SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Doug Baldwin #15 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a diving catch during their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Your friendly post-loss pep talk.
Stay the Course. Keep the faith. Don't Panic. Keep Calm and Carry On. All these sayings come in handy on a day like today. I've written a few articles already on the Seahawks loss to the 49ers on Sunday and I'll write a few more today. In those articles I've tried to be frank and real. The Seahawks looked bad. They probably ARE bad. But that doesn't mean there is nothing to be excited about.
Sports fanhood is reactionary and emotional in nature and I'm not admonishing you to change your ways. Hell, I'm reactionary and emotional when I watch the games too. That being said, I don't think it's ...realistic?.. to expect a whole lot more from the Seahawks than what we got on Sunday.
What did we get? Ugly football. Turnovers. Sluggish start. Sloppy special teams. The perseverance to keep playing and creep back into the game. Individual silver linings and the knowledge that we came close.
Why did we get it? Two returning starters from last year's opener. Ten remaining players from when Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over. Close to the youngest team in the NFL. No standout quarterback in a quarterback's league. One of the more inexperienced and younger offensive lines in history. Short offseason. New offensive coordinator. New system. No scouting for a team with new systems (49ers).
Myself and many other writers and bloggers have tried to feed the masses with company lines over and over and over again during this preseason. -- "It's going to be tough this year." "There are going to be some growing pains." "This offensive line is going to take some time to get on the same page." "It's a young team, there will be some mistakes made." "The beginning of the season is going to be ROUGH." "The quarterback situation is temporary."
Raise your hand if you've heard all this before. Everyone put down your hands. Now, tell me if you're surprised.
Pretty much EVERYTHING we've been warned about happened on Sunday. The offense took just over a half to get going. The lockout shortened offseason and youth on the team caused some mistakes to be made (especially on special teams). The quarterback situation is just as muddled as it was a week ago. I'm not saying you can't get fired up when we lose because I frickin hate losing, I'm just here to remind you to keep your eye on the long term plan and remember all the warnings we've had about this year. It's a bit hard to expect a well-oiled machine with this Seahawks team.
Obviously, expectations vary greatly and you might have expected more from the Seahawks than what they showed on a micro, individual battle type of focus and that's understandable. But keep in mind that the Seahawks DID put themselves in a position to win the game, down 19-17 in the late fourth quarter. Before you agonize over all of the mistakes and struggles and problems and holes this team has, remember that they got damn close to getting the W.
Yes, they looked horrific in the first half. They looked pretty horrific in the preseason too, so it's not super surprising they struggled early. They made some adjustments at the half and fought back. Semi-crisis averted. A hard-fought, ugly game. The score doesn't accurately convey how close this game really was. I turned off the game and felt surprisingly at peace with what what had just happened. I would have loved to get the win but the ball bounced the 49ers way a few times, the Seahawks had a few assignments blown, and voila - game slipped through their fingers on the road.
There are some good young players on this team. From everything I can tell, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been given license to re-build and reconstruct this team and they've been given a few years to do so. We're in the middle of that re-build but there are a lot of things to be excited about. Doug Baldwin had a great game. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor looked legit. The defensive line stopped the run like it was designed to do.
Hell, I can even give you some positives about the offensive line. It's young!... for starters. It's not comprised of a bunch of aging veterans on their last legs with no replacements in sight (like we're used to). The defensive secondary looked better than I would have guessed. They were flying around and making tackles. The linebackers looked decent. Even Aaron Curry played well! Hallelujah!
At the end of the day, we got to watch an ugly but gripping football game. It was most likely pretty boring to anyone outside of the teams' respective cities of course, but it was interesting until the end.
It's a new team. It's a young team. There are lots of players on the team that I have never seen play. That will be fun to watch. How will Tarvaris Jackson respond? Will he bounce back? Will he lose his job to Charlie Whitehurst? Will the run game get going? Will Leon Washington and Justin Forsett get more carries? How will the offense look with Sidney Rice running some routes?
This team, if nothing else, is super intriguing. There's a lot to look forward to.