Beat The Man - Week Fourteen

Scott Jones counters The Man with the spirit of Lou Saban: "You can get it can get it done...what's more, ya GOTTA get it done!" But CAN they get it done? Beaten and outmanned, but with renewed heart, the Seahawks get ready to face the Vikings...and their own demons.

Ohhh, the horrrrrror… the horrrrrrorrr…

Last Week: 2-2-1
Season to Date: 26-27-1

Continuing with our weekly exploration of the dictionary, let’s start this week with… Disappointment. Cuz when it’s all said and done – that’s where we’re at.

Disappointment is my greatest fear. It hurts more than anything. How ‘bout you? Does disappointment drag you down? Does it suck you dry and render you hollow? Is it like a fist plunged through your system, decimating and destructive? Consuming and conclusive? Yeah, disappointment sure is somethin’ scary. Disappointment is my true fear. It reeks of Failure…

Yes – failure. (Boy that word sure does sting, don’t it?)

Fear of failure is what The Man will use to own you. He will use it to suppress you. It’s really the only real power he has. Without our willingness to succumb to fear – The Man has no leverage on us at all. None. In fact, The Man is nothing without our fear. Control your fear… and control The Man. And Faith beats Fear every time. Don’t it?

Last week I handed Matt Hasselbeck my faith. Guess what – he delivered. He told us that passionless team we’ve been watching is over and done with, and then he went out and proved it. I knew he was gonna do that. I just knew it. There’s a flame within Matt Hasselbeck that’s determined and pure in competition. I really like the guy. He has ‘the fire in the belly’. And he went out there Monday Night with a firm commitment to excel. And excel he did, the stats don’t argue. He made the plays he needed to make… but we lost.

Someone else, highly unexpected, also delivered. Jerry Rice delivered. That was an inspiring performance. At one point, following our go-ahead score in the 4th, the zebras dropped a flag for a questionable PI call on Ken Lucas. Cut to Jerry Rice on the sidelines… the picture of pain and refusal. Rice wanted this game real bad. He grabbed a leadership role and that sideline shot spoke to me in a language I can fully understand… ‘Why you wanna try to take our satisfaction away? You can’t have it. We EARNED this satisfaction’. Right there I respected Jerry Rice once again. It was suddenly okay with me he was wearing the Seahawks most admirable number. Rice put everything he had into winning that football game, and that was plenty… but we lost.

Shaun Alexander willed himself into the end zone on 4th and goal. No obstacle could deny him. Not even his own teammate. He then came up huge on a play he normally hands to defeat – 4th and 1 outside the red zone. Came up big and found himself in the arms of glory, six points (in a cruel twist of irony, had he NOT met the end zone there? We probably would have run out the clock and won the game). That success caused even Mike Holmgren to explode from the sidelines in a rare moment of conquering passion and demonstrative satisfaction… but we lost.

Grant Wistrom gutted out a full 4 quarters, battling injury every step of the way. It’s a shame we never had our big guns all out there together this year: Simmons and Brown firing in on the blitz, with Wistrom scrapping away at the Tackle. (Chike Okeafor has really impressed me this year, imagine the damage he’d be doing with the other 3 in the mix). But Wistrom stepped up to the task and put the load on his shoulders, down after down. A big sack to get us the ball right back after Alexander’s first TD… but we lost.

Despite Ray Rhodes’ impressive ability to waste a very talented secondary, our DB’s came up with some big plays and a couple picks when we had to have ‘em. Then Terreal Bierra let one critical pass get behind him (again) and just missed by inches to knock the win away from Dallas. It was close… but we lost.

The fans showed up. They were up for the game. This year we found ourselves more talented than ever. Respect came down from all over. Expectations were met early on and our boys had us believin’. Then they went on cruise control and put our hearts in with the mashed potatoes… but when the big game came to town, a critical game in our senseless condition – the fans packed the joint proper and brought the noise (appropriate boo’s included). Hawks fans have known lots of heartache, hangin’ on battered and bruised, wrecked and ruined. But we’re still there on game-day. We showed up and gave it our energy… but we lost.

Yup. We lost.

But ya know what? We went hard for that win Monday Night. We did everything we could to win that game. In fact, our young trio of linebackers found themselves out of position all night because they wanted so badly to win. This was not the team of October/November. This team came to play. They wanted it real bad… but we lost.

Am I ashamed? No.

I’m ashamed we allowed ourselves to be in this position due to uninspired play since the last time we gave up a strong 4th Quarter lead. But I am not ashamed of the way we played Monday Night. That was the team I know and understand. We scratched and clawed. We came out gunning. Faltered. Got back in it. And went for the throat even! That was a Seahawk team fighting for respect. Reaching down and pulling out everything they had to get it. There was not a player on the field taking the day off. We wanted it bad. And we fought for it hard… but we lost.

When we found ourselves in position to claim success… we lost it.

Back in my pre-season report I had one concern:

The only thing that can hurt this team is a rash of injuries or, dare I say it… fear of success. We may not know how to handle it. We’ve never seen the other side. When we get to the final doorway, will we trust it?

Does this team know how to deal with a Super Bowl berth? A Championship stepping stone? If we’re 10 points up, at home, for the NFC Championship game… will we fold because we just can’t believe it to be true? Waiting for the other shoe to drop? Collapse upon ourselves simply because we’ve never had that position before? The only thing we know how to do is scratch and claw. Swooping down from the skies above and laying waste to our foes like the Fell Beasts from Return of the King is not the sort of position we’re used to attacking from.

When we’ve beaten back the horde… will we grab the sword and be The King? Or will we scatter into a more comfortable existence and retreat to the trees? Renegade Ranger. Baltimore… Washington… snakebitten? Or do we invite that kind of chaos? Over the years we’ve proven much more comfortable coming from behind - than staying out in front.

Hmm, indeed. Perched upon success - we fly away…

Something I’ve noticed about Seahawk fans in general (myself included) - we’re always waiting for the ball to fall. We’ve always got defeat on our minds. It’s always just an inch away. Chasing success… just how comfortable are we in the foreign navigation of accomplishment? We don’t know that road. We only know the road out of oblivion. That one we have traveled plenty. We pride ourselves on the strength to maintain, and persevere in the worst conditions. But dressed in the finest threads and served with caviar? ‘What is this among me? Give me back my muddy shoes. I don’t understand success.’

Now our team is thinking “Golly gee, we’re cursed. It hurts so bad to lose a win. I don’t want to touch what I can’t have. I wonder if it’s better not to try too hard and then accept defeat cuz that’s what I earned. That hurts a whole lot less”. And we the fans are thinking “Golly gee, we’re cursed. This is so familiar. I am now going to pull out all my dirty laundry and tell the world how it’s always wronged me (hey, I do that all the time). Give me something to stomp on!! Damn it all, damn it all!! I love how right I am about how wrong it all is!!” Isn’t that the way you feel?

Yeah? Well I’m sick to death of standing here. I’ve seen that road and I want it left behind me. To hell with mediocrity. Draw a line and dare me to leap it. Cuz I am more than ready. I want to know what success is. No one else deserves it more than me and let me tell you – success is every bit as close as failure, just an inch away.

I’ll tell you what success is. Success is Dave Krieg, slipping the 8th sack near mid-field and gunning it into the end zone for a win in KC. And THAT is the heart of the Hawk. That is what is POSSIBLE. At every single moment. Be THAT. Do not be defeat before it occurs…

If you want to consume your mind with imminent failure, consider all the possible conditions of difficulty in achieving the goal - that’s fine. However, that seems a highly irrational position to take. Is it the mountain that says you cannot climb it? Or yourself?

And that has to be the difference. No matter what the outcome. No matter how many times you fall down. A winner will get back up once again. We cannot serve an interest in failure, or fear of it. We’re still tied for first in the Western Division and no one says we can’t win every single game from here on out - except ourselves. Get back up and stand your ground (yeah, I know it’s hard. I want to roll over and die as well. Until I’m disgusted with the thought of it). The line is there before you. Don’t worry about what’s behind you, leave all that alone. Defeat is in the past. Grab the ball and cross it!!! “Run, Forrest! Runnnn!!”

We’re 6-6. And pride is on the line…

Don’t disappoint. Beat The Man!

Feeling very confident about my picks this week:

DC +9.5 vs. PHI
The Skins finally broke out and scored last week. I think that carries over. Philly has nothing to prove after decimating the Packers and sitting pretty atop the NFC standings. They now meet a very physical Washington defense that gets back a healthy LaVar Arrington. Skins threaten to win it in this division match-up, but the Eagles sneak by at the end.

TBAY+5.5 @ SD
The Bolts pushed the spread last week, had a blood draining game vs. Denver, and face a Bucs team feeling pretty good about themselves. Enormous motivation for the Bucs. Not so much for SD.

That’s a ton of points and disrespect to a Rams team that has everything to play for, and from a Panther team that’s showed impressive heart (take note Hawk players) – but were a joke just a month ago. Seriously, the Rams are getting 7 here? That’s just ridiculous.

CIN +11.5 @ NE
Cincinnati’s Super Bowl. They’re gonna give it all they’ve got.

There’s no spread on this game currently. But I’ll take it at whatever you see posted on Sunday. Often times you want to avoid red hot-vs-ice cold sucker bets, though I don’t fear it here. Buffalo should destroy a Cleveland team that just wants to wake up when it’s over.

HOU +11.5 vs. INDY
Colts have covered 4in-a-row. They spanked the Texans last game in Indy. Texans are a proud bunch (remind me of us in the 70s).

SF +7 @ AZ
Arizona is in the middle of a ridiculous QB swap, are offensively inept, and Dennis Green has lost his mind. Plenty of points for a team I think should be favored.

MINN –7 vs SEA
Prove me wrong, ****ers!

Beat The Man… because you can!

G. Scott Jones is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to Seahawks.NET. Reaction of any sort is always encouraged at Top Stories