Monday, November 26, 2012

The Morning After: Seahawks Lose Their Way, Fall To Dolphins 24-21

It is a good thing that the Seahawks all have legs, waists and torsos. They have shot themselves in the foot so often this season, they will need to start decimating other body parts. Pete Carroll may want to show his team a few episodes of The Walking Dead before the team returns to the road. In it, a group of regular people band together to survive relentless enemies on the road. They are forced to make impossible decisions in a split second, often choosing between life and death for them and the ones they love. The individuals grow stronger through the experience and the group becomes a family. Kill, or be killed. There is a simplicity of their reality, even in the face of what appear to be incredible complexities. There are some characters in the show that have been sheltered from the horrors of the road. They are living in denial, believing they are safe as long as they protect the little patch of land they call home. These two groups are setting up for a clash, and the smart money is on the ones who have stared down death on the road. Their adversity has wrought an unbendable will. Home is a luxury to them, not a necessity for survival. Guess which group the Seahawks are. Imagine what they could become.

Imagination may be the real problem for Seahawks fans. A team riddled with young Pro Bowl talent makes it easy to start envisioning greatness. The hard truth is mediocrity is clinging to this team, as it has to so many others in franchise history. The mediocrity may be more confounding this season, but it is there nonetheless. I could try to tell you why this loss to a weaker Miami Dolphins team was the worst of the year. I could tell you why it will be the game the team and their fans look back on as the reason their goals were not met. That just is not true. This loss is no worse than the one in Arizona, the one in St. Louis, or the one in Detroit. The team has provided fans with a veritable smorgasbord of regrettable losses to choose from.

I made the statement on Twitter yesterday that this loss ended the Seahawks season. That is certainly not factually accurate. Not only can the team still make the playoffs, but they still control their own destiny. Figuratively, the dominant team I expected to see this year is not there. That hope has largely been extinguished. Perhaps there is some good that comes from this latest road disaster. Maybe it catalyzes the team to a great finish that includes a pair of road victories. The evidence does not support it. Neither does my gut. There have already been plenty of reasons to alter game plans on the road, to be more aggressive. It has not happened. There has already been perfect opportunities to shed the label of road patsies. It has not happened. I have been a big fan of Gus Bradley, but it may be time to question his place on this team. To have this amount of talent, and to be so vanilla with it, while regressing as the season wears on, is unthinkable. It is not just one person. There simply aren't enough fingers to be able to point them at all the people who should be held accountable for the state of this team.

In the end, there is one man that must lead this group to realize their potential. The clock has officially started on the Pete Carroll era. With a franchise quarterback, and young talent all over the field, this team should be among the elite. Beating teams like Green Bay and New England, and taking the 49ers to the limit on the road shows this team is good enough right now. NFL history is full of championship teams that were built by one man, but found their stride with another. Carroll has proven he can assemble one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. He has yet to prove he can do any more than that. Until he does, his credibility as an NFL head coach remains in question. 

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