I'm not giving up on this season, damn it
The Seahawks aren't quitters and neither are you: Seaside Joe 1388
As I suspect is the case with a lot of people in my industry, adjacent content creators, and perhaps just life in general, my proudest moment as a Seahawks writer came early in my career. The message from that article 10 years ago was essentially the same as what I’m about to write to you today.
It was November 26, 2012, one day after the Seahawks suffered a gut-wrenching loss to the Miami Dolphins. Both teams featured rookie quarterbacks, but most felt that it was the Dolphins who had the brightest future at the position because Ryan Tannehill was a top-10 pick.
Miami entered the week with a 4-6 record following three straight losses and Seattle was 6-4 after winning their previous two games. Nothing crushes hope like getting your hopes up before a loss, and sure enough many Seahawks fans were salivating at the prospect of getting the Dolphins at a low point.
That seemed to be the direction that the game was trending in after Russell Wilson threw his second touchdown pass to give the Seahawks a 14-7 lead in the third quarter. Moreso after Leon Washington’s 98-yard kickoff return touchdown erased Miami’s bid to tie the game on a Daniel Thomas touchdown run.
But Ryan Tannehill answered with a 29-yard score to Charles Clay, Seattle went in the wrong direction after getting into Dolphins territory on the ensuing drive, and then the Seahawks defense got eaten alive in the final 92 seconds of the game. Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21 following a 43-yard game-winning field goal by Dan Carpenter.
That seemed to sting worse than Seattle’s 0-3 record in the division at that point, or the Week 8 loss to the Lions that ended on a Matthew Stafford touchdown pass with only seconds on the clock.
But suffering from the pains and gains of sports, as brutal as they may feel, is an emotional reaction to something that often rewards RATIONAL reactions. Throwing in the towel after heartbreaking defeat is something that the kid in the “wah wah boo-hoo I’m taking my ball and going home” cautionary tale does and that’s a lesson we are all supposed to learn when we’re seven.
My reaction to the game, following only a short amount of time in which I allow myself to wallow, was simple:
For many, it felt like Seattle’s season was over and hoped that Pete Carroll would ride off into the sunset by the end of the month, potentially going 0-for-3 in his bid to post a winning record with the Seahawks as he trotted back to college like so many before him.
My reaction was that you are never promised tomorrow, so what’s the point in looking ahead to the next offseason when there were still five games left in the actual season? As much as I enjoy the draft and the excitement of free agency and trades, my heart is in this for the GAMES.
Let’s never forget…THE GAMES.
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It’s funny that I would even say that I “take pride” in not giving up on Seattle’s 2012 season, given that I had nothing to do with what happened after that article. It was just that I felt like there was no point in quitting and that at 6-5, the Seahawks had opportunities left to make the playoffs. Similar to rooting for the Seahawks to beat the Rams in the 2010 finale, to win the division with a losing record rather than hoping for a higher draft pick by losing, there’s so many more rewards that come with reaching the postseason than giving yourself over to these fantastical “theories” of what could happen with a nice prospect.
What’s the point of getting a good draft pick if the player doesn’t help you compete in the playoffs? Well…then why would ever give up on that dream of reaching the playoffs when it is ACTUALLY in front of you?
In 2012, when they were only two wild card teams instead of three, the Seahawks were 6-5 following the loss to Miami. The 49ers were 8-2-1, the Bears were 8-3, the Packers and Giants were 7-4, the Vikings and Bucs were 6-5, the Cowboys, Moons, and Saints were 5-6.
Seattle was in the mix and they had a Week 13 date against the Bears in Chicago, with the home team favored by 3.5 points.
The Seahawks trailed 14-10 when Wilson’s offense got the ball with 3:40 left. You could have taken your ball and gone home when Seattle faced fourth-and-3 with 1:11 remaining at the Chicago 48. Instead, the Seahawks scored two plays later to take a 17-14 lead. We could have whined when the Bears got a 56-yard gain to Brandon Marshall with :20 seconds left to force overtime.
Thankfully, Wilson and Pete didn’t have any tantrums, and Marshawn Lynch ran it down Chicago’s throat in overtime and the Seahawks won 23-17.
7-5, now one game behind the Bears. Chicago would lose their next two games and finish 10-6. The Giants lost 17-16 that week and eventually finished 9-7. The Bucs lost five straight games and finished 7-9. Slowly and surely, Seattle’s path would clear up a little bit, but they still had to get work done on their own. And they would have to play better than they had at any point in the season prior to beating the Bears in overtime.
I’d say that they did.
The Seahawks beat the Cardinals 58-0 in Week 14, then defeated the Bills 50-17 in Week 15. Seattle was not only 9-5 headed into their most important game of the season, a home date against the division-leading 49ers, but they were now the most dominant force in the league…three weeks after losing to Joe Philbin’s Dolphins. Less than two months after losing to Jim Schwartz’s Lions.
On October 18, 2012, the Seahawks scored six points against the 49ers in a 13-6 loss on Thursday Night Football.
On December 23 of that same year, the Seahawks beat the 49ers, 42-13. It was the same team. It wasn’t the same team.
Seattle came a breath away from winning the NFC West that year, finishing 11-5, right behind the 11-4-1 Niners, but more importantly they proved a point about not counting a team out based on even the most recent of expectations. The Vikings took a page out of the same book that year, kind of, as they were also 6-5 (after a loss to the Bears dropped them two games behind their division rivals, but Chicago missed the 2012 postseason) and then 6-6, but reeled off four straight wins to finish the season as the other wild card.
As you know, the Seahawks easily dismantled the Moons in the wild card ronud, matching another 2012 rookie quarterback against Wilson, but then the last-second defensive bug bit them again in that divisional round game against the Atlanta Falcons.
That game broke my heart. It was also one of the absolute best things to ever happen to me. I always want the Seattle Seahawks to stay in the game, no matter how thin those hopes appear to be. Taking your ball and going home is kid’s stuff.
Getting your hopes up for this Saturday’s game against a perenially-dominant Kansas City Chiefs team with Patrick Mahomes may leave you open to a crushing feeling on the most Eve of all holidays, but so what? It’s what we’re meant to do when there’s still hope left to be mined by the fans and the Seahawks are not out of the picture to keep that alive for longer than the only moment we are promised.
Thank you for writing this ... I enjoyed and agreed with it immensily.
I am so confused by many of the Seahawk blogger/twitter/etc. personalities that proclaim, "we can't win this year so lets loose", "I guarantee you we can't beat the Chiefs", "who cares the hawks lost the Broncos lost too and that's more important!" and on and on it goes.
I would also add that one of my favorite Seahawk games I have ever been to was the beastquake game at home in the playoffs against the saints as over 10 point underdogs. I am glad the Seahawks didn't take their ball and go home that year either!
I'll accept whatever happens with good cheer. I'll root for them on every single down to win, but if we lose, I'll accept that and look forward to the next game and on and on until I am looking forward to the draft.