For fifty-five minutes on Sunday we played like the Super Bowl contenders most people think we are. Unfortunately, NFL games are sixty minutes long and the Rams decided that since we didn't seem to want this game, that they would gladly take it and tighten up the NFC West.
Why do we do this? Why do we go into a conservative shell when we get a big lead on a team? We've seen this before right? Remember the Ravens game last year? Same thing. Up big in the fourth quarter, game seemingly in hand, we do the ol' run, run, pass, punt routine several times, play a little soft zone defense and before you know it, we're losing a game in overtime that we easily should have won.
I'm going to say what we all already know. We will not become the elite team we're capable of until we develop some killer instinct and completely put teams away when we have the chance. The Rams were in shock as the first half ended on Sunday. They didn't know whether to crap or go crazy. In the first half we came out firing on all cylinders, being aggressive on both sides of the ball and taking the game by the throat. Then we go into the locker room.
Now I'm not sure what happens inside the locker room when we go in with a big lead but whatever happens or doesn't happen needs to change right now. Coach Holmgren has to stay aggressive with the play calling and Coach Rhodes has to stay aggressive with the defensive play calling as well. We haven't been a good team long enough to get all cocky with a lead and play like the game's already over. This is the NFL, where any team, especially a high powered offensive team like the Rams, can strike quick and strike often if you allow them the slightest opportunity to believe that they still have a chance.
Here's some of my "Extra Points" from this bitter loss:
It's time to bench Koren Robinson. I've held off saying this for over a year now because of this kid's tremendous upside, but the simple fact is that he's a drive killer. The guy just can't either see or concentrate well enough to be on the field in crunch time. I'm sick of his dropped passes each week. What good does it do to have his big play capability on the field if he can't catch the ball consistent enough to be dangerous to the opposing team? Why not give Urban or Wallace or somebody else a chance. Hell, they can't do any worse. Coach Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck have been saying all the nice, supportive things in Koren's defense for over a year now but it's time to take off the kid gloves. The time has come to make a change. Koren Robinson must be benched. Now.
Can someone please tell Mike Holmgren to stop getting so conservative with his play calling when we have a nice lead. He's so creative when the game starts and throughout the first half but we always seem to go into a shell in the second half when we have a lead and it's frustrating as hell to watch. And while we're at it, let's do the same thing with Coach Rhodes. That soft zone stuff in the last 5 minutes really stinks. It's just so amazing to be able to shut a team down for 55 minutes only to watch them go up and down the field at will in the last five. The Rams are good but they're not that good. We didn't get enough pressure on Mark Bulger in those last few minutes and he picked us apart. Again, let's stay aggressive and keep doing what got us the big lead in the first place.
On the bright side, we have one of, if not the best, set of shutdown corners in the league. Ken Lucas and Marcus Trufant are tremendous cover corners but also support the run very well and are terrific tacklers. Terrell Bierria, however, might have been exposed in coverage on Sunday. He wasn't able to stick with receivers when we needed him too. It's a tall order for a safety to cover a quick wide receiver but apparently Ray Rhodes had the confidence to let him do it. I'm not so sure I'd let him do it in the future.
I thought Shaun Alexander ran hard this week. He seemed to hit the hole a little bit harder and was a little tougher to bring down than he normally is. We also seemed to pick up the blitz a little better this week with the exception of that last drive fumble that was caused by a blitz that went uncovered from the outside. I'm trying my best to think of the positives from Sunday and to not dwell too much on the outcome but it's hard when we could have put a strangle hold on the division but we let it slip away.
I can only hope that this loss won't affect us the rest of the season. I believe we have enough 'character guys' to get over it and learn from it. But it's the kind of loss that can cause a team to go into a funk for a few weeks and we can't afford to do that especially with the new life we helped breathe into the hated Rams.
Bottom line is we're 3 and 1 and still in first place so there's not a whole lot to gripe about when looking at the first 5 weeks of the season. However, when we loose a game like this it leaves a real bad taste in my mouth and it raises some questions about our team. I think we'll find out what kind of team we really have this upcoming Sunday when we travel to New England to take on the Patriots. If we come out with a chip on our shoulder and play hard nosed football and punch the Patriots in the mouth on both sides of the ball then I think we'll be fine for the rest of the season regardless of the outcome of this game. If we come out like we're shell shocked from the Rams game then it won't be pretty and could cost us more than a win in New England. This is going to be a big test for our Seahawks on national television. Will we be up for it? This columnist says YES we will.
It's a great time to be
a Seahawks fan, always has been, always will be.
Micky James writes weekly for Seahawks.NET. You can reach him at email@example.com.