October 6, 2013
Colts 34, Seahawks 28
Let me get this out of the way: Nothing that happened at Lucas Oil Stadium today shook the conviction that I've held in my heart since we dropped that divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome last January: The Seattle Seahawks are going to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
Today's loss didn't reveal a blueprint for defeating the Seahawks. It didn't show that Seattle is "a different team away from home" or some other such bullshit. It revealed a simple truth: To beat an elite team on the road, the Seahawks won't always be able to prevail with less than peak performance. We're five weeks into the season. The Seahawks are 4-1 and solidly in control of the NFC West race... and we haven't seen this team at full strength. We haven't yet seen them at their best. I STILL think that when this team gives its best effort, there's not a team in the NFL that can beat them.
The Indianapolis Colts are an excellent team, and Andrew Luck will be competing with Russell Wilson for magazine covers and Lombardi Trophies for the next decade. When you combine the quality of the opposition with playing in a hostile environment and AWFUL officiating (that cost Seattle at least 10 net points over the course of the game), it's almost shocking that the Seahawks had the ball and a chance to win in the game's final minutes.
Ron Winter's crew was abysmal today. Most of their terrible decisions harmed the Seahawks, but they also missed what should have been a penalty on Chris Clemons for whacking Luck in his neckbearded melon. On a blocked punt in the first quarter, Winter's minions decided that a Jeron Johnson touchdown was actually a safety, costing Seattle five precious points. Beyond that, multiple dubious pass interference calls against the Seahawks kept Indianapolis scoring drives alive. The rank incompetence of today's officiating crew should incense anyone not looking at things through blue-and-white tinted goggles.
Despite the poor officiating, this was still a game in which Seattle had every opportunity to prevail. The Hawks bested Indianapolis in most of the major statistical categories, but their inability to translate offensive production into second half touchdowns was their ultimate downfall. Russell Wilson, while electrifying and dangerous, didn't play to the best of his abilities. That isn't intended as a condemnation- His improvisational skills (and 102 rushing yards) kept Seattle's offense moving, but he's SO close to being a damn-near-unstoppable force. If he connected on a couple of throws where he was BARELY off target, the Hawks might still be undefeated. Isn't it scary (and exciting) that Wilson has room to improve? Andrew Luck certainly still has room to improve as well, but he's already a formidable foe. With the offense sputtering in the 4th quarter, Luck took full advantage of a worn-out Seattle defense to take the lead and then extend it to six points.
There's two bits of great news that Seahawks fans can focus on: First, Seattle will be getting numerous starters back from various injuries over the next month or so, and Percy Harvin will be on the field well before the playoffs begin. Secondly, the Seahawks have a relatively soft upcoming schedule. After hosting the 3-2 Titans next Sunday, Seattle doesn't play a team with a winning record again until their post-bye showdown with the Saints on SNF December 2nd. 14-2/13-3 feels like about where this team will end up after the regular season concludes on December 29th.
One loss to a playoff contender on the road doesn't equal "Same Old Seahawks." The team will shake off this loss quickly, and the Twelve army should go forth and do likewise.
On a personal note, I watched the game today at a sports bar in "girl mode" for the first time, and had a very positive experience. My waitress even noticed my bright green Seahawks socks and told me they were "cute." I fly out to Seattle on Thursday, and I'll be at the Titans game next Sunday with my brother James. I'll be screaming my head off for three hours as usual. I'll just look like the pic in the upper right corner of this blog. Finally, I'll be in one of my favorite places on Earth as ME. I couldn't possibly be more excited.
What do you think, sirs?