December 25, 2011
Niners 19, Seahawks 17
When I woke up this morning, my first thought wasn't "Yay! It's Christmas!" It was "Shit. We lost."
This one hurts. It hurts more than I thought a loss by a 7-7 Seahawks team would. It hurts because the 49ers are such a despicable, classless organization. It hurts because if one or two more plays had broken our way, we would have won. It hurts because our playoff hopes are now kaput. It hurts because now it's sinking in that season is almost over- Sometimes, like in 2009, the end of the season is a blessing. 2011 isn't like that, though. I would love to spend more than one last afternoon on New Year's Day watching these guys play. They're exciting, they're enthusiastic, and they fight... But the best thing is that they are still improving.
Tarvaris Jackson is taking a lot of heat, and for his performance overall yesterday that's justified- But there isn't a magical upgrade at QB waiting out there for the Seahawks to make this offseason. If the Seahawks draft a quarterback, it will be someone who will sit for a year or two behind Jackson, and no available free agent is a clear upgrade over T-Jack. Our hope for 2012 will have to be that as the team continues to improve around Jackson, we will also see an uptick in his level of play. I sincerely believe that with another great draft and FA period, the Seahawks will be a 10+ win team in 2012, even with Jackson playing at his current (fairly average) level.
The Seahawks showed who they were yesterday: A young, talented team that isn't QUITE ready to make that leap into the top tier of the league yet. It's little, correctable things for the most part: A blown coverage here, a special teams breakdown there, a broken play at the goal line that costs us 4 points. But the big bad Niners didn't push the Seahawks around physically, and breaking up their streaks of denying rushing TDs/100-yard rushers IS significant, even in defeat. Marshawn Lynch must return to the Seahawks next season, assuming we can franchise him or give him a fair, market-value deal. I understand the argument that running backs are somewhat fungible, but Lynch's talent and intensity are key to the success of this Seattle offense. If the Hawks can keep him without totally fucking up their cap situation, they absolutely should.
So we stand at 7-8 with a game remaining, out of playoff contention. I still think next week is important for a number of reasons, though:
-Avoiding a 4th consecutive losing season
-Finishing 2nd in the NFC West, and notching a winning record in the division
-Evening our road record at 4-4, which is a rare feat for this franchise
-Because winning beats losing, you know (as Nuke Laloosh once said)
I plan to enjoy the whipping we'll administer to the Cardinals on New Year's Day, mainly because we won't see our boys in action again for the better part of a year. I will miss these 2011 Seahawks, and they deserve to go into the record books as something other than 7-9 losers. 8-8 isn't great, but it sounds about right for this team as they keep climbing up a steep incline towards NFL supremacy.
Merry Christmas, Twelves! What do you think, sirs?