Here is why you need not worry so about this week's defeat. For starters, the Hawks just came off a huge emotional victory over their biggest division opponent in what could only be seen as a must-win game if they were to be taken seriously going into the playoffs. Even ESPN's Sean Salisbury, not a big believer when it comes to the Seahawks, was heard saying he felt the Hawks had a shot at knocking off the Packers and the Cowboys on their way to a possible Superbowl.
No matter how much Holmgren talked about finishing out the season strong, there was bound to be a let down after last week. Couple that with a long road trip to the east coast and the fact that it was highly unlikely all of the stars would align in order for them to move up to a number two seed, and it is not surprising they weren't up for this game.
Yes, they looked flat. The offense sputtered. The highlight real is, for all intents and purposes, empty. This is not the team that was on the gridiron in Qwest Field the week before. But coming into the last three games of the season with the playoff situation almost set in stone and coming off of a five game win streak, it is not surprising to see them drop a game. Better now than at home in front of their adoring fans. Better now than the last week of the season against a coachless Atlanta squad heading into the playoffs.
Now, the question has been posed "Does the burden of this loss fall to John Marshall?" Are you serious?!?! The defense held an NFL team, any NFL team, scoreless for three quarters and finished the game giving up a mere thirteen points! If the faltering offense could have put up just two touchdowns it would have meant a victory! Granted the wind kept Josh Brown off the field for the most part (or was it the fear of another botched long snap) which could have given us at least another six points easily, but this has been a productive offense that could not find it's stride today. It is far more worrisome that the Hawks seem to have no semblance of a running game right now, no matter who carries the ball, especially when we saw this week how the weather can wreak havoc on a purely passing offense.
We have apparently gotten spoiled and greedy. No, neither Lofa Tatupu nor Marcus Trufant had three picks in this game much less took any of them to the house. No, Patrick Kerney did not add three more sacks to his league-leading total for the season. There wasn't even so much as a shoulder shake from Rocky Bernard. But we cannot expect huge player-of-the-week games every week from these guys and holding any NFL offense, even if it would have been the Dolphins, to that low of a level of production is nothing to squawk about. And yes, there did not seem to be much pressure against a rookie QB. But let's face it, that is the result of stellar line play, not being beaten by the young man from Oregon State.
Some may fear a repeat of last year's stumble into the playoffs. No need once again. This is not last year's team. They are wiser, wilier, and don't have the same injury issues. They have picked up key free agents, guys who know how to get the job done. They aren't turning to one man to return from injury and run the ball to the Promised Land. It is hard to lose great leaders like Mack Strong on the field, even if Leonard Weaver is turning out to be a great up-and-coming replacement. But, this is a better overall team who will finish out the last two games with healthy wins and be primed to peak at right time.
So relax everyone. Yes, this game was a clunker, maybe even an embarrassment. Maybe it was just one of those weeks. Heck, Dallas lost and Miami WON! For whatever reason, this team seems to respond well to wake-up calls and this one comes at the perfect time. This is a team came off back to back losses, a miserable shut-out at the hands of the dreaded Pittsburgh Stealers and becoming prey to the Saints first win of the season, to end up with a five game win streak when it mattered most. They will do it again right into a beautiful playoff run, hopefully topped off by the team's second Superbowl appearance.
Kelly Martin writes for Seahawks.NET. When she's not on the road with work or spending time with husband Dan and her boys Ben and Nate, she's cheering on the Hawks. Kelly can be reached via email here.