For several years the only story more depressing than Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” had been the saga by the same name that had been essayed by the Seattle Seahawks.
“Had” is the key word. As of Sunday (Oct. 17), the Hawks finally can call themselves road warriors instead of voyeurs. This is courtesy of an impressive effort that netted a 23-20 win against the Chicago Bears at inhospitable Soldier Field.
It was impressive not so much for what the team did and didn’t do. For a club that had been outscored by about 100 points the past four away games, any kind of win (it was their first away-game triumph outside of their division since 2007) would have to be considered impressive, if not miraculous.
Maybe the game ball will go to the team’s traveling secretary, who arranged to have the Hawks wing it eastward a day early. Perhaps that mitigated one of the National Football League’s most chronic cases of collective agoraphobia.
It led, in any case, to the 3-2 team’s initial first-quarter score of the season, particularly important given that the Bears went up 7-zip on their first possession. The Hawk defense may have drawn a measure of confidence from the offense, menacing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for six sacks, one for a safety.
Cutler may have remained somewhat woozy, having sat out the previous Chicago game with a concussion. Early during the fourth quarter he’d managed just 10 completions, the same number lanky Mike Williams had snagged for Seattle by then.
Hawk QB Matt Hasselbeck wound up 25 for 40 for 242 yards and no interceptions. His ability to pass was aided greatly by a running game that looked more aggressive than at any point since the Shaun Alexander era. New guy Marshawn Lynch didn’t put up super numbers but he was tough when the team needed it, never so much as when he fought his way into the end zone for the Hawks’ final touchdown. More versatile once again was Justin Forsett, who averaged 6.7 yards on 10 carries.
The leader on defense was Lawyer Milloy. Perhaps the 15-year veteran was inspired by the epic 35-34, two-overtime win the night before by his alma mater at Husky Stadium. Milloy, in his second go-around with coach Pete Carroll, has emerged as the team’s emotional leader. Not incidentally, the defensive back also had a sack and a couple of tackles along with pass coverage athletic enough to belie his years.
The widely unexpected victory, made interesting late when the Bears punt return narrowed the lead by seven, leaves Seattle with an enviable schedule. They host 3-2 division rival Arizona next week to see which team seizes the lead at 4-2. Then, perhaps emboldened by their road win, they go to Oakland to play an improved but scarcely great vintage of the Raiders.
It’s a just a 90-minute hop down to Oakland but Hawks management may again elect, since it worked with Chicago, to leave early. Just to be sure, maybe they ought to head out by about Wednesday.