"If" is like the opposable thumb of language. Though it seems such a small word, such a simple word, it's actually a word that changes the world at a constant rate and yet at the same time it seems to draw some ire for our reliance on it. Think of the possibilities that "What if?" has given us.
Imagine Isaac Newton saying "What if there's an invisible force that's pulling us and everything around us towards the Earth?"
Imagine Albert Einstein saying "What if 'E' and 'mc²' are actually one in the same?"
Think about the first time that the world was changed when Joan Osborne pondered "What if God was one of us? Some sort of homo sapien that didn't keep His room clean, such as you and I?"
"What if?" opens doors in the Universe that would remain closed if humans didn't have the capability of imagination and curiosity. It's evolution, it's adaptation, it's advancement, it's everything that allows us to sit here today with our vaccines, and our iPods, and our Nokia flip phones, and are Talkboys, and the internet... "If" is everything.
But then there's others that point out that "If" is also nothing. "If," by nature, doesn't even exist. It's your pipe dream.
When looking at the past, people don't want to focus on what would have happened if, they want to know what did happen. There's no excuses and once you pop that "If" word out while trying to explain why something went wrong (and people rarely use it for a situation that went right) be prepared to be pounced on. We don't want to hear what would have happened if only, we want to know what's going to happen if you change.
Seattle fumbled it four more times yesterday, giving them nine fumbles in the last two games. Even Eli Manning was watching the game at home last night and murmured to himself, "Geez, they need to protect the foosball." Thanks to mistakes and shortcomings by the offense, the Cardinals first four scoring drives were for a total of 57 yards. Luckily, the Seahawks have an amazing defense and Arizona only finished with three field goals and a 3-yard touchdown drive on those four drives.
The scoreboard might say that the Seattle defense gave up 22 points, but in reality they didn't allow the Cards to have a drive longer than 27 yards until the middle of the fourth quarter. It's the offense and the special teams that's been taking far too much credit for allowing points lately, and that's the biggest thing that's keep the Seahawks from being hands down the best team in the NFL... If.
If Seattle hadn't fumbled the ball at all last night, they might have won by 58 again. Their two first quarter drivers went for 83 and 72 yards for touchdowns, while the Cards first two drives resulted in a punt and an interception. It was 14-0 and if the game hadn't once again been halted by a fumble, the blowout was about to ensue.
If the Seahawks didn't finish with 10 penalties for 77 yards -- even if some of those penalties were disagreeable -- the game might have never been in doubt. The Cardinals had twice as many first downs by penalty (4) than they did by rushing the football. You can get screwed on a few calls, but 10 is always going to be an indicator that there were mental mistakes.
If somehow this team can go a few quarters without somebody getting hurt. I must say that in reality Seattle has been luckier than some in that their worst injury this season, Russell Okung, will likely be coming back, but we're watching a team with significant downgrades on the offensive line and yet have still found ways to move the football. As of now, the Seahawks have scored the second-most points in the NFL. Of course, they've played more games than anyone in the NFL besides the Cardinals, but it'll hold up that they're still one of the top-scoring teams in the league.
Despite everything, how is this team so good? How good can they be if they stop and start doing some things? Choosy moms choose IF:
- IF they stop turning the damn ball over.
- IF they get back Percy Harvin, Russell Okung, Bobby Wagner and have fewer stints where 5 or 6 starters are missing games due to injury.
- IF they start managing the clock better at the end of the half.
- IF they avoid mental mistakes and play 60 minutes of football to their total ability.
- IF I were a boy, even for just one day...
The greatest thing about the Seahawks "if statements" is that the answers can be found this season. It's both comforting and concerning when you have those type of "if statements" but mostly it should be comforting. The Jaguars would be a good team IF they replaced about 10 starters with much better players, but that's not going to happen this season. Mark Sanchez would be a good quarterback IF he were a good quarterback, but that's probably not going to happen ever.
Seattle should go 15-1 IF they stopped fumbling the ball and making stupid mental mistakes that prevent them from building insurmountable leads. They can do that. They should do that. And if Pete Carroll gets this team into the best shape possible, both mentally and physically by the playoffs, they will win the Super Bowl.
What if this is finally it.
Let's make like a point and bullet:
- Russell Wilson had his first game of 3 passing touchdowns on the road in his career. After a very rough start to his career on the road, he's now starting to put up some pretty respectable numbers. He is now 6-6 on the road with 15 TD, 10 INT, and 86.9 passer rating, and 481 rushing yards with three touchdowns. That doesn't include his game against the Falcons in the playoffs, which is the best road game of his career.
- The Seahawks -- "unable to do shit on the road" -- are 3-1 on the road this year and 6-2 on the road in their last eight including playoffs. A win over the Rams in St. Louis next week will ensure at least a .500 road record on the season, which of course means they could do no worse than 12-4!
- Turning it over twice per game in each of the last five games, it's bananas that Seattle is 6-1.
- When I look at a PFR team page, let me show you with highlighter one of my favorite places on the rankings to monitor. This really gives me an idea, on a play-by-play basis, what the offense and defense is doing. Because a team can rank first in passing yards and be a bad passing team if they rank 25th in net yards per pass attempt. The Texans ranks first in total defense and 28th in scoring defense. What are you doing as a team, on every play, on average?
Here's what the Seahawks are doing:
Ranking top eight in those four phases of the game is bananas in pajamas.
- Coming into the game, Doug Baldwin was our savior receiver, while Sidney Rice was the goat. And that's the scape variety, not the G.O.A.T. variety. Well, it's always good to have options and never get complacent with having any single option.
Baldwin was targeted one time and caught it for 16 yards. Rice was targeted four times and caught three of those for 50 yards. His other target likely could have gone for a 54-yard touchdown if he wasn't tripped up by Tyrann Mathieu. He was playing like the player that we thought we were getting when he was signed a few years ago, though that won't stop him from getting released next year if he doesn't restructure.
This Sidney Rice for $2 million next year would just be lovely.
- Brandon Browner is always the low-man in the Legion of Extraordinary Not-So-Gentlemen, but he had three pass deflections and an interception on Thursday night. Despite missing two games, he now leads the team in pass deflections with eight.
- Allowing 3.3 yards per play to Arizona is banana pudding, and they mostly gained big yardage in the fourth quarter when the Seahawks were just trying to ease into the cool whip victory. The Cardinals beat the Panthers in Arizona 22-6 two weeks ago, and Carolina is a top five defense, and put up 4.3 yards per play.
Over the course 60-70 plays in a game, that adds up.
(To 60 or 70, I mean, it was a difference of one yard even I know that.)
- In a year when Richard Sherman is perhaps leading the race for Defensive Player of the Year, Earl Thomas might be the actual Defensive Player of the Year.
- You know what word has seven letters? This team is BANANAS, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
You know what team had seven sacks? The SEAHAWKS, S-E-A-H-A-W-K-S.
A few times I been around that quarterback, how did so many players notch a sack? I was honestly so impressed by what the Seahawks were doing and so appalled with what they were doing at other times, that I didn't even realize they had that many sacks until looking at the box score this morning. No team in the NFL is as complete as this, and there's still a lot of "if" left on the table.
- Do you like banana bread?
The Seahawks are 6-1, 2-0 in the NFC West, 3-1 on the road, have more home games left than road games, and aren't play as good as they should be nor are they as healthy as they could be.
How do you like thems banana breads?