards, including 324 through the air). Let's also not forget that Seattle won the turnover battle, as the 'Hawks took the ball away from New England twice without making any mistakes of their wholesale jerseys.
That stuff matters in November and December. It matters even more when you're playing a team that has won four Super Bowls since 2001 and managed to go 3-1 when Brady was serving a four-game suspension earlier this season. The Patriots simply do not beat themselves. The teams that have success against them have to earn everything they get, which is a task Seattle more than wanted on Sunday night.
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Carroll pointed out that he was proudest of the fact that Seattle won this contest by playing its game. He didn't have to give any stirring speeches in practice, nor did he have to revive memories of the interception Wilson threw on the 1-yard line in that Super Bowl loss two years ago, when everyone expected Marshawn Lynch jersey to get the ball. The Seahawks understood the point they were at in this season. This was the time when they had to start building the kind of momentum that leads to long, rewarding postseason success.
It helps that the Seahawks still have plenty of veterans who've been around since Carroll started building this culture upon his arrival in 2010. It means even more that younger players like Prosise -- who was a third-round pick in this year's draft -- understand what's expected of them now that they're a part of it. "The brotherhood in here is stronger than ever, and it's real," Chancellor said. "Guys don't let circumstances or adversity put them in the tank. Guys will lean on each other and have each other's back. This is something you can't find anywhere, and we practice what we preach. This is who we are."
Those are important words to remember as we move deeper into the second half of this regular season. We can see that New England is still the class of the AFC and that Dallas is going to be fun to watch all year, especially if Prescott keeps providing more reasons to keep Tony Romo jersey on the bench. The important thing to remember here is that it's dangerous to be so focused on those storylines that we lose sight of other happenings in the NFL. And right now, from what we learned on Sunday night, the Seahawks are blossoming into something that will be pretty hard to deal with, as well.