October 27, 2014
Seahawks 13, Panthers 9
I've been going through a serious bout of mid-to-late 90s nostalgia lately, triggered by the glorious news of the Sleater-Kinney reunion (Unfamiliar with their body of work? Start with The Woods). I remember getting into them when I was a DJ at KUGS-FM (Fun fact: Carrie Brownstein went to Western for a quarter the year before I arrived in Bellingham. Fun fact #2: Carrie and bandmate Corin Tucker are my age, more or less. Fun fact #3: Carrie wrote an XLVIII preview for Vanity Fair. Final fun fact: I met Carrie and Corin at a S-K show in Columbus back in 2003).
As a sheltered radioactive mall rat from the Tri-Cities, I probably never would have gotten into them if I wasn't exposed to them at KUGS. I was so into them that I even used their songs as "bumpers" on my weekly political talk show, so there was a good chance at some point I went right from "Dig Me Out" into trying to convince Whatcom County to vote Yes on R48. There I'd sit, in my Joey Galloway jersey, desperately attempting to cajole my listeners to vote in favor of a new stadium for my talented but grossly underachieving Seahawks.
Throughout the Dennis Erickson era, Seattle boasted a roster littered with Pro Bowl talent, only to deliver a procession of 8-8 campaigns. One of their specialties was the "season-killing/heartbreaking 10 am road loss." In '96, it was a last-second loss in Detroit on a Todd Peterson missed field goal. In '97 it was an OT loss to an inferior New Orleans squad. In '98? It was Vinny Testaverde's Phantom Touchdown. I broke my roommate's laundry hamper when I hulked the fuck out after that one.
While I'm ecstatic to see Carrie, Corin and Janet reuniting to rock our lame asses like it's 1998, I haven't been as psyched to see our contemporary Seahawks paying homage to their "Forgotten Years" ancestors. Marshawn Lynch paid tribute to James McKnight by dropping a sure touchdown pass that then got snagged for an interception. A fumbled snap was Russell Wilson's tip of the cap to John Friesz. A flurry of dropped interceptions and unrecovered fumbles was a bad cover version of those Erickson Ds who consistently finished in the NFL's bottom third despite their raw talent. The 4th quarter double-whammy of Michael Bennett's failure to sack Cam Newton for a safety, followed by an improbable 3rd-and-long deep ball completion against double coverage was so '90s Hawks it should have come with a copy of Ricky Watters' rap album.
The Hawks trailed 9-6, in the thick of yet another Charlotte Bloodpisser. Despite outplaying the Panthers, they were on the verge of falling to 3-4, which would not only deal a devastating blow to their playoff hopes, but also pour jet fuel on the embers of discontent afflicting the team (Russell Wilson's not black enough! Marshawn's on his way out the door! Etc...). Seattle was 80 yards away from the winning touchdown with less than 4 minutes left. The men who helped steal a season-salvaging win were unknown to the gaggle of ESPN bobbleheads and assorted haters eager to bury the Seahawks. Cooper Helfet for 11 yards. Kevin Norwood for 10 more. Paul Richardson snags one to get Seattle to the edge of field goal range. Finally, The two-headed beast of WILLLSON! collaborated on the decisive score. Of course Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch were (as usual) integral to yet another late comeback win, but the contributions of so many guys filling in because of injuries and/or trades should fill the heart of every Twelve with hope.
The recently much-maligned defense was far from mistake-free, but that unit also saw newcomers make a splashy impact. Kevin Pierre-Louis hopped off the bench and recorded a handful of key tackles. Marcus Burley and Tharold Simon acquitted themselves well in the secondary, with Burley snaring a diving interception on a panicked Newton heave. As a unit, they kept the Panthers out of the end zone all day and seemed to improve throughout the game, cresting with Bruce Irvin's pair of drive-snuffing sacks on Carolina's final possession. Special Teams even largely bounced back from last week's debacle, with Steven Hauschka DRILLING a 58-yard field goal set up by a long Richardson kickoff return (Percy who?).
The WolfGreys escaped Charlotte victorious, but you'd barely know it if you listened to/watched ESPN. Their disappointment that the Hawks messed up their "SEATTLE IN TURMOIL" narrative was palpable this morning. The unpleasant truth for those rooting for the Emerald Empire to crumble? Seattle has two home games upcoming against the hopeless Raiders and merely pathetic Giants, and they will be 6-3 going into a mid-November Arrowhead showdown against the Chiefs. By then, players like Bryon Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and Zach Miller (among others) will be back on the field, but their understudies will be battle-tested. Look out, NFL.
Sleater-Kinney's comeback will peak with the release of their new album next January. I believe that our Seahawks will be peaking around that time, too.
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BONUS: Here's a kick-ass Sleater-Kinney performance on Letterman for y'all..