Out of the 12 games I've attended personally at Qwest Field, Monday night's 34-24 Seahawk victory over the Green Bay Packers was, unquestionably, both the most bizarre and thigh-slappingly hilarious contest I've witnessed. This was more entertaining than free towel night.
Let's just ignore, for the time being, that this was the Seahawks' feel-good game of the year, that they became a convincing contender again, and that they found their hot throbbing heart just in time. Let's talk about the comedy.
I may not even have to mention the Attack of the Giant Kornheiser, which I'm guessing you did not see. But I'll try to remember to do that.
(1) Proof That God Is a Packer Fan (During the First Half)
This was the first Seahawk home game ever played in the snow. (Trying to find a joke about Courtney Love tooting up in Kingdome luxury suites; failing.) It was also the coldest Seattle game ever. The grounds crew scrambled to clear the snow off the 5-yard vertical hashmarks during game stoppage, which was frequent. Looking at the game field looked a lot like watching the game on Fox-13 on a TV with no cable (i.e., half the TVs in Olympia.)
It was nice to be there, only because I don't think I'll ever have a chance to attend an Ice Bowl again.
Quaint. Darling little things. We need a Seattle equivalent. We were thinking one of these:
Do you own a sweatshop or rolls of foam? Let's do business!
(2) Do I Look Like a Psychiatrist?
No? Then why do I feel like one of Jerramy Stevens' 65,000 Gestalt therapists? Does the Hawks' medical plan not cover mental health?
Another thing I haven't experienced at Qwest, besides snowfall, is the cascade of boos that rained (more weather metaphors!) upon our beleaguered tight end. Usually we Seattle fans are forgiving and polite to a fault. Calls for somebody's strangulation are extremely uncommon.
But that's exactly what happened in the 3rd quarter after Stevens dropped a 3rd down pass that would have qualified as the Seahawks' catch of the night to that point. In a month typified by pretty consistent consumer disappointment in Stevens, even I -- a former longtime Olympia resident, desperate for one of that city's own to make good -- almost booed him. I may have. I'm not quite sure. I don't remember. I was plenty disgusted with the guy.
And I knew, almost right at the moment of that horrid pass, that Holmgren/Hasselbeck were going to try and give him his shot at redemption as quickly as possible.
I did not know how I felt about that. Well, I take that back: I sighed heavily. And it wasn't one of those sighs you see in porno films. It was the bad sigh. The foreboding sigh.
It was partially because, around halftime, I surmised that the Seahawks were in a position to possibly regain control of the game via the run. Given Hasselbeck's somewhat unfortunate first half, I thought that was a pretty good idea.
But after the 3rd quarter drop -- the most perfectly characteristic example of a Stevens drop I can think of this year -- I knew they'd go to him again. I had no real good psychological proof of this. I just knew. Everybody in my section felt they could boo him off the team, but I knew it was useless. They were going to go to him again. Most likely in a pivotal scoring moment. And even though I would have been happy if it was successful, I'd also be extremely amused, in that black-comic, ironic way.
His reception for a two-point conversion was wryly amusing. But the game-icing touchdown by Stevens? At the back of the end zone? Where he barely clung to the ball and stayed in bounds just long enough to score? Where, if the play had been mid-field, his falling down would have resulted in a fumble or an incompletion, but in this case he had the back of the end zone he could rely upon?
As Warren Sapp would say -- it's hilarious. Then Warren Sapp would wink.
Jerramy. Please. I have a weak heart. Look, see? I'm panting and I only walked over from the kitchen. I could drop dead any second. I'll be useless to you in that scenario. I urge you to find yourself. I'm not your shrink. I'm not here to "role-play," or "tell it like it is," or "help you help yourself," or "refer you to the nice dream specialist over in Woodinville." I'm here to screw up the opposing offense through caterwauling, to pump my mitts in victory, to try and get on ESPN holding a sign with some lame acronym like "Erotic Seahawk Party Nest," and maybe squeeze in some clam strips. I can't help you anymore, man! Take a nice walk tomorrow. Or one of those backpacking trips through Europe. Or paintball. How about paintball?
I'm still shaking my head at the guy, and the game's been over for three hours. Now I'm the one with issues.
Let's change the subject.
(3) The Seahawks Reunion Tour
It was kind of telling, the whole weather angle. The first half looked unlike any pro game ever played in Seattle, with a blanket of snow on the field. The fans were flustered. Mistakes were being made right and left. I felt real animosity for the Seattle defense. The only thing intact from my previous shell was my man-crush on Josh Brown.
I was the picture of rage. I was one folding chair and a chin-slap away from becoming Bobby Knight. Man, was I pissed. The Packers' TD in the beginning moments of the third quarter nearly did me in. I began wondering how I would take care of my family after I'd gone. Was insurance enough?
In fact, that was the best second half of football the Seahawks had played all season. Not the most exciting, maybe, but the most cathartic. And the best-executed.
I can't say for certain that Shaun Alexander Has Returned. But a 201-yard rushing performance is a mighty nice way to lay out a welcome mat. He wasn't perfect -- a couple of his jukes looked awkward.
But Shaun did what he did all of last season in the final two quarters of the game. He set the tempo of the offense, he ate up the clock, he kept Green Bay's defense on the field, and he produced meaningful yardage that more than made up for his not scoring. It was the smart, technical proficiency the Seahawks have almost been too shorthanded or panicked to run this year.
Alexander set a franchise record for carries in this game -- 40 -- which stunned me. It didn't seem like that many.
Hasselbeck settled down, and wound up with three touchdown passes, all in the second half. That was probably just as key as Alexander resuming his normal workload for the first time all year, but it sort of went unnoticed. Fair enough.
My God, even the defense looked pretty good against Brett Favre (who really didn't look anywhere close to retirement tonight). The long draught of cornerback interceptions, going back to last season, ended when both Trufant and Herndon picked off Favre. The Seahawks managed to get some pretty decent pass coverage onfield. (Hey, did they get a single interference call? I don't think they did.)
It was heartening. It really was. Suddenly it felt like life had meaning again. Not that, you know, my family doesn't give my life meaning, but it's nice to have meaning in a stadium setting.
(4) Passed the Audition:
D.J. Hackett. An acrobatic catch in the end zone that he should have missed. A couple other key drive-saving catches. I'm starting to dig this guy. A lot.
Nate Burleson. He's not yet what we thought he'd be -- a #2 receiver -- but he had a couple returns this week that put the Seahawks in great position. Maybe a $46 million (in headlines) kick returner's not that bad after all.
Kelly Jennings. Got his first career interception.
The offensive line. I don't recall Hasselbeck being in huge trouble too often tonight. Maybe the TV showed differently. Did it? Anyway, again, we'll take it.
(5) We converted two fourth-down situations.
Exactly as we should have: Alexander running wide around the left, and Mack Strong up the middle. Glad to see the Seahawks are reading my contributions to the suggestion box. I work so hard to make my crayon writing legible.
I have to go to sleep now, but please, please, please remind me to cover these topics sometime Tuesday:
The real reason the game went on as long as it did
The Attack of the Giant Kornheiser.