Personally I feel that Seattle has a minimal shot at making the postseason, especially if Alex Smith and Matt Leinart turn out to be above-average QBs. I think there are only three possible ways for the ‘Hawks to become division contenders:
— The Seahawks play like the Ravens or Jets. In other words, the team matures into a monstrous defensive unit with a strong rushing attack, while the quarterback does the bare minimum to get by on a weekly basis.
— Nick Reed, Brandon Mebane, and Josh Wilson morph into one unstoppable force known as Jickdon Rebaneson and singlehandedly take over the world. Seattle goes on to win the next 20 Super Bowls before President Brian Russell destroys the planet by “pressing the wrong button”.
Those scenarios not looking too high on the probability scale. I am however excited to see how Russell Okung, Golden Tate (my favorite draft pick), Earl Thomas, etc. perform in their rookie season; maybe Aaron Curry can also start developing soon to improve the linebacking corp. As mentioned before the playoffs is unlikely, so I’ve listed some team goals to accomplish in 2010-11 in the meantime.
1.) Win a road game outside of the division
Seattle’s last road win against a non-divisional opponent was in 2007 against the Philadelphia Eagles (AKA The Lofa Bowl). Oakland, Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, and Tampa Bay are the road games the Seahawks have outside of the NFC West. Nothing would be sweeter than rekindling an old rivalry by beating Oakland again.
2.) Win in Arizona
This has been killing me. Ever since that fancy new stadium opened up in Glendale the Seahawks have come close but have left each season with no victory against the Cardinals. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…
2006: Cardinals 27 Seahawks 21 (Week 13)
Their first attempt was in early December when the team had just come off the season-saving victory against Denver. After their typically bad road start led to a 14-0 deficit, Seattle rallied and led 21-17 heading into the 4th quarter. The Leinart-led 3-9 Cards responded, scored the last 10 points and the Seahawks fell to defeat. Seattle’s offense had victory in their sights on the final drive before the offensive line completely fell apart and Deion Branch fell 1 yard short of a first down on 4th and 20. Don’t let the scoreline fool you, the offense was a wreck for much of the game and fumbled 3 times (lost all 3) in addition to 3 sacks. Not only did this defeat start off the Glendale Curse, but it started a 3 game freefall which could’ve cost the Seahawks the division.
2007: Cardinals 23 Seahawks 20 (Week 2)
Once again the Seahawks fell flat on their faces and went behind 17-0. Yet again the Seahawks rallied, took a 20-17 advantage early in the 4th, only for Arizona to tie it at 20-20. Sadly with the ‘Hawks driving for the winning points, a botched handoff (caused by a blown Mack Strong block) resulted in a fumble recovered by Arizona. The defense got torn to shreds by Edgerrin James and Neil Rackers won it from 42 yards. Thankfully we got the last laugh because the 42-21 stomping at Qwest a few months later sealed the NFC West and ended the Cardinals’ run at the crown.
2008: Cardinals 34 Seahawks 21 (Week 17)
The season went to crap, Mike Holmgren’s swan song was more off-key and filled with pain than the last two major hits from Train. Arizona had wrapped up the NFC West, had little to play for, and Seattle was trying to win one more for the Walrus. Things started well for a change with the Seahawks up 7-0 at the end of the 1st, and tied 14-14 at intermission. The 2nd half was a waste of time, Seneca Wallace was horrible, and the crummy secondary got ripped to shreds. Arizona would go to the Super Bowl while Seattle’s 12th defeat would get them Aaron Curry. This was also Brian Russell’s final regular season game as a Seahawk.
2009: Cardinals 31 Seahawks 20 (Week 10)
Arizona felt The Force and John Carlson. Unbelievably the 3-5 Seahawks were up 14-0 against the Cards after a 27-3 humiliation at Qwest. The defense did enough to hold the high-octane Cards offense and kept it tied 17-17 (although Dick Stockton claimed Arizona was winning), heading into the last quarter. Unfortunately the beginning of the end came when the Seahawks were at the ARI 1 and failed to score a touchdown. While Olindo Mah-Ray made it 20-17, the defense got trucked by Beanie Wells and Larry Fitzgerald and were all but finished. Matt Hasselbeck, who had a good game, ended it by getting intercepted on a shovel pass. Any chance the Seahawks had of winning the division had been shot down, likely due to the lack of dirtbags on the team.
It’s irritating me and I’m sure it’s eating at many other Hawks fans. Seattle has led in every game played in Glendale, 3 times in the 4th quarter, but have yet to win there. Arizona’s team has weakened a bit this year with Kurt Warner retiring, Karlos Dansby signing with Miami, and Anquan Boldin heading to the Ravens. Unless Leinart has transformed into a competent quarterback, this is arguably Seattle’s best chance to go into University of Phoenix Stadium and go out was winners.
3.) Score at least 13 rushing touchdowns
Shaun Alexander‘s MVP season saw him rush for 27 touchdowns. Since then Seattle has scored 34 in the last 4 regular seasons, and just 15 of those have come from the feature back. The NFL average for rushing touchdowns was 13.61 last season. I’ll go against math and round down and make that the new goal for the Seahawks.
4.) Eliminate the Hasseltoss
Seriously, if he pulls something like this off again it’s perfectly justifiable to bench him. That was easily the lowest point of last season.
5.) SHUT! OUT!
In 6 of the last 8 seasons Seattle has mustered at least 1 shutout victory, and last season our first two wins had a combined score of 69-0. Make it 7 out of 9, and preferably Denver.
When the season ends we’ll check back and see if these goals were met. I think they’re all fairly reasonable and attainable.