"Wanna do this again in 7 weeks at my place?"
There was plenty going on today to angry up the blood of any Seahawks fan: Marshawn Lynch's awful multi-fumble performance, Mike Carey's apparent officiating vendetta against Seattle, and our defense's inability to stop Drew Brees or some undrafted free-agent running back. Also, we'll have to wait and see how serious the injuries are to Mike Williams and Marcus Trufant as the week goes on- Hopefully they can both go against KC.
But be honest: This didn't feel like the other Seahawks losses this season. Matt Hasselbeck resembled his 2007 self for the 2nd week in a row, BMW and Obo had great games catching the rock, and even in the face of big deficits, Seattle fought for 60 minutes. This team has eradicated the mental weakness of 2008-2009; There is a clear difference between being beaten by a team with more talent and big-game experience and simply collapsing at the first serious sign of adversity. Today's game fell into that first category; Hell yes I'm upset we lost, and I'm pissed that we didn't offer up a better performance, but frankly Brees and the Saints do this to A LOT of teams- It's not a sign of inherent, unfixable weakness that they beat us by 15 points today.
The Saints were clearly the better team TODAY, but in 7 weeks, in Seattle, with a healthy roster and the Twelve Army there for back up? In that scenario, these Seahawks can WIN. Over these next six games, I don't think we'll see these Seahawks backslide. We'll see them develop. They'll learn, gain wisdom, and improve. They might even steal a game everyone expects them to lose. The great news is that 3 wins will probably be enough to clinch a playoff spot; I think we win 4 out the last 6 to enter the playoffs with a respectable 9-7 mark (wins over KC, CAR and STL at home, plus a victory at SF would do it).
A rematch with the Saints at Qwest is a real possibility in the Wild Card game (though if I could pick our opponent, it'd be the Chicago Bears), and that's a daunting assignment, but not an impossible one. This week's game against Kansas City is mildly challenging, but still one Seattle SHOULD win. KC's last road win was back in week 2. At Cleveland. By 2. I'm not exactly shaking in mortal terror at the idea of hosting them at Qwest.
I'd be lying if I said next week was a must-win, but a victory over a 6-4 foe would quiet SOME of the haters, and possibly expand our division lead to two games (STL starts a 3-game road swing at Denver; The Rams still haven't won on the road this season). Also, I'll be at the game up in section 325, and the Hawks are 13-1 with me in attendance at our new stadium... I'm not flying cross-country to see that mark go to 13-2.
Sidebar: after Matt Hasselbeck passed for 688 yards and no picks over the last two games, isn't it time for the Front Office to start seriously thinking about offering him a contract extension? We obviously still need to acquire his successor in the offseason, but why not keep Hass as the bridge/mentor to the new guy?
Sidebar 2: Brian Billick really shouldn't be allowed to talk into a microphone and describe things to people. He's almost as bad as Matt Millen, but at least Billick can at least say he led a team to a Super Bowl win rather than an 0-16 season.
Sidebar 3: I'm all about protecting QBs, but the flag on Brock for "hitting" Brees was abysmal officiating, and reeked of NBA-style protection of star players. That's not a road you want to start going down, NFL.
What do you think, sirs?