Last night’s game probably ran the spectrum of emotions for all of us. Frustration, anger, rage, hopelessness, resignation, brief jubilation, and ultimately relief as the 4th down pass fell harmlessly to the turf and there wasn’t yet another flag to give the Rams one more shot. Many are upset this morning (with good reason) with how that game went down last night. Many are wringing their hands, absolutely convinced this means the season is over, since if we can only barely beat the Rams and their backup QB, how can they possibly beat a good team? Well, let me put a positive spin on what we saw last night while at the same time educating those who aren’t aware of the Legend of the Golden Horseshoe.
First, let’s all take a deep breath and repeat after me, we’re 7-1. We’re 7-1. We’re 7-1. That is the best record in the NFC. San Francisco remains a game back and it’s really a game and a half back with the tiebreaker. This team just finished a stretch where 4 of their last 5 games were on the road and they came out of that 4-1. How many teams in Seahawk history have ever done that, particularly in the last 15 years? I’ll save you the research. None. It hasn’t been done. How many years have we lamented the Seahawks inability to win on the road? Well, they just finished the first half of the year posting a 4-1 mark on the road. When we get to the end of the year, how we won will not matter. This isn’t the BCS. All that matters is that we win, as I believe wins are the first things that matter when seeding for the playoffs is done, but please correct me if I’m wrong.
As I was watching that game last night while enjoying a few tasty IPA’s, an eerie sense of deja vu fell over me. It came full circle as the game ended and the Seahawks were able to pull out an improbable victory. I was taken back to 2005 and the last time the Seahawks made a run to the Super Bowl.
Picture it, October 23, 2005. A rainy fall afternoon at Qwest Field. The Cowboys were in town and the old Cougar Drew Bledsoe was under center. Both offenses were utterly inept all day. The Seahawks defense picked off Drew twice and sacked him 5 times (that sounds vaguely familiar to last night). The last pick by Big Play Babs set up Josh Brown for a 50 yard field goal as the clock expired and gave the Hawks an unlikely victory and made the 12th Man think something special was happening with this team as the Seahawks were usually known for losing games in that fashion.
Flash forward to November 27, 2005. A beautiful, crisp fall afternoon at Qwest Field. The New York Football Giants made their way out west for a battle for supremacy in the NFC and put the winner in the driver’s seat for home field advantage in the playoffs. As I’m sure you’ll all remember, that was the game where the 12th Man helped cause 11 Giant false starts. But what you may not remember is how that game ultimately came to be in the win column for the Hawks.
After a few pre-game beverages, my buddy Dave and I settle into our seats in section 339. We’re watching warmups and we both notice something. Jay Feely was kicking field goals from 40-45 yards away and for some reason they were just barely making it over the crossbar. The wind didn’t seem to be a factor so we thought maybe he was just messing around, maybe concentrating on getting his trajectory right, etc. But I digress…
Shaun Alexander was completely shut down for 3 quarters. Matt Hasselbeck threw 2 interceptions. Jeremy Shockey was given a touchdown when he clearly didn’t have a 2nd foot down in the end zone before Jordan Babineaux popped him with a hit that his grandchildren will feel. With the game 21-13, the Seahawks let Eli Manning drive 60 yards for a touchdown and then an easy 2 point conversion. You could hear a pin drop in that stadium. The Hawks get the ball with 2 minutes left only to take all of 25 seconds off the clock and give the ball right back to the Giants. The defense continued its sieve-like ways and let the Giants set up for a game-winning 40 yard FG from Jay Feely. Up until that point, Jay had hit everything inside of 45 yards that year. In the first hint of something special to come, he pushes the ball just barely left and we head to overtime. Hmmm..I seem to remember another kicker that was automatic inside 55 yards that missed a kick last night. Legatron or something like that. Anyway…
In that overtime, the Seahawks continued their inept ways. The Giants set themselves up for a 54 yard FG to win it and Jay Feely chops under the ball and ends up a good 5 yards short of the crossbar. The 12th Man came alive momentarily, yet the offense still couldn’t get anything going. Then they pin the Giants back in the south end zone only to watch Tiki Barber bust one loose down to about the Seahawks 30 yard line, ultimately setting up a 45 yard game winner. So we all knew what was coming. The third time’s the charm, Feely doesn’t miss 3 game winners in a row, time for the old Seahawks to rear their sorry heads. Only….wait a minute….that looks like it’s going to come up a little sho…..YESSSSS!!! It’s short!! A Pro-Bowl caliber kicker has missed 3 game winning field goals. Now, this had to be the Seahawks time. Sure enough, Matthew hits DJ Hackett in stride down at about the 35. Shaun decided he’d had enough of this crap and gets down inside the 25. Josh Brown (before he was a prisoner to the business man) jogs out there with ice water in his veins and just sneaks a 37 yarder inside the left upright and Qwest Field rejoices. It was at that time we realized that Mike Holmgren did indeed have a Golden Horseshoe firmly implanted in his backside. The Seahawks don’t win games like that. Heck, Seattle teams in general don’t win games like that.
In the words of comedian Ron White, I told you that story to tell you this story. That game last night, along with the game in Houston, just makes me feel like Pete Carroll has found the Golden Horseshoe. There’s a legend that many Presidents of the United States have written letters to their successor about things that only Presidents know or will deal with. They leave it in the desk in the Oval Office so that only the new President will find it. It makes me wonder if Mike Holmgren did just that and left it in his desk at the VMAC. Of course we know Jim Mora didn’t find it since he was obsessed with finding dirtbags for his offensive line or was busy hiking up Tiger Mountain. But Pete Carroll was probably in there one afternoon this summer, opens the letter, and goes on a treasure hunt. He didn’t find it in the cafeteria. He didn’t find it in the SeaGal locker room. But when he dug through the fake wall behind Jerramy Stevens’ locker, there it was, right behind the Polaroids that Jerramy had of Holmgren that kept him on the team.
How else do you describe the change from losing games in Detroit, Miami, Arizona, St. Louis, and San Francisco last year all by less than 7 points to what we’ve seen so far this year? Heaven knows it’s not the offensive line play. The receivers haven’t gotten a whole lot better. Maybe it’s the pass rush. Maybe it’s the exceptional special teams play. It’s probably the fact they’ve forced 2+ turnovers in each game so far. But don’t discount the Golden Horseshoe. It is Halloween week after all. Stranger things have happened.