|4 pics? Whatevs.|
In case you haven't noticed, which I'm guessing you most certainly have not, I haven't had a chance to update this blog for a long time. A really long time. A "since we were basking in our XLVIII post-coital glow" long time. Seriously, tons of shit has gone down since I wrote anything, including this year's entire regular season, Percy Harvin, the rather inglorious yet overwhelmingly spectacular demise of Jim Harbitch and the San Francisco 9erstank, and the return to Super Bowl form of our beloved LOB.
With so many inspiring topics, why the lack of words, you ask? Two reasons. One - a promotion at work. You know, the job that actually pays me real money, as opposed to this blog. With it came more money, which is pretty cool, but also less time. My night time activities turned from the occasional blog post to work. Blech... Two - a certain little female 7 pound 2 ounce bundle of vomit-and-excrement-producing joy that now rules every waking moment I have arrived. The nightly 3 am wake-up calls have seriously hampered any energy I would've used to write updates here. But then the NFC Championship happened, and well, sometimes you just have to suck it up (and get the baby down early) to try to wrap your head around what the Seahawks pulled off. So if you're new here, what follows is tonight's Gong Report (here's my first gong report from the 2013 season if you wanna check out the format) - in short, the more gongs, the better. And a gonging we go...
1 Gong - Almost 58 minutes of the worst Sehawks football they have played in the Pete Carroll era. More to the point - by far the worst first half they have played in years. Turnovers, relatively porous defense, poor special teams (why bring it out from 7 yards deep, Doug Baldwin?! WHY?!!!)... Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong. The bounces went Green Bay's way - the deflections off of our receivers that last year would have fallen innocently to the ground were gobbled up by opportunistic Packer defenders. By the time we finally got a first down (with 6:45 left in the first half - THE FIRST HALF FOR CRIMINY'S SAKE) I expected a Sarlac pit to open up and swallow Beast Mode whole after his 14-yard rush. Pile on top of this Russell Wilson's worst performance, in any game, by faaaaarrrrr... it was had to stay positive. I kept saying that this Seahawks team, like they had all year, would win the game during the 4th quarter when it mattered. Admittedly, it got pretty damn hard to hold onto that optimism.
2 Gongs - Whatever remains of Richard Sherman's elbow. Going into this season as we all pined for a Hawks repeat, we heard a myriad of reasons for why they wouldn't repeat, the foremost of which was health, And for a moment there, the naysayers seemed to be correct. The impact of early season injuries to Kam and Bobby was obvious - the defense was a shell of itself. It was no coincidence that Wagner's return coincided with the start of the Hawks' current 8-game winning streak. Which brings me to Richard's poor elbow - after etting it hyperextended by a Kam Chancellor collision---shudder---he cradled that left arm as preciously as if it were my 9-month old daughter. Which, if he were cradling my 9-month old, would be pretty spectacular. However, it's not spectacular. It's an injury, An injury we can ill afford at this point of the season. Luckily, he has two weeks for doctors to figure out what's wrong and to help him heal and get in fighting form BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE TWO WEEKS BEACUSE THE SEAHAWKS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL XLIX HOLY CRAP IT'S HAPPENING.
3 Gongs - The Redemption of Jermaine Kearse. Six targets. 4 interceptions, 1 incompletion. But oh that 6th target,... Russell had easily the worst game of his career, but two of his 4 pics were a direct result of Kearse not hauling in catchable passes. Those deflections I mentioned earlier? All Kearse. But then, after the most improbably and impossible of comebacks put the Hawks in position to win the game in OT, Russell showed faith in his maligned reciever and went right to him, for a jaw-dropping 35-yard TD that even the Clink faithful didn't see coming.
4 Gongs - The Greatest Comeback in NFC Championship history. That's not hyperbole. There's no need to add any forced narrative that NFL commentators feel the need to ram down our throats. It was, simply, the Greatest Comeback ever at this level.
I'm a Chicago Blackhawks fan, and during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals they were down 2-1 with 1:16 left in game 6. I was sure, as was everyone else watching the game, that there would be a game 7. Then, the Blackhawks went out and scored twice in 17 seconds to win the Cup. I was stunned. I could do nothing other than watch speechlessly while the team celebrated their championship. My mind literally could not process what had just happened. I didn't cheer, I didn't scream; I barely moved. Once it sunk in days later, I thought there was no way any sporting event could shock me more. I was sure I had seen the best and most exciting possible game I would ever see, that there was no possible way professional sports could be better. And then The Comeback happened.
When Jon Ryan perfectly executed the fake field goal attempt and threw that TD pass, I ran screaming outside and jumped at my brother-in-law. When Russell and Marshawn ran in their TD's, I hopped and shouted and high fived and slammed the wall. But when Wilson hit Kearse with that 35-yard bomb to clinch our second consecutive Super Bowl berth, I sat motionless for at least 10 minutes, completely silent. For the second time in my life, I was simply unable to comprehend what happened. A small summary...
-Russell scrambles in to make it 19-14 with 2:13 left in the game. A little over two minutes.
-Brandon Bostick, in a play that will surely haunt his dreams all offseason, muffs the Hawks' onside kick attempt, which Chris Matthews recovers. At this point, I think some of us just knew.
-Ensuing possession, Lynch runs a shockingly easy 24-yard TD. Hawks lead 20-19.
-2 point attempt - Wilson to Willson on an almost impossible loft to the opposite side of the field. Watch that conversion, Again and again and again. And know joy. Hawks 22-19.
-Packers rally to tie the game, and then the rest is history. Beautiful, NFC-clinching history.
Keep in mind that all of this took 5:32 of game time. 5 minutes and 32 seconds!!! I'll watch this game over and over in the coming years, as will we all, and I don't think I'll ever truly understand that it actually happened. At least not that way. We were dead in the water. When Wilson threw his fourth pic with about 5 minutes left, I began to accept the loss. The Packers outplayed us in every aspect of the game, and deserved to win, but then that last 5:32 happened. This will surely go down as the greatest non-Super Bowl win in Seahawk history, which is shocking since I said the same thing one year ago about The Tip. So hell, next year could very well produce a more exciting game, a more shocking finish, but right now my brain simply can't process how anything could beat this. Soak it in 12s, and realize the history we witnessed today. Then, remember that we're on our way to Arizona for XLIX. Holy shit.