I've been trying to get my thoughts together on the loss for most of the last 16 hours (no sleep til Hawkswin) and I know that there were several times that I had made some awesome thoughts but I never wrote them down. Note about notes: keep notes!
What makes a loss more "heartbreaking" than other losses? I think that a dropped pass is a perfect example of a microcosm on what made this loss so painful: you had the win in your hands and you just dropped the ball. This game didn't have one of those, it had an endless stream of it. From the time that Seattle took the lead in the fourth quarter to the last play of the game, this mostly felt like a game that we should have won. Consider the fact that before Arizona's 11-play, 80 yard touchdown drive, the Seahawks had held the Cards to 4 plays or less on each of their last seven drives.
And then the guy that we had just dominated for the last two quarters went out of the game and replaced by the guy that he was supposedly better than when he won the starting job. I never considered that John Skelton getting injured would be the worst thing that could have happened to us in that moment. Out of all the fans in that game for either side, pity us for Skelton getting hurt. We probably deserve more pity than Skelton himself!
I actually thought that despite the fact that Kevin Kolb led the drive to the game-winning score, he wasn't especially spectacular. He had enough time to do what any Arizona QB should do, get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. He didn't have any long passes, just short passes that sometimes went long. It's hard to realize that Seattle had sacked Skelton on the first play of the drive and shortly after had the Cardinals at 1st and 20 on the Seattle 31-yard line but a pass interference penalty of 9 yards on Richard Sherman immediately negated the advantage.
(I just heard Dennis Green yelling in my head about letting them off the hook.)
And then after being really concerned that it seemed unlikely that Seattle would lead a comeback down the field after being shut down for most of the day, we were given golden opportunities to steal a win on the road. I cheered when Sidney Rice made an amazing catch to win the game on 4th-and-6. I still cheered for a PI that would give us a new set of downs. I cheered when Doug Baldwin made a spectacular diving catch for the 'W.' I almost cheered when it looked like Braylon Edwards was going to finally put this away on a well-timed slant on 4th-and-4.
When I was a kid, I used to go to Blockbuster most weeks with my mom. It was my favorite thing to do because I love movies and I had no friends. I would sometimes beg her to take me to Blockbuster, because I was bored or because Jury Duty had just been released on VHS. Sometimes I would beg her to take me even when she was talking on the phone. Often, she would say, "Yes, when I'm done but let me talk on the phone." and so I said "WOOO!" and left her alone. Except that there were times when she would renege on that promise and she had only said yes because she wanted me to leave her the hell alone. False hope on a false promise that was just meant to keep me at bay for awhile.
That's what this game felt like.
So what makes a game more "heartbreaking" than others? Winning a game that you should have won but also one that you could have won. The Seahawks should not have won this game because they were outplayed. All they had to do to win was play a little bit better but it was sloppy, too many players disappeared or had bad games, and the Hawks lost to a team that was better on that day. However, they could have won it so many times, and that sucks because a win is a win, and wins are the most valuable thing in the NFL.
Am I upset? Sure. Worried? Well, I felt a lot better on Saturday but there's no reason to start panicking.
Initially I thought that I would have to write something today that eased readers into knowing that it's far too early to start shutting down shop. Then I came here this morning and started reading through your comments and realized that the vast majority of Field Gulls readers don't need to be talked off of the ledge. We are a sensible bunch and I feel like a fool to have thought you were going to freak out about four quarters of football in a 64-quarter season.
Of course, there's still some ideas going around that after weeks of praising him, now we realize that Russell Wilson isn't ready. It seemed so obvious! It's one of those love stories where the ugly girl is helping you do things to get the hot girl and in the end you realize that it's what is on the inside that matters. And also that the "ugly girl" was also really hot as soon as you removed the glasses, ponytail, and paint-covered overalls.
Is Matt Flynn our "Laney Boggs" after all? Am I the only one that's going to get a She's All That reference?
Let's just a get a few things out in bullet-style form:
- Wilson's breakout game of the preseason was his dress rehearsal torching of the Kansas City Chiefs, in which he faced their 1's and handled it. We didn't know how good the Chiefs defense really was, and they were missing
Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers, but starters are starters. Except that the Chiefs, without Hali and Flowers, just allowed probably the best week one performance of any quarterback to Matt Ryan.
Of course, Matt Ryan is a good quarterback with good weapons on a Falcons team that is focused more and more on passing the ball, but it's fair to say that the Chiefs might be a terrible pass defense without two of their top three defensive players. Who would have guessed that?
Does that mean that I think that Wilson's performance against the Chiefs was unjustified or that he didn't deserve to beat Flynn for the job and now we should put in Flynn? No, not at all. I think that Wilson should start next week and you go with this for longer than a sample of four quarters against a team that has an elite pass defense in 2012 for all we know. That's mostly the point: You aren't going to learn everything about anything in one game. We can't make hugely definitive statements for or against Wilson, just like we can't do that about the Cards defense. And we absolutely have nothing positive to say about Flynn in his week one performance. "Killed it on the clipboarding, man."
As you get older, you find yourself having the same arguments over and over again. Then you realize that you've wasted half your life discussing whether or not the guy holding the clipboard is better than the one behind center. I'm not saying that either side is right or wrong, I'm just saying that there's no proof that Flynn is better and I guess we will either find that out eventually or we won't. But constantly arguing about it would be pointless, especially after one game, and I'm going to die one day in the relatively near future.
Some of Wilson's throws were bad, but otherwise I thought he made some good decisions. His 4th-and-6 pass to Rice was money and nearly a game-winner that would have this fan base up in arms about how we had the second-best rookie QB of the day. Even without it, he's miles ahead of Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill. (I am miles ahead of Brandon Weeden, though.)
I find myself without a good reason to pull the plug on Wilson. Interior pass rush is what was giving the line the most fits, and Pete Carroll said that Darnell Dockett was the best 3-tech that they'll face all year, a statement that won't get much argument from many people. Wilson eventually ended up doing things on the final drive that were good enough on his part to win the game, the same sort of reputation that he had at Wisconsin and something that is going to give us some exciting games, even if you'll find yourself needing to purchase a defibrillator for your home.
- Just a quick note regarding losing: Half the teams are 0-1 after a week. Science and math are fundamental.
Last year, the Saints, Steelers, Falcons, Giants, and Broncos lost their opening game and then made the playoffs. It doesn't really matter who your opponent was in regards to why I bring up this point. I bring it up because record is all that counts and 0-1 is a record that some playoff teams have today. As brought up previously, the Seahawks lost to the Jags in week one of 2005 and started 2-2.
I'm not saying that we are that team, but as far as record goes, we are exactly like that team!
- Somebody once told Russell Okung that one of the greatest Seahawks games of all-time was when Seattle played the Giants and false start penalties helped us win the game. They just didn't tell him that the penalties were on the other team.
What is making Okung play so off of his game? False starts are considered mental mistakes, but I also have to wonder if Okung fears getting beat because he isn't confident that he's good enough to stop a pass rush unless he jumps at exactly the right time. My biggest concern coming out of this game is Okung, a player that I've championed as a great pick up until right now. I'm not going to say that all of a sudden I think he's a bust, far from that, but I can't champion it as a great, or potentially great, pick any more.
I never got around to bringing it up, but I saw Okung false start several times in the preseason without it being called. Stop killing momentum, big man. And also stop getting hurt, because as concerned I am about you, Yah-Mo-Yale burn this place to the ground if Frank Omiyale has to start.
- Marshawn Lynch deserves some award for toughing out 85 yards on 21 carries without any lanes to run through after a week of speculation that he'd be limited or out with back spasms. Oh hey, I'll give him this "My players of the game" award!
Lynch for offense, Richard Sherman for defense, and Clint Gresham for special teams.
Just kidding, Leon Washington!
- Of course Brandon Mebane was awesome. Earl Thomas was earl-tastic. Red Bryant was among a group of special players that held Beanie Wells to 14 yards on 7 carries and Ryan Williams to 9 yards on 8 carries. But I thought that Sherman did an excellent job on Larry Fitzgerald, with most of his yards coming on that final drive. His tip-toe interception seals the deal of Sherman being the best wide receiver on defense.
When Skelton threw that pass away I just remember thinking "Ehhh, I wish that had just been a little bit more insi-WAIT WHAT?!" It was a phenomenal play and I get really excited to think about what this defense would look like if they could apply pressure to a quarterback because pressure forces bad decisions and this secondary will take advantage of every bad decision.
I honestly think that the team was thrown off by Kolb entering the game and couldn't adjust in time. Someone in another thread commented that "how is this defense elite again?" Hey buddy, did you not watch the game?
People don't realize how good a tandem of Wells-Williams is or that Fitzgerald is in a class of 2 or 3 wide receivers in the NFL. How is it not elite?
Overall, I come away disappointed. I am not going to make excuses for the team or Russell Wilson. We ended up getting outplayed because not playing with great precision is a part of the game, and we played sloppy. I am also encouraged because I liked what the defense did and I saw potential in the offense. We were reminded that this team does have some great players, like Lynch and some nice plays by Rice, and hopefully this was just a lot of rust that can be shaken off. Hopefully.
Okay, now I'll take you to Blockbuster.