September 30, 2013

Seahawks 23, Texans 20 (OT)

Imagine that your team held a 17-point second half lead. They're dominating in every phase of the game over a quality opponent, and it looks like they are starting to live up to the preseason expectations that swirled around them like a hype cyclone. The home crowd roars mightily, causing multiple false starts. Your All-Pro running back has a great day. Your defense is dominant. You relax. You start looking forward to that HUGE road game next week against a defending conference champion.

Then your defeated foe goes on a LONG touchdown drive. You don't really sweat it, though. Your guys still have this on lockdown, right? All of the sudden, your previously potent offense can't seem to move the ball. You look up and with mounting terror you realize the game is TIED. Your team has squandered a 3-score advantage, and all you can do is hope they can score first in overtime. They don't. They lose. You feel like your insides have been scooped out. Your mind is desolate. Your stunned despair is so jagged that you cry. Over a football game.

That was me. On October 10, 2004. It was the most painful regular season loss in the history of the Seattle Seahawks. Even though the Hawks were still 3-1, they never REALLY recovered that season.

Yesterday, I got to feel what Rams fans felt nine years ago: The joy of the reprieved. But while that Rams team was only remarkable when they faced the Seahawks (3-0 against Seattle that season, 6-9 against all other opponents), today's Hawks are arguably the best team in football. Facing an extremely talented Houston squad, Seattle didn't give anything approaching their best effort. For the vast majority of the game, they looked overmatched (and sometimes borderline helpless). DOZENS of previous Seahawks teams have been in similar spots on the road and seemed to say to themselves- "Oh well. Get 'em next week, right?" The '04s did that on a semi-weekly basis, for fuck's sake (at least it felt that way).

Russell Wilson said no. Marshawn Lynch said Hell No. Richard Sherman said NO FUCKING WAY. Seattle's superstars hit the snooze button a few too many times on Sunday, but they woke up just in time to TAKE a victory away from the Houston Texans. Don't let anyone get away with saying the Texans choked. Just as surely as Sherman wrestled the ball away from Owen Daniels, the Seahawks took that win BY FORCE.

The defense went from floundering to formidable, allowing zero points in the final 42 minutes of play. Two Seattle takeaways led to 10 second half points, seven coming on Sherman's best Deion Sanders impression yet. When the story of the 2013 Seahawks is passed on from one generation of Twelves to the next, Sherm's game-tying pick 6 will be one of the most fondly recalled moments. The Reliant Stadium crowd showered their quarterback with boos (later, they'd be burning his jersey in the parking lot). Even though the Texans would still have multiple chances to win the game, their body language betrayed them: Their spirits were broken.

As great as the defense played in the 2nd half and overtime, the pivotal moment(s) in yesterday's victory were authored by the Seattle offense. Marshawn Lynch overcame an early fumble to score our only offensive touchdown and rack up 143 total yards on 20 touches. For Seattle's offense to work properly, Beastmode needs 20+ touches, and Marshawn made the most out his opportunities as usual.

Doug Baldwin only had three catches, but without even ONE of them, the Seahawks probably don't win. Two 3rd-down grabs kept our touchdown drive alive, and his catch in OT (coupled with a DUMB personal foul for a WWE takedown after the whistle) set up the winning field goal. I agree with Hawkblogger on this notion: Darren Bevell needs to find more ways to get the ball in Angry Doug Baldwin's hands.

Russell Wilson had a bad game from an objective perspective. He threw a TERRIBLE interception with his team trailing by a touchdown with only five minutes left. He barely completed half his passes for only 123 yards. His passer rating was 49.7. So why have I never been happier that the WolfBadger is our quarterback?

14 plays. 98 yards. The Legend Grows.

Wilson is making a habit out of stealing victories for the Seattle Seahawks. Yesterday he conjured yards and first downs out of plays that should have ended in complete disaster and desolation. RW3 ran for 74 yards in the 4th quarter and overtime, but it was one 4-yard scramble that will never be forgotten. On 4th down, on the 13th play of the epic drive that would draw Seattle within striking distance of victory, Wilson evaded what seemed like every Houston defender who has ever played (including some old-timey Oilers like Ken Houston and Chris Dishman) to squeeeeze past the first down marker. On the next play, Lynch walked into the end zone untouched. Russell Wilson, like the rest of this indomitable Seattle team, is learning how to win even when peak performance eludes him.

Steven Hauschka's overtime field goal capped one of the greatest regular season wins in franchise history, and probably Seattle's greatest comeback since that stunner at Mile High back in 1995. Now the Hawks are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, and are on track for the greatest regular season any of us have ever seen.

14-2? 15-1? Fuck... Why not 16-0? After what happened yesterday, it's hard to say anything is impossible.

What do you think, sirs?


dave crockett said...

Got back from the game this morning about 3 (and had to teach today).

It was AWESOME. I was in the opposite end zone on Sherman's pick, sporting my RW jersey. I was the only one in my section up on my feet screaming like a mad man.

It was the BEST.

A few quick thoughts on the game:

1. 10am effect, big time on defense. Guys were in position but were a clear half-step slower than HOU. After half they got that half-step back.

2. No one is mentioning this, but even though HOU thoroughly outplayed us they got major help from the zebras on two scoring drives. First on an Andre Johnson (?) crossing route that he took up the sideline for a long play. It was a first down all the way, but Kam was blocked in the back-right between the numbers. That's what sprung Johnson for a huge play. No flag. HOU also scored on a short pass to Foster. On that play a HOU offensive player (#33) ran a route at the player covering Foster (Brandon? It was in my end zone). That guy dove at the corner's feet and blocked him before the ball was thrown. That's why the guy was wide open.

stacius said...

I noticed this beginning last year. The 'hawks TAKE points from opposing teams. They have so many weapons that they don't really seem to care about where the points from.
Getting some key players back from injury will make us even better.
I admit, I was worried after Lynch fumbled. Not because of the play, but because of the look on his face. He seemed stunned that such a thing could happen and I couldn't tell if this would steel his resolve, or he'd throw in the towel. Well, we know how that ended!
Previous versions of the team would've caved, but this one seems to thrive on adversity.

Misfit said...

Fantastically amazing game! I yelled so loud that I scared my kids in the other room. The pick-6 was epic. Watching Wilson and Lynch carry us on offense might seem commonplace by now, but Lynch and Wilson continue to amaze so often it defies logic.

Great write-up, DKSB.