November 29, 2011

Top 5 (OK, the only 5): Seahawks Beat Eagles!

The Seahawks must beat Philadelphia Thursday night to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, so I thought this would be a good time to look back at Seattle's previous five victories over the Eagles. Thankfully, all five were pretty awesome/memorable... Enjoy!

5. Seahawks 26, Eagles 14 (12/3/95)
The Hawks brought down the playoff-bound Eagles behind four Todd Peterson field goals and 93 yards on the ground from Chris Warren. Rick Mirer absorbed five sacks, but for once avoided turnovers and scampered for a rushing TD. Wow. Remember when we still had faint hopes of Mirer growing into a franchise QB? Historical sidenote? This one was a week before that EPIC comeback win at Mile High Stadium. Personal sidenote? I was having a little too much fun in the Fairhaven dorms at Western back then, so a lot of these mid-90s Seahawks games are kind of a big blue-and-green blur to me now...

4. Seahawks 24, Eagles 20 (11/23/86)
The Seahawks were 5-6 and losers of 5 of 6 (and 4 in a row) coming into this one against the 3-8 Eagles, who were led by rookie QB Randall Cunningham. The Hawks stole a win on the strength of three big plays: a 72-yard bomb from Dave Krieg to Daryl Turner, a blocked punt return for an Eric Lane TD, and a 75-yard punt return touchdown by Bobby Joe Edmonds. Seattle led 21-6 at the half and barely held onto to win... The most remarkable thing about this win? It was the start of the legendary stretch run of 1986. Hmm. Guess who is coming to town on Thursday as the Seahawks try to start another improbable late playoff push...

3. Seahawks 38 @ Eagles 0 (9/6/98)
If you didn't see this game, it's really difficult to understand the reaction of Seahawks fans at the time. The Hawks went cross country into that outhouse of a stadium called The Vet and DOMINATED the Eagles. In every phase of the game, the Seahawks looked Super Bowl Bound. Warren Moon tossed three TDs, Joey Galloway had 6 catches for 142 yards and 2 TDs, and we had a running back tandem of Ahman Green and Ricky Watters that looked unstoppable. The defense? They just posted three takeaways, nine sacks and a pick-six TD.

For one day, anything looked possible.

2. Seahawks 28 @ Eagles 24 (12/2/07)
In a game the Eagles had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Seahawks went cross-country and snuffed Philly's season on a chilly Pennsylvania afternoon. Maurice Morris put the Seahawks up for good with a 45-yard touchdown dash in the 4th, but it took Lofa Tatupu's 3rd interception (just yards from Seattle's goal line) to finally seal an epic win in the final minute of play.

1. Seahawks 42 @ Eagles 0 (12/5/05)
The Seahawks were supposed to be exposed as West-Coast wusses on this Monday Night back in 2005... Noted caveman dipshit Mike Ditka picked Philly to win this one. Why? Because he didn't think a "dome team" could come out in the elements and win. Did it matter to Ditka that we hadn't played our home games in a dome for 6 years? Did he even KNOW? Of course not- Why bother to do your research on that weird bird team from South Alaska, right? Nobody gives a fuck about THEM.

The Hawks gave the whole NFL nation a forearm shiver right in the fuckin' chops that night- NFL MVP Shaun Alexander scored twice, but the big stories were Lofa Tatupu's trio of interceptions, and Seattle's triad of defensive TDs (2 by Lofa, and one by Andre Dyson). The Seahawks scored on their opening posession and never let Philly catch their breath in a smothering, dominating win.

We could use something like that Thursday night, boys. What do you think, sirs?

November 28, 2011

Redskins 23, Seahawks 17

The formula was working. Things were going according to plan.

The Seahawks took a 17-7 lead early in the 4th quarter over an inferior foe, after spotting them a 7-0 lead... Just like the week before in St. Louis. The D was making stops, and Marshawn Lynch was violently assaulting the enemy defense. All the Seahawks needed to do in order to notch a 3rd straight win was hold off the feeble Redskins.

Unfortunately, the Redskins are not the Rams, and the Seahawks are not yet who I hope they can be. Seattle's defense uncharacteristically allowed two long DC TDs in the 4th- and suddenly trailing, our best offensive weapon (Marshawn Lynch) was rendered irrelevant. T-Jack couldn't lead a winning drive, and all realistic hope for the playoffs died on the Seahawks Stadium Field Turf.

The big story really isn't that blown 4th-quarter lead, though- Today the Seahawks were bedeviled by the same deficiencies we've seen all season:

-Not enough pressure from our front four on the opposing QB
-Dropped passes
-A QB who can be admired for his toughness, but also has very clear limitations
-Did I mention the penalties?

I'm taking this one hard- I'm sure part of the reason is that I was at the game today, but this truly was a game we had in hand, and it was a victory that would have kept our foward momentum rolling and our playoff hopes alive. I could have handled our playoff hopes dying at the hands of the 49ers or the Bears- But the fucking Redskins? That's a self-inflicted wound, and it'll sting for a while... I mean, how am I supposed to accept fucking REX GROSSMAN coming into our house and beating us?

There's plenty of blame to spread around today- This truly was a loss by the entire Seahawks organization. I'm not here to spread a message of despair and doom, though. I still think our arrow is pointing up; This is a young team with a good amount of talent that needs to learn to be more consistent and more disciplined IMMEDIATELY.

It would be crazy to react to today's loss by declaring Thursday's dust-up with Philly a hopeless endeavor. The Eagles must come 3000 miles west on a short week, and they've shown absolutely ZERO mental toughness this season. A Seahawks team that has slayed the Giants and Ravens can surely best the Eagles. That's the big question, isn't it? Which version of the 2011 Seahawks will take the field Thursday evening?

The loss aside, it was great to be at Seahawks Stadium again with my brother James- I also got to meet fellow Twelve Mark Dickenson (@Seahawkeye on twitter), who came all the way from Melbourne, Australia to catch the Redskins and Eagles games.

C'mon, Seahawks- Send the dude home with a win. It's the least you can do.

What do you think, sirs?

November 23, 2011

"If You Think This is Over, Then You're Wrong"

Later today I will get on a plane and fly west to see my family in the Tri-Cities and hopefully see my brother James and the Kamiakin Braves upset Bellevue in the Washington 3A State Semi-Finals Saturday... but I'm also going to the Seahawks game Sunday, which is suddenly way more than a battle between two losing teams going nowhere (at least to me).

I spent a lot of time growing up trying to figure out how middling Seahawks teams might be able to make the playoffs. What are the relevant tie-breakers? Who should we be rooting for? Rooting against? I remember doing a lot of that crap with pen and paper back in the dark ages of the 80s and 90s- Thankfully now we have the ESPN NFL Playoff Machine to fuel the insanity of pasty dorks like myself.

Long story short? The Seahawks have a very solid shot at the postseason IF they win the rest of their games and finish 10-6. Seattle CAN get in at 9-7, but would then need a lot more outside help- You should root for Dallas to win the NFC East because we lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with them but win that same tiebreaker with the New York Giants. You should also root for losses by Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. Because three of Seattle's losses were to AFC teams, the Seahawks would win most multiple-team tiebreakers based on conference record.

Even shorter version: If the Seahawks keep winning, their chance of making the playoffs will keep climbing up, up, up.

If you go to Cool Standings right now, it will tell you that the Seahawks have a 1.2% chance of making the playoffs. This is where most folks would insert their Dumb and Dumber "So you're saying there's a chance" jokes- Not me. I hate bringing this up as a Red Sox fan, but it's worth pointing out that the Tampa Bay Rays had a 1.3% chance of making the playoffs on September 7, 2011.

It's NOT hopeless- We still have a chance at this, particularly with our relatively soft upcoming schedule. The Seahawks have a meaningful game to play on Sunday, and I intend to scream myself voiceless trying to will us to victory over DC... For now, that's good enough for me.

What do you think, sirs?

November 21, 2011

Double Flashback: Two Seahawks Playoff Wins Over the Redskins

Every once in a while, I'll reach back into the archives of my personal blog (which existed from 2002-2009 and more or less got killed by facebook, twitter and this blog) for classic posts about our Seahawks. This week is a great time to look back at the two victories among the top 10 in franchise history that came at the expense of the Washington Redskins: Our 20-10 2005 Divisional Playoff win and our 35-14 2007 Wild Card triumph... Enjoy!

January 14, 2006: Seahawks 20, Redskins 10

21 years of frustration… Gone.

I’m as giddy right now as Shaun was after Matt’s TD scamper in the 3rd quarter. What an amazing show of heart by the entire Seattle roster, overcoming the injury to Shaun Alexander and three giveaways to notch the win that sends us into the NFC title game (and sends me out west to scream my guts out at the biggest event in the history of Seattle sporting life)…

For me this was three hours on the verge of barfing all over my living room, but this team that I fell madly, rapturously in love with didn’t let me down. Matt threw no game-losing int, Bobby didn’t drop the game winning pass, Largent didn’t muff the hold on a key PAT, and Fredd Young didn’t have an interception waved off in OT… Instead, Matt made all the throws, Darrell Jackson had the game of his life (my god, D-Jack.. You are a fucking warrior. If I had a uterus I’d carry your baby a full nine…), and our O-line did just enough to let MoMo and Mack scratch out key yards. Above all, our underrated defense smothered the Skins like Nicholson in Cuckoo’s Nest. Special dap goes to the 67k who took the rain and made life even more miserable for DC’s offense…

Revel in this moment, everyone. Embrace this team and clutch them close to your heart, because we might not see another like them again. If you haven’t been a life-long fan, I offer amnesty from my taunts of bandwagonism at this point. Hop on for the ride, because we’re going all the way to Detroit!

Talk some shit to a Redskins fan (what will Mr. Tony DC dicklicker Kornheiser have to say on PTI Monday?)… Don’t concern yourself with the negatives right now. SA will be fine next week, and we’ll beat which ever team limps away from that Bears/Panthers bloodpisser tomorrow.

I have more celebrating to do, and I’ll be on a plane to Seattle Thursday morning!


January 5, 2008: Seahawks 35, Redskins 14

If the Seahawks go on to XLII, we might look back and consider one of the MANY defensive stands Seattle made to be particularly important. After the brain-scrambling fuckup on DC’s kickoff immediately after the bad guys took an 14-13 lead, the whole squad seemed to be imploding… falling behind 21-13 midway through the 4th may have been the deathblow, but the defense clamped down and DC’s kicker shat away a 30 yarder. We all know what went down after that.

It’s getting to be an cliche, isn’t it? Seahawks get overlooked, disrespected, and dismissed. Seahawks host playoff game; opponents dismiss the impact of the 12th Man. The Qwest Field crowd is louder than a Boeing Dreamliner, a bunch of crazy shit happens, and in dramatic fashion the Seahawks emerge victorious (and the losers admit the crowd noise was a factor).

Goddamn that was fun! I have no voice left, and I still have a headache, but it was totally worth it. The crowd NEVER let up all day. It was an experience I’ve never had at a sporting event outside of Qwest Field (or maybe Sox/Yankees at Fenway).

Some highlights of the day at the game:

-So I buy a poncho and a stocking cap at the Pro Shop, then it barely rains and they HAND OUT bright green stocking caps as we enter the stadium. Fuck.

-No Redskins fans befouled our immediate seating area, but in a moment of human empathy I came to the defense of a DC fan out in the Hot Dog line at half-time by recounting MY experience as a visiting fan in Cleveland. That seemed to defuse the situation.

-Um, what is up with like three guys at once going into the family restrooms? It’s not like the lines don’t move quickly, you dumb drunk fucks. I don’t plan to bring Jack to a game at Qwest for a while, but if I had a little kid at the game and saw that nasty shit I’d be pissed.

-I think the only times that I’ve heard Qwest louder than during/after Tru’s pick 6 were A) The entire NFC Championship game in ‘05 and B) Romo dropping the ball last year. The stadium seemed alive at that moment… It was amazing to experience.

The airing of grievances:

Where are you guys all at? All of you who were sure that Sean Taylor’s ghost would smother the Seahawks with burgundy ectoplasm? All of you who put sooooooo much emphasis on the Seattle defense allowing 44 points in a meaningless game? All of you who thought “momentum” was so important? All of you who thought DC would have an emotional edge, as if Seattle had nothing to play for (hmmm.. maybe for themselves, for the fans, etc)?

I’m not hearing a peep from any of you.. I wonder why. If we lived in a just world, so-called “experts” who spout lazy psuedo-analysis like I heard all week would be banished from the journalistic profession. However, they still have jobs and are getting ready to completely dismiss the Seattle Seahawks yet again. Fucking Come-swabs. Jesus.

(By the way, I love our chances in Green Bay, but I’ll be talking more about that later in the week)

Finally, I ask Unsilent Majority of KSK fame: If the Seahawks are “ass-spelunkers,” what does that make the Redskins? Oh, that’s right: Sitting at home for the rest of the playoffs watching the Hawks.

What do you think, sirs?

Bonus stuff- pictures from my day at the 2007 Wild Card game

and, of course... This:

November 20, 2011

Seahawks 24, Rams 7

"The NFL need to start fining QB's that throw the ball across my middle..." - Kam Chancellor on Twitter after today's game

It's easy to discount Seattle's 24-7 win at St. Louis today- I don't deny that the Rams are a franchise in free-fall right now, and Sam Bradford is regressing at such a rapid rate that comparisons to Rick Mirer become more apt with every passing week. You could also point out that bad, even GOD-AWFUL Seahawks teams (*cough" 2009 *cough*) in recent history have gone into that Dome and won games.

But they didn't win the WAY Seattle won today- and THAT'S why this win is significant and encouraging in addition to being absolutely essential. How many recent Seahawks teams would have imploded after T-Jack's two early (and ugly) interceptions? Would they have not only come back to win, but choked the opposition into complete submission? That's what your Seahawks did today, Twelves. Yes, there were still too many penalties... and yes, Tarvaris Jackson held the ball too long and took too many hits.

After giving up an early TD following a T-Jack pick which set STL up deep in Seattle territory, the Seahawks SNUFFED the Rams' offense. Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were the most obvious stand-outs, but the entire defensive unit smothered any signs of life out of St. Louis' attack. It was an absolute joy to watch them work today.

For the 3rd week in a row, the Seahawks' offense maintained their commitment to the ground game- and it paid off more and more as the game progressed. I LOVED watching the Holmgren Hawks win with precision, and succeed by outsmarting and outscheming the enemy- but if the Seahawks are creating an identity as a mentally tough team that can overcome mistakes/adversity and physically abuse/dominate their opponents? That'd be pretty fucking sweet.

Tarvaris Jackson didn't have a great game, but he threw a Real-Genius-worthy frozen lazer to Sidney Rice for our first touchdown. He also deserves praise for settling down after those awful early picks and playing competently (again) with what is surely a painful injury. Jackson's toughness/leadership isn't enough by itself to stave off the drafting of our QB of the future next spring, but it's good enough for now. Leon Washington also had a standout performance, nearly breaking a couple of punt returns for TDs and setting the Seahawks up with good field position repeatedly.

It was satisfying beyond belief to hear "Sea-HAWKS" chants echoing through the Costco Warehouse the Rams call home late in the 4th quarter- It's even MORE satisfying to reflect on the sorry state of our divisional rivals, to whom many prematurely handed the NFC West title before the 2011 season began. How many thought that last year's week 17 loss at Seahawks Stadium was just a speed bump on STL's journey towards divisional dominance? What if that 7-9 mark was THEIR peak? It's a LONG road to the top for the Rams- a far longer and tougher journey than the one facing our young, hungry, vicious Seahawks.

Even against fairly pathetic opposition, beating a divisional rival in their building by 3 scores is a great step forward for a very young Seahawks team. Now we come home for three games against teams with losing records (including an MNF rematch with the forlorn Rams in three weeks), and 7-6 feels very plausible- Realistically, the Seahawks probably need to win out to steal an NFC Wild Card spot. I'll grant that it's probably too early to seriously think about that- But if we can beat these three fairly bad teams at home, THEN it will be somewhat less than bugfuck insane to legitimately think we have a shot at the post-season.

I'll be up in section 325 next Sunday, watching and wailing as we wallop DC. Sexy Rexy and his minions have NO chance. How awesome is it to feel hope, Twelves? Not just for the future, but hope (however faint) for THIS season?

I'm going to enjoy this ride until it ends, and I feel bad for those too wrapped up in next year's draft position to do likewise.

What do you think, sirs?

November 17, 2011

Top 10: Seahawks Beat Rams! (UPDATED)

Want to know why I still intensely hate the Rams, even though we've beaten them 11 out of the last 12 times we've played them? Go read my account of the 2004 season if you're fuzzy on your history in this rivalry....

Back? Awesome! Today I thought we'd take a look back at our 10 most glorious victories over those Midwestern jokers- I'll be honest and admit this is kinda like a clip show, since I did this as a Top 5 over on Field Gulls last year... But it's still over 50% new material- Enjoy!

10. 12/22/91 Seahawks 23, Rams 9
This game is notable because A) it was our only win EVER over the Los Angeles Rams and B) it was the final game in the Seattle careers of Chuck Knox and Dave Krieg. Yup. After the final whistle that day 20 years ago, we entered a decade of torment and desperation.

James R. Jones scored two touchdowns for us that day, and the ONLY reason I know that is from looking it up on Pro Football Reference 5 seconds ago.

9. 9/13/09 Seahawks 28, Rams 0
The first day of the Jim Mora era, and also its high point. I got to meet John Carlson's parents before the game, and Julius Jones inexplicably ran for 117 yards. Never have the high hopes created by an opening day win been later proven so VERY false. Ugh. At least I took a LOT of pictures that day...

8. 12/22/02 Seahawks 30, Rams 10
My first trip to a game at Seahawks Stadium! Woo!

Hmmm... That's about all I remember about that game.

7. 11/27/07 Seahawks 24 @ Rams 19
This one makes the list mostly because I was at the game... It was a triple barf-bucket kind of day that left me slumped in exhaustion after Gus Freotte’s fumble on 4th and Goal from the 1-yard line FINALLY sealed a Seattle victory in the waning seconds. The Seahawks showed mental toughness clawing back to win after falling behind 19-7, but otherwise this wasn't a glorious highlight of the 2007 campaign.

The experience of watching a game at St. Louis' Dome was pleasant, but a bit boring. The fans rarely did more than clap politely, and the arena itself had the atmosphere of a comfortable, brand new Costco Warehouse rather than an NFL stadium. The stadium was only about 75% full, and most of those folks left with over 5 minutes left in the game. On the plus side, no one gave my brother, my step-dad, or I any crap the whole day, and more than one person congratulated me on the Seahawks’ win after the final gun.

6. 11/12/06 Seahawks 24, Rams 22
The Rams could have tied Seattle for the division lead at 5-4 with a win in this one, and midway through the 4th things looked bleak. The Seahawks hadn't scored since before halftime, were trailing 16-14 and playing like Night of the Living Dead-type zombies. After Nate Burleson's electrifying 90 yard punt return, the Hawks took the lead and started playing like 28 Days Later-type zombies... Rage Virus! Grrrrr!

I was at Seahawks Stadium that day, and the Twelve Army erupted like a mob of fucking Uruk-Hai after Burleson scored. Still, the Rams scored later to retake the lead, and Seneca Wallace had to lead us into position for the winning score... Spoiler alert: Since it was 2006, the game ended with Josh Brown nailing a field goal for a Seahawks win.

5. 9/21/03 Seahawks 24, Rams 23
Early in the 2003 season, Seattle was itching to prove they were a true playoff contender, and the mighty Rams visited what was still OFFICIALLY called Seahawks Stadium. The Hawks were behind 23-10 as the final quarter began, but then sprung to life like Uma Thurman getting a shot of adrenaline and stole a dramatic 24-23 win with a Hass-to-KRob TD in the final seconds.

We happened to be hosting an "end of summer" yard sale that day, and I'm pretty sure I scared business off with the various otherworldly shrieks I emitted throughout the afternoon.

4. 11/13/05 Seahawks 31, Rams 16
Shaun Alexander ran wild in the cold November rain and the Rams were rightly fustigated. But for me, just seeing the game involved some serious drama. In the academic racket, you gotta go where the jobs are, and a lot of those jobs are in places you don't really want to be. Coming out of grad school, beggars can't be choosy though. You're lucky to get INTERVIEWS, let alone jobs, so you jump at any potential offer of gainful employment. I snagged an interview at a school in the "Witness Protection" region of Nebraska, and while my pregnant wife wasn't very psyched about the idea, it beat not having a job. One big problem: they wanted me to fly in on a Sunday. During football season. Fuck.

I'm not a complete peanuthead... I wasn't about to turn down the interview. But there was no goddamn way I was going to miss a Seahawks game, particularly one against the Rams. I made sure that I booked the earliest flight possible on Sunday. I pored over NFL TV coverage maps on The 506. I called the TV station in the town I was headed for to make SURE they would be airing the Seahawks game. I got a couple of my friends to text me updates on my cell phone until I got in front of a TV, and I packed my Hasselbeck jersey.

When we got to the hotel, I told my handlers that I needed to "unwind after that flight." They told me to meet them in the lobby at 6 pm local time for dinner, so I turned the game on just as the Hawks snuffed STL's harebrained fake FG attempt. I paced around that room for two hours, enduring a late comeback spasm by the Rams and nervously watching the clock... Imagine a guy in a shirt and tie, dress pants, dress shoes, with a Hasselbeck jersey on top of that... My plan was to strip off the jersey and head to dinner as soon as victory was assured, and jusssst in time SA galloped for six to lock down the win.

In a VERY good mood, I might have had one beer too many at dinner that night... and the next day during the interview, I probably blew it when I described my classroom style as "talk show host." The happy ending is that I'm not exiled to the forbidden zone of Nebraska, furthest from the bright center of the galaxy... and that the Seahawks won.

3. 10/09/05 Seahawks 37 @ Rams 31
After the psyche-crushing 2004 season, breaking the Rams' psychological dominance was the first real order of business the following year. In the Mike Martz's final game as the smuggest, smarmiest coach in NFL history, the Hawks ran out to a 34-21 lead. Up 37-31 late, the Hawks had to punt to Shawn McDonald (who delivered the killing stroke in OT at Qwest the previous October). Deliciously, Big Play Babs forced McDonald to fumble, and JP Darche recovered. Martz's coaching career ended, and the Rams' mental edge over the Hawks dulled into a useless butterknife of futility.

2. 10/15/06 Seahawks 30 @ Rams 28
At the time, I was stuck in a very remote corner of Ohio doing a 1-year teaching gig. The nearest outpost of modern civilization, a Target store, was 30 minutes away. This game is my single happiest memory of that year that doesn't involve my wife or son... It was one of the most exciting finishes in Seahawks history; The Hawks fought back from a 21-7 halftime deficit to take a late 27-21 lead. After a Mo Morris fumble deep in STL territory, Torry Holt made a ridiculous TD catch that looked like the death blow. Down by a point, Hasselbeck marched the Hawks into Rams territory. An illegal procedure flag was misinterpreted by Scott Linehan as a foul that included a 10-second, game-ending clock runoff. The jabbering dipstick was wrong, and left slack-jawed after Josh Brown nailed the 54-yard game winner at the final gun.

1. 1/2/11 Seahawks 16, Rams 6
It was fashionable for the national media to crap on this game between a 7-8 and 6-9 teams that would decide the NFC West title. It was damn near conventional wisdom among Seahawks "fans" that the team would be better off losing the game and getting a higher draft pick than going to the playoffs only to get bludgeoned to death by a superior team.

53 players, their coaches and 67,000 screaming Twelves didn't give a FUCK about any of that shit. Charlie Whitehurst etched his name into Seahawks history by leading Seattle to a win over the prematurely anointed Rams- He hit Ruvell Martin for a huge gain on the opening drive, which he closed by connecting with Mike Williams for what would ultimately be the deciding touchdown. As I wrote back then...

CW got a huge assist from Seattle's maligned offensive line and defense- The O-line largely kept Whitehurst clean, and FINALLY generated some push for Lynch, Forsett, and Washington. Defensively, the Hawks crashed The Sam Bradford Coronation Party, spiked the punch, smashed the ice sculptures, and ate all the bacon-wrapped shrimp. Steven Jackson was held to 45 yards rushing, and the only points STL could muster were two field goals by The Traitor Josh Brown.

You could argue that this game by itself was fairly unremarkable- But it WAS the Seahawks first victory in a "win and in" situation since 1988, and it set the stage for this:

What do you think, sirs? Did I miss any awesome memories of whomping on the Rams?

November 13, 2011

Seahawks 22, Ravens 17

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?

November 11, 2011

The Workings of a Delusional Mind

The Seahawks are 2-6. They're facing a legitimate Super Bowl contender on Sunday. In terms of public opinion in the football world I'm as much a "1 Percenter" as Paul Allen, because I actually think that Seattle will win this game.

That shouldn't surprise anyone who reads this blog- But today I'd like to write a bit about HOW I convince myself the Seahawks will win a game, even when no one else feels that way, including the vast majority of other Seattle fans.

For me, it's not enough to have BLIND faith. I have to actually work quite hard to give myself enough evidence to hang my delusional, false hopes upon. I know that many, if not most other fans react to a season like the Seahawks are having so far by withdrawing or actively rooting for losses so the Holy Grail of a higher draft pick is secured. I can't do any of that- and I don't mean that I don't WANT to do that- I literally mean that I can't do it.

I've been a Seahawks fan for 28 years, and a very intense one at that. That fandom has become such an integral part of my personality that I don't know who I'd be without it. I wear some article of Seahawks clothing almost every day- That aint normal for a 36-year-old man. I haven't missed a game since 1983, and I maintain a blog about a team that has a long history of mediocrity so overwhelming that they are more of an afterthought to the NFL nation than any team that is simply, directly, BAD. These are not the actions of a normal, well-adjusted human being. They are driven by obsession, compulsion and fanaticism.

Over the years, I've come to see myself as an extension of the Seahawks organization (thus my frequent references to being an ambassador or missionary for the Twelve Army out here in Ohio) and I've come to see the Seahawks as an extension of myself. This means that any insult, any derogatory thing I hear or see about the team, is taken as a direct personal affront.

What does this all mean? It means that if I admit the Seahawks suck (even when they do), I'm also kind of saying that I suck. It means that if I start treating the Seahawks like they are hopeless, I'm admitting that I'm hopeless as well. So in a week like this one, I don't start off thinking "The Seahawks are probably going to lose- but perhaps there is evidence that they have a chance." I start by thinking "How can I convince myself that the Seahawks will win next week?"

This week in particular my delusional hopes spring from the following sources:

-We're at home! Yay!
-We're the "donut hole" for Baltimore between huge divisional games against the Steelers and Bengals, and they also have to fly cross-country.
-Baltimore has stumbled badly on the road against Tennessee and Jacksonville, and is a pedestrian 2-2 on the road overall this season. They also needed a crazy, implausible comeback to defeat the lowly Arizona Cardinals, and that was at home.
-Tarvaris Jackson is starting at Quarterback, which at least gives us a fighting chance- With Whitehurst under center even I'd have a hard time convincing myself we have a shot.
-We played the playoff-contending Falcons tough at home, and beat the Super-Bowl-contending Giants on the road. The Seahawks have shown SOME ability to hang with elite teams.

I know for a fact that everyone outside the Twelve Army would read that and reply with a dismissive hand wave and "pffft." Shit, they might even give me the old "eye-roll teamed with a wanking motion" move. MOST Seahawks fans probably feel the same way. But I just can't let it go. I've got FAR too much emotionally and intellectually invested in this team to do what a normal human would: Back away from a hopeless football team and do something more constructive on Sundays.

In addition to all that, My twisted, diseased mind can convince itself that maybe, JUST MAYBE the Seahawks can get into a the playoff hunt again IF THEY CAN JUST SQUEAK BY BALTIMORE! We'd be 3-6, but with four upcoming games against 3 teams with a combined record of 7-17 (STLx2, DC, PHI)! Hell, we could be 7-6 before heading to a pivotal game against fellow wild-card contender Chicago!

Even I think that sounds fucking insane, but I can't stop thinking it- because it allows me to build up Sunday's game into something with more meaning and drama than "well, let's just see if the Seahawks can make some progress." It's not just a glorified preseason game anymore- It's a death struggle.

How I feel about the Seahawks is linked to how I feel about myself. When I feel the Seahawks are misunderstood, dismissed, disrespected, and generally shat upon, it resonates because I feel like that is the way the world treats me- I'm an outcast who roots for an outcast team.

Dear readers, I never told you that your author is the picture of tip-top mental health- How I think about, how I write about, and how I react to the Seahawks is hopelessly tangled up in my own insecurities, neuroses, hopes and fears... and all those things say to me:

Seahawks 16, Ravens 15

What do you think, sirs?

November 7, 2011

Cowboys 23, Seahawks 13

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?

November 3, 2011

5 Things You Didn't Know (Or Might Have Forgotten) About "The Romo Game"

As the Seahawks head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys this Sunday, I thought it would be fun to look back at one of the most blissful moments in franchise history: Our 21-20 win over Dallas in the 2006 NFC Wild Card game.. You know, the one where this happened:

I rank that game as the 4th greatest victory in Seahawks history, after the 2005 NFC Championship, the 2010 Wild Card win over New Orleans, and the 1983 Divisional Playoff win over Miami. Conversely, unless Tony Romo ever leads the Cowboys to the Super Bowl (and he won't), that botched snap will remain the defining moment of his NFL career. That play has been covered ad nauseum, so I wanted to look at five additional things you may have forgotten (or didn't know) about that glorious day.

5. had a "Dewey Defeats Truman" Moment
This was briefly posted on the main page for, presumably before the actual field goal attempt:

That headline should have been extra embarrassing for Sports Illustrated, for reasons I'll outline in a little bit...

4. Jerramy Stevens: Hero!
Yes, Stevens is rightly remembered as a worthless fucking turd and an embarrassment to our proud franchise- but for one day, he was absolutely essential to Seattle's eventual victory. Stevens led all receivers that day with five receptions, and scored both Seattle touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the 4th. Great job, ya bastad!

3. Kelly Jennings: Hero!
Few players in Seahawks history have been derided as much as Jennings, but we don't win without the play he made midway through the final quarter. After the Seahawks failed to score on 4th and goal, on the ensuing play Jennings forced a Terry Glenn fumble- that led to a safety that pulled Seattle within 20-15 and gave Hasselbeck and the offense the ball back with an opportunity to score the go-ahead TD.

2. Some Dude We Pulled Off the Street Shut Down T.O.
Future Hall-of-Famer Terrell Owens' stat line that day? Two catches for 26 yards and a fumble. Who was covering him most of that game? Pete Hunter... Some dude that was working as a loan officer before his phone rang with a job offer from Seattle days before the playoffs began. After the playoff loss at Chicago the next week, Hunter went back to playing in the Arena league and then the CFL... But for one day he helped shut down T.O. with Seattle's season on the line.

1. Gramatica's FG wouldn't have won the game, and Romo's fumble didn't lose it for Dallas.
Even if Dallas had converted that FG attempt, the Seahawks would have had over a minute to get into range for a game-winner off the foot of Josh Brown, who had already won FOUR games in 2006 with last-second kicks (why do you think I bought that little shitbird's jersey?).

After the Seahawks got the ball back, Dallas still had timeouts remaining. If they had held Seattle to a 3-and-out, they would have gotten the ball back in good field position with time to get back into field goal range. Seattle's victory wasn't sealed until Shaun Alexander tore off a 22-yard dash to eat up almost all of the time remaining.

I was lucky enough to be at that game- Anyone else care to share their memories of that wonderful January evening?