I hope like hell you are enjoying yesterday's win. That kind of win is, in my humble opinion, the most satisfying. We saw stretches of bad, almost horrifyingly bad play, some fantastic individual efforts that stemmed the tide, and then extended periods of dominant football. The game had something for everybody -- overcoming adversity without panicking, systematically taking away a weakened opponent's options, and enough poor play that you know this team can play even better.
Start mini-sermonette: (I start on the game review in the next paragraph, so feel free to skip ahead.) I truly hope that you're not wasting your time stewing about the RGIII-Shanahan drama soaking up the post-game spotlight on ESPN and clinging to decades of disrespect, real and perceived. I suppose it's none of my business if you are but ewww. You're better than that. Don't be that fan who can't feel wholly validated unless the ESPN gasbags drive the bandwagon. Or, to quote my favorite scene from my favorite shoot-em-up, the criminally underrated Smokin' Aces:
Man! Come here! Come here. Bitches like that make me weep for what could be. If we all, sisters everywhere--black, white, brown and yellow--put our sh-- down one time, a unified front, you know the female race! Mobilize, baby! Movin' as one! You feel me?
Lesbian, black radical feminist or Seahawks fan. Whatever. Tomato. Tomato. Anyway... the point is to release the bitterness and taste the damn rainbow already. The one you have is better than the one you want. The Seahawks have the smartest, most in-depth coverage on the internet, including some truly outstanding local media talent. Even the most pro-Seahawks of the SportsCenter crew isn't saying anything you can't find here at FieldGulls.com and throughout the Seahawks blogosphere (Sando included) first. End mini-sermonette.
Onto the game. I just want to talk about a couple things connected to my preview that came up during the game to keep in mind next Sunday.
2. Seattle was built to win this game--on offense. Even if Seattle's defense is really on its game it will only limit Washington from getting its normal numbers, not shut them out. A defensive win for Seattle on Sunday is putting the ball in the offense's hands to close out the game. Ignore all the other hype.
As well as the defense played, they held serve until the offense got its collective arse in gear. I believe in the aphorism "defense wins championships" but I think that's mostly true at 30,000 feet. At the ground level, once you enter the playoffs, it's about having scoring options. Seattle, on offense, has the widest array of options among the four NFC teams. What Seattle showed yesterday is that through scheme, talent, and effort it can get big explosive plays from everyone eligible to touch the ball. As we have seen from the likes of Jeff Fisher and Jim Haslett the past two weeks, you can attack Seattle's protection schemes to some effect but you're going to give up some big plays too.
3. The first and third quarter are "coaching" quarters. The second and fourth are about execution and depth. [...] Shanny's no dummy. He will do everything possible to score early. Washington realistically has to play from out in front.
This came from two sources: Bill Connelly over at RockMNation.com, who is one of SB Nation's college football gurus, and Pat Kirwin on NFL radio. The former has made the old adage about first and third, second and fourth popular at RMN. The latter said something like this late last week (a paraphrase, but almost a direct quote): "Don't be surprised if Washington marches right down and scores on the opening drive; maybe even their first two drives. Pete Carroll will tell you that Shanahan is probably the best in the business at scripting the first couple drives, and Pete is going to play it close to the vest defensively. He's going to see how Shanahan is attacking first, even if he gets down a couple scores. Then he'll make his adjustments. The key is that Pete has guys--and he's coached this into them--guys who won't panic if they get down one or two scores." Boy, did this help keep me from losing my mind in the first quarter yesterday.
There will be a lot more to come this week. But keep these things in mind the next few days. You'll hear a lot about how big and scary Seattle is. And Seattle is. Seattle can also play chess with anyone left in this tournament.