September 14, 2015

Rams 34, Seahawks 31 (OT)

One of the very hard lessons that life teaches us is that we have to accept those we love as they are- Rather than judging them against who or what we wish they would be. Doing that is a recipe for heartbreak, bitterness and disappointment. 

After three seasons with Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson as the coach and quarterback combo, we know many things about the current iteration of the Seattle Seahawks: 

-They'll never get blown off the field. Their games will be decided in the 4th quarter, even if the Seahawks have to claw back into the game after falling far behind early. They are tenacious. 

-They will commit a lot of penalties. Many will be stupid. Michael Bennett will jump offsides a lot. 

-They'll simultaneously be dangerous in 2-minute drill situations, while frequently butchering basic clock management. 

-Pete Carroll will make audacious decisions. Sometimes they'll work (like going for it on 4th and 7 in the 4th quarter of the 2013 NFC Championship Game). Sometimes they'll spectacularly fail (like the weird "squib kick becomes an onside kick" to start OT yesterday). 

That's who the Seahawks are: They are tough, talented and nasty- But also often flaky, scatterbrained, and intemperate ("hormonal?"). We saw all of these qualities and more on display in St. Louis on Sunday. Once again, the Seahawks got off to a sleepy start for a 10 am kickoff (with the exception of Flash Lockett, who delivered a caffeinated jolt with an early 57-yard punt return TD). 

SIDEBAR: Is there a compelling reason that ANY game involving a west coast team should kickoff in the 10 am pacific window?  Just like how high school classes probably shouldn't start before 11 am, there's no reason west coast teams should be put at the competitive disadvantage that accompanies those early starts. I would LOVE IT if the Rams moved to Los Angeles and removed one 10 am start from the Seahawks' schedule. 

Without Kam Chancellor patrolling the middle of the field, the Seahawks gave up a startling number of "explosive" plays (The Rams completed 8 passes of 20 yards or more). The most distressing was the tying touchdown pass late in the 4th quarter from Nick Foles to Lance Kendricks- Who beat Chancellor's replacement (Dion Bailey) BADLY for the score. Even with those shortcomings, the defense almost won the game in the 4th quarter anyway. Earl Thomas forced a fumble that set up the tying field goal, and Cary Williams sacked Foles, forced a fumble, scooped and scored to complete a stirring 4th-quarter turnaround from a 24-13 deficit to a 31-24 lead. Still, the defense couldn't preserve the lead they created, and it's whipped up the frenzy around Chancellor's holdout to an absolutely feverish level. 

Should Chancellor end his holdout? OF COURSE. His position is completely untenable under the current collective bargaining agreement, and the team can't afford to set an incredibly expensive precedent by caving to his demands. However, I can't get on board with the vitriol and venom that a lot of Twelves are spitting at Chancellor. He's making bad decisions based on wounded pride and a misplaced adherence to whatever his "principles" are- But sooner than later, he's going to end up wreaking havoc for us yet again. I've already said enough stupid things in this space that I'd love to retract (Flynn should start over Wilson, anyone?). I'm going to leave well enough alone with Kam and hope for the best. 

Speaking of Wilson, he was merely OK yesterday. Some of that can be blamed on not-yet-congealed offensive line, but there were numerous instances where he held onto the ball too long and made decisions that really should be left back where they belong: His rookie season. The offense as a whole only seemed to come to life in 2-minute drill situations. Hopefully the Hawks will go "uptempo" move often as the season progresses. Jimmy Graham's 4th quarter TD displayed the extra dimension he brings to Seattle's offense, but 6 catches for 51 yards are fairly paltry numbers for such a valuable weapon. 

Carroll's odd decision to squib-kick to start overtime was compounded by Hauschka's "mishit" of the kick into a true "surprise" onside kick (it even surprised his own team). Once again, Big Balls Pete left the Twelve Army and the NFL-watching nation flummoxed- But it's totally unreasonable to think that he'll "grow out" of that tendency at this late point of his career. We can only hope that his penchant for treating the game like a crapshoot doesn't manifest itself at a more pivotal moment this year. 

I'm oddly serene about this loss. It's probably the worst performance we'll see from the team this season, and we still almost escaped with a win against a divisional rival that has played us very tough in their building recently. They now head to Lambeau for a game no one will expect them to win. It's the perfect spot for a bounce-back triumph, and I believe the Hawks will leave Green Bay victorious next Sunday. Even if they don't, it's no reason to panic. At least not until/unless they drop the home opener to the Bears and fall to 0-3.

We know this team very well. They're not going to fundamentally change. The good news is that there is one more immutable aspect to their character I forgot to mention earlier...

They are winners. And they will still win VERY big this season. 

What do you think, sirs?


Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Ramona. Then again, you're pretty much my Seahawks spirit animal, so that's no real surprise to me. I hear you, this won't be the only game they'll lose, but I was oddly ok with it. I was left with a gnawing feeling that they needed to win the first game. But as the game went on, I realized, I would be ok with it. The Rams have been like scrappy doo, let me at em, I'll splat em, in recent years. Let's just focus on Lambeau now. #GoHawks!

it's all in D Hans said...

The Rams defensive line is one of the best in the NFL. 6 sacks is to be expected, especially with our new front line. Per "The Rams assembled a defense that features five first-round picks up front for just such a moment. They sacked Wilson six times, getting two each from Donald and Robert Quinn." I believe we will watch our O-line get better and more cohesive throughout the upcoming season. The next time we face this Rams D-line in the C-Link will be a much different story.

It was a good, hard fought game against a division rival which ended in a loss by 3 points in overtime. They play us hard every time, and Jeff Fisher always has his team prepared for us (irregardless of their record). But we could have won this game. Hell, even the OT kickoff-gaff was overcome by holding the Rams to a field goal.I agree that Wilson looked a little rookie-ish in this season debut. And we definitely need to use Jimmy more - where was the seam route for us? And on that last play, Pete said that it had been getting us several yards all game long.

I am also "oddly serene" about this outcome, which is surprising as it is a loss on opening day. I echo your feelings regarding the upcoming game in Lambeau. While GB will be looking for revenge from last year's NFC Championship game, our team will be hungry and looking to show that we can still win against the league's best.

And please - come back Kam. I love seeing 31 on the field, in the locker room, and on the highlight reels. Come home and play out your contract. Look at RW3 and how he played underpaid for years - the team took care of him. They will do the same for you.