Fight or flight. It is coded into our DNA. Biology combines with life experiences to make that crucial decision when a threat is detected. Too often this year, it has felt like Seahawks fans and players have lacked the intensity needed to fight their way past danger. Too often, they have succumbed to a team and fanbase that appeared to want it more. Still satiated from a satisfying championship run, the men and women who have filled the seats at CenturyLink Field this year have yet to impose their will on an opponent. Their team has faced countless injuries, but even those who have been healthy have largely taken a step back instead of forward. And now there is nowhere left to retreat. We are bound together with our backs against the wall with a choice to make; will we run, or will we fight?
No explanations. No excuses.
Referees will surely make bad calls. Coordinators will call questionable plays. The opponent will make good plays like all 9-1 teams do. How will you respond? How will the players respond?
Everyone in football wants to see the Seahawks fall. Nobody wants to believe a dynasty is possible. We have been on the other side and felt the dread of knowing one team had potential that no other team could reach. Seattle has largely lost that mystique this year. They have lost at home. They have lost more this year than all of last year. Their dominant defense has been vulnerable and their wunderkind quarterback has looked uncertain.
Sunday brings an opportunity to stand up again and let the league see the championship resolve that resides in Seattle. It is time to brush aside all equivocations and insist on victory. Treat every obstacle as an opportunity to reestablish our will.
Be the aggressor
Seattle fans who enter a stadium with doubts can sometimes wait for their team to give them reason to cheer. We cannot be that way Sunday. Fans need to lift the team from the start. We need to tap into the desperation and channel it into unrelenting noise. Give the visitors no sense that they can diminish our capacity for mayhem.
The players and coaches have to come with the same mindset. Bring the fight to the enemy. Swarm to ball carriers. Hit with ferocity. Celebrate each moment.
Take shots down the field on offense. Expect to be great. Dictate how you want to play. Make the defense stop you instead of assuming they will.
Go for it on fourth down. Fake the punt. Try the flea-flicker. Show the fans your desire and hunger, they will echo it back in tectonic reverberations.
Play for each other
When the offense goes three-and-out, the special teams needs to pin the opponent back and the defense needs to hold. Should the defense surrender points, the offense needs to get them back.
The story of 2014 has too frequently been that when one unit gains ground, the other responds by giving it back. The overarching narrative has felt like the team is not playing for each other in the same way they did a year ago when they were united under a flag of disrespect.
I want to see evidence that this team and their fans will still fight for one another. The Legion of Boom was a brotherhood, but has felt more like a brand. The receivers refused to be pedestrian. The pass rushers demanded sacks over hurries. The crowd got louder when the team needed to be picked up instead of sinking into their chairs.
Going through the motions will earn the players a paycheck and fans a nice day of entertainment. Only victory borne of supreme effort will nourish their souls.
There is no doubting that the Seahawks have suffered injuries to foundational players. The odds are stacked against them doing anything approaching what they accomplished a year ago. Division rivals are at the gates, eager to face the team they once secretly feared. They are right to sense vulnerability. Make them wrong to sense contrition.
Get up off the mat and counterpunch. Push out of the corner and bring the fight to them. Rekindle that sense of inevitable victory. Bring back the roar of champions.