The dress rehearsal
Last week before the ATL game I posted the story about the last stand of the flowed team. Today we'll talk about the final dress rehearsal.
When talking about the legendary 2013 Seahawks it's common practice to start with the NO game. The annihilation of the seahawks main NFC opponent was the game that brought all public attention back to the seahawks and they were ranked 1st in all polls after that game.
Just like most experts point to the comeback victory at Chicago in 2013 as the birth of this team, they point to the NO game as its first public full force appearance. They are wrong.
The game that declared the birth of this wonder was actually the comeback victory over Tom Brady and NE and the first full strength game of the incredible 2013 seahawks was at home against the Vikings.
You see, the Minesota game was Harvin's first game as a seahawk and it just happened that this was the game that the missing offensive linemen returned.
And why do I argue that this game was the true start of the the mighty 2013 seahawks? I'll tell you.
Those of you who study NFL history know that the seahawks lost half of their offensive linemen at the beginning of the 2013 and played without them till game 11 of that season. They have won 9 of their 10 games and earned the nickname "the flawed team". When game 11 arrived all 3 missing linemen and Harvin were added to the roster on the same week. What most of you do not know is that until 2013 all NFL teams believed that it's better to have the same 5 offensive linemen on the field all game long regardless of down/distance. It may sound funny today but offensive coaches believed that continuity is more important than personal capabilities and keeping your linemen fresh. On the last game of the flawed team the seahawks were forced to rotate their offensive linemen and this solution proved beneficial for the banged up backups. As week 11 arrived it was clear that the returning players may be a bit rusty and the game plan was to keep the Oline rotation plan for another week to ease them back in.
And so, the seahawks entered the Minisota game at home with most starters back, Harvin as the new weapon and a plan to keep rotating the Oline. This game was not a hard one. Playing at home against a 2-7 opponent on the same week that Denver beat KC and NO beat SF did not draw a lot of media attention. The decisive victory was expected by all and the public attention was dedicated to the implications of other results that week.
Away from the prying eyes the seahawks mounted the dress rehearsal for the modern Oline play. 8 players shifting in and out,, being placed in a position to succeed. With all offensive linemen available to him Tom Cable designed the first ever distinction between pass protecting linemen and rushing plays linemen. It didn't work as perfectly as it did 2 weeks later against NO but it was the first time an NFL team played that way. Harvin displayed sparks of what he would do later on that year. The running game flourished behind sweezy and carpenter at guards, the passing game bloomed behind McQ and Bailly at guards and the Bowie/Breno rotation just added to the mix.
After the dress rehearsal the seahawks left for their bye week. It was a long due R&R for the tired seahawks. While the news around the NFL concentrated about the resting and recuperating hawks the truth was this was the most hectic 2 weeks of the Seahawks season. Armed with the lessons learned during the dress rehearsal Cable and Bavell were recreating the new face of the seahawks offense. Incorporating the advantages of the rotating Oline into the game plan and ironing the kincks and wrinkles encountered to make to most of it.
You all know the rest of that story but it all started on a side stage when the national attention was elsewhere. Only the diehard hawks fans kept the TV on this game. The rest just saw the score line changing at the bottom of their screen. They missed the dress rehearsal and had to wait another 2 weeks for opening night.
I didn't miss it. I watched every minute of it. I knew what I was seeing and I was smiling.
You should watch it too.