I cannot imagine a worse win than the Seahawks' win on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona. Not only did they beat the desperately bad Arizona Cardinals by an embarrassingly small 20-17 margin, but everything else that could have gone wrong went wrong. The wrongness started with a season-ending injury to a kid, then another to a Hall of Famer, and then it ended with the worst offensive play-calling yet from local bumpkin Brian Schottenheimer. In the middle? An old man missed some kicks and a young man was just okay at punting. It all sucked, and I'm mad.
Let’s break it down:
• Earl Thomas, for the second time in three years, is out for the season with a broken leg. This time it likely marks the end of his tenure with the Seahawks as he is no longer under contract with the team after this season. The Seahawks could franchise tag him, but that seems wildly unlikely. More likely is that Earl Thomas will not play football with the Seahawks again.
If that’s the case, I’ll remember Earl for his superhuman ability to run down plays, his knack for forcing fumbles, playing center field, coming up to tackle in the box, and being the rock of the best unit in Seattle sports history. If this was the last game Earl played period, he should be a Hall of Famer.
• On his way off the field, with his leg in an air cast and his future in doubt, Earl Thomas flipped off the Seahawks sideline. The gesture was almost certainly directed at Pete Carroll metonymically for the organization as a whole. Given that his recent holdout was about ensuring his financial future in case he got hurt, and then he got very hurt, his frustration was understandable. Which is to say, if this erases Earl Thomas’s legacy in Seattle for you, you were not paying attention to Earl Thomas and what he meant to this team for the duration of his career.
• Pete Carroll, like Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is a liar. When asked after the game about the middle finger that Earl threw in his direction, Carroll said, “it’s a big stadium. It could be anyone it was aimed at.” This is obviously false, the bird was flipped in the direction of the Seahawks bench. There are a limited number of people it could have been directed at, and the likeliest bird flip receiver is Pete himself.
That said, Carroll did not deny the possibility that he was the target of the bird flipping. That is unlike Brett Kavanaugh of course, who denied the possibility that he was guilty of heinous behavior this week when testifying before the Senate. By denying the possibility of assaulting Dr. Christine Ford, when at best Kavanaugh did not know what happened, he was dishonest beyond even the way in which Pete Carroll is dishonest. The key epistemological difference here: Pete merely obfuscated in his classic Pete Carroll way, but he crucially allowed for the possibility he was the target of the bird flipping. Which is to say, Pete was lying, but maybe you could make the argument he wasn’t. Unlike Kavanaugh who, no matter how you slice it, was lying.
Which is all to say that both of these powerful white men are liars, but at least Pete Carroll is better than Brett Kavanaugh. Also, Carroll isn’t being considered for a spot on the Supreme Court. If Carroll were up for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land? I sure wouldn’t spend this column space letting him off the hook for being a fucking liar. But that’s just me.
• Pete did seem to be speaking from the heart when he talked about being wrecked by injuries though; one of the great veterans in team history and one of the young potential future stars on the team going down? As tough as it is for us as fans, it’s gotta be infinitely more so for the people who work with these guys each and every day. Pete seem gutted in a way that he never had before after a big time player went down. It was genuinely sad.
• In what would have qualified as the worst thing that happened in a Seahawks game in nearly any other week, rookie tight end Will Dissly suffered a torn patella tendon, that will cost him the season and potentially the next as well. This is a really bad injury; the only player to come back from it at a high level in NFL history was Jimmy Graham and lord knows his “high level” wasn’t as high as things were before. This all sucks. I hate it.
• Also terrible? The Seahawks offense on Sunday, which is, at this point, an abstract mosaic formed by local rube and outsider artist Brian Schottenheimer into an abstract representation of a puppy hanging itself. It’s a melange of garbage and feces, boiled into a trashpoop stew, spooned out to Seahawks fans with a ladle made out of snakes.
The team managed to go 0-10 on third down despite getting 171 yards rushing, a decent overall offensive line performance and a solid if unspectacular performance out of Russell Wilson. Everything bad came down to the play-calling. Second and long? Why not run it. Third and longer? Run it again. 4th and short? Drop back and pass. BUT DON’T DO A PLAY ACTION PASS! That would be too tricky.
Is it possible that Brian Schottenheimer was told that calling play action passes would make your epidermis show? And Schottenheimer thought that meant something that it doesn’t mean? So he’s scared to do it? Maybe? Tough to say. That said, having a quarterback as good at play action as Russell Wilson and almost never using it? That’s the behavior of someone who is dumb enough to get pranked by a fourth grader.
• God, another thing that’s bad? Sebastian Janikowski, who missed two kicks on Sunday. He redeemed himself with a winner as time expired, but there was a weird report that he had thrown holder Michael Dickson under the bus. Replays of his two missed kicks showed nothing wrong with Dickson’s holds, so this is annoying. Also annoying? Dickson had another week of being just okay, with a couple great punts paired with one that bounced through the endzone. I want something to be good. Was anything good?
• Maybe the individual players on offense? They were kind of good at least? Mike Davis ran the ball well. Rashad Penny was fine, which was a big step forward. The offensive line? Also fine! And the team avoided any big turnovers. The pass catching unit leaves a ton to be desired, but when I criticize the offense, for the most part it’s because of the coaching, not the players.
• Bad teams get bad announcers, and twice already this season the Seahawks have been saddled with Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth. It’s the classic comedy duo: old man who can’t remember names and big guy who yells at stuff and hates the Seahawks. This is what we deserve. Being a Seahawks fan this year is hell.
• If it isn’t clear already, this Seahawks season is brutal. And unlike the Cardinals who suck, the Rams are incredible. The Seahawks are 7.5 point underdogs at home, and frankly I’d take the Rams. Hopefully the Seahawks tack this up in their facility in Renton and use it as motivation. And also invent a time machine so they can go back to before this week and do everything differently.