The strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire. The Seahawks will be hardened by what they are about to go through. Men are measured by how they respond to adversity, and this team is full of men that will be better for it. I have been lucky enough to spend a significant amount of time observing this team over the past month, and it turned hope into faith.
My wife and I sometimes marvel at folks who fully surrender to their religion. The confidence and ease these people display is enviable. I am not wired that way. I question everything. Being a Seahawks, Trails Blazers and Mariners fan has left me cynical in sports especially. Things never seem to work out for these teams. Coming into this Cardinals game with tons of hype and losing should just feel like more of the same, but it doesn’t.
It doesn’t because Gus Bradley got a text one night at midnight this off-season, and it was from Earl Thomas who wanted the security code to get into the VMAC so he could study tape. It doesn’t because Doug Baldwin lost two teeth and bit through his lip while fully extending to try and win the game, but will spend the rest of the night beating himself up about not making the play. It doesn’t because Richard Sherman left the game in a walking boot and had two terrible pass interference penalties called against him, but all he can think about are the plays he didn’t make.
My faith in this team is not shaken because they are the second-youngest group of starters in the NFL, they are oozing with talent, and they are driven to be great. It was not shaken because Marshawn Lynch ran every bit as hard after his contract as he did before. It persists because the best receiver in football was a non-factor for nearly an entire game.
Russell Wilson will be questioned all week. Not here. He finished with a 62.5 passer rating, hurt by his hail mary interception at the end of the first half (would have been mid-70s otherwise). Peyton Manning threw three picks and had a rating under 60 his first start. Troy Aikman was in the 40s. Mathew Stafford was in the 20s. Make no mistake, there will be pain associated with running a rookie out there, but Wilson very nearly led a game-winning drive in his first game against a Top 10 defense on the road in this first NFL start. He was not sharp, but he made no egregious errors and clearly was better in the second half than he was in the first.
This offense is a year behind the defense. Hate that if you must, but it is reality. The defense is the big brother on this team and must protect its little brother until it grows up. Even in its infancy, there were big 3rd down conversions, 4th down conversions and a few plays that would not have been possible last year.
This team is destined to be champions because even their great defense will get better. Bruce Irvin, Jason Jones, Winston Guy, and Bobby Wagner played their first game as a Seahawk. Each will improve. Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, and Alan Branch are only now starting their second seasons as NFL starters. They are already great, and the only desintation beyond great is elite.
Call it foolishness. Call it homerism. Ask me to take off the rose-colored glasses. Just don’t question my faith in this team. They will be champions, and I can’t wait to watch it happen.