October 14, 2012
Seahawks 24, Patriots 23
I had to watch today's game in a sports bar. I HATE watching Seahawks games at sports bars. The food and the drinks are too expensive, and I lack control over my environment- I have to deal with fans of opposing teams (who spout absolute drunken gibberish most of the time), and I can't express myself freely. I was watching the Seahawks/Patriots game at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Bowling Green, Ohio, and one table over was a young woman in an Aaron Curry Seahawks jersey (Eww). I was tempted to say something to her, but her boyfriend was a boorish, douchetacular New England fan- He taunted her mercilessly throughout the game and she silently endured it.
As the afternoon went on, he crowed and brayed about the mighty Patriots- The New England victory was preordained in his mind, and for 3 and a half quarters, it looked like he would be right. Tom Brady used a scalpel to cut through the vaunted Seattle defense, and the Hawks served up a long string of physical and mental mistakes. I spent most of the game silently fuming, with my loudest expressions being cries of "God DAMN it!" after Seattle mistakes. I didn't abandon hope, but I also mentally prepared myself for a loss- I started writing a very different version of this blog post in my head.
But it was only 23-10. Despite the dropped interceptions, the fumbles, the mangled punt attempt, the roughing calls, and the lack of a rushing attack, it was only 23-10. Then Russell Wilson hit on a deep ball to Golden Tate... Then on 4th and Goal he threw a perfect pass to Braylon Edwards (who made a spectacular catch). I let out a yelp and a few fist pumps. The Patri-douche reminded me that it was futile. TWICE the defense stopped Tom Brady (one of the top 5 QBs to ever play the game) and gave the ball back to Seattle's offense. First, a flaccid 3-and-out. The Pats then seemed largely content to let their defense win the game. Russell Wilson wasn't going to beat them, right? King Jackass of Greater Massachusetts reminded me of that at maximum volume.
Play-action. Half-roll-out. Perfect rainbow dropped right into Sidney Rice's mitts. Touchdown.
I snapped. All inhibitions were sloughed off in an instant. The Social Contract was shredded. I was 8 years old. It was 1983. I was watching the Seahawks beat the Patriots in the Kingdome to clinch their first playoff spot ever. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I jumped and spun around like Oprah had just given me a new car. It was pure, uncut delirium- The joy that only comes from an unexpected victory. Diamond Joe Assmunch yelled "Too much time!" In my heart, I knew he was right. Over a minute on the clock, and Brady just needed a field goal. We all knew how this one was supposed to end.
Then Tom Brady found out the same thing Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton already learned via bitter experience this season: When the Seattle Seahawks absolutely, positively need to stop you, they don't check your resume first. They will simply brutalize you and your teammates and let you sort through the wreckage. As we stopped the Patriots on 4th down, Mr. Douche England BOLTED for the exit. He wanted NO part of my celebration. It was only then that it hit me...
This is what 2005 felt like. This is how I felt after Babs picked off Bledsoe and Josh Brown banged home the kick to beat Dallas. This is how I felt after Jay Feeley missed all those field goals. This is how I felt when Matt Hasselbeck beat Shawn Springs to the pylon... or when Lofa picked off Delhomme. That team was built to outsmart and outwork the enemy, and that got us all the way to the Super Bowl. This team? This team is built beat the fucking shit out of you.
Even as New England built a lead, they were getting beaten to a bloody pulp. Finally, in the game's waning moments, it paid the greatest of dividends. Terrific Tom Brady seemed jittery in the face of Seattle's relentless pass rush. Their superstar WRs and TEs racked up some nice fantasy numbers, but couldn't make the plays that would have put the game out of Russell Wilson's reach.
Russell Wilson? All that kid did today was outplay Tom Brady. I am rapturously happy to be wrong about him. I am overjoyed that everything I've written about him now looks laughably obtuse, like those articles from the 1930s telling pregnant women they should smoke in order to relax. He's already a valuable asset only 6 games into his career, able to win games with his arm and his legs when given the chance, and the limit to his potential isn't even visible yet. Go ahead, Twelves. Embrace this. Go buy a Wilson jersey, dagnabit!
Pete Carroll deserves special recognition today. He stuck with his rookie QB when legions of us were HOWLING for Matt Flynn, and now it's paying off earlier than anyone could have imagined. On this day, up against the team that cast him aside 13 years ago, he outcoached Bill Belichick (whose bold, aggressive style probably cost his team three potentially decisive points at the end of the 1st Half). He inherited one of the worst rosters in pro football, a team led into the wilderness by a blowhard who blathered about "dirtbags," and has remade it into a legion of Cassius Clays: Young, brash, and brutal.
It's time to stop thinking about "next year." 2012 can be 2005, but even bigger, badder, and bloodier. The roof has been torn off, and it's no longer delusional to think the Seahawks could have a rematch with New England in XLVII.
Hell, maybe the Patriots won't even make it to New Orleans for Round 2...
What do you think, sirs?