The Seahawks let another winnable game slip away yesterday, and with that loss all realistic hope for a return to the playoffs evaporated. The good things Seattle did (protecting Tarvaris Jackson, establishing a solid ground game, excellent red zone defense) were overwhelmed by a clattering brood of mistakes: Penalties, poor decision-making (particularly from T-Jack), and an offense that seemed to melt as it grew closer to the heat of the enemy's end zone.
The main problems remain on offense and special teams, which are both far from the level of consistent execution needed to win games. To my untrained eye, the defense looks like it might be wearing down, despite maintaining a high level of intensity. It shouldn't be surprising to see this, coming from the youngest roster in the NFL- But it's still disappointing.
Tarvaris Jackson made some nice throws, but he also missed some wide-open targets and snuffed out any chance of victory with an inexcusable 2nd-half interception. I love his toughness and his ability to give the offense SOME spark of life- He's the starter for the duration of this season, but if he can't go, I would prefer to see Josh Portis get a look. Giving ANY snaps to Charlie Whitehurst at this point would be a spectacular waste of time.
Marshawn Lynch had his best game since last year's playoffs, and his rabid intensity was a welcome sight (as was the effort displayed by Doug Baldwin, who did indeed win that jump ball in the 4th quarter, no matter what the officials said). While I'd still like to see us draft a running back, I'd also support bringing back Lynch on a short, market-value deal. As the offensive line improves, so should Lynch's production.
So where do we stand now? We face perhaps the best team in the AFC next week, but the good news is Baltimore's trip to Seattle is the "donut hole" between brutal divisional games against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Ravens might be vulnerable after their emotional Sunday Night win over the Steelers, and the Seahawks can still be dangerous at home.
What pisses me off are those who would argue that the rest of this season is "meaningless." First, any time you face an elite team like Baltimore, it's a chance for the team to learn and grow, even if we don't get a victorious result. Secondly, the last 8 games represent a tremendous opportunity for these young Seahawks to gain the experience that could make 2012 WAY more fun than 2011. It's worth remembering that a young Seahawks team started 2002 at 2-6 before rallying to a respectable 7-9 final record... and that was a springboard towards the "Holmgren Golden Age" of the mid-00s. The '11 Hawks can do likewise, with four very winnable games against DC, Arizona, and two against the Rams- add an upset win (perhaps over the Niners?) and you get to 7-9.
Yes, I know many will say "Why root for wins? Losses will bring a higher draft pick!" My position on this is well-known, but here's another angle: Another thing that bothers me about that point of view is the disengagement it represents. Underlying that perspective is "These losses hurt. I'd rather protect myself by lessening MY investment in the team- and I can play it off by saying that rooting for losses is good for the long-term."
I can't abide that. Pete Carroll is busting his ass trying to figure out how to beat Baltimore. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor will be hitting the weight room. Tarvaris Jackson will probably have to play through pain that I couldn't possibly endure. If these games matter to them, they matter to me. The least I can do, if I am going to call myself a Twelve, is support the men that are going out there every week wearing our colors and putting their bodies and reputations on the line. To do any less, frankly, is cowardice.
I've been a Twelve for 28 years. This season has hurt, but I will get through it- Standing by my team and rooting for them to rise up and take a piece out of the enemy every week. I will be in the stands on November 27 watching us stomp DC, and I will be as loud as ever, regardless of Seattle's record.
What do you think, sirs?