Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Look no further than the sequence of events that occurred today in the Seattle Seahawks-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at CenturyLink Field as the clock was winding down in the 4th quarter. The 7-1 Seahawks, who just have not been themselves of late, had fallen behind the 0-7 Buccaneers in the first half of this game by a score of 21-0. It looked for all the world like the biggest upset of the current NFL season was in the making, especially when you consider that never in Seattle’s history have they come back from 21 points down to win a game. Buccaneer rookie running back Mike James was sustaining Tampa drives with dynamic running and rookie Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon was playing like a seasoned veteran. Meanwhile the Hawks were contributing to their own demise with two turnovers; a Russell Wilson drive killing interception on their first possession of the game, and a Jermaine Kearse fumble on a kickoff return that gave Tampa Bay possession deep in Seattle territory, and ultimately a TD.
Shortly before the half the Hawks finally scored on a Wilson TD pass to Kearse making the score 21-7 at the break. But the Bucs took the second half kickoff and drove down the field again, this time settling for a field goal and a 24-7 lead. It was then that the game began to turn and Seattle started battling back. A Russell Wilson 10 yard run for a touchdown made it 24-14 and a field goal following a marvelous Golden Tate 71 yard punt return brought the Seahawks to within one score at 24-17. Hawk fans everywhere suddenly had hope.
The Seattle defense, which played much better in the second half after the poor first half, held the Bucs after the ensuing kickoff and forced a punt. Starting from their own 25 yard line a combination of Wilson throws and Marshawn Lynch runs brought the Hawks all the way to the Bucs 3 yard line, the last 27 yards coming on a beautiful Wilson pass to Kearse on a 3rd and 4 play from the Bucs 30 yard line. With 8 minutes to go in the 4th quarter I was ecstatic; I knew we were going to score—how could we not? With first and goal on the Tampa 3 yard line all we had to do was hand the ball to Lynch and the game would be tied. Beast Mode was definitely in order.
And then disaster struck. On first down from the Tampa 3 yard line Russell Wilson made the worst play ever of his short career at the helm of the Seahawks offense. Instead of just handing the ball to Lynch and letting him pound it in for a score offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel called for a pass. After faking the hand off to Lynch Wilson tried to hit Doug Baldwin on a slant pattern in the end zone. Bucs safety Keith Tandy, who was playing close to the line of scrimmage between Baldwin and Wilson, simply stuck up one hand, batted the ball in the air and then intercepted it, thus foiling the Hawks’ would-be and game-tying touchdown.
My initial shock on seeing this play quickly morphed into a stream of expletives at my TV set. How could Wilson have done that? No way should that throw have been made! We have the best stud running back in the league and instead of using him Bevel calls that? But even so, no way should Wilson have made that throw! With my anger and blood pressure rising I sat there in my easy chair fearing the worst. One second we were about to come ALL the way back and tie this game and the next second the spectre of defeat had returned and was staring us in the face.
Now, if you follow these Seahawks at all and have heard any of Russell Wilson’s press conferences, then you know he is always talking about the need to “stay in the moment”. The whole team says stuff like that, but Wilson is ALWAYS saying it. Saying it, however, is one thing—Russell Wilson actually does it! Many times I have seen him on the sidelines this season after something has gone wrong and he has that same unconcerned look on his face. It was no different with this near disastrous interception he had just thrown. A couple minutes later I was still sitting there in my chair fuming, but Wilson had already moved on.
To answer the question posed at the outset of this blog, what makes Russell Wilson so special is that he always seems to be operating in the present moment. Whatever mental factors that conspire to keep the rest of us mere mortals trapped to some degree in the past Wilson seems to be devoid of. I should know by now that he would not get down on himself or his team. That interception moment was now in the rear view mirror and all that mattered to him is what he and his team now did.
As if to prove the point, the Hawks defense held the Bucs again and after the punt Seattle had the ball, with a first and ten on their own 4o. There were 6 minutes left in the game. Just over 4 minutes later Wilson hit Doug Baldwin with a 10 yard touchdown pass and the game was tied. In the overtime period the Beast was unleashed with Marshawn Lynch gaining over 40 yards in the Hawks’ drive to the game winning field goal.
Once Seattle had tied the score their 27-24 victory over the Bucs was almost anti-climactic. There was no way Russell Wilson would allow his team to lose this game. He and his Seahawks had “stayed in the moment” and the moment, therefore, was theirs.
Now, if only I can “stay in the moment”, perhaps these games wouldn’t be so stressful.
I’ll work on it.
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved