Every Seahawks loss is a gut punch to me- But I bounce back quicker from certain losses, and my emotions evolved from crushing disappointment to hopeful optimism within minutes after Hauschka's 61-yard attempt fell short. Why am I going to go through the next week without the usual fog of despair that typically overcomes me after a Seahawks loss?
1. They fought.
Yes, the Seahawks need to start NOT putting themselves in these huge holes at half-time- But Pete Carroll's attitude has rubbed off on this team: At no point did you get the feeling those guys stopped giving less than 100% effort. Sometimes they win, a lot of times they lose, but these Seahawks are building a reputation for fighting for a full 60 minutes every week.
2. Tarvaris Jackson
I said in the pre-season that for the Seahawks to succeed in 2011, Jackson had to perform as well or better than 1999 Jon Kitna. Today he exceeded those expectations for the first time, and if he can keep it up the Seahawks still have a great shot at stealing another NFC West crown (even after a 1-3 start). Particularly in the 2nd half, he looked like -GASP- an above-average NFL QB... and he snuffed any whiff of a QB controversy, at least for the next month or so.
If you STILL think Whitehurst should start, you just don't like Tarvaris Jackson. It's that simple.
3. Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice
The undrafted free agent made big catches and took even bigger hits today- He's going to have an important role in this offense going forward. Sidney Rice made a couple of regrettable mistakes, but Seattle's offense is a completely different, far more dangerous entity when he is on the field. That kid is going to be worth every penny of the millions we are paying him.
4. The Offensive Line
We didn't even really TRY running the ball much today, but in pass protection this extremely young and inexperienced unit took a HUGE step forward. Jackson wasn't sacked, and was barely touched all day- allowing him to show his quality when kept "clean."
5. Still, the Defense
Yes, they allowed 30 points- but only a pair of field goals in the 2nd half. They gave us every chance to come back and win the game. My big concern? The continuing lack of takeaways from the D.
Seattle has a tough (but winnable) game at NYG next week. Even if we hit the bye at 1-4, we return with games we SHOULD win against the NFL's relatively weak Ohio clubs. I still see 7 VERY plausible wins on Seattle's remaining schedule (@CLE, CIN, @STL, DC, STL, SF, @AZ), and games like the ones at Dallas and against Philly at home don't seem nearly as daunting as they did just a few hours ago.
Every loss is terrible, but today's defeat shows the forward momentum Pete Carroll is generating for this franchise. VERY soon, games like today's will be victories rather than defeats, and vindication will be ours.
What do you think, sirs?