September 22, 2015
Packers 27, Seahawks 17
The most breathtaking moment in the Wachowski's otherwise failed sequel The Matrix Revolutions was when Neo and Trinity briefly fly above the dense cloud cover to glimpse the brilliant blue sky above... Then the hovercraft crashes and kills Trinity, mainly because they didn't know what else to do with her character. Ugh. That movie was a crushing disappointment, wasn't it? I hear Sense8 is good, though. It's on my massive "Netflix Homework" pile.
Where was I going with that metaphor? Oh yeah... On Sunday night we saw momentary glimpses of what the Seattle Seahawks can do, and of the team we know they are. Bobby Wagner forcing fumbles and saving points in the Red Zone. Earl Thomas dropping the hammer on folks. Russell Wilson tormenting defenders with his lethal combination of speed, agility, and improvisation. Marshawn Lynch's wanton barbarism aimed at the enemy. You could see a team that is once again a Super Bowl contender.
But for most of the night? That was obscured behind an opaque curtain of incoherence and ineptitude. Green Bay scores were set up by Seattle penalties multiple times. More than once the team seemed to lose its composure in the hostile environment of Lambeau Field (Let's be real- To win Super Bowl 50 the Seahawks will probably need to win one or more games like that. If we assume we can only win championships if we hold the #1 seed and HFA, that's a defeatist mindset. The great NFL dynasties all won road playoff games on their way to hoisting Lombardi Trophies at some point. We can go forth and do likewise). The offensive line couldn't consistently clear a path for Marshawn. Russell Wilson sullied a solid performance with a back-breaking interception. The defense? Just degraded enough without Kam on the field that they could slow down Aaron Rodgers, but not get the stops when they needed them (e.g., the 2012 MNF win and the 2014 NFC Championship Game).
What is there to say about Kam Chancellor anymore? My sympathies almost always lie with the player in these circumstances. The NFL generates about $12 BILLION in revenues every year. and that number continues to climb. We are learning more and more about the extreme danger that players subject themselves to every time they step on the field. The league must do more than make the game safer and provide for post-career health care for its players- Given the mind-boggling amount of money the players generate with their labor, it's hard to complain about ANY player's contract, or fault them for wanting to stack that paper as high as they possibly can. So yeah, I'd typically side with Kam here, given that he's BLED for this team. He's fought through injuries and played safety at an elite level anyway. He played through XLIX with a torn MCL in his knee and a deep bone bruise, for fuck's sake. Up until very recently, he was a fan favorite- and on a trajectory for the Ring of Honor, if not a bust in Canton.
But now, as his holdout drags into Week 3, even I am losing my patience with this situation. I'm usually the beacon of hope for y'all, but I'm starting to fear the worst. Given that Chancellor is displaying a Butch Coolidge level of misplaced pride, and that the club has little-to-no incentive to set a massively destructive precedent for future contract negotiations, I have a terrible feeling about how this is going to end. PCJS have shown no compunction about cutting guys loose who either don't perform or who sew discontent in the locker room. Right now, Kam is doing BOTH those things. I doubt he'll ever suit up for the Seahawks again at this point. I really hope I'm wrong. The good news is that I'm wrong A LOT.
Kam, we still love you. I still love you. Come back and all is forgiven. I have a poster of you I'm DYING to put up on the wall in my new apartment. Give me a reason to, y'know?
So the Hawks are 0-2. Two games behind in the NFC West AND the race for the NFC's number one seed. I'm among those exhorting y'all not to panic... But the winning needs to start NOW. Back-to-back home games against the collectively 0-4 Bears and Lions should get Seattle back to .500 by early October, but realistically the Hawks need to rattle off wins in five of their next six games. Why? That would put them at 5-3 (at worst) going into a gargantuan SNF game against Arizona at home, and it's not likely the Cardinals would roll into that game any worse than 6-2. Win then, and you're at 6-3 while (momentarily) holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. Everything would be fine...
In mid-November. That's where we are at, Twelves. We are in survival mode for the next two months. We have to beat undefeated Cincinnati on the road in a 10 am kickoff. We'll have to best an undefeated Carolina team DYING to finally beat us. We'll have to win at Santa Clara after a short week on Thursday Night Football, etc etc etc. It's going to be a puke-inducingly turbulent ride from here on out, y'all.
But they can fix things enough that they can soar back above the clouds and stay there. And their story will have a FAR more satisfying conclusion than the Matrix trilogy. Seriously. Goddammit, Wachowskis. Why would you make a Matrix movie where ALMOST NOTHING happens in the Matrix? That was, you know, what was cool about the first movie? Cripes. I actually sorta liked Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas though... So I guess you've got that going for you?
What do you think, sirs?