Bar Notes: Seahawks Beat Giants

By law, Doug Baldwin has to be your favorite Seahawk now.

Normally I would title a post like this "Seahawks at Giants" but let's be honest; 28 years between wins on the road against New York deserves a little something special. 

More importantly, the Seahawks deserved this win as much as you can say any team deserves a win.  They made mistakes that could have cost them the game, but they also took advantage of mistakes and an end of game stroke of luck that allowed them to win this game 36-25.  I can't sit back and say, "The Giants should have won this game," because A) They did not win the game and they didn't only lose because of a late-game interception, they lost because the Seahawks were able to move the ball on them and played good defense and B) It's hard to sit back and type at the same time.

This was the first game of the year that I went into with pretty much zero confidence that the Seahawks would win, so of course this is what happens.  It's not that I think the Seahawks are one of the leagues worst teams, because I don't think that.  I never really felt we'd go 2-14 or something as some people had predicted.  The run defense is too good.  The wide receivers are too talented.  The team of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor is too exciting.

The other side of that is now I will probably be over-confident for the next few games.  

I can understand why we might have been able to beat the Giants at home, but the struggles of the Hawks on the east coast is well-enough documented that I don't have to go over it again.  Just winning on the road alone is tough enough in the NFL.  The first rule of survivor leagues is that you don't pick a road team.  The second rule of survivor leagues is no shoes, no shirts.  At least, that's the rule in my survivor league.

The Seahawks shocked us all yesterday, with Seattle fans probably more stunned than Giants fans, and with two wins in the first five games we can pretty much declare "Suck for Luck" over as far as we are concerned.  As highly as I think of Andrew Luck and how good he is going to be in the NFL, we never really belonged in that conversation anyway.  We didn't only prove that because we won, but also because of how we won.  Onto the notes:

"Best opening drive"

The Seahawks best opening drive before week five was a 34-yard drive against San Francisco that ended in a punt.  Against Pittsburgh and Atlanta, we started with a 3-and-out.  So pretty much anything that got us into field goal range would have been considered a success, and on the road against New York we couldn't really afford to find ourselves down so early.

Tarvaris Jackson went 5-for-7 for 63 yards and ended it with an 11-yard catch and run to Ben Obamanu.  Lost in the wide receiver shuffle this year, Obamanu was a big part of the success that got us up 7-0 with 3 catches for 31 yards. 

"Zach Miller smacked on throw.  He was pretty defenseless.  Cheap shot?"

During that drive, with the Seahawks threatening just outside the Giants red zone, Zach Miller was targeted by Tarvaris down the middle and took a bad hit from Kenny Phillips when he was defenseless.  I gave the Giants the benefit of the doubt with a question mark on that note, but let's be honest: Phillips hit Miller with a cheap shot.  Even in the heat of the moment, professional athletes know what they are doing.  I'm sure in his head Phillips just thought "Ball going to tight end.  Must hit tight end hard so he can't make catch.  Here I go! Oh, he no have ball.  But I am already on my way to him, me no stop."

Phillips hurt Millers head and now he's going to have some really bad headaches and he has to scratch out one concussion on his concussion chart.  You only get four concussions before you have to legally put on your dating profile that you are "slow."  Don't ask me how I know that.

"Here comes Eli.  No Trufant.  WT3."

I only have so much paper space on my notes.  But the main point is that without Marcus Trufant, this was going to be a big test for Walter Thurmond III and the Seahawks defense.  For the Giants, it was an opportunity for Mr. Manning to prove me very wrong from my 8 Simple Things post against a depleted Seahawks secondary.

"Manningham wide open.  Ballard wide open.  Ballard wide open TD."

Other things happened, but the gist of it is that we never really seemed to cover Jake Ballard on this drive.  Can you really blame us for not knowing Ballard was playing for the Giants?  This was also the first time that Tom Coughlin had heard of Jake Ballard.  

Both teams drove 80 yards on their opening drives.  Defense optional.

"Carpenter false start.  Left-side blown up.  Sack.  Punt."

This is a very quick drive summary.  After a Marshawn Lynch 9-yard run, and a first down, the drive really stalled on third-and-five when RT James Carpenter committed a false start penalty.  There's really no way for a new offensive lineman to make an impression on a fan base other than by making stupid penalties.  You'll make a good impression by us never hearing your name and then two years later somebody says "That Carpenter guy on the right side must be good because I have never cursed his name."  I have cursed your name James.  

We had to punt away, so of course this is when the game would go the Giants way right?  Am I cynical or just a Seattle fan?  Or is there a difference?

"FUMBLE! Hawks ball at the 11! New Life."

Tied 7-7 and with the Giants on offense, the Seahawks would need to play really good defense or get really lucky.  They got the lucky part and an Eli Manning fumble gave us a golden opportunity to get some easy points.  Even three points would have been huge here.

"Lynch fumble. New death."

Not to be outdone after the Giants fumbled on their third play of the drive, the Seahawks fumbled on their second play of the drive.  In this moment, Marshawn Lynch looked really bad, and the Hawks looked every bit the part of a team that would squander its chances to win this game.  Even when things went right, they went wrong.

"Great PD by Thurmond"

I don't recall the specific play here, but just a commentary on the play of Walter Thurmond.  There were a few moments where he looked very impressive on getting his hands in between the ball and the receiver.  That's all we ask.

"Delay of game.  Eli sad.  Eli throws to nobody."

A manageable 3rd-and-4 became 3rd-and-9 after a delay of game penalty on New York and Eli hung his head and threw his arms down.  This all looked very familiar to me.  Stop pouting.  This is only part of the reason why Eli isn't in the same class as Tom Brady.  I'm not trying to stir up more anger with Giants fans, but honestly, wouldn't you rather he didn't hang his head after a penalty?  The next pass went nowhere and the Seahawks forced a quick punt.

"Wow.  Beast Mode out at the .5.  TD.  Sometimes Lynch looks like the player he was supposed to be."

The Hawks started in Giants territory on the 48 and on the first play Lynch took it 47.5 yards just barely falling shy of the end zone.  On the next play he was able to punch it in.  There have been moments since he became a legend against the Saints where you can see why this guy was a high draft pick.  If he could ever put it together on a consistent basis, Lynch really could be one of the best backs in the NFL. 

His playoff game against New Orleans is by far his best game as a Seahawk, but today was his second best.  Lynch has played in 18 games for Seattle, and his 8.2 YPC yesterday was twice as much as all but four of his previous games with the Hawks.  

"Giants punt."

The Giants got a first down and then fell 1 yard short of a first down.  Good defense again by the Hawks and up 14-7 we had another chance to pull away.

"BEAUTIFUL sideline catch by Baldwin.  HOW??? HOLY SHIT ANOTHER TO BALDWIN."

On 3rd-and-7 Doug Baldwin made a great 21-yard reception to bring up 1st down and while I was writing a note on that, he made a 25-yard catch.  The key word for me there is "HOW"

How did he go undrafted?

How was he not a star at Stanford?

How am I going to get home without any pants?

Baldwin had a big senior year at Stanford with Andrew Luck but was mostly an unknown in his first three years there.  I feel dirty linking to Bleacher Report, but I wanted to look back at the undrafted free agents this year.  This is a list of the top 150.  You won't find Doug Baldwins name.    It's just an idea of how unknown Baldwin was.  How good can Doug Baldwin be?  Does the fact that he was undrafted mean anything at all to how good he can become?  Miles Austin and Wes Welker also went undrafted.  That's just to say: Sky's the limit.  

This wasn't the last we'd hear from him in the game and on the season he now has 330 yards in five games.  

"Michael Robinson fumble :("

After Tarvaris Jackson and the passing game led us, for the most part, 85 yards to the Giants 7 yard line, Michael Robinson got a carry.  Then he got another and a first down.  Then he got one more and dropped the ball.  These things happen, but I won't be displeased if Robinson gets less goal-line carries.  This could be an overreaction based on the fact that I'm still emotional about it, but did we really have to put the whole scoring opportunity in Robinsons hands?  This was a golden opportunity to go up 21-7 and we gave the ball three times to a college quarterback.  

"Okay, great defensive stand."

The Seahawks defense looked good again.  I could, and would, get very used to that.  But should I?  

"Carpenter just got dominated."

Giants punt and its the Hawks ball on their 30.  After a five yard penalty, Jason Pierre-Paul, who is very good, made James Carpenter look silly.  I shouldn't have to write a right tackles name down twice during my notes.  Seahawks punt.

"ELI INTERCEPTION!!!! HA!"

Earl Thomas with the big interception and the Giants drive lasted all of one play.  That's two turnovers on Eli in less than a half.

"McCoy apparently has a hard time catching balls thrown to his chest."

Catch the damn ball.  

"Fumble slips under Leroy"

After McCoy dropped (Not really dropped.  It simply hit him in the numbers and he never puts his arms or hands around it, so you can't really drop something you never had possession of) the sure first down and the Seahawks punted, it was the Giants ball again and only 2:16 left in the half.  Eli Manning fumbled (AGAIN!) and the ball went right under Leroy Hill's body.  It was really incredible how many times the Seahawks had a sure chance to blow the Giants out, but the luck was absolutely not going our way.  But in a way it was.  I don't know, what a confusing game.

"Tweet to Danny that I like Tarvaris.  IMMEDIATE INTERCEPTION"

The moment after I put my phone down after tweeting to Danny Kelly that I was starting to like Tarvaris, he threw an interception to Aaron Ross.  There was only :51 seconds left in the half and with the Seahawks up 14-7, it seemed like 14-7 would be the worst case scenario.  Hey Seahawks, meet the real worst case scenario.

"Nicks TD.  14-14.  TERRIBLE."

Now I'm writing in all caps too much.  But this was an "all caps" kind of game.  The defense was looking soooo good up to this point and Eli was looking so bad.  He went 4-for-4 for 59 yards and the Giants tied the game going into half.  What is it about a winding clock that brings the best out of a QB and the worst out of a defense?

2nd Half

"Giants ball.  Hold.  Stop run.  Sack.  Punt."

Eli hit Manningham for 15 yards, but after the holding penalty and the sack by Alan Branch, it wasn't enough.  This was more of the defense I wanted to see, even if we were aided by a holding penalty.

"SOLID RUN D.  Bradshaw 9 rushes for 22 yards.  I MUST STOP SAYING GOOD THINGS, OPPOSITE ALWAYS HAPPENS."

So combine the fact that I tweeted Danny that I liked Tarvaris with my note on how good we were doing on Bradshaw (he ran for 8 yards on the next play) and it's clear that I have the "Reverse Curse."

Many years ago I cut the line in front of a practicing Wiccan at a Red Mango and she put a hex on me that everything I said I liked would turn to shit.   I thought nothing of it, but when I looked down and saw coconut and peaches on my frozen yogurt instead of Captain Crunch and strawberries, I became suspicious.  

The Bradshaw 8-yard run actually proved to not be damaging and the Giants punted again.  Run defense was still solid.  

"QB Keeper - 11 yards.  Charlie time."

A designed QB-keeper that proved to be successful actually left Tarvaris hurt and as we know, he did not return to the game.  Surprisingly, its game 5 and this is the first we are seeing Whitehurst.  I just kind of figured some situation would arrive by now, and here we were, with the game in the hands of the guy you either love to hate or hate to love.

My opinion on Charlie Whitehurst is that its best not to have too much of an opinion on him.  Most of the faith I ever had in Whitehurst was put there by Pete Carroll and John Schneider simply acquiring him.  Other than that, I've seen very little to like and his job in Seattle is to be the backup QB.  He's good at that, and I'd be happy to keep him around to backup the next guy.

"Defense will have to win this game."

Because of what I said above on Charlie.

"SAFETY!"

Because of what I said above on the defense.  16-14.

"Whitehurst underthrow, but 1st down"

Whitehurst hit Golden Tate for 17 yards but it was more like Tate hitting himself with the ball after he went down on the ground to get it.  I won't complain too much though since we did get a 1st down and 17 yards.  We would waste the good field position on the Giants 38 and punt.  I don't say anything about Jon Ryan in these notes, but he was awesome.  

"Eli is 21-4 in October"

I wonder why Giants fan defend Eli so much, but this helps explain it.  Because fans don't love anybody more than they love the guy who is quarterbacking their team when they win games.  We know that record is blemished now.

"McCoy makes no effort to get in bounds"

After another good Thurmond deflection/near interception, the Hawks got the ball back again.  Anthony McCoy pissed me off earlier.  He pissed me off more when he was wide open on the sidelines and simply came down with his feet going backwards without getting in bounds.

McCoy may not be a "receiver" first, but it makes me appreciate it so much more watching players drag their toes or manage to control their feet so well on the sideline.  McCoy didn't look anything like that on this non-catch.

"Lynch with 18-yard run.  He's like PLINKO."

My thought on Lynch now is that when he's going good, he just sort of bounces around with no idea where he's headed and we just watch in total anticipation as he bounces around the defense.  

"Steven Hauschka with a PERFECT 51-yard field goal.  We can like him now."

I had no feelings about Hauschka going into the game.  I had no ill feelings towards him, or no reason to like him either.  He was just the guy that kicks our balls or something I guess.  I had good feelings about Olindo Mare.  I had good feelings about Josh Brown once.  Hauschka came out of nowhere to get the kicker job this year and up until now we just knew he missed a 61-yard field goal to not beat Atlanta.  But we couldn't be mad about that.  We can be happy about his awesome 51-yard field goal to make it 19-15 and I can definitely say I like this guy.

"Cruz.  Wow.  Unreal.  Pure luck."

What is there to say about this catch?  I'm reminded of the catch Antonio Freeman had for Green Bay on Monday Night Football to beat the Vikings.  There is skill involved, but its just a skill of concentration on an otherwise good defensive effort that will result in a stop 99 times out of 100.  The Giants got really lucky and there was plenty of time left for the Seahawks to come back.  22-19 New York after a 2-point conversion.

"Charlie kills the drive.  YOU HAVE OPTIONS!"

I know there are some serious Charlie supporters around here that will probably say I'm wrong on being so critical of him, but I think the thing that frustrates me most is that it seems he takes the snap and only has one player on his mind.  When that player is covered, he just sits back in the pocket for 4 or 5 seconds trying to buy time and then just throwing the ball away.  At least, on this drive, that's how I felt.  

"Fumble recovery!  Whats up with this football?"

Seriously, was that little piggy greased up or what?  So many turnovers in the game.  Right after being a hero, Victor Cruz turns it over and Kam Chancellor recovers.  Seahawks with another chance.

"What a perfect example of the importance of timing with a WR.  FG."

The Hawks had the ball at the Giants 25-yard line and Whitehurst went 0-for-3 before Hauschka nailed another field goal.  Its fair to say that Whitehurst simply doesn't have any chemistry with these wide receivers, and getting to throw to a guy over and over in practice is going to help with timing and knowing the ins and outs of each receiver.  As you can see, I'm coming around a little on Charlie.  Giving him some benefit of the doubt.

"Giants FG.  25-22.  4:49 left."

New York couldn't have asked for a better opportunity of their own after they marched down the field and ran five and a half minutes off of the clock.  Thankfully, the Seahawks kept them out of the end zone and they had to settle for a field goal.  Still, it seemed that Charlie and the offense weren't in any kind of rhythm, and getting into FG range, let alone a TD, seemed like too much.

"Doug Baldwin AGAIN!  Doug Baldwin TD! IM PANTSLESS IN PUBLIC!"

After a 22-yard catch on first down, I was literally writing down my note "Doug Baldwin AGAIN" when he caught an 8-yard pass and before I had much time to process that, he had a 27-yard touchdown catch.  Have I said yet that I LOVE this guy?  He is going to be a very rich man.

"Curry missed tackle"

Did anyone else notice that?

"Just when things look like they couldn't get any worse, WE WIN! BROWNER TD! ITS OVERRRR!!!"

The Giants drove from their own 20 to the Seahawks 5 in a matter of 70 seconds.  It was pretty disheartening to see how quickly we could lose this game and especially to see Victor Cruz have 60 of those yards.  Seriously, when is Cruz going to understand he's no Doug Baldwin?  

All the more fitting that Cruz couldn't hold onto the ball the magically landed into the lap of Brandon Browner who took it to the house to seal the victory for Seattle.  

I stayed pretty calm throughout the whole game while the rest of the bar erupted in cheer or anguish, but only because I never expected to win.  With a minute remaining in the game and the Giants on the edge of taking the lead for good, I felt proper in my assessment that no matter what we did, this wasn't our game to win.  Finally I could let out glee when the game was actually sealed, and even if the ball bounced to him out of pure luck, much like how the ball magically found Cruz earlier, it felt good to see Brandon Browner put the nail in the coffin after he has so thoroughly been torn apart this season for being "terrible."

For better or for worse, we will be seeing a lot of Brandon Browner this year.  For better or for worse, we may see more of Charlie Whitehurst and we may see the Marshawn Lynch of old, but no matter the name on the back of the jersey, its the name on the front of the jersey that matters most.  Together we are Seahawks.  Together we win or lose.  Today we won, and for that we can be grateful, and lets just be happy to have all 53 of these guys.  

Follow me on Twitter @casetines

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