Reporting Bill Swartz
Now that I’ve decompressed by going on a frigid 4 mile walk, and downing a bottle of Dramamine to deal with the roller-coaster ride that is Seattle Seahawks football, let me try to sum up short-comings of the last game and the season.
Several words starting with the letter “R” come to mind after watching that fist –to- the gut 30-28 loss in Atlanta.
How many mistakes could one football team make in the first half to dig an enormous hole in the synthetic turf? The lousy tackling was uncharacteristic of the Seahawks run defense. Maybe it was the second cross-country trip in one week, or the early wake-up alarm.
I can’t fault Russell Wilson for trying to extend a play just before intermission, taking a sack, and failing to get anything out of a promising drive. A more seasoned quarterback probably would have air mailed the ball out of bounds for a chance at 3 points.
I can question Pete Carroll for not booting a field goal and getting some points on 4th and one a the 10. We’ve seen the dive play to Michael Robinson many times this season, and obviously so did that Atlanta Falcons.
Credit the Falcons with taking away the Seahawks offensive balance by holding Marshawn Lynch in check all game long. Clearly Atlanta’s week off gave them a great game plan and fresh legs. Jaquizz Rodgers and Michael Turner broke the arm tackles we’re accustomed to seeing Lynch bull through. I thought Russell Wilson at times was a bit too unselfish, and should have kept the rock on the read option.
Or lack of a pass rush to be exact. Losing Chris Clemens 11-and- a -half sacks against an explosive Atlanta offense was glaring. Bruce Irvin and the front 4 seldom bothered Matt Ryan. When he did make an errant throw, Tony Gonzalez bailed him out with super-human plays.
C’mon, admit it, you never thought the Hawks had a snowballs chance when they were down 20 points to start the 4th quarter, and roared back to take the lead. This is the team that never cries uncle until the last Wilson Hail Mary pass into the end zone. That’s what I loved about this squad the most; they found ways to win.
How spectactular was the kid in his first post season ! The spin move he made on the go-ahead drive to avoid Witherspoon’s sack was incredible. Few quarterbacks in the NFL have the ability or creativity to be that elusive and coherent to find an open receiver. Wilson made a believer of his teammates, Seattle fans, and every football expert who questioned his height and forgot about his heart.
The Seattle Seahawks went as far as I thought they would go. As Pete Carroll aptly told reporters in the post-game remarks, “we sure wish we had this game at our place.” The 1989 Los Angeles Rams were the last team to win back –to-back playoff games on the East coast. The Seahawks were 30 seconds, and a 49-yard field goal away from joining them.
This is a Seattle franchise loaded for more wonderful playoff runs in the next 4 to 5 years. With 10 draft picks this spring they need to look for an impact pass rusher, and a deep-threat receiver. They have tremendous depth and salary cap space next season.
Add those pieces to the mix, and I we might not have our stomachs churning like we did over the past 18 weeks. Just maybe, we might finally have that first Lombardi trophy coming to the Pacific Northwest.
-Bill Swartz, 1090 The Fan