The ugly truth is very few of us expected Seattle to win this game- Sure, we HOPED the Seahawks would find a way to win, but if you were told before kickoff that the Hawks would lose by 16, would that have surprised you? Probably not.
What is bothering us, what has the Twelve Army consumed by frustration and angst, is HOW the Seahawks lost. On a day that the defense gave a full 60 minutes of competent, honest effort, on a day that we saw stirrings of an effective rushing attack, we were betrayed by one of our Icons. Matt Hasselbeck failed us today, with three inexcusable, inexplicable, gift-wrapped turnovers on three consecutive 3rd quarter possessions. Almost instantly, and almost entirely because of Beck's mistakes, a competitive 17-10 game morphed into a 34-10 Atlanta blowout.
This much is beyond reasonable debate: In 2011, Matt Hasselbeck will no longer be Seattle's starting QB. Might he end up as a placeholder for a highly drafted QB prospect, then ease into a mentor/back-up role? I doubt it. He'll likely get a chance to start at QB somewhere- It's just unlikely to be in Seattle. An era is truly ending in the next few weeks.
However, even though Whitehurst came off the bench and led a scoring drive, it's not entirely obvious he should replace Hasselbeck as the starter at Tampa next Sunday. NOTHING fucks up a football team as much as a QB controversy. They split locker rooms down the middle and erode confidence in the head coach's leadership and judgement. I fully expect Carroll to reaffirm Beck's status as the starter, but keep him on a short leash down in Florida next week.
People say that we need to "see what we've got" in Whitehurst... Let me let you in on something: We already know what we have in CW- NOT the Seahawks QB of the future. He's more John Friesz than Zorn/Krieg/Beck in my eyes... Yeah, he'll probably be here next season, with Beck playing elsewhere, but almost certainly only in the role of seat-warmer for whatever QB Carroll drafts. If Buddy Christ had gained Carroll's confidence at all, he would have replaced Beck as the starter weeks ago; Carroll has no particular investment in Hasselbeck, while he traded a 3rd round pick for Whitehurst- Don't you think he'd put in CW if he thought the kid gave us a better chance to win?
All that said, Carroll would be 100% justified in benching Hasselbeck- He's done more than enough to earn a demotion the last couple of weeks, and if CW is Carroll's guy, he's also MY guy. My point? It still comes down to which QB gives us a better chance to win the next 2+ games, NOT evaluating CW as our QB of the future- In that equation, I don't think there's an obviously "better" or "worse" choice between Beck and CW.
There were encouraging signs against a real Super Bowl contender today, particularly on defense and in the running game. If the Seahawks can somehow get their minds right, they can win these last two games, and go into the post-season at 8-8. That wouldn't exactly the greatest achievement in NFL history, but it would represent real progress compared to the aimless drift of 2008-2009.
Tampa Bay just lost at home to Detroit, who snapped a 26-game road losing streak with that OT win today. If one of the worst road teams in NFL history can win at Raymond James Stadium, the Seahawks can. Our goals are still within our reach, Twelves! We can do this! We don't have to be resigned to a sad 6-10 whimpering end to this season- We can still end this campaign with the triumphant roars of the Qwest Field throngs echoing into the offseason...
(If you don't already know- root for the Rams to beat the Niners at STL next Sunday- That'll set up Seahawks v Rams week 17 as a de-facto playoff game, regardless of Seattle/TB result)
What do you think, sirs?