November 28, 2014
Seahawks 19, Santa Clara 3
A few days ago, I had to make a decision about when I'd come out to Washington State for a visit. I could have come out for Christmas (and the Rams game), or any of the first three weekends in January. Flushed from the victory over Arizona, I bet big on the Seahawks. I decided to come out for the weekend of the NFC Championship Game. If I hadn't dawdled on my travel plans, if I had made this decision two weeks ago, I would have picked the weekend of the regular season finale. I would have been thinking "We'll probably need to win that game just to sneak into the playoffs." After two dominating wins over bitter divisional rivals in a mere five days, there's far more than a non-trivial chance I'll be screaming until I reach the brink of fainting at my THIRD NFC title game next January.
I've always been an optimistic Twelve, and even at 3-3 or 6-4, I still thought "Oh, we'll make the playoffs, and then anything could happen." I had hope, but I wasn't brimming with confidence either. As The Postal Service once sang, "Everything will change." In their last 120 minutes of football against two NFC playoff contenders, Seattle's defense has allowed a mere 6 points. Bobby Wagner's return has made an enormous impact, but the entire defense is playing with more of the barely-contained rage and arrogant swagger that defined their historic performance a year ago. These Wolf Grey Warriors held Santa Clara to 164 yards of total offense(!), forced The Bicep Kisser into two hilariously horrible interceptions (and a passer rating of 36.7), and generally left the Niners appearing as if they were "drunk and flailing in cow shit." Kaepernick was besieged all night, absorbing four sacks and numerous hits. Before the 1st quarter was over, the dude already looked more jittery than coked-up Jordan Belfort.
The Niners' longest play from scrimmage? 16 yards. Frank Gore? 28 pathetic yards. Sidebar: How can a BRAND NEW STADIUM have such an atrocious playing surface? I half-expected to see Marshawn Lynch trip over a pile of manure or to spy a grazing cow setting a pick on Earl Thomas. Good job, good effort, Jed York.
Actually, let's take a quick mid-post break to laugh at the entire 49ers organization. Their coach is a creepy blowhard/cheap fuck on the verge of unemployment, and both the owner and the GM's daughter are venting their tantrums via twitter. Their new football cathedral gives them ZERO home field advantage and roasts fans alive on sunny days. With Kaepernick doing better at selling headphones than throwing a football, and Alex Smith's quiet efficiency in Kansas City, it's becoming clear that they got rid of the wrong quarterback two years ago. I haven't even gotten to the fact that their roster is festooned with reprobates. On top of all of that, their fans still try to lord their ancient Lombardi Trophies over the rest of the NFL Nation... So it's beyond satisfying to see Richard Sherman openly trolling the Niners and their "mediocre" fans, and to watch Russell Wilson and Sherm eating turkey on their fucking logo. Knowing that last night's result effectively killed Santa Clara's season and might get Jim Harbaugh fired made it EASILY my best Thanksgiving ever.
So Russell Wilson shared NBC's post-game turkey feast with Richard Sherman, and RW3's game is looking as fine as his newly bearded visage (Damn). While Kaepernick imploded, The WolfBadger was efficient and explosive, with his improvisational skill and escapability keeping Santa Clara's defense off balance all night. His escape/scramble/63-yard pass to Tony Moeaki to set up a Seattle FG was another one to add to your personal DangerRuss mega-mix. Marshawn Lynch cut the formidable 49ers front seven to ribbons, stacking up 111 yards on 21 touches. Beast Mode is 3rd in the league in rushing, and has earned consideration as the MVP not just of the 2014 Seahawks, but the entire NFL. Special teams turned in another sterling performance, with Steven Hauschka nailing all four of his field goal attempts and the punt coverage team forcing a turnover.
Now Seattle seems to be primed for another Super Bowl run. Yes, the remaining schedule is daunting, but every opponent, scattered from Philadelphia to St. Louis to the barren sun-scorched desert the Cardinals call home, watched last night's game and quietly muttered "Fuuuuuuuuck." If the Seahawks can just solve their lingering Red Zone efficiency issues, they might start dropping 40-and-50 burgers on suckas like it was December 2012 all over again. If Seattle can run the table and hit the playoffs at 12-4 they'll likely win the NFC West and the top NFC playoff seed (via tiebreakers over Green Bay, Arizona and Philadelphia). That'd be ideal, but if the defense keeps playing like this I don't think it matters if the games are played in Seattle, Green Bay, or the Tesseract from Interstellar. The Hawks would maul any team unfortunate enough to face them. For entirely selfish reasons, I want the Seahawks to keep marauding through the rest of the schedule. I want there to be a home game when I'm visiting Seattle MLK Jr. Weekend.
I'll let Sherm have the last word today: