You can look at this game last night and decry the ugliness of it all. Everyone always likes to talk about “winning ugly” as if it’s this black mark of shame. Teams that win ugly SURELY don’t go to the Super Bowl! Teams that win ugly have no business getting home field advantage! Hell, teams that win ugly shouldn’t even make the playoffs!
Tell me what was ugly about a defense that held the opposing team to 9 points on three field goals. What was ugly about a defense constantly playing on its heels thanks to a ridiculous field position advantage for the Rams, yet still keeping that team in single-digits? What was ugly about the two interceptions, the three sacks, and the 158 passing yards allowed?
Why is it that all the analysis you ever read about the Seahawks focuses exclusively on how the offense performs, only giving token notice of a dominant defense at the end because it doesn’t fit the narrative that particular “journalist” is trying to convey?
I mean seriously, “the worst 7-1 team ever“? Does the worst 7-1 team ever play defense like that? Does the worst 7-1 team ever have Earl Thomas absolutely crushing guys?
Ugly win? I don’t think so. There’s a certain poetic beauty to the way the Seahawks played last night. Our defense vs. their offense was akin to a fully-grown cat playfully batting around a one-legged mouse. You’ll notice I’m carefully side-stepping the fact that the Rams ran the ball for 200 yards. But, look at it this way: where did it get ’em? Where did their Time of Possession advantage get ’em? Where did their huge lead in first downs get ’em?
Yeah, they had the ball at the end with a chance to score, but they failed, didn’t they? When they had one final chance to throw the ball into the end zone, the ball fell incomplete, didn’t it?
Now, don’t take all of this as me excusing the offense, because that was some 1992-shit. That was a level of terrible we haven’t seen in quite some time. Seven first downs all game, two of them off of penalties. We gave up 7 sacks and countless hits and hurries. We had 135 total yards, only 44 of which were on the ground. We had a game plan and an identity going into this game, and the Rams refused to let either come to the fore. For as great as the Seahawks were on defense, the Rams were even better.
Our first touchdown was set up by a Richard Sherman interception return to the St. Louis 26 yard line. Really, you have to blame the St. Louis offense for half of that touchdown. The other Seahawks TD was simply a mind-blowing play by Golden Tate to attack the ball, steal it away from an awaiting defender, and take it to the house.
And, for the record, I don’t want to hear one more old, uptight white man telling me, “there’s no place in the game for Tate’s taunting.” Get OVER yourselves. If you can’t enjoy the moment, smile at what surely had to be a satisfying burn on the Rams’ secondary, and just fucking relax, then I feel sorry for you. It’s not the 1950s anymore, grandpa. The “good ol’ days” have long passed you by.
What offended my sensibilities more than anything was our offensive game plan. What WAS that, exactly? I mean, the coaches said they tried making adjustments, but I didn’t see anything of the sort! If your quarterback is getting murdered because your offensive tackles shouldn’t be playing offensive tackle, how about running out some two TE sets and max-protecting? Or, shit, how about using their aggressiveness to our advantage by throwing some screens? Did you see Lynch’s stab on the ONE we ran last night? He caught it one-handed! Don’t tell me Marshawn Lynch doesn’t have hands! Throw him the ball in space if we can’t run it between the tackles! He’s a big boy, he can take it!
We could have rolled the pocket, we could have subbed in other blockers, we could have ran more zone-read, but we didn’t do any of it. Darrell Bevell called for a non-stop series of three-step drops where by the third step, a defender was on top of Russell Wilson. Great strategy. Tell me again how Bevell is going to be a head coach somewhere soon? Can it be today? Can it be for literally any other team so we can get a guy who knows his head from a hole in the ground?
I’m not saying everything Bevell does is bad. I’m just saying there are clear lapses in judgment that apparently will never go away.
The good in all of this? Even with this offensive line we’re stuck with, we still have enough talent at our skill positions to get the job done. Russell Wilson didn’t have his best game or anything, but I don’t think that 80-yard pass to Tate was a poorly-thrown ball. I think he lobbed it up there short knowing full well that Tate would go out there and make a play on it.
The fact of the matter is, shockingly enough, I don’t have much to freak out about this game. It wasn’t as easy of a win as I thought going in, but I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s a lot of talent on the Rams, even if they’re devoid of it at the quarterback position. Going into St. Louis and expecting to walk all over them is probably unrealistic. But, having a comfortable lead through most of the game isn’t out of the question.
I never really had my doubts that the offense would find a way to score enough to win this game. Even on that final Rams drive when things were getting tense, I figured there wasn’t much of a chance that they’d punch it into the endzone. I was more concerned about that 50-yard field goal that Greg Zuerlein ended up pushing right than I was about them scoring a go-ahead touchdown.
Style points aren’t necessary in the NFL. Power Rankings are foolish and pointless and have no bearing on who gets in the playoffs or who gets to play in the Super Bowl. This isn’t college. Being the top-ranked team is only important for the moronic talking heads on ESPN and sports radio.
You know what matters? The Seahawks are 7-1. They have a 1-game lead in the division, with a 3-0 record against divisional opponents (two of those on the road). We’re 4-0 in the NFC and tied for first with New Orleans. Three of our next four games are at home, with a BYE week slipped in there as well. Our injured studs are set to return in the coming weeks, and we’ve got the inside track on a playoff spot, a divisional title, and the #1 seed in the NFC.
Why am I not freaking out? Because the Seahawks are right where they’re supposed to be, winning games just like they’re supposed to win. It doesn’t matter if we cover spreads or “look good doing it”. We’re winning. Getting to the Super Bowl is all about overcoming adversity. With that in mind, I’d say we’re doing all right.