This is the most significant Seahawks victory in a long time. Sure, there are other games you can throw into the mix. But this just seems more important, at least to me. Here’s why:
– Russell Wilson showed he can do what Tarvaris Jackson couldn’t – win a big game with a key drive. Wilson technically had a similar victory over Green Bay, but let’s not go there tonight. With the team trailing 23-10 and looking likely to go 3-3, Wilson scored a touchdown pass on fourth down before nailing the game winner deep down the middle to Sidney Rice. This is the kind of play you need from your quarterback to contend with the best teams in the NFL. In the last two games Wilson has shown incredible maturity and playmaking ability. A 46 yard touchdown pass to win the game doesn’t happen very often in the NFL. He’s starting to look like the teams quarterback of the future, as everyone hoped he would. And that’s exciting.
– The defense didn’t have everything its own way, but they enhanced their reputation today. Richard Sherman might be the best cornerback in the NFL. Earl Thomas was a whisker away from three interceptions. New England had some success running the ball, but it speaks volumes that Tom Brady threw more passes today (58) than any other game in his career – despite holding the lead until the final minute. To a man, every single player on that defense willed the team to victory. They gave up just six points in the second half, despite some offensive struggles in the third and fourth quarter. They were physical, energetic and kept the Seahawks in the game. They also have victories against Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Cam Newton this year. Elite? Confirmed.
– The receivers came to the party. Sidney Rice had the game winning 46 yard score and 81 total yards. Doug Baldwin had 74 and a touchdown, while Golden Tate also chipped in with some big plays and 47 yards. Zach Miller also had a couple of smart receptions but loses some kudos for a fumble which at the time appeared to kill any potential Seahawks comeback. As a quartet though, an underachieving group suddenly looks respectable. They’ll need to keep this up, but the last two weeks have been a major improvement.
– Seattle needed a big win to legitimise everything that’s happening with the team. They needed a dramatic victory against a proven winner with an elite quarterback. There are a lot of doubters out there, among the fan base and media. If it’s not Wilson it’s the coaches. I would argue only one team had a worse roster than Seattle’s when Pete Carroll took up the reins in 2010. That team is St. Louis. Carroll had nothing to build around – no young talent, no superstars, no core. He inherited a shambles. And in three years, the turnaround is incredible. If the Seahawks finish 8-8, it’ll be something to cheer about in the third year of this massive rebuild. After week six, they’re 50% there already at 4-2. And still people doubt and complain. The win today proves to the doubters there’s no need to be cynical. And while the team or coaches care little about that, some of the negativity around this team has been tough for humble observers to stomach. That cynicism should end tonight.
– I’ll save the most important important point to end. There’s still room for improvement. On offense, on defense. This team is only scratching the surface. It’s young, it’s hungry. Even if the Seahawks go and lose the next game in San Francisco, it won’t matter. There will be other games against the 49ers. The future is bright. That is the only thing that matters.
Tomorrow I’m going to do a piece on a receiver that hasn’t been on pretty much anyone’s radar so far, but was brought to my attention by somebody else today. I’ve since watched some tape and wondered why the player in question isn’t generating more hype. I’ll have three videos in the post and some accompanying thoughts. Stay tuned.