After the game Sunday, I found myself sitting in the back seat of a car stuck in a parking garage for over 35 minutes; wet, cold, hungry, slightly buzzed, and nursing a headache induced from crowd noise. I sat there listening to the post game interviews and analysis thinking to myself: WTF just happened? Or more importantly: WTF didn’t happen? It was a feeling us 12’s have not endured in a long time. The last time the Seahawks lost at home was almost two years to the day, with a 19 to 17 loss against the 49ers on December 24, 2011.
I should have known something odious was about to transpire. The national media had ordained the Seahawks the NFC West champions and the #1 seed in the playoffs, which according to the experts undoubtedly guaranteed the Seahawks a trip to East Rutherford, New Jersey this February. It was impossible to beat the Seahawks at home.
Many 12’s drank the media Kool-Aid. The conversations I overheard inside Seahawks Stadium centered around the cost of Superbowl tickets and the theory that Pete Carroll was saving wide receiver Percy Harvin (#11) as a secret weapon to be launched in the NFC Championship game. A lot of 12’s had already counted the game against the Cardinals as a victory and popped champagne before the coin-toss.
The energy inside the stadium was off that day. Perhaps it was due to the Kool-Aid drinking. Several of the season ticket holders in my section weren’t present for the game and had obviously sold their tickets. Was this because they were out of town for Christmas or figured this game was a guaranteed win? Irregardless, there was an element of the bandwagon/fair weather variety fan in the stands. The stadium was still loud. My ears were ringing and my head hurt. But some 12’s had lost their faith before the game ending interception. Panic and anger had settled into the stadium. I even heard some boos as the clock hit triple zeroes.
One thing I have learned in the NFL is never ever take anything for granted. History proves this axiom to be true. If the home winning streak had to fall, at least it was this game. The game was lost, but the opportunity to win is still available.
The talk of the town and media turned to the offensive woes that this team has encountered over the last few weeks. A lot of finger pointing has occurred recently placing the blame on the usual suspects; the offensive line, the offensive coordinator, undersized and average receivers who can’t get separation, and penalties.
Funny how four weeks earlier after the Seahawks boot-stomped the New Orleans Saints, everybody was praising the offensive line, offensive coordinator, and wide receive corps. The one thing that has been a constant achilles heel for this team is the penalties.
I believe this team just had an off day this past Sunday. The offense just couldn’t seem to get into a rhythm, probably due to it’s inability to convert on third down and sustain any type of drive. Many of quarterback Russell Wilson’s (#3) throws were just outside the reach of the wide receivers, and when the ball did hit it’s intended target the receivers were unable to hold onto it.
The inconsistent play carried over to the special teams with a missed chip shot field goal by Steven “Take it to the Hauschka” (#4) at the end of the first half. Running back Robert Turbin (#22) fumbled the ball with no one around him on a kickoff return in the second half. The defense was on fire with 4 interceptions, but couldn’t stop the game winning drive of the Cardinals.
What if I had told you at the start of the season that a Week #17 victory would clinch the NFC West and the #1 seed in the playoffs? Everything that has transpired up to this point is irrelevant. The Hawks have the opportunity to achieve everything they want at 1:25 PM this Sunday when they square off against the St. Louis Rams.
Wilson prides himself on being consistent and not sleeping. At “O Dark Thirty” Monday morning, he was at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC) already preparing for the Rams. I fully expect Wilson to play lights out this coming Sunday.
The game against the Rams will be tough and definitely not a gimme. The Hawks escaped St. Louis with a victory earlier this year with a last second goal line stand. The seats should be packed with die-hard 12’s ready and willing to shatter ear drums and cause false starts with everything on the line. Exactly the way I like it.