October 19, 2015

Panthers 27, Seahawks 23


Have you ever been in a situation where it hurt to be around another person, but you knew that it would hurt more to completely disconnect from them? It could be with a friend you wish was something more. It could be with an ex you vainly hope for reconciliation with. It could be with a family member or a friend with whom you knew the relationship was harmful or toxic to one or both of you.

The smart thing to do- The RATIONAL thing, the act of the realist - is to say "I'm sorry. I deeply care about you, but I just can't do this anymore." In the long run, you'd be better off. But I'm guessing that for most of you, like me, this is almost impossible to do in practice.

This is the point I've reached with the Seattle Seahawks. I can't walk away from them- I can't disconnect- but I'm beginning to worry that it's corrosive to my mental health to continue investing my heart and soul into them.

I'm addicted to hope. The hope that things will get better, the hope that real change is possible, the hope that relationships thought to be shredded can be mended. I couldn't survive as a pessimist or even a realist. Hope is oxygen to me. Without it, I'd suffocate. For the longest time, hope of a better future fueled me. I hoped that things would get better after I transitioned. They have (in spectacular fashion), but now without that massive life goal in front of me, I've been left wondering without much certainty "Now what?" I've started drifting a bit.

I wonder if that is what has happened to our team. I know that for me, the 30-year quest to finally win a title became an obsession. The final victory of Super Bowl XLVIII was unfathomably cathartic. We had reached the pinnacle of the game that is our national obsession. We were no longer a punchline. I could exhale. I could relax. Of course, the team couldn't. And they didn't. Up until the moment Malcolm Butler stole our dreams of an Emerald Empire, the Seahawks fought and clawed like hungry contenders, not fat and happy Champions coasting on past glory.

After yet another stunning 4th-quarter collapse, we are left with nothing but unpleasant questions. The team isn't shitty. A shitty team wouldn't have led three undefeated teams going into the final quarter this season. The pattern is maddening but inescapable- Once we get deep enough into the games, the offense can't sustain drives. The defense, which resembles its old self for the first 3/4ths of the game, crumbles.

The team isn't old or lacking talent. All of the core starters are in the primes of their careers. Is it poor conditioning? Maybe. Is it poor play-calling, as the "Fire Bevell" brigade screams during and after every loss?  Perhaps. Is it a weak, poorly constructed offensive line? Plausible. It's disturbing to think that it might be all of those things at once. It's even more unsettling to wonder if the team itself isn't sure what the diagnosis is, let alone what the cure might be. From 2012-2014, Seattle consistently wore the enemy down as games dragged on, and either ended up physically dominating them and/or capitalizing on a catastrophic mistake. This season, they are the ones crumbling- They are the ones who have someone else's will imposed upon them. They are no longer the ones who knock.

Last week, I talked about how this season was starting to remind me of 2004. Six weeks in, that's no longer true. Already, 2015 is WORSE than 2004. We're already had our Rams collapse. We've already had our Cowboys implosion, and the season is only a month-and-a-half old. I'm starting to wonder if a better historical parallel is 1985. The Seahawks came into that season as a trendy Super Bowl pick, but underperformed their way to an 8-8 finish, alternating 2 wins with two losses throughout the entire season. The 2015 Hawks are 3/8ths of the way onto producing a distant photo-negative of that forlorn campaign. In fact, we can only hope that Seattle replicates the '85 pattern for at least another fortnight (That would get us to midseason at 4-4).

There is still a flickering light in the distance, but it feels like we are looking at the Sun from the surface of Pluto. Beat two other flawed teams with losing records, and you get a stretch of three home games against the Cardinals, Niners and Steelers. If you come home at 4-4, you still have a fighting chance at a wild card spot or even another NFC West title (If you sweep Arizona).

Next is Santa Clara. I think it's actually a good thing that it's a short week against a familiar, hated rival. The Seahawks should have Bobby Wagner back on the field, and they are still a better team than the Niners- Forgive me if I hope that we enter the 4th quarter trailing and win on a Hauschka kick at the final gun, but blowing so many late leads has me a little shellshocked. If Seattle can't get properly motivated for a trip to the Bay Area against the Red Menace, this season will effectively end before October does.

I'm sure a lot of you have already given up. There is certainly plentiful evidence to support that decision. It's probably the correct and rational one. You'll have three more hours free on Sundays! Yay! Take up a new hobby! May I suggest cross-stitching?

Me? I'm too far gone, and I've never been any good at letting things go. Often, I do this to my detriment. But man... When I actually end up being right, when my optimism ends up being justified? There is no better feeling in the world.

I'm choosing to stay here in the asylum, and it looks like there are some rooms opening up. Who wants to join me in sentimental, irrational insanity?

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5 comments:

Nathaniel Hester said...

I'll never give up. It ain't over till it's over.Not only are the Seahawks going to start winning, but,I think this is going to be their greatest season yet. They have actually played pretty well up until the 4th quarter over the last few weeks. They can fix this, they've got the heart, and they damn sure got the talent. The defense is getting turnovers again (which was missing earlier in the season) it looks like wilson is finally starting to figure out how to get the ball to graham. ( I think having graham and Willson on the field at the same time is going to be a nightmare for defenses in the weeks to come.) I like Tom rawls, I'd like to see him get the ball a little more. I think they should run him on 1st and 2nd downs and give the ball to lynch on third and shorts and goal line situations. Can't wait until Thursday when the seahawks go into Santa Clara and start to turn this thing around. It's week 1!!

Nathaniel Hester said...

I'll never give up. It ain't over till it's over.Not only are the Seahawks going to start winning, but,I think this is going to be their greatest season yet. They have actually played pretty well up until the 4th quarter over the last few weeks. They can fix this, they've got the heart, and they damn sure got the talent. The defense is getting turnovers again (which was missing earlier in the season) it looks like wilson is finally starting to figure out how to get the ball to graham. ( I think having graham and Willson on the field at the same time is going to be a nightmare for defenses in the weeks to come.) I like Tom rawls, I'd like to see him get the ball a little more. I think they should run him on 1st and 2nd downs and give the ball to lynch on third and shorts and goal line situations. Can't wait until Thursday when the seahawks go into Santa Clara and start to turn this thing around. It's week 1!!

Bill Pearce said...

Yup. Gotta stay positive. The O-line is in a MAJOR state of flux (Gods, Draft help please this next time....I'm Beggin ya!). And yeah, a blown call-in to the D. The Legion is NOT happy with that or itself, so I pity the next team to face then, even on a short week. Oh, look, it's the "Beloved" 9ers! Legion not happy+9ers next. Sorry Colin. Gonna be a few QB butt prints on the turf. Even on a short week. We'll right this ship. Just looks like it might take a game or two longer. Remember. These are the same guys that came back after 3-3 and virtually ran the table. Stay strong 12s. We're not out of this yet! (though I COULD go with a LITTLE less stress guys!)

it's all in D Hans said...

Ramona, I know you remember what it was like to root for a team that lingered in NFL obscurity. I know that I remember vividly growing up in the Pacific Northwest town of Wenatchee and having people ridicule me for wearing my Seahawks jerseys proudly on a daily basis - yes, even when they were knee deep in a losing season. I think that the last couple of years have spoiled my perception - winning became expected. It wasn't simply a goal to achieve anymore, damn it! It was almost a given...

Now here we sit at 2-4 after losing several winnable games against quality opponents. And here we go with all the band wagoners jumping ship because our team isn't headlining the league news anymore. (Please contact me if you are getting rid of the jerseys which you bought over the last three years. I accept all charity when it comes to Seahawks gear!) I am content with where we are in the standings. We are heading into a heated rivalry that always brings the best out of our team - against those hated 49ers. I echo your statement, Ramona, that the 2 loss-2 win-2 loss pattern gives me hope that the next two games will be wins - in Santa Claras and in Dallas (where my family and I will be cheering our Seahawks in 12th man road glory style!) I think it is great that our team is facing adversity early, that they need to get hungry again, that they need to find that little extra that they have had stashed away. I know that we have the talent and the gumption to set off on a tear, to leap back into the competition and go all Karate Kid over the Cobra Kai. Tough times don't last, but tough people do. You don't have to see the whole staircase, you just need to take it one step at a time...

Verum Terrae said...

I suffered through the 90's, there's no way I would turn my back over a rough start or any reason for that matter.

Hear me now and believe me later. We will be the most dominant team in the NFC come December. If the Patriots make the Super bowl they will completely crush any NFC opponent who isn't the Seahawks(I'm looking at you Green Bay).

A win in Dallas will set us on the right path with a bye week and a long home stand to get things ready for our most epic run ever!