In a way, I’m still processing things. Until I’m fully able to wrap my mind around the single greatest comeback win in Seahawks history (note: I didn’t say largest, I said “greatest”), it’s going to be hard for me to move on. In that sense, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. But it will, probably just as soon as I finish with this post.
Before I begin, I’d like to talk about the doubters a little bit. I didn’t pick up on it during my initial viewing of the telecast – as it’s not like there were thousands upon thousands of people streaming for the exits with time still left on the clock – but yeah, some people at the game left early. Probably enough for the players to pick up on it, but not so much that Joe Buck & Co. ever mentioned it. I don’t necessarily think this is a huge deal, or one that’s going to overwhelmingly taint the perception of the 12th Man among the players or fanbase in the area, but it is something that’s been referenced. We’re supposed to be the best fans in the world! Do the best fans in the world leave the game early and miss out on the greatest comeback of all time?
Let me come at this from another angle: if you’re trying to tell me that you – as a viewer of that game – expected the Seahawks to win, with five minutes left, down by 12, and the Packers having the ball, then you’re either a liar or the most delusional person in the world. I’m not talking about the players; of course they have to believe in themselves and believe that it’s never over until the clock is at all zeroes. I’m talking about EVERYONE else.
In speaking for myself, I can honestly say I’d given up hope. In that sense, I don’t even think I got the full experience of pure joy out of the whole thing. Because, as it was happening, I kept thinking or saying to myself: “No way. No fucking way this is happening!” Over and over, for the duration of the comeback. Even when we scored the go-ahead touchdown, all I could think about was how much time was left on the clock and how badly we needed to convert that 2-point conversion. My brother and father were jumping up and down; I was locked in my seat, unwilling to even remotely celebrate until the whole fucking thing was over.
That’s why I don’t begrudge the fans who left the game early. I feel sorry for them, because they’re going to be kicking themselves for the rest of their lives. But, I don’t blame them. Hell, I almost gave up watching. I was THIS close to being in my car, half-heartedly listening to the conclusion of that game on my radio, driving home to Seattle from Tacoma where I watched the game at my dad’s house.
There’s another take-away from this game I’d like to address. Something I got out of listening to the post-game show on the radio (about 60-90 minutes after the game, when I finally got my wits about me to make the long drive home). Now, I know, when you listen to the post-game show on the radio station that’s also the “radio partner” of the team in question, you’re going to run into a good amount of homerism. This is fine. It’s expected, and quite frankly, sometimes it’s refreshing to hear about and read about nothing but the greatest things about this team. When you’re feeling good about a big win, sometimes all you want to do is keep those good times going for as long as humanly possible.
Anyway, the issue at hand here is the way a certain segment is treating this outcome. Like we not only deserved to complete that comeback victory, but that it would be asinine to think – even for a moment – that the Packers maybe should’ve won and maybe let that game slip away.
I know Seattle made the plays when it needed to, but it was Green Bay who gave away that game.
Make no mistake, WE are the lucky ones. The Seahawks WERE lucky to win that game. In one sense, the best team won that football game – because I think if you replay that game 99 more times, the Seahawks probably win somewhere in the realm of 85 of those games. But, in the more concrete sense, the best team DIDN’T win on this given Sunday. For, the Packers WERE the better team in that game. And, to suggest otherwise is to give in to your basest homeristic instincts.
You can argue that the Seahawks made the plays when they needed to, and they put themselves in a position to win. Except for two things: we needed an onside kick to win it, and I would argue just as importantly, we needed to win that coin toss before overtime. If Brandon Bostick does what he was supposed to do on that onside kick – which is block Chris Matthews, preventing him from catching the football, allowing the guy with the REAL hands on the Packers to retrieve the kick (Jordy Nelson, who was right behind Bostick, in perfect position to make the play) – we’re not sitting here today, looking forward to the Super Bowl. One momentary lapse in judgment by a – third string? – tight end. Or, one hinky bounce of a coin flipping it over to tails-side-up, and we’re looking at a repeat Packers/Patriots Super Bowl.
So, don’t come at me with anything but humble recognition that we’re VERY lucky to be in this position. And, if you want to go so far as to say it’s a fucking miracle, I won’t stop you. Because, with that kind of gut-wrenching ending, I gotta wonder if there isn’t some sort of higher power up there with a rooting interest in these Seattle Seahawks.
Oh, that’s right! This is the type of game that’s not only completely unbelievable and totally implausible, but it will also make a devout non-believer take a step back and question his entire system of beliefs!
You can see why I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I know, I know, it’s just a game and all that. But, is that not the most amazing, the most fantastic finish you’ve ever seen? Anyone tasked with creating a piece of sports fiction who came up with the very same events that transpired on Sunday would be denounced as a hack and left to the doldrums of the Internet, tittering away on a blog nobody reads (ahem).
This isn’t something that happens. Just in general, how many football games have you seen where one team turns the ball over five times, gets the ball back with three minutes to go, down by two touchdowns, with but one time out to their name, and that team comes back to win? I’ve been watching football since I was six years old or so. For the better part of 27 years now. The only other comeback I can remember as vividly is the Buffalo/Houston game where the Bills came back down 32 points in the second half. In a more general sense, I’ve probably seen similar comebacks – I dunno – ten times or less? And I don’t even know how similar we’re talking about, because the Seahawks couldn’t do ANYTHING. Inept isn’t even a strong enough word for our offensive performance for the first 57 minutes of that game. The Seattle Seahawks’ offense was the United States Congress of football offenses. I wouldn’t have trusted the Seahawks to even kneel with the football without somehow bungling it up! So, for that team that we saw to do what it did, on top of securing an onside kick, in the pressure-packed situation of playing for a spot in the Super Bowl … that’s something we’ve never seen and something we might not ever see again.
But, on top of that just not happening, it CERTAINLY doesn’t happen to the Seahawks! When do we ever get the long end of the stick in these situations? Before last year, I’d say never. We’re always the team and the fanbase coping with extreme, intense defeat. But, not now! Not with this group of guys.
So, no, I wouldn’t say “miracle” is too strong of a word.
I’ve got one more point to talk about and I’ll give it a rest for a while. There were so many huge, game-turning moments to pick from, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. I don’t think there’s really any one moment that tops the others; we needed everything that DID go right to go right to pull off the comeback. Our defense, early in the game, holding Green Bay to field goals (overall, holding them to five in total). Their coaching staff, not going for it on 4th & 1 countless times to try to put the dagger in our backs. The successful fake field goal for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch’s punishing running. The onside kick. The coin toss. The successful third down completion to Baldwin. The overtime touchdown to Kearse to finish it. Russell Wilson’s ability to turn it on when we needed him the most and his belief in our ability to win it. ALL OF THAT and many more that I’m forgetting. But, as I was laying in bed last night, running everything through my head again, I had a weird thought:
What if the play of the game was Russell Wilson’s third interception of the first half?
Allow me to elaborate.
Two minute warning, 3rd & 8 on Green Bay’s 18, Seahawks down 16-0, Russell Wilson throws some sort of fade to Kearse that’s picked off in the endzone. Let’s say that ball just falls harmlessly incomplete. What happens next?
It’s possible that Seattle goes for the fake field goal there. After all, they’d installed it during the week and had planned on using it, as Green Bay rushes hard off the edge to block. But, what if they kick it instead? What if the impetus for the fake field goal wasn’t just because the opportunity presented itself, but rather because there was less than five minutes left in the third quarter and we absolutely needed a spark and a touchdown in that situation? What if, it being under 2 minutes to go in the first half, Seattle just takes the points to have points on the board going into half?
Then, it would’ve been 16-3, and likely nothing much else changes. We kick off, they get the ball around their 20, we stop them, and go into half down 16-3 instead of 16-0.
That puts us into the second half and I don’t think much – if anything – changes in the play-calling of either team. I mean, it’s just 3 points. I think Green Bay still goes run-heavy, and I think we still finally manage to drive back into the Red Zone with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter.
What happens THEN? Maybe we do the fake field goal anyway. Maybe instead of it being 16-7 (like it was), we’re looking at 16-10, and it’s a whole new set of variables going forward. I dunno.
BUT, what if the Seahawks just totally abandon the notion of faking the field goal at this point. What if we settle for it being a 16-6 game? After all, that’s not all that different than it being 16-7. One point. Still puts us in a position to give up the field goal to put them at 19 points. Still leaves us an opportunity to go for a late touchdown, except we’d just pull to 19-13. Still gives us the opportunity to kick an onside kick, and maybe it goes down exactly as it did and we get it back.
That would give us just a hair over two minutes to go get the go-ahead touchdown.
EXCEPT, in this situation, there would be no point in going for 2, as being up 21-19 is pointless. So, we’d kick the extra point, and then Green Bay would have 1:25 to drive down and kick the game-winning field goal. Leaving us in the exact same position we were in with the Atlanta game two years ago. This time, losing 22-20.
I feel like everything I’ve just laid out for you is entirely reasonable and plausible. And, as such, it leads me to strongly believe that Russell Wilson’s third interception was THE most important play of the game.
Okay, so maybe I’m an idiot. But, still, I feel like we’ll be studying this game for the next thousand years, picking it apart like some biblical tome, looking for meaning where there really is none. I HAVE BEEN PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED BY THIS VICTORY AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF!!!
I should just take a page out of Belichick’s book, put it all out of my mind, and recite the mantra: On To New England. On To New England. On To New England.