November 26, 2013


"We're going to the Super Bowl. If any of you want to do this stuff, go ahead. You won't be coming with us." - Richard Sherman, at a recent Seahawks team meeting

The Seahawks have the best record in the NFL, and are now officially the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII (according to Las Vegas, at least). They have the league's #2 scoring offense, #2 scoring defense, and legitimate candidates for NFL MVP (Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch) and DPOY (Earl Thomas). In my 30 years as a Seahawks fan, I've never seen us field a more talented team, or one with a better chance of winning a World Championship. 

Then why has the mood among the Twelve Army turned so dour?

Walter Thurmond III evidently couldn't reign in his affinity for the wacky tobaccy, and he's accepted a four-game suspension. Brandon Browner is apparently facing a year-long suspension for a similar violation, which would certainly end his tenure as a Seattle Seahawk. Two main issues arise from these suspensions: A) The on-the-field impact on the Seahawks and B) the public-relations problems the suspensions create for the team. 

On the field, the Seahawks should be able to weather the losses of WTIII and Browner, just as they've survived the loss of MANY key starters for long stretches of this season. Losing Russell Okung didn't torpedo the season, nor did losing Sidney Rice, or Percy Harvin, or Max Unger, or Zach Miller, and on and on and on. Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, and/or whomever we sign to buttress the secondary will fill in nicely until Thurmond returns in time for the post-season. Frankly, given that we still have Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas III and Kam Chancellor, the Hawks could probably put ME out there as the 4th DB and still field the NFL's best secondary. 

This is also a good time to remind everyone that we don't NEED home field advantage to reach the Super Bowl. Yes, it would make our path to XLVIII much easier, but it's no longer a pre-requisite that Seattle needs the #1 seed to win a Championship. Barring a spectacular implosion, the Seahawks will at least get a first-round bye and a home game in the divisional round. If we are at full-strength by the start of postseason, we'll be able to beat any team in ANY arena (still- go ahead and get HFA anyway, boys... I already have my flight booked for Seattle NFC Championship weekend).

Then there's the matter of "perception." I'm not going to pretend to have any deep insight into why so many Seahawks have drawn suspensions over the past few seasons. I DON'T think it's because we're some evil outlaw franchise, or that Pete Carroll has instituted some nefarious training program involving Adderall, Marijuana, and Skittles. The larger point is that I DON'T CARE what outsiders think about our team. As long as Russell Wilson is holding the Lombardi Trophy on February 2, the rest of the country can grumble and murmur about us being "cheaters" as much as they'd like. 

They'll bitch and moan when we beat the Saints next week. They'll whinge when we whip the Niners again in two weeks. They'll HOWL when we win it all... and it will be sweet music to my ears. 

What do you think, sirs? 

November 18, 2013

Seahawks 41, Vikings 20

10 wins.

Remember when that used to be A HUGE deal for us Seahawks fans? In the franchise's 34 Pre-Carroll seasons, the Hawks only hit the 10-win benchmark five times. That averages out to just about once every seven seasons, making "Seahawks win 10 games" the NFL equivalent of Pon Farr (AKA Spock gets REALLY horny). The Knox Hawks only did it twice, and the Holmgren Hawks only achieved it three times. Neither coach marshaled our boys to consecutive 10-win campaigns, but Pete Carroll just did, and it's getting almost impossible to refute the following claim: Right now, we are watching the best team to ever don Seahawk uniforms.

After two blowout wins, that shaky Ram-Buc fortnight seems like the kind of rough patch that Championship teams sometimes have to just plow through on their way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy (The 2000 Ravens' stretch of FIVE games without an offensive touchdown was an extreme version of this). Seattle now enjoys a 3.5 game lead in the NFC West, and will have the opportunity to all but clinch the #1 NFC seed against New Orleans in two weeks. At this point it would take a collapse of 1986 Jets proportions to keep Seattle from at least nailing down a first-round bye. ONE YEAR AGO we would have all been elated if our Seahawks finished 10-6. Now 10-6 would probably be seen as the most monumental meltdown in Seattle sports history, and that underlines the rapid ascent of expectations among the Twelve Army. Anything less than a trip to XLVIII would be a massive disappointment to most Twelves... For me, anything less than a VICTORY at MetLife Stadium on February 2 will leave my mind a barren, desolate void.

These Seahawks are the best team in football, and they SHOULD win the Super Bowl. Think about that statement for a second. Can you REALLY disagree with it? Are you scared of the Broncos? The Chiefs? The Patriots? The Colts? The Saints? The Niners (Ha ha ha ha ha)? I'm not, and not one soul at the VMAC is either. Why should the rest of the NFL fear US? Let me count the ways...

-We Have Russell Carrington Wilson
As hot young QBs like RGIII and Kaepernick regress, The WolfBadger just keeps improving. Yesterday his passer rating was 151.4 (!), he fired two touchdown passes, and his rocket arm & improvisational gifts were on full display. He's become an absolute assassin in the Red Zone, and if we end up needing a late score to win a playoff game Wilson's track record couldn't possibly inspire more confidence. He seems primed to join Ben Roethlisberger (barf) as the only other 2nd-year QB to win a Super Bowl- But Wilson is way more likely to also snag the MVP award than puke up an awful performance and get bailed out by the officials (Sorry, couldn't resist).

-Marshawn Lynch Will Bury You
Lynch only ran for 54 yards yesterday, but had multiple carries where he turned what should have been a 3-yard loss into a 3-yard gain. Beast Mode's aggression and perseverance are infectious for his teammates and demoralizing to the enemy. His two touchdowns were richly deserved based on effort alone, as would be his first NFL rushing title (right now he trails LeShaun McCoy by only 84 yards).

-We Have Playmakers
Oh look! Golden Tate just took a bubble screen 60 yards! Wow! Did you see that ridiculous catch by Doug Baldwin?!? Damn! Can anyone stop Zach Miller?

Just in time for the playoffs, the Seahawks put Percy Harvin on the field. It was only going to be for a handful of plays, and we couldn't expect fireworks, right? All Harvin did was make one of the best catches you'll ever see to keep a scoring drive alive and run a kickoff back 58 yards to set up ANOTHER Seattle touchdown. With Harvin on the field, the Seahawks are truly a threat to drop 40 points on anyone they play.

-The Defense Will Destroy Your Season And Perhaps Your Career
After tossing three interceptions (including a WTIII pick-6) and absorbing 3+ quarters of brutal punishment, the Vikings yanked Christian Ponder from the game, which probably brought his tenure as Minnesota's QB to a merciful end. Earlier this season, the Seattle defense spearheaded a comeback from a 20-3 deficit in Houston. The Texans haven't won since, and now their star WR clearly wants to skip town.

The Seahawks defense isn't just dominant- They are the destroyers of worlds (oh, they held Adrian Peterson to 65 yards rushing too, by the way).

-The Twelve Army Has You Surrounded
When the Saints were defending World Champions and the Seahawks were The Worst Team To Ever Make The Playoffs (TM), who won that game? Seattle. Why? Well, yeah... The BeastQuake. But also because the game was played at Seahawks Stadium. The Seahawks only need to win their remaining home games to get home field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Russell Wilson is 13-0 at home. It's hard to see ANY team leaving our arena victorious this season, and by late January I expect RW3 to be 18-0 as a starter at home.

Now Seattle gets an extremely well-timed bye week, and 15 days to prepare for the game that will likely decide HFA in the NFC this season. I have zero doubt the Seahawks will prevail over the Saints, and I think the only way we lose another game this season is if we rest our starters for all or part of the season finale v the Rams on December 29.

10 wins.

That's great. But how about 18?

What do you think, sirs?

November 11, 2013

Seahawks 33, Falcons 10

As it says up there on my masthead, I fancy myself a Seahawks propagandist. What do I mean by this? I mean that I don't put up the pretense of objectivity. I'm a Twelve, not a professional journalist. The purpose of this blog isn't to shine light on harsh truths about the Seattle Seahawks, but to give people some reason to believe. Hell, I remember trying to convince myself (and y'all) that we had a shot at the playoffs when we were 5-7 under Jim Mora in 2009 (We didn't).

For the last two weeks, I've been gripped by a bout of existential angst. Yes, the Seahawks were still winning, but pulling out two games on the final play against teams who had combined for three wins didn't inspire boundless confidence. We've seen this team DOMINATE inferior opponents the last two seasons, but now they were struggling to stop the run and failing to protect our franchise quarterback. I didn't feel despair or hopelessness, but that uneasy feeling I had for my entire life as a Twelve... That queasy sensation that the anvils were bound to fall on us at any moment... That was creeping back into my consciousness. That feeling had ebbed under Pete Carroll recently. He had built a team that was stronger, smarter, faster and tougher than any other squad in franchise history. These guys were different... Right?

This dovetailed in a sickening way with some angsty feels in my personal life. I decided to take the leap and start the process of coming out at work (Totally flummoxed? Go read this and come back). So far my transition has gone more smoothly than I possibly could have imagined, but I'm hitting a terrifying juncture. What if I lose one (or more) of my jobs after I come out out as transgender? I have a nasty tendency to catastrophize things and focus on worst-case scenarios in my personal life, so it's easy for me to envision how losing one or more of my jobs could lead to apocalyptic (at least for me) results. Has my relatively easy transition up to this moment been a mirage? Are THOSE anvils about to drop from the sky?

When the Seahawks took the field at the Georgia Dome, they were blissfully unaware of the personal baggage I was bringing to the game. In short order, they swept away my encroaching doubts. They were emphatically Pete Carroll's Seahawks. They were confident, fearless, and cold-blooded. No, the anvils wouldn't fall upon them. The Hawks WERE the anvils, and for one day the Atlanta Falcons were unfortunate enough to be caught out in that murderous rain.

At their best, the Seahawks conquer the enemy by punishing them physically (with Marshawn Lynch and that fearsome defense), and creating explosive plays (long runs, deep passes, and big defensive/special teams returns). All of Seattle's best qualities were on display in Atlanta. Lynch rambled for 145 yards and a touchdown in his best performance of the year (the NFL rushing title is well within his grasp, by the way). Golden Tate showed off his elusiveness on a lengthy bubble-screen scamper, and made one of the season's best catches for the touchdown that gave Seattle an insurmountable lead. Doug Baldwin continued his season-long Steve Largent impersonation, and Jermaine Kearse nudged his way into "1984 Daryl Turner" territory with his 4th touchdown on only 12 receptions. That fourth TD came on a superlative catch Kearse made after Lynch tossed the ball back across the field to Wilson. It was an explosive trick play that turned the momentum back in Seattle's favor for good.

Atlanta's only touchdown came on a drive aided by 35 highly dubious penalty yards against the Seattle defense. After two shaky outings, the Hawks' D was magnificent on Sunday. Steven Jackson was totally neutralized, and the Seattle front four terrorized Matt Ryan. Walter Thurmond III stepped in for an injured Brandon Browner and the Legion of Boom showed no signs of slippage whatsoever. The fact that Seattle has run to a 9-1 record despite numerous injuries to key starters is a testament to the staggering depth of talent on the current roster.

With San Francisco's loss to Carolina yesterday, Seattle's path to Super Bowl XLVIII became obvious: Winning the four remaining home games on the schedule would clinch the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. With home field advantage, it's hard to imagine Seattle's season ending anywhere but at MetLife Stadium on February 2nd.

This is the Seahawks team we have been waiting for our whole lives: Confident, unafraid, indomitable, and ready to obliterate any obstacles they face. I want to be more like them. I NEED to be more like them. In a month, I will start living as a woman full time. I'll need to have the same fearlessness and confidence that our Seahawks had when they fell behind 20-3 in Houston and 21-0 vs Tampa (and still won!). If I can do that, I can Win Forever too. And, if I get the storybook ending I've been dreaming about, the Hawks will win it all... and it will feel like they were just waiting for me to be ready... Ready to celebrate one of the best days of my life (of ALL of our lives) as ME.

What do you think, sirs?
posted from Bloggeroid

November 8, 2013

Top 5: Seahawks Beat Falcons!

Seattle has lost their last four games against the Atlanta Falcons (including last season's divisional round heartbreaker), but despite their recent struggles against inferior opponents, I expect the Hawks to grind out their first victory in the Georgia Dome since 2002 this Sunday. I was lucky enough to attend our last two wins over the Falcons, In January 2005 and September 2005. Here's the top 5 Seattle wins over Atlanta (we're 8-6 all-time against them):

5. 11/7/1976 @Seahawks 30, Falcons 13 
I was 14 months old when this game happened, but older and wiser Twelves know why this game makes the list: This was Seattle's first-ever regular season win at the Kingdome. RB Sherman Smith racked up 152 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as the Hawks celebrated Whacking Day against the bedraggled 2-6 Falcons. Jim Zorn tossed two touchdown passes without adding any INTs- All around a great day for the NFL's newest franchise.

4. 12/15/2002 Seahawks 30, Falcons 24 (OT)
The electrifying playoff-bound Falcons met the lowly Ospreys in a mid-December match-up that NO ONE thought Seattle would win. The Seahawks not only survived The Michael Vick Experience, but they intercepted him twice and largely contained him inside the pocket. Matt Hasselbeck clearly outplayed Atlanta's soon-to-be-felonious-and-incarcerated QB, and Shaun Alexander glided through ATL's defense for 127 yards and two touchdowns, including the stunning game-winner in OT.

3. 9/18/2005 @Seahawks 21, Falcons 18
I was at this game (here's the pics), and I remember it more for the weird experience of being told to sit down at Seahawks game, and for Atlanta's near-comeback from a 21-0 deficit, than anything else. As I wrote at the time:

With a few exceptions, the people surrounding us in Section 336 were old, rich and in a persistent vegetative state. I was doing my usual shtick- I (PG-rated-ly) taunted some Falcons fans as they took their seats, hurled insults at Atlanta players during warm-ups, and spent the balance of the game screaming at the top of my lungs, standing and bellowing whenever Atlanta had the ball (like every red-blooded Seahawks fan should).

What did I get for my trouble? Weird looks and the suburban Brahmin lady tapping me on the back and ORDERING me: "Can you sit down? We can't see!" I resisted the urge to give her the Latrell Sprewell treatment, but I also didn't comply with her bafflingly lame and old-fogey-ish decree

Thankfully this started Seattle's exorcism of the ghosts of myriad blown leads in 2003-2004. It was also the start of a 10-0 home season at Qwest, which helped propel the Hawks to Super Bowl XL.

2. 10/29/1979 Seahawks 31, Falcons 28
The Seahawks created untold legions of new Twelves on Monday Night Football back in 1979, when they relied on a WAVE of trick plays to bring down the Falcons. For any Seahawks fan over the age of 40, this game has probably been BRANDED into their brainpan since it happened. It's worthy of a YouTube clip- Pay particular attention to Howard Cosell falling absolutely in love with Jack Patera, Jim Zorn, and Efren Herrera.

1. 1/2/2005 @Seahawks 28, Falcons 26
Unfortunately, this game is most well-known in Seahawks lore as the "stab-in-the-back" game. Shaun Alexander fell one yard short of winning the NFL rushing title, and publicly blamed Mike Holmgren, who called a QB sneak for a crucial TD rather than feeding the ball to SA. It's a shame, because this one SHOULD BE a very positive memory for Seahawks fans.

After a season of unbelievable heartbreak and frustration (blowing the 17-point 4th quarter lead to the Rams, losing a MNF game against Dallas that literally brought me to tears, etc), the Seahawks could win the NFC West with a victory over Atlanta, who was treating the game like a preseason contest (their playoff seeding was already locked in).

The Seahawks got off to another slow start, falling behind 17-7 in the 2nd quarter. However, they battled and clawed their way into a 28-20 lead (punctuated by Hasselbeck's "back-stabbing" touchdown). Of course, the porous 2004 defense allowed ATL to score a touchdown on THE FINAL PLAY OF THE GAME (Gah!)... So it all came down to the ensuing 2-point conversion, which saw Warrick Dunn get stopped just short of the goal line. Woo! Seahawks win the NFC West! Sadly, this happened the next week:

Would you like to know more?

November 4, 2013

Seahawks 27, Buccaneers 24 (OT)

What do you call a team that allows a winless opponent to take the ball away three times, beat the living shit out of their invaluable franchise quarterback, and rack up 350 yards of offense with rookies starting at QB and RB?


The Seattle Seahawks remind me of Luanne Van Houten lately: They have problems. SCARY problems. In consecutive weeks they've had to expend maximum effort to best a vastly inferior opponent. In consecutive weeks the defense has made random, nondescript halfbacks look like the reincarnation of Chuck Muncie. In consecutive weeks they've allowed Russell Wilson to absorb the kind of punishment that ruined David Carr's career a decade ago. Despite all of that, they sit in sole possession of the #1 seed in the NFC, a game clear of everyone else in the conference, with a path to the Super Bowl that couldn't possibly contain fewer obstacles. How?

It certainly helped that Seattle was up against one of the NFL's most pathetic, dysfunctional squads yesterday. Tampa Bay is a forlorn crew "led" by noted arrogant dipshit bully Greg Schiano, who has inexplicably held onto his job despite utterly destroying a franchise that was consistently competitive before his arrival. Schiano rules through paranoia and fear, and the contrast with Seattle's Pete Carroll couldn't be more stark. Greg The Woodchopper has the Stench of Singletary all over him, and the cocktail of his inept leadership, Tampa's utter lack of hope, and Seattle's clear advantages (better talent, home field, etc) pointed to a blowout Seahawks win.

The first half was like a visit to the mythical land of Rand McNally (People wear hats on their feet! Hamburgers eat people! Double '90s Simpsons reference post!). It was OUR quarterback throwing inexcusable red zone interceptions. It was OUR defense defense getting shredded by a 3rd-round former N.C. State quarterback. It was OUR special teams barfing up turnovers deep in our own territory. We were behind 21-0, and it would take the biggest comeback in franchise history (yes, even bigger than this one) to stay one step ahead of the Niners and Saints.

Thankfully, this team has mounted multiple furious comebacks from huge 2nd-half deficits, just in the last 10 months. When we fell behind by three touchdowns, my first thought wasn't "Oh shit! We're gonna lose!" It was "How the HELL are they gonna MacGyver up a win today? This'll be something new." The defense never quite seemed to solve The Intricate Riddle Of Mike James, but they started making stops. The offense never quite figured out how to protect Russell Wilson, but Marshawn's 1st-half tummyache faded, RW3 still made plays, and Angry Doug Baldwin honored the 1983 Seahawks in attendance by making a handful of key receptions, including his best toe-dragging Largent impression.

Golden Tate? He just gave us his seemingly weekly "No! What the fuck, Golden? Wait... Yes! Yes! Fuck yeah!" moment with an electrifying 71-yard punt return to set up a key 4th quarter field goal. Even Wilson's second mind-meltingly Whitehurstian red zone interception couldn't derail the Seattle comeback train. DangerRuss's 3rd touchdown of the day (2 by air, one by land, this one to DB Fresh) tied the game, and the defense made two final stops (side note: Earl Thomas III was once again the standout performer for Seattle's defense, and is making a strong case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors). On the game's final drive, Darren Bevell wisely chose to Feed The Beast, and Lynch responded with runs of 10, 19 and 13 yards to set up Steven Hauschka's game-winning boot. Schiano and his charges shuffled off the field, dejected and defeated, as it should have been from the beginning.

So what next for the Seahawks? It'll be fashionable to predict defeat at the Georgia Dome next week, even though the Hawks will be facing a 2-6 Falcons team in an obvious death spiral. Fashionable, but dead wrong. With memories of last January's soul-shredding playoff defeat in Atlanta still vivid, I expect Seattle to grind out a convincing win next Sunday.

Then it'll be just the vanquished Vikings and a bye week standing between the Hawks and that MNF showdown with the Saints (and then the rematch with the Niners). By that crucial six-day stretch in early December, the Seahawks SHOULD be at full-strength personnel-wise. They should also be 10-1 and confident in the knowledge that they can surmount almost any challenge they face between those white lines. These gut-churning narrow wins are no fun for us fans, but they may prove to be psychologically crucial in Seattle reaching its ultimate goal: Victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

What do you think, sirs?