2011 NFC Wild Card Round: Seattle Seahawks 41 – New Orleans Saints 36
Forgive me if this post becomes a little confused, as I’m still having trouble making a complete sentence, much less writing one. My mind is a jumble of clichés, giddy thoughts, and the need to scream in your face to all the self appointed football experts.
A losing record doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs? It looks to me like the Seahawks are 1-0 now. Hey, Bill Belichick says the records reset when the playoffs start, and who am I to argue?
I understood why New Orleans was the favorite going in, although having them as 10.5 point favorites seemed a little extreme to me. No matter how I approached it, the Saints just didn’t seem to be that much better than the Seahawks to me. A lot depended on how Seattle started out, but if the Seahawks made it close late, this could be a game for the ages.
And, oh my God, was it ever! This game had everything that makes football wonderful. The early Hasselbeck interception leading to a 10-point New Orleans lead made the pundits nod their heads and settle back in their armchairs to write about how they told us so.
A rare sighting of John Carlson making a reappearance on the football field may have caused them a little heartburn, but I’m sure it didn’t make them change their minds too much. Even a Seahawks 24-20 halftime lead probably didn’t start ringing too many alarm bells.
Inside Qwest Field, the atmosphere was electric. It’s been louder but this was definitely in the top three for fan participation. We felt like the Seahawks were right where we wanted them. They were playing football on level with the Saints, going toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champions. Even better, we felt the Seahawks were landing more punches than they were taking.
The 12th Man was in full roar as Seattle blazed out of the halftime break and added 10 more points before New Orleans made their inevitable counter. The Saints whittled the score down to a very reachable four-point gap.
After swapping punts, the Seahawks sat with the ball close to midfield with under four minutes left. I’m sure all the naysayers were gleefully rubbing their hands together, expecting that inevitable choke from my beloved team.
I turned to my neighbor and said, “We need a first down here. Just one first down.” He nodded and said, “A first down would be really good.”
And then it happened. Marshawn Lynch went into Full On Beast Mode.
Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run became the longest in Seahawks playoff history and may be the greatest run ever seen. Here, watch it and see for yourself. If that isn’t the sickest 67-yard run then I don’t know what is. Check out the stiff arm Lynch put on New Orleans corner Tracy Porter. Lynch sent him into orbit with that “get the fuck off of me” move. Eight of the Saints’ 11 defenders took a shot at Lynch, but no one could bring him down. I get tingles every time I watch it, as the play came right at me in the stadium. It was like a great orgasm.
While passing out high fives and hugs, my neighbor screamed at me, “A touchdown is even better!”
I can’t do my usual Good, Bad and Ugly for this game. I’d have a ton of goods ranging from the offensive line to Matt Hasselbeck in 2005 mode to the defense making stops when they were desperately needed. I’d leave out someone like Ben Obomanu getting injured on his first catch but still coming back to gut it out.
How about Raheem Brock hitting Drew Brees repeatedly before finally getting him for a sack? What about offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and his much improved play calling?
This game was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Making it all better was the shit all the pundits and fans talked beforehand about how Seattle didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs, didn’t deserve a home playoff game against the Saints, and how the Saints would blow the Seahawks out.
It may not be obvious to the rest of the world but this team is coming together at exactly the right time. Starting last week against the Rams, everything Seattle is doing is getting better.
That’s not saying this team is the Patriots yet. No one would confuse the two and I’m not going to say they should. However, this team has bought into all the slogans and inspiration that Pete Carroll has been selling. And it shows.
So talk about the losing record all you want. For my money, the Seahawks are now 1-0. If they can keep this forward progress, the rest of the league better look out.
And to all you so called experts, here’s some advice. Overlook the Seahawks at your own risk because the Seahawks are in Beast Mode.