SEATTLE – One of the best sporting calls of the century came in 2008, when Tiger Woods hit a 12-foot shot to put him in an 18-hole playoff at the US Open. It was then that Woods was at the peak of his strength, seemingly invincible despite playing in a torn ACL and fracturing a bone from stress in his leg.
And as that putt dripped, NBC’s Dan Hicks revealed what everyone watching the tournament was thinking.
Expecting something different?
Which brings me to the Seahawks. No, I’m not saying the group was NFL level with Woods around 2008. There are clear flaws on their roster, especially in defense, where the 493.7 yards they allow per game is the worst in the league.
What is undeniable over the last two seasons, however, is their ability to engineer victories in close quarters. Sunday’s 38-31 win over the Cowboys is the latest example. Expecting something different?
When Greg Zuerlein’s field goal put Dallas 31-30 with 3:59 left in play, it forced the Seahawks to score on their next possession if they were to win. After his fourth downward conversion midway through the run, the score came via a 29-yard touchdown pass from midfielder Russell Wilson to receiver DK Metcalf, redeeming himself from premature celebrations that cost him an early touchdown.
After a 2-point conversion that gave Seattle a seven-point lead, the Cowboys sped over to the Seahawks’ 22-yard line, but after being sacked by rookie Alton Robinson and an interception by training squad caller Ryan Neal, Seattle preserved the win.
“I think for us we just have to find a way,” said Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett, who had three touchdown catches on the day. “Dallas is adjusting well and they are holding us down. We couldn’t get the rhythm like in the first half. I think the greatest thing that everyone can know about this team and about Russ (Wilson) is that we will always find a way. “
If the Super Bowl-era Seahawks were defined by trampling on the souls of their opponents, “finding a way” would characterize the group today. Seven days earlier, Seattle denied New England midfielder Cam Newton on the goal line to beat the Patriots 35-30.
But that’s only this year. On the same lines last season, the Seahawks were 10-1 up in matches determined by one score and 5-0 in matches determined by four points or less. Last November, I asked the question: Was this close win the result of fortitude or luck?
The law of averages would suggest that eventually this type of play will start to move away from the Seahawks – that perhaps the 11-5 streak in 2019 and the 3-0 streak are now rising. However, when the same thing keeps happening over and over again, you start to think it might be more about fortitude than luck.
“It’s almost ingrained in us now, that we keep going and keep clawing and scratching and trying to do the right thing longer than anyone else and finish the game,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “I know it’s bad for the fans, they all rip their hair and all, but I always tell you, you have to suck it up. That’s how it is. That’s how we do it. I know this sounds a little sick, but I like it that way. “
One other factor that can’t be ignored is that Seahawk has Wilson and the rest of the team doesn’t. Since entering the league, the midfielder has had 22 counter-attacks in the fourth quarter and 29 game-winning drives. If he doesn’t show up for the fourth and third game at the end of Sunday’s game, Seattle doesn’t win. If he doesn’t drop the TD pass into Metcalf’s hands, Dallas could win with his late field goal.
I asked Wilson Sunday if he likes to win at the 200 heartbeats per minute his coach does.
“I prefer to win by a lot, but I don’t mind. I don’t mind winning, “said Wilson. “Whatever we face, we always feel we can find a way to win games and find a way. Do what’s right and stay in the middle and we’ve been able to do it. I think you have to be a clutch too. “
The Seahawk is like that. Clutch. Will this last? Based on their track record, it’s getting harder and harder to say no.
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