Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Streak is Dead

Seahawks   10
Cardinals    17

The Seahawks lost on Sunday.  To the Cardinals.  At home.

Just typing that has me fighting to suppress the urge to vomit.

With all due respect, Arizona has a good team.  They built a great defense over the past few seasons, I love their new coach, they've got one of the best receivers of all time and for the first time since Kurt Warner-- they've finally got someone that can play quarterback.

That being said, there is still no reason ANYONE should beat the 2013 Seahawks at home.

But that's exactly what did happen.  Arizona came into CenturyLink Field on Sunday with their playoff hopes on the line.  They looked hungry.  They wanted this win more.

The Seahawks looked timid.  They were mere shadows of their former selves. The offense had absolutely no fight in them and that demeanor slowly bled into the defense's performance.

As a fan, I imagine this is how Cards fans felt after the 58-0 walloping they were dealt last time they came here.  Embarrassed. Angry. Ashamed. Sickened.

So... what exactly happened on Sunday?

I was out of the state when this game took place and didn't get parked in front of a television until moments before Richard Sherman's spectacular interception in the first quarter-- his first of two.  The game was still scoreless and Seattle was primed to get things going.

But that never happened.

The defense repeatedly put Seattle in good position to win this game, only to have the offensive and special teams units squander every last opportunity.  When you're at your playing at home and your defense intercepts the ball 4 times and you still lose-- you can't really place blame on anyone but the offense.

The question remains:  Why was this talented offense unable to get out of first gear in this game?  You have to start by laying a lot of blame on Darrell Bevel and the coaching staff for their scared, vanilla play calling.

Percy Harvin has played in one game as a Seattle Seahawk and was used sparingly in that game.  As far as I'm concerned, he's not even a part of the team this season.  Because of that, I do not accept any excuses being made involving Harvin's lack of contribution.  He hasn't been here and it doesn't look like he's going to be here this season. Non-Factor, really.

Same goes for Sidney Rice.  He's been great when he's available-- which is seldom.

Even if you erased those two from the history books, I still love our receiving group.  Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse have been fantastic.  That's what we got.  That's what we'll more than likely be trotting out for the playoffs-- and I'm totally fine with that.

The beautiful thing about Seattle's offense is how multifaceted it is.  We have one of the best running backs in the league with Marshawn Lynch. The guys behind him on the depth chart are pretty impressive, too.  Our quarterback can burn you with his arm and legs. Our receivers are playmakers and our tight ends can block and catch.

I don't think this team will ever take the field saying "We're going to beat you with ________ and there's nothing you can do to stop it."  Instead, this team will throw everything at you and see what sticks.  Eventually, they always find their opponents Achilles and they attack it mercilessly.

On Sunday, however, we saw Arizona stymie the passing attack with great coverage and substantially deter our run game.  Coach Bevell seemingly made no adjustments.  It was as if he was just crossing his fingers and hoping Russell Wilson would pull some magic out of his hat.

Why not bring in some trickery?  A flea flicker bomb to Ricardo Lockette?  A reverse with Golden Tate? What about a halfback pass? Something? Anything!

Instead, they continued to put the game on the defense's back.  Maybe they were expecting them to put some points on the board. Who knows?

Eventually, Carson Palmer made a couple of plays and threw the game winning touchdown to a well-defended Michael Floyd-- who had not even registered a reception to that point in the game.

And just when we thought we were about to finally see Russell Wilson 'do his thing', we were treated to one of the most preposterous calls of the season. Wilson fired a pass down field to Doug Baldwin that came in too short and ended up ricocheting off the turf and into the hands of Cardinals linebacker, Karlos Dansby.  The play was subsequently reviewed and deemed to have bounced solely off of Baldwin's forearm without touching the ground, effectively sealing Seattle's fate.

It wasn't the first bad call of the game.  It won't be the last bad call this team catches this season, either. Fact is, the Seahawks can't leave games up to officials or their defense for that matter.  If the Seahawks wish to be elite and reach their goal of winning a Super Bowl-- they have to consistently step it up in every phase of the game.

Seattle should've eliminated Arizona from playoff contention on Sunday.  They should've secured another division title and the #1 seed in the playoffs. Russell Wilson should still be undefeated at home for his career.  None of that happened, so we must roll on.

The season ends this coming weekend. Seattle has to beat the Rams at CenturyLink or the Cardinals must defeat San Francisco in Arizona for the Seahawks to conquer the division and lock up the top seed. Most importantly, Seattle needs to play to their strength: the tremendous wealth of talent on their roster from top to bottom. Don't put the game on Russell Wilson.  Don't expect your defense to win games for you. Everyone needs to play to their potential.

It's not too late to build momentum going into the playoffs.

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