The table of Ravens fans sitting behind me at Buffalo Wild Wings must have felt very confident (My Sunday Ticket app crapped out today... Long story). Their Super Bowl-contending team had just scored to pull within 22-17 with 5 and half minutes left. With a quick 3-and-out by the lowly Seahawks offense, the Ravens would have plenty of time to drive back down the field for the winning touchdown... and Baltimore boasted the NFL's best defense, anchored by luminaries like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. Only a fool would bet on the likes of Tarvaris Jackson, Golden Tate and Marshawn Lynch against such an elite unit.
Thus a young Seahawks offense entered a crucible- Hold the ball and move the chains, and you beat one of the NFL's best teams. Wilt under the pressure, and you fall to 2-7. As Adam Savage says on Mythbusters, "Failure is ALWAYS an option." But in this case, another failure would confirm the doubts of every jabbering talk radio buffoon calling for Pete Carroll's dismissal. Could the Seahawks show their quality? Could they show that, yes, they WERE making progress?
Golden Tate, in relief of Doug Baldwin, made a key catch to keep the drive alive. Marshawn Lynch did likewise later in the possession by juking Ray Lewis out of his fuckin' cleats. Finally, Lynch pounded his way deep into Baltimore territory- proving himself tougher and more resilient than the revered Ravens D, at least on one Seattle afternoon. John Harbaugh helped the Seahawks out with a foolish time-out-wasting challenge, and the Ravens fans sitting behind me filed out silently.. defeated. I left a few moments later, beaming with pride- before howling "SEAHAWWWWWWKS!" into the Ohio night.
What an amazing win! Yes, the Seahawks benefited from multiple Baltimore errors. Yes, they need to cut down on the penalties and turn those Red Zone field goals into touchdowns... But they went face-to-face with one of the league's toughest, most intimidating teams, and the result wasn't "Rocky." It wasn't a moral victory. It was Rocky II-IV. The Ravens were Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago rolled into one- The bully that bloodies and bruises the good guy, but still goes down for the fuckin' count in the end.
The young offensive line did a decent job protecting Tarvaris Jackson from a ferocious Baltimore pass rush, and they did an even better job grinding out yards and time on the ground. They were tough, but not even as tough as Seattle's defense, which applied vicious brutality to the Ravens' offensive squad. They should name their new bruises "Chancellor, Thomas, Browner, Sherman, and HEATER!"
Pete Carroll and the entire staff did an excellent job this week, but I want to give special recognition to Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable- They stuck with the ground game just like they did last week, and the payoff was that epic, game-clinching, Baltimore-snuffing drive today. The Seahawks might just be creating an identity- One of a very tough, hard-nosed, we-will-leave-you-pissing-blood crew. Make no mistake- a HUGE part of that identity is BEAST MODE. Marshawn Lynch isn't a perfect running back, but he might just be the perfect back for this Seahawks team and the way they want to play offense. He was sensational today.
Now the Seahawks enter a stretch of four games against last-place teams with losing records (and three of them are at home). It's probably nuts to start thinking playoffs again, but not as nuts as that notion might have been Sunday morning. It's enough for me that SOME hope is still alive- and we've beaten two of the NFL's elite teams over the last month and a half, and to me that's a great sign of progress.
Go beat the Rams, boys- Keep this flame flickering for one more week, please.
What do you think, sirs?