Monday, December 15, 2008

A Throwback Weekend for the NFC West

by: Mike Parker

15 weeks into the 2008 season, the NFC West began to look its old self again: the Cardinals got blown out, the Niners lost a boring game on the road, and the Seahawks beat the Rams on their own turf.

But, as Sullivan talked about earlier today, it wasn't so much the fact that the Seahawks won for the first time since October in San Francisco, it was the way they won.

After Seneca got sacked in the second half, something caught fire inside his brain. At least, that's what it looked like--not only to his teammates on the field, but also to a 12th Man fanbase that's been starved to see some fire from anybody on the field all season. Hasselbeck wasn't looking over Seneca's shoulder, Holmgren is all but a lame duck, and Bill Lazor hasn't shown he's an improvement over Jim Zorn.

That moment was all Seneca Wallace.

He realized he needed to be a leader to win that game, and thanks to a last-minute drive that set up Olindo Mare's game-winning field goal, Seneca assumed exactly that role. It was refreshing and rewarding to labor through another Seahawks game that looked to end badly, only to see such an inspired ending. And beating the Rams for the eighth consecutive time shows there's still a glimmer of hope with this team, even when all else seems lost. Besides, rubbing it in Josh Brown's face is probably the most redeeming thing about the past 15 weeks for Seahawk fans.

It was important for this season's morale to win in St. Louis, and I'm glad to see the team relieved about coming back home and watching some film today that they can smile about. It also brought back fond memories of the NFC West in years past, which is basically another way of saying "The Seahawks won and the other three teams lost."

Now, the really interesting thing we'll see from here is whether or not the Seahawks ride the wave made by Seneca Wallace and win the remaining two games this season. Without echoing too much of my post last week about the pride question, the next two weeks are going to either provide us with immediate self-gratification with victories or force us accept more losses and have a better shot at drafting a key to rebuilding.

All this being said, what I'm wondering the most right now is what's happening inside Ruskell's head? Is he issuing memos to Seneca Wallace to throw interceptions and scramble back 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and wait for Adrian Wilson to jump down his throat? Or is he just sitting in his office watching college football film around the clock with an IV drip of caffeine?

Whatever everyone else thinks about that, this was a nostalgic weekend for the NFC West, and hopefully a precursor of what's to come in 2009. -END-