I really tore one on this weekend, and as such wasn’t able to roll my ass out of bed until about 1pm on Sunday, and spent the duration of the Seahawks game with a massive hangover. So, I very well might have hallucinated into existence a Seahawks victory over the Cowboys, and if I did, please don’t wake me up!
With Christmas in between, and me missing a lot of the third quarter as I did my Christmas shopping as I always do – at the last minute, at my local Safeway, buying gift cards for everyone on my list – I don’t remember much about what happened. There was a sweet punch-out of the football from Byron Maxwell to Dez Bryant that resulted in our first touchdown and a 7-6 lead late in the second quarter. There was a Justin Coleman pick-six that I missed, giving the Seahawks a 14-9 lead early in the third quarter. And there was one good offensive drive by the Seahawks with a nifty Doug Baldwin TD at its conclusion to make the score 21-12. From there, a couple late field goal misses by the Cowboys sealed the deal.
Here are the take-aways from this one: the Seahawks’ offense was garbage. Still no change in the running game, obviously, because that’s going to be something that needs its fixing in the offseason with new personnel. And, one of the poorer Russell Wilson games, who only threw for 93 yards. The best thing you can say about this one was that he avoided turnovers, but no praise whatsoever should be reserved for this offensive group.
Defensively, however, it was a sight for sore eyes. Ezekiel Elliott – who had that bet with Eric Dickerson that he’d run for 200 yards in his first game back from suspension – was solid, but still held to 97 yards. Dak Prescott continued his second-half slide as he threw a couple picks, but one of them was off of a deflection, as he received zero help from his so-called #1 receiver Dez Bryant, who finished with 3 catches, but had a number of others go off of his hands (and one of those receptions did end up as the aforementioned fumble forced by Maxwell). I don’t know if there was any one reason for the defensive turnaround – though, it surely helped having a healthy K.J. Wright and a healthier Bobby Wagner – so much as this was a total team effort. It also helped that the Dallas passing attack is broken, so we were able to expend our energy in trying to stop the run. Better tackling was important too.
The miracle part of this thing didn’t just come with the Seahawks winning in Dallas, though I’ll be the first to admit I wrote a post last week predicting a Seahawks loss. Really, I think the bigger surprise was waking up on Sunday afternoon and discovering that the Bengals beat the Lions! With that out of the way, and with the Falcons losing to the Saints, there’s now a clear path for the Seahawks to make the playoffs.
First, they have to beat the Cardinals this Sunday. That sounds easy enough, but we’re gonna need to see more from the offense than we have in recent weeks. Then, the only other thing we need is for Carolina to go into Atlanta and beat the Falcons. I like the Panthers a lot, and think they’re the better team this season, but there are a couple things going against us. One, the Falcons aren’t terrible. With their season in the balance, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Falcons go out there and lay the smack down. And two, if the Saints beat the Bucs, the Saints win the division, meaning the Panthers would have nothing to play for. As both games start at the same time, we’re at least assured that the Panthers will play all their starters. However, if the Saints run up a huge lead, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see the Panthers resting their stars at the end of the game. Just in time for the Falcons to sneak away with a late victory?
You could argue it behooves the Panthers to knock the Falcons out of the playoffs, and I’ll buy that to a point, but if they’re stuck as a 5-seed and the Falcons a 6-seed, they wouldn’t meet until a hypothetical NFC Championship Game matchup, which is unlikely in its own right. And besides, if you did want to see a potential 5-seed home game in the NFCCG, that means you NEED the 6-seed to get there too, and who is more likely to win two road games it the playoffs, the Falcons or the broken and old Seahawks?
Make no mistake, there’s the Team No One Wants To Play every year in the playoffs; well, the Seahawks are the Team No One Would Mind Playing. Which leads me to the next issue: should we root for the Seahawks to make the playoffs at all?
It’s an age-old argument. The Seahawks almost certainly have no shot – as a 6-seed – to run the table through the NFC and get to the Super Bowl. They’re too beat up, and this offense – including Russell Wilson – has been too terrible over the last month to give any indication that we can win even ONE playoff game, let alone 3-4. Ergo, just by making the playoffs, you’re sticking yourself with a worse draft pick. And, every playoff game you win, the further down the draft board you fall.
The counter-argument to that is: anything can happen on any given Sunday. Just make the playoffs and hope to get hot; hell, it’s how Joe Flacco won a title! Plus, if the 2010 Seahawks had missed out on the playoffs as we hoped heading into that post-season, we never would’ve had the Beastquake run. Does that mean anything on its own? Of course not, but it’s a fond memory, and it set the table for the Never Say Die ethos of those championship teams a few years later.
Even though it runs against all rational thought, I’ll still root for the Seahawks to make it. I just want to see at least one more week of meaningful football for my favorite professional team.