The Kingdome was a mausoleum. More so. Tens of thousands of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Curt Warner, injured. Curt Warner, needing help off the turf. That damn turf, snaring our young wonder back’s cleats and turning all of his divine agility and explosiveness back against him. He planted, he pushed, he powered himself into a cut, and that treacherous throw rug we call a playing surface snared, held and would not give. W.W. Jacobs could not envision a more tragic reversal.
The Seattle Seahawks beat the Cleveland Browns in Week 1—crushed them like no opponent in team history. It was the second biggest point differential in team history and the greatest point differential in a shutout win. Seattle beat Buffalo at home 56-17 in 1977.
(If you’re a fan of strange coincidences: O.J. Simpson hurt his knee in that game and was lost for the season. Truly the turf takes and takes and takes. In the off-season then Bills head coach Chuck Knox traded Simpson to San Francisco for five draft picks. Knox used those picks to help turn Buffalo into a fringe contender. That wasn’t enough for owner Ralph Wilson, and following a contract dispute in 1982, Knox signed with the Seahawks.)
Seattle won big but at a terrible cost. Ground Chuck had lost his meat grinder. In his place, Hughes, Lane, Dan Doornink, Morris and the man Chuck Noll aptly called “Franco Who?” Try as Chuck might, Generalissimo Franco Harris is still valiantly holding on in his fight to remain dead. That is, dead slow.
At least he doesn’t fumble into the mesosphere.
Perhaps thinking himself equally child of earth and sky, Randall Morris gifted the poor suffering people of San Diego possession. As we saw in New England, no lead is safe when the run game is gammy. Seattle was up 17-0 heading into the half. And, of all things, the Seahawks were carried by their passing attack.
David Hughes returned for a career long 38 yards, putting Seattle at the Chargers 48. When Morris lugged the greased pigskin four yards before fumbling high into the sky. Chargers ball.
It wasn’t long before Dan Fouts had led the Chargers into what Joe Gibbs calls “the red zone.” San Diego was first and ten from the Seahawks 18 when Joe Nash (#72) came a-knockin’.
One down later.
In the ensuing drive Dave Krieg tossed this lulu to “Bones” Walker for 41.
While Krieg isn’t the pure scrambler Jim Zorn was, he does a better job of scrambling to throw. Seattle won’t soon see an improviser of his ability in Seahawks blue again. With all due respect for the lefty who pulled Seattle out of the primordial ooze of expansion, I am finally beginning to understand the expression “franchise quarterback.”
One play after that and this sucker was all over but for the crying.
Krieg drops back. Largent is to his right. He’s about to improvise a crossing route which takes him so totally out of position that he actually collides head-on with tight end Charle Young. But first Teflon Dave slipped a few would-be tacklers.
Which leaves us little left to discuss but two sacks by Jacob Green in three plays.
Jacob winning with speed.
Jacob winning with power forcing an outlet pass which lost a yard.
Jacob stripping Fouts with an assist by Nash.
I guess what I am getting at is, friends, the mountains are out. Sure, even at 7-2, the Seahawks sit in third in the AFC West behind the hated Raiders and that whiny yearling John Elway and his fellow nags.
And, sure, the city of Seattle hasn’t been looking too hot lately.
Calling to mind a certain notorious billboard from a decade ago.
And, sure, scraping for hope requires investing an awful lot of belief into these two ambulatory pocket protectors.
But if you live in Seattle or close enough to lie about it, if you follow this team or watch enough to lie about it, and you remember week one—pitiful, painful, putrid week one—and the eerie sound of 50 large wailing and gnashing their teeth in unison, you know that you never know. And you know in that divine disorder one can find all the hope and all the dread anyone would ever need. For this week anyhow I’ll choose hope.
Next week! Little action! No drama! The slow pressing to death of Goody Fouts! One more pick by that archangel seeking a good time on this planet Earth we call Kenny Easley! And our intrepid man of no letters and less even sense, this guy, attempts to make sense of the greatest run in Seahawks history!