A brief set of pictures from the game
Aside from the horrible, boring, shitty loss I had a great time at the game- Let's get the ugliness out of the way first...
Charlie Whitehurst is getting hammered from all angles right now, so I really don't want to pile on- He stepped up last year against the Rams and got us a divisional title. He will always be able to say he was instrumental in putting that banner in the Seahawks Stadium rafters... But the simple truth is that he should never be given the opportunity to start another NFL game. He was THAT bad yesterday. I typically bemoan the types of fans who pin losses completely on a single player, but make no mistake: If Whitehurst delivers anything better than one of the worst QB performances in franchise history, the Seahawks would be 3-3 today.
Aside from his abysmal stat line, Whitehurst consistently failed to throw to open receivers, failed to hit wide open receivers with passes they could convert into points (from the stands I noticed Sidney Rice's frustrated reactions over and over), and repeatedly held onto the ball too long. Whitehurst was set up to succeed yesterday against a mediocre Cleveland team, but he was unfocused and timid. He simply is not an NFL starting quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson may not be a GREAT starting QB, but he has shown that he can lead an NFL team. Whitehurst has not, and he should only be allowed on the field from here on if the Seahawks have NO other options. Yes, I mean that if Jackson can't go, I'd rather see what we have in Josh Portis. CW is gone after this year, and maybe gone from the NFL. I love PCJS, but trading a 3rd for Whitehurst is probably their worst personnel misstep so far.
Besides the disheartening season-ending injury to Walter Thurmond, the other big story (again) was terrible officiating. This time the main offender was noted attention whore Mike Carey, who threw a befuddling roughing the passer flag on a Seattle sack of Colt McCoy, and erased a Leon Washington touchdown with one of the most ticky-tack block-in-the-back calls of all time. Apparently even Jim Mora was ranting about how terrible that call was on the Fox NFL broadcast.
You also made me look like a total dipwad, Mike Carey- During Leon's punt return I lost my GOD DAMN MIND. I was jumping and screaming like I was on fire, celebrating what looked like Seattle's winning touchdown- Then all the fucksticks around me got the satisfaction of pointing out the laundry on the field. Thanks, asshole.
Good stuff? The defense was spectacular- I can't fault them for allowing nothing but two 53-yard field goals, and they are creating an identity as a hard-hitting, extremely violent crew. Thurmond's injury is terrible news, but not necessarily crippling for this young, developing defense. Special teams also deserve recognition for two blocked field goals, Washington's nullified TD, and for keeping Joshua Cribbs in check all day.
It also turned out that sitting in the No Alcohol/Family Section was a BRILLIANT move. There were lots of empty seats, and lots of little kids around. As long as I didn't curse, I was golden. The strategy was vindicated after Washington's TD got called back, when a dude yelled at me "If we weren't in the family section I'd kick your ass." Well, yeah... but here we are, moron.
I should take a second to be a snob about the in-stadium experience. It didn't come anywhere close to the exciting atmosphere we have at Seahawks Stadium. Stuff like raising the 12th Man Flag or fireworks during the introductions may seem cheesy to some folks, but it makes a HUGE difference in creating a fun experience for fans. They do exactly JACK SHIT in Cleveland. The attitude seems to be: "here's a football game: take it or leave it, schmucks."
The stadium was probably about 80% full, and the only times any real efforts were made to make noise to impede the Seahawks offense were on 3rd downs... Even then, it was like soothing white noise compared to the 747-taking-off wall of decibels at Seahawks Stadium. We are VERY lucky to have the amazing in-game atmosphere and home-field advantage the Seahawks enjoy in Seattle.
The Awesome stuff? I got to weasel my way down to the Seahawks tunnel, and the Hawks seemed way more interested in coming over and talking to us fans in Cleveland than they seem to be back at home games. I don't blame them- I want them focused and ready for battle... but it really seemed to excite them to see so many Seahawks fans come out to support them. I got to shake hands with and monosyllabic-ally talk at Sidney Rice and Pete Carroll, but the COOLEST moment was when Earl Thomas noticed I was wearing his jersey. His eyes lit up, he ran over and gave me an ENTHUSIASTIC handshake (almost to the point of hurting me). I was just overwhelmed by the experience. Seriously, if you are a Seahawks fan, find a way to get down to the tunnel during warm-ups... It can be mind-blowing.
I hesitate to talk about this, because it seems so masturbatory and self-congratulating, but I was extremely humbled to meet so many fans of this blog at the game. There was the couple from Toronto that I hung out with for a good 45 minutes before the gates opened, the fellow Twelve who hooked me up with Sunday Ticket last season, the husband of the woman I ran into at the Toledo Zoo on Friday, and a few others (I'm hesitant to name names, because I don't know if these people want the extra exposure). My apologies to the nice lady who was yelling at me from across the Seahawks tunnel before the game- It took me forever to realize she was talking to me, and then even longer to realize she was a fan of the blog. I must have looked like a complete idiot... Sorry! Your support means a lot to me, everyone. I'd do this even if no one was reading, but knowing that there are people out there who enjoy reading my thoughts about the Seahawks is deeply satisfying and encouraging.
Don't despair about the loss, Twelves. We are only one game in the loss column out of the last NFC Wild Card slot, and once T-Jack is healthy I truly believe we can start going on a tear through our schedule. This team is still on an upward trajectory, despite yesterday's craptacular shit-fest.
What do you think, sirs? Does anyone else who was at the game have a tale to tell?