- Sun-tzu, “The Art Of War”
I couldn’t have picked
a better weekend to make my annual pilgrimage to Seattle. The Seahawks are about
to play a game that will not only define their season but will determine the
fate of their Head Coach. For years, I have been a voice of unwavering optimism
when it comes to my beloved Seahawks, and that often has led to me defending
the actions of Mike Holmgren. This week, however, was different. Upon my return
from Thanksgiving in Los Angeles, I spent a few hours answering e-mails from
irate Seahawks fans that had, for all intents and purposes, given up on the
team after last Sunday (or at least fired off their e-mails while in the throes
of post-defeat depression).
Every single person who e-mailed was ready to tar and feather Holmgren and Rhodes, and, for once, I had no answer. The game was mystifying. How does a defense fall for the same trick play over and over again? How can you have the NFL’s leading running back and only run him 13 times? I run more than when I play Madden 2005 with 4 minute quarters, for cryin’ out loud. And the salt in the wound was the attitude of the team: this team looked like they had conceded defeat before the opening kickoff. They didn’t play like they even wanted to be on the field. For fans, THAT’S the unforgivable part. You can be crushed by a far superior team but go down fighting and not have it hurt like watching the disgusting display of incompetence that was last Sunday’s game. And the blame for that rests solely on the shoulders of the head coach.
So it all comes down to Monday Night. The entire nation will bear witness to future of Seattle’s Playoff dreams and Mike Holmgren’s job. If Seattle loses this game, they can kiss any hope of rescuing the 2004 campaign goodbye and if Mike Holmgren loses this game, he will have lost control over his team and his job in front of the whole country. The Seahawks must find their identity as a team, and they must find it now, before heading east for back to back road games against the 8-3 Jets and the 7-4 Vikings. I almost never call a non-elimination game a must win, but for this one, I’ll make an exception. Either Seattle grabs the reigns and switches off the failing autopilot or they crash and burn back into the familiar wreckage of mediocrity.
I still remain an optimist. I haven’t yet joined the Dark Side, but the lure is strong. I hold out hope that this season can be rescued, that Mike Holmgren can right the ship, that Matt Hasselbeck can find his mojo, and that this team can win back a rapidly turning fan base. I’m keeping the faith, at least for one more week. But I’m flying 3000 miles to watch this game, Mr. Holmgren, and expect a hell of a lot better than what I saw last week. Capiche?
Well, not even Madden 2005
foresaw the debacle that was last week’s Buffalo-Seattle game, dropping
the Silicon Swami’s season record to 7-4. Once again, the sim was run
on Madden 2005 for the Playstation 2 using 6 minute quarters in a CPU vs. CPU
match up at All-Pro Level.
In each of the five simulations, Seattle came out comfortably on top, with an average margin of victory of 12 points. Shaun Alexander was an absolute juggernaut, piling up an average of 121 yards and 2 TD’s per game, with Hasslebeck using play-action crossing routes to Rice and Stevens to pick apart the reeling Dallas defense to the tune of a 261 yard, 2 TD average.
In each of the games, the ball-hawking Seattle secondary snagged at least 2 interceptions, with Marcus Trufant taking two to the house in the third contest, earning a spot on the Horse Trailer. The thin linebacker corps was susceptible to short crossing routes and edge runs, but the middle remained stout and pressure from Wistrom and Okeafor prevented Dallas from getting into any sort of offensive rhythm.
Overall, not one of the simulations was ever close to being in question. Here’s hoping the real players can match their cyberspace counterparts this Monday Night.
The Silicon Swami’s Final Prediction: Seattle 23 Dallas 11.
Dylan Johnson writes for Seahawks.NET. He’s flying cross-country for the Monday Night game, so buy him a beer when you see him!. Feel free to contact Dylan at firstname.lastname@example.org.