We all know Ice Cube's classic song "It Was A Good Day". He wrote it back when OG still meant OG, before OG "meant" making six Are We There Yet? movies, a number of doomed family sitcoms and terrible Coors Light commercials, and still claiming to rep the hood. In the song, everything that could go right for a young, struggling gangster did -- from the perfect breakfast* to having his name and pimpitude broadcast by a blimp (blimpitude?).
*Does anyone else miss having "street-cred" refer to living at your mama's house, pouring water on your cereal because you couldn't afford milk, and grinding for every inch in life? Now, every rapper trying to earn a buck has to spit about how much ice they rock, how many hoes they get, and which not-yet-available car they drive. Maybe I'm alone on this one.
Sunday's Seahawks game against the Dallas Cowboys was the northwestern gridiron version of Cube's ghetto anthem, where seemingly everything went according to plan. From the very first play, to the two stare-you-in-the-eyes-while-strangling-the-God-fearing-life-out-of-you 88+ yard drives in the second half, Seattle took their gameplan and carved it into the forehead of the visiting "America's Team". Just like in Ice's song, the Seahawks didn't even need to use their AK, but unlike the song, the 'Hawks did anyway.
You all saw it, so a play-by-play isn't necessary. But let's be honest with ourselves, we were nervous coming into this game; after a heartbreaking divisional loss in Week 1 swabbed much of the luster from our preseason excitement, and with 2011's best team lurking in Week 3, we had to fight the feeling that this was a must-win game. Lose this one, and a loss to Green Bay would feel damn near inevitable, meaning all of our hopes and dreams would be staring 0-3 right in the face. Sometimes, however, nervous tension can lead to greatness and make no mistake, the Seattle Seahawks exhibited greatness on Sunday.
As is (and always will be) the case when Seattle plays a media darling, national pundits will eschew the accomplishments of the 'Hawks in favor of talking up the shortcomings of their opponents. None of that matters, so let it go. What matters is that the Seahawks started this game with their foot on the Cowboys' teeth and spent the next three hours pushing down. Seattle forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and immediately turned it into three points. Minutes later, backup linebacker and Field Gulls interviewee Malcolm Smith blocked a punt directly into Jeron Johnson's eager arms, giving the home team a 10-0 lead before the coin toss hit the turf.
Once granted with a lead, the Boom Squad cashed it in as free license to remorselessly obliterate any player in white that happened to drift into their cross-hairs. Kam Chancellor set the tone by hurling his body around like a medieval battering ram, Earl Thomas made Dez Bryant wish his team-mandated curfew was 12:30pm PST, and Golden Tate (of all people!) delivered a hit that caused Sean Lee's still-unformed grandchildren to debate whether they even wanted to be born into a world in which the Seahawks exist.
Much is made about the effect of intimidation in football. Every week, we hear on-air types wax poetic about the messages sent by big hits, etc. Honestly, I disregard most of it -- NFL players are grown-ass men who have all delivered and received dozens of marrow-jarring hits in their life and are largely unaffected by them -- but there's no denying the effect that Seattle's repeated body blows had on Dallas' players. If you don't believe me, watch the game replay on NFL Network and tell me that the Cowboys' WRs didn't get skittish over the middle from the second quarter on. The orangutan arms of Bryant, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin got real T-Rexy for most of the game, making the somehow-still-unappreciated Tony Romo's job even more difficult.
And it's not like the Seahawks defenders were content to rest on the femur-quivering laurels of a few big hits, either. No, they sustained their excellence with the relentless pitch and fervor of Bill Wither's vocals.
Just for fun:
No available video for the Earl Thomas hit, so here's the closest I could get:
On September 15th, 2012, the Seahawks defense realized the potential that they've been flirting with for the better part of three seasons. Besides the scalp-tingling impact of Seattle's vaunted secondary, KJ Wright and Leroy Hill gobbled up every play within shouting distance and the defensive line suffocated the very talented DeMarco Murray, holding him to just 44 yards rushing and giving him less than zero after contact. Much of that credit should be directed towards Red (I'm the) Bryant (you should be talking about), who fits Carroll's defensive scheme better than a cork in a bottle of vintage Zinfandel. With Red leading the interior push and the ubiquitous pressure of Chris Clemons, even Romo's incredible hit-avoiding ability (seriously, you guys, he's one of the best I've ever seen at this) wasn't enough to skirt the pressure that enveloped him all afternoon.
The Seahawks pass rush only registered one official sack against Dallas (Bruce Irvin lives!), but their ability to get to Romo had an impact that went far beyond the box score. On multiple occasions, Romo either threw the ball before his receivers were ready, or had to scramble for his life like Simba during the wildebeest stampede. Romo may have avoided being trampled, but just like in Disney's greatest animated achievement, everyone that he cared about was crushed beneath the multitude of mindlessly aggressive 'Hawks defenders.
Dear Lord, I haven't even gotten to the offense yet.
To be frank, Seattle's offensive unit was pretty mild in the first half, to put it kindly. Even blessed with consistently excellent field position, the Seahawks offense was unable to find the endzone and managed only 96 yards in the first two stanzas. I don't know about you, but despite Seattle's 13-7 halftime advantage, I was sweating whether or not Russell Wilson and Co. would be able to muster enough potency to keep the lead. After all, 96 yards is downright pitiful for any team that's not Savannah State, and after their flaccid output against the Arizona Cardinals, I had my doubts about the offense's ability to extend the lead.
Nonetheless, Seattle, as Carroll has long proclaimed, put their faith in their halftime adjustments and that faith was rewarded with a performance right out of ball-control heaven. Marshawn Lynch told his back spasms to hold his dick, the patchwork O-line worked together as seamlessly as a Darren Aranofsky film, Anthony McCoy said "Kellen Winslow who?", and Wilson impeccably picked his spots, alternating effortlessly between chain-moving checkdowns and calculated shots down the seams.
Remember how Seattle could barely even manage a non-penalty-aided first down against Arizona? While those fears were not put completely to rest (Seahawks receivers still struggled with getting separation that wasn't caused by borderline-illegal pick plays), the second-half touchdown drives of 88 and 90 yards were the type that send opposing teams into self-hating conniptions and Lynch's relentless banging put even the guys who were able to tackle him on their backs. I honestly don't know what Rob Ryan could even say to his unit after those drives.
~Rob Ryan: Guys, we need to stop them.
~Cowboys defender: How?
~Ryan: By, you know, stopping them.
~Defender: Yes, but how?
~Ryan: Just, I don't know, stop getting beat all the time.
~Other defender: They're everywhere, man.
~First defender: Yeah coach, they're sticking all their blocks and I never know whether Wilson is gonna go deep or throw underneath on those play-actions.
~Ryan: If I were in the game right now, I'd be kicking ass and taking names!
~Every Cowboys defender (probably): You're grotesquely overweight and your brother is a joke.
In short, this game was everything Carroll and GM John Schneider imagined when they first got together over margaritas and endless chips-and-dip to formulate the groundwork that would someday set the pass-happy NFL on its ear.
It's only Week 2, and 20 of the 32 teams in the league have the exact same record as the 'Hawks, so I'm not ready to start the "Seahawks to the Superbowl!!!!" chant just yet. I mean, fans of the Miami Dolphins are feeling the same things we are right now, and they cheer for an awful football team. The difference, however, is that the Seahawks didn't just handle a bad team, they drove a poison-laced dagger into the heart of a team that had just beat the defending champs on the road and, unsatisfied with a simple kill, twisted said blade until the Cowboys' tongue rolled out of their mouth and their bowels shamefully voided themselves. And all of this was done to the unending, bloodlusting approval of the raucous 12th Man.
This is the blueprint. This is the Seahawks' masterpiece. And they're not done.
**This article is brought to you by Ardbeg scotch, an Ave Maria cigar, the Isley Brothers Pandora station, and a badass Seahawks win.**