Let’s face it: you and I both know that I predicted a 2-14 season out of this team. I saw our only wins being at home against Cincy and at home against Washington (Spoiler: we LOST both of those games and still sit at 7-8 today). If you want to read about how awful I am at predicting anything I think I’m knowledgeable about, click here. So, yeah, I picked the Jets and San Diego as 1 and 2 in the AFC (both teams are on the outside-looking-in right now) and I picked Dallas and Tampa as 1 and 2 in the NFC (also, HEY, who’s that NOT in the playoffs in my prediction? Yeah, Green Bay … those terrible, terrible Packers).
In short, yeah, I’m a moron. But, how much could you REALLY blame me? After we signed Tarvar, I was ready with my itchy trigger finger to put this season out of its misery. Was 2-14 pushing it a little bit? Yeah, seeing Andrew Luck out there as the major prize of the season, I’m sure I was swayed a little bit. But, not THAT much. I legitimately thought Arizona was better than us. I never saw wins coming in those games against the Giants or Ravens. I CERTAINLY didn’t think the Rams would be as bad as they were. And we certainly caught Philly and Chicago at the right time (with both of their QBs out).
I’m just saying, if you trade those Cincy and Washington defeats (two teams who were clearly better than I thought they’d be) for the two wins against the Rams, and look at what you’ve got: a fluke win in New York, another fluke win against the Ravens, and some seriously lucky injury fortune against the Bears & Eagles. The truly bad teams, even if they do get lucky once in a while, don’t usually manage those fluke wins.
And they don’t look nearly as good in their defeats as the Seahawks have looked.
Half of our eight defeats have been by 6 points or less. And the rest (aside from that Week 2 shutout in Pittsburgh) weren’t all THAT bad until the 4th quarters, when the other teams (San Fran, Cincy, and Dallas) simply outplayed us.
So no, the Seahawks in 2011 were not TRULY bad. They were just kinda bad.
If one thing, I feel vindicated on my initial feelings of Tarvar: he’s not the quarterback we were looking for. He will never lead a team to a championship, because unless things are going absolutely perfectly, his little pea brain falls apart. He holds the ball too long, takes too many dumb sacks when he should just throw the ball away, and if you’re down by a score late in the game, you can’t trust him against the better defenses.
Tarvar’s Advocates might point to the fact that his line play was shoddy early, and his weapons have been injured nearly all season. You know what? The GOOD quarterbacks find a way to get the job done! Tom Brady did it with absolute zeroes before Welker and Moss joined the team. Those Indy receivers didn’t make Peyton Manning who he was, he made THEM. Same with Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, etc. Great quarterbacks can throw for 4,000 yards no matter WHO they’re throwing to. Tarvar isn’t great; he’s hardly even good.
The main reason why the Seahawks have been better than I predicted is the simple fact that everyone on this team grew. Our offensive line play went from one of the worst in the league to one of the best. You can see it in Beastmode’s game log. He didn’t register a 100-yard rushing game until Week 9 in Dallas. Before that, he had 263 yards in 6 games (averaging a little less than 44 yards per game). From Dallas onward, Lynch had 855 yards in 8 games (averaging a little less than 107 yards per game). You know there wasn’t a difference in effort out of Beastmode. That was ALL due to the line coming together. Which is ironic, considering three of our starters were lost for the season in those final 8 games. Meaning this was REALLY all due to Tom Cable. When we lose him this offseason, I just might bawl my eyes out.
Other big areas of growth: the secondary and the linebackers. Our safeties have been with us the whole way (with Earl Thomas earning a well-deserved Pro Bowl honor) and have truly been leaders on a defense that has kept us in more ballgames than last year (when we went to the playoffs in spite of 9 blowout losses). Factor in we lost both starting corners (Trufant and Thurmond) and yet somehow managed to IMPROVE is a testament to the eye for talent out of John Schneider and Pete Carroll. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner have been revelations; they’ve been EXACTLY what everyone in Seattle has been howling about since the days of Tim Ruskell. If we had these two in our Super Bowl run, I guarantee you things would’ve ended differently in Super Bowl XL.
And as for our linebackers, we’re rolling out there a 4th round draft pick, an undrafted middle linebacker who supplanted a would-be Seahawks Legend, and a guy everyone in Seattle thought would be forcibly retired. But Wright, Hawthorne, and Hill have risen to the challenge in a MAJOR way. In fact, Wright is so good, he will make everyone forget the name Aaron Curry … in a hurry (shoot me now).
I’ve said this for a while now, but it deserves to be repeated: there is a lot to like about this team, ESPECIALLY this defense. We’re another good pass-rusher away from really dominating in the NFL. And on offense, if we can retain Cable for ONE more year, I think it’ll work wonders on all those young linemen we’ve lost thus far.
Maybe then, you know, Zach Miller can actually run routes. And maybe our next quarterback can air it out to the likes of Sidney Rice (who I’m not giving up on yet, even though he’s been one major injury after another in his career). Doug Baldwin has been a HUGE asset from the undrafted ranks. And Golden Tate continues to make strides and show flash with his speed.
2011 went from Doom & Gloom, to Sucking For Luck, to Rage & Frustration (because we didn’t suck ENOUGH for Luck), to legitimate excitement for a team that appears to be on the rise. Yeah, this 7-9 or (God forbid) 8-8 finish is really going to cramp our style with the draft. But, our quarterback is out there. He HAS to be. And we’ll find him. In Pete & John We Trust.