I was all ready to come on here and rip Zach Miller for being a total bum. He’s still kind of a bum, but I’m less pissed-off in light of what happened here.
Well, we didn’t score 4 touchdowns, but we scored 3, which was one more than they scored. Field goals. Field goals were HUGE. The Patriots’ final three scoring drives all ended in field goals; that’s the way you give yourself a chance to beat this team. Because you’re not going to beat them in a track meet.
Frankly, I thought the Patriots’ logic on offense was absurd. Essentially, they controlled the game from the second quarter through half of the fourth quarter. They had a modestly efficient running game, with Woodhead averaging over 6 yards on his 4 carries. They built up a two touchdown advantage while having never trailed in this game by more than 3 points. When I think of a quarterback like Tom Brady throwing for a career-high 58 pass attempts, I expect the narrative of that game to be a Patriots team trying like gangbusters to come back from a three-touchdown deficit. I mean, what were they THINKING? I know it almost worked, but still! At some point, you have to let the game dictate what you’re going to do.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand how the Patriots play football. If you’ve got a quarterback like Tom Brady, you KNOW the other team is going to back off. They’re going to blitz less (because blitzing a quarterback like Brady is an invitation for him to burn you on big plays), they’re going to play a lot of zone, and you’d figure even against a good run defense like Seattle’s, you’ll find some holes and chew some clock. With the way this team performs on third down, it would only make sense. Run the ball until the other team sells out against the run and then unleash Brady and let him work his magic.
But, whatever. 58 pass attempts. Is it shocking in the least he threw 2 picks (and nearly threw 5)? The odds are dramatically against you at that point! In a constant driving rain to boot!
Blows my mind. If I was a Patriots fan, I would be absolutely furious.
Luckily, I’m not a douchebag (or, at least, much less of a douchebag).
I thought the defense played about as admirably as can be expected. Facing the number one offense, you just hope and pray for Bend, Don’t Break. Because you’re not going to dominate them. I don’t find it shocking in the least that we gave up almost 400 yards in the air. I do find it relieving that we kept them out of the endzone as much as we did. And the cherry on top is the two picks, considering we almost had zero pressure on the quarterback.
Given the tempo of play and the fact that almost every pass attempt outside of the final drive was a quick drop and throw, there was no way we were going to get pressure on Brady today. You’ll notice though, on that last drive, when the shit started hitting the fan and the Patriots needed to make up a lot of ground in a short amount of time, we were able to get to him and rough him up some. That offensive line isn’t as good as advertised; they’re just really good at getting rid of the ball in three seconds or less.
How huge was that drive at the end of the first half? I, for one, am finally happy that the replacement refs are gone, because I don’t know if they make that Intentional Grounding call. I saw it all the way and was going bananas when I didn’t see a flag. Thank Christ these guys know what they’re doing though, because that was obvious as shit and very well could have saved the game for us. Coming after just an abysmal 2-minute hurry-up drive that failed miserably, it was all the more important to keep them to zero points. Credit the hubris of the Patriots and Bill Belichick. If they didn’t think they could just come in here and stomp all over us and the 12th Man, they might have kicked that field goal with 6 seconds to go on the clock.
Fuck them. I never really had a hate-on for the Patriots until this week. But, you know what? Tom Brady is a colossal dickhead and a whiny little bitch and he deserves to fly home a LOSER. They think they’re so damn good. They have the best quarterback and the best front office and the best ownership group and the most hardcore fans. You know what? No they fucking don’t! They’re just an uppity, entitled organization that deserves all the heartbreak they receive and then some. This fascination with Boston sports is appalling. The city of Boston is a shithole, its citizens are loutish assholes, and anyone who isn’t from the city and roots for its teams can eat a garbage bag full of dicks.
Getting back to the game, how about that Seahawks offense?
I said before, they had to come out throwing, and sure enough they did just that! On the first two scoring drives, the Seahawks passed 8 times and ran 7, but one of those runs was a QB scramble and would’ve been a pass. That’s not an outrageous split of passes vs. runs, but considering this is a team that runs well over 50% of the time, I’ll take it. And, not only did they pass more, but they passed DEEP. Four of our completions went for over 20 yards, including a 50-yarder to Baldwin and a 24-yarder again to Baldwin for the touchdown to take a 10-7 lead.
After that, for the next five drives, things got REAL conservative. And the Patriots just plowed through the clock. When we finally started taking shots down the field again, it was the beginning of the fourth quarter, we were down 20-10, and Zach Miller promptly fumbled away our most promising drive since the first quarter. Undeterred, after New England kicked to go up 13, Wilson threw deep to Tate for 51 yards which led to us eventually scoring on that HUGE fourth down play to Braylon Edwards. I’m not gonna lie to you, at first I thought they were going to call the Pass Interference on us, but upon the replay it actually looked like it should’ve been a no-call. In the end, they called it on the Pats and there we were down by 6 with seven and a half to go in the game.
The defense really stepped up after that. Gotta credit them because they were under siege all game. I’m sure our TD to bring it to a one-score game helped amp up the defense, but they still had to go out there and make the plays. They forced a punt that pinned us back inside our 10 yard line. After a three-and-out, we gave the ball back with three minutes to go. With that, the second-biggest defensive stand of the afternoon.
Forcing the Patriots to a three and out was huge. HUGE. I know earlier in this post I was questioning why they didn’t run the ball more, and here on this possession they did just that and it bit them in the ass. But, you know what? There’s a time and a place. When you’re up by a comfortable two-score advantage, you can run the ball. When you’re up by one score, obviously trying to burn the other team’s time outs as the overly-aggressive defense anticipates run the whole way, you’re just playing into our hands at that point by running blandly up the middle. A lot of football is about doing what’s NOT expected. That’s why lazy commentators commonly refer to it as a “chess match”. You don’t win at chess by doing what’s expected of you. You win by being good at chess!
After that, it came down to another crazy finish. Leon Washington’s punt return for 25 yards to midfield was one of many unsung moments that really turned the game in our favor. Then, coming out of the 2-minute warning, Lynch’s 2-yard run for a first down on 3rd & 1 was another. If we try some crazy quick slant or bootleg or something, who knows what happens on that 3rd down? Instead, we go right up the gut (as we fucking SHOULD), move the chains, and the rest is history. 46 yards to Rice for the win.
Even though it’s the vaunted Patriots offense, you had to like our chances of holding them. In years past – even in our Super Bowl year – we would have either given up the field goal attempt, or required a Big Play Babs to make a miracle interception. In 2012, we’re able to hold them to two incompletions, a sack, and a 4th down reception short of the line to gain. Depending on some cardiac turnover in the waning seconds is a thrilling way to seal a victory, but it’s much more satisfying if you can hold a team to a four & out before a couple of kneel downs to finish it.
All told, Russell Wilson completed passes of 29, 22, 50, 24, 51, and 46 yards. 222 of his career-high 293 yards came on those six plays. There were probably three or four more deep attempts that fell incomplete. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. A home run hitter! Someone to stretch the defense so it’s not so fucking difficult for Beastmode to do his thing. If we’re going to be a team that’s going to contend for a Super Bowl, it will need this to be a regular thing. Russell Wilson scrambling in the pocket, launching deep balls, and letting his athletic receivers go up and make plays. If we can do that, in conjunction with our awesome running game, explosive special teams, and all-around dominant defense, we’re as good as anybody in the NFL.
Suffice it to say, I won’t be picking against the Seahawks at home the rest of the way. I probably won’t be picking against the Seahawks very much PERIOD. This is a good team. The best part? It’s only going to get better.
Is this what it’s like to root for teams like the Patriots? To know that you have the core of what should be a Super Bowl winning team? Because, I’m not gonna lie to you, it feels REALLY FUCKING GOOD.