Extra Points: "Playoff-Bound!"

"It's been one of the most topsy-turvy, schizophrenic seasons that we've ever had. And we've had a few. But with the victory Sunday against Arizona we achieved the most important goal a team can have and that's making the playoffs."

It's been one of the most topsy-turvy, schizophrenic seasons that we've ever had. And we've had a few. But with the victory Sunday against Arizona we achieved the most important goal a team can have and that's making the playoffs. We can't win a Super Bowl without making the playoffs so achieving this goal was, without a doubt, the most important achievement we've reached thus far.

It should have been much easier to achieve. Late game meltdowns against the Rams and Cowboys still loom large with the division title still at stake. We need to be the division champions not only for chest thumping bragging rights but more importantly we need to host a playoff game. A playoff game at Quest Field could give us the advantage that we need to finally end this horrible 20 year playoff victory drought we've got going on.

Of course we still need to win this division that nobody wants first. We've either got to beat Atlanta or have the Rams loose to the Jets, which I think they will. It would be sweet for that to happen so that we could rest some of our guys against the Falcons and get everyone as healthy as possible for the first round of the playoffs. With so many of our guys banged up it would be nice to get them an extra week of rest to get ready for the playoffs.

Speaking of banged up, let's take a look at some "Extra Points" from this weeks win against the Cardinals.

Let's hope that Walter Jones's injury isn't serious enough to make him miss any games. Although I have to admit it was a very pleasant surprise to see how Sean Locklear stepped right in there and played pretty well. The kid more than held his own but we're going to need a healthy Jones to advance in the playoffs.

Just how badly is Matt Hasselbeck hurt? Was he listed as doubtful for the Cardinals game? If he was then I totally missed it. I knew he was banged up and didn't practice that much but I didn't know he wasn't going to play until I saw Dilfer jogging onto the field. Speaking of Dilfer, what a great run he made to seal the victory. I swear I've never seen a 7-yard run take so darn long to complete. I just knew he was going to get tackled before he got there but to his credit he made it and the game was over. I thought Dilfer showed a lot of rust in the beginning and maybe even some fear as well. He looked like a deer in the headlights in trying to dump off the ball as quickly as possible to avoid getting hit. But like the true warrior he is, he settled down and got the job done when we needed it most. It's a big comfort knowing that he's our backup. At least he's somebody we know we can count on.

I thought that Shaun Alexander, Darrell Jackson, Chike Okeafor and Ken Lucas had terrific games. All of those guys came up big for us on more than one occasion. Shaun actually ran hard enough for me to question who was carrying the ball. He didn't go down as easily and lowered his head to get the extra yards. He's having a fantastic season and I'm sure it's simply a coincidence that it's a contract year, right?

Big props to Bobby Engram for finally returning a punt for more than the usual 5 yards that we had been getting. His 48-yard punt return provided the turning point in the game for us. We need more of this.

We also need a new punter, but that's a column for later in the off-season.

One New Year's resolution that I'm begging Ray Rhodes or somebody on the defensive coaching staff to achieve is to try and teach our secondary how to adjust to the deep ball late in games. Time and time again, average receivers get deep on us only to have the opposing quarterback loft a big alley-oop pass a mile in the air and let the receivers simply go up and get it while our defensive backs look like 12-year-olds hugging them around the waist as they fall into the end zone. It's ridiculous. So many of our games end up being way too close because of this.

I do need to give our defense props because we played pretty well until we got the big lead late. We've just got to learn how to put teams away. Either that or stop getting a big lead on them which is stupid when you think about it. When we go up by 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter the game should be over. But teams always get right back into the game with big pass plays and we look helpless to stop it. We've got to fix this. Now.

One more little gripe is that we seem to run to our right too often without much success. Why not run more to our left where our two Pro Bowlers reside? How many times have we seen third and short run to the right only to loose yardage and be forced to punt. I know we need to try and keep defenses guessing but I also think we should play to our strengths which is the left side of our offensive line.

Okay, so we're in the playoffs again. I love it!! I think we can actually do some damage if we get our heads on straight and get a little more healthy in a hurry. It's time to break the 20 year drought and there's no better time than now to get it done. I think we can do it, especially if we get a home game. A win this Sunday will allow us to achieve yet another goal and that is to be division champions. That sounds sweet to me. Bring on the Falcons!

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 teamjames4@yahoo.com.


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