Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why Seattle must shred the Skins

1. Because the Skins defiled our logo and curse around little girls

Before their game in Seattle last November, several Washington players trampled the Seahawk logo at midfield while Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall sought to psych up his teammates with an oration peppered with profanity... within earshot of a little girl who happened to be on the field for the coin toss.

This nearly prompted a pregame brawl between the two teams. Seahawk fullback Michael Robinson assertively counseled Hall and his teammates regarding their unfortunate breaches of decorum: “You got a little girl out there, you got to watch your mouth, man.... You’re not going to come in our stadium and disrespect us like that."

Several Seattle players had to restrain Robinson and other Seahawks to prevent them from supplementing this verbal guidance with physical discipline.

Robinson remembers. He and his teammates intend to teach the Skins how to mind their manners today.

2. Because the Skins beat us in our house last year

The foregoing affront should have provided ample motivation for the team and the 12th Man to beat the Skins last year.

Seattle coasted into the contest on a two-game winning streak; Washington staggered into town having lost six straight, with only one road win on the season.

Nevertheless, the Skins humiliated us at home.

Washington's defense stacked the box against the run and challenged Tarvaris Jackson to beat them through the air. He couldn't. Fortunately, Russell Wilson can.

More disturbing was what Washington's offense did to our vaunted defense:

"Throughout the game, Skins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan outcoached Seattle's dim, manic duo of defensive bastardminds, Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley. Shanahan the Younger dialed up an inspired mix of stretch runs, screen passes, and crossing routes that kept our defenders on their heels, backpedaling. Few other teams have managed to run the ball effectively against the Seahawks. Our defenders missed many tackles. If Rex Grossman weren't so gaffe-prone, the Skins would have blown us out." ("Outcoached and outplayed," Seahawks Diehard 11//27/11)

Seattle's defense is generally stronger this year--except against the run--but Robert Griffin III, even when injured, is a far better quarterback than Grossman.

Stupid penalties were also a factor in last year's loss, and we haven't solved that problem as a team, yet.

We can't let the Skins outcoach us and outplay us again.

3. Because Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner need to back up all that smacktalk

I prefer it when players let their performance do the talking. Our supersized corners have given the Skins ample bulletin board motivational fodder. Sherman boasted that none of the Washington receivers scare him. Browner bragged about physically dominating Santana Moss last year.

4. Because Russell Wilson is better than Robert Griffin III

RG3 almost certainly won offensive rookie of the year. Andrew Luck probably came in second. Wilson probably finished third, or perhaps even fourth behind Alfred Morris.

By the end of the day, the folly of East Coast media bias will become manifest, as the Ravens will have eliminated the Colts, and the Seahawks will have shredded the Skins.

5. Because Marshawn Lynch is better than Alfred Morris

Mike Shanahan's system can make any running back look good. Morris overtook Lynch to finish second in the league in rushing, but only because Seattle rested Lynch during blowouts to save his legs for the playoffs. As 2010 showed, Beast Mode only intensifies in the postseason.

6. Because Seattle celebrates American Indians while Washington denigrates them

It never ceases to amaze me that the professional football franchise in our nation's capital retains a team name that is an outdated racial slur. If their name were a slur against African Americans, it would have been changed long ago. Unfortunately, our First People are too few and too distant from the concerns of this country's majority to merit similar consideration.

(The team's culture of racial insensitivity goes way back. After years of stubborn refusal, Washington finally caved to federal pressure in the '60s and became the last NFL team to integrate black players.)

Seattle's team logo pays homage to the art of Pacific Northwest Indians. (We should get a lot of love for this from Native Americans nationwide for this, but we don't, probably because their team allegiances were set before Seattle became viable. On reservations in the Southwest, the popular teams include the Chokeland Faders, the Pittsburgh Stealers, and the Arizona Cardinals.)

Let it be understood that when I refer to the Washington team as the Skins, that is not shorthand for their official team name. It is short for "Foreskins."

7. Because we got to the playoffs by beating good teams

Our record (11-5) is only a little better than Washington's (10-5), but we played a tougher schedule and beat better opponents.

Seattle went 4-1 against playoff teams, beating Green Bay, Minnesota, New England and San Francisco, but also losing once to the 49ers.

Washington went 2-2 against playoff teams: They beat Baltimore and Minnesota, but lost to Atlanta and Cincinnati.

The Skins are respectable at home (5-3), but not unbeatable.

8. Because our defense is the league's best

No team allowed fewer points. In the end, that's the only defensive statistic that matters.

Red Bryant is a monster. Our linebackers are predators. The secondary is brutally larcenous. The pass rush needs to show up.

9. Because it's time to win a road playoff game

Seriously. Is anyone else tired of hearing how we haven't won a road game since 1983?

10. Because we can't wait until next year

We were fortunate to suffer few injuries this year. Will we be so lucky in future years?

Philadelphia might hire away Gus Bradley. Will our defense be the same without him?

When this team plays up to its potential, it is the best Seahawks squad in history. This chance with this cast of characters will never come again. Seize the opportunity.