Sometimes games are won not by the best or worst team but by the least imperfect. Such was the case Sunday (Oct. 9).
After enough infractions, pratfalls, lapses, and collapses to fill a how-not-to highlight reel, the last crazy bounce went to the Seattle Seahawks. A tipped-ball 94-yard interception romp gave the Hawks a last-minute 36-25 victory against the Giants, Seattle’s first win against a New York-area team in the past 11 trips to Gotham.
The game ball ought to go to Danny O’Neil. In the Sunday edition, The Seattle Times beat scribe predicted a Hawks triumph — a bold forecast given a) that Seattle was a 10-point underdog with bookmakers and b) that many archivists couldn’t even say for sure when the last Seattle win had happened in the Eastern time zone.
But the Hawks played, if not better than their hosts, certainly no worse. The visitors trailed just twice and for only a few minutes, each time by only three points. Any 10 arbiters might pick different winners for “play of the game.” Perhaps Brandon Browner’s gift pick to complete the scoring edges out:
- A Charlie Whitehurst to Doug Baldwin 27-yard touchdown pass to secure the lead with 2:45 left.
- Another spectacular tipped-ball reception, this one by the Giants’ Victor Cruz, grabbing the ball one-handed for a 68-yard TD.
- The Hawk defense forcing a safety during the third quarter.
- A 51-yard field goal by Hawk kicker Steven Hauschka.
Then there was the other apparent game-changing play. With 9:12 left starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, at the end of an ill-advised running play, left the game with a throwing-shoulder injury, prompting the need for Whitehurst, consigned to the sidelines for most of his two-season Seattle career.
With Jackson, the Hawk offense was almost exclusively a shotgun, no-huddle approach, a carryover from last week’s second-half success during the close loss to Atlanta. The strategy might’ve been more effective against the Giants had it not been for penalties and turnovers.
Whitehurst, in any case, took snaps over center and was 11 for 19 during his relatively brief appearance. Jackson was 15 for 22, perhaps leaving fans with the belief that the 2-3 team as it heads into a bye week is secure at quarterback if the first-stringer’s injury proves to be minor.
Seattle was flagged 10 times for 70 yards; the Giants were cited seven times for 52. The visitors suffered three turnovers but the hosts had five, the final coming on an Eli Manning pick-off ball during the stale seconds of garbage time.
Coach Pete Carroll no doubt will be reveling in a couple of positive developments. For one, the defense put plenty of pressure on the Giants’ running game. New York tried the run 25 times and only had 69 yards to show for it. The Hawks Marshawn Lynch alone ran for 98 of Seattle’s 145 rushing yards.
The other positive is the above-cited, Steve Largent-like Baldwin. As the booth announcers stated, reiterated, rehashed, and belabored, the Hawk rookie receiver wasn’t even drafted out of Stanford; now, after eight grabs Sunday, he leads Seattle with 20 receptions.
A positive sign that should prevail for Seattle fans as they await the Oct. 23 trip to 2-2 Cleveland is that the current Hawks, most of them new to the program, have left behind the notion that they can’t go east and win. Unlike their appearance during the 24-0 loss at Pittsburgh Sept. 18, the Seahawks this time mostly looked confident, prompted, no doubt, by scoring first and staying poised even when they were frittering away great scoring opportunities during the first half.
Missed opportunities are inevitable given that no one’s perfect (not even Danny O’Neil, who picked the winner but missed the point spread by eight). For one game, Carroll et al probably will be glad to have been least imperfect instead.