Beating New Orleans was nice. But another upset victory, this one in Chicago, over the Bears, would be legendary.
CHICAGO — In this astute yet arrogant football haven, the Beast Quake barely registers in the locals’ consciousness, let alone on their seismometer.
The Seahawks are just a nice little story never to happen again around here. Marshawn Lynch’s unforgettable touchdown run, as well as Seattle’s landmark upset of the reigning champion New Orleans Saints, are commendable but explainable.
“A lot of missed tackles,” Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher says of Lynch’s 67-yard rumble. “Good run, though.”
I just had the image of Urlacher patting Lynch, aka Beast Mode, on the head.
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If you get the feeling the Bears are acting like they invented the NFL, well, they practically did. The franchise is one of two charter members of the National Football League that still exist. Green Bay is the other. And many fans spent the week overlooking the Seahawks and daydreaming of a possible NFC Championship Game featuring the two rival greybeards.
“The Seahawks, last week was their Super Bowl,” said a fan sitting at Ditka’s restaurant, an establishment aptly named after Mike Ditka, Da Coach, who led the Bears to their last Super Bowl victory 25 years ago. “I don’t think they have another upset in them.”
He must’ve gotten that line from sports talk radio. It was the most popular comment about the Seahawks on the airwaves this week.
This disdainful environment is the perfect setting for these Seahawks to add to their unlikely playoff legend.
Think the Seahawks did something last week? Well, as great a triumph as that 41-36 victory over New Orleans was, a win Sunday at Soldier Field would be far more legendary. Looking back, the Seahawks had every reason to beat the Saints — from the motivation of being ridiculed as the first playoff team with a losing record; to Matt Hasselbeck’s desire to play well coming off injury; to the good timing of playing an injury-plagued foe. Those factors don’t make the win any less amazing, just more understandable.
But beating the Bears in Chicago, as a double-digit underdog (again), with the opponent fresh from a bye week, is almost unimaginable. The locals don’t give them a chance. And despite last week’s theatrics, most national media doesn’t believe the Seahawks have it in them, either.
Which is why the Seahawks must pull off another shocker. A real shocker.
This is exactly the kind of team that could do it, too.
The Seahawks don’t conform to logic. Heck, their entire season has been one illogical cluster of mood swings. One game is rarely relevant to the next. Momentum is a falsity. Lulls are inevitable. But this team thrives off a fighting spirit that cannot be ignored. Since nothing, good or bad, goes according to plan with the Seahawks, you’re free to think without conventions.
It doesn’t matter to this team that the franchise hasn’t won a road playoff game in 28 years. The Seahawks have lost seven consecutive postseason games away from home. Their only road playoff triumph ever was the first one they played. Dave Krieg and Curt Warner led them to a 27-20 win at Miami in 1983 that put the Seahawks in the AFC Championship Game.
Since then, playoff road games have been a frustrating mix of blowout losses and close calls. Hasselbeck, who has five of the franchise’s eight all-time playoff wins, is 0-3 on the road. Two of the setbacks were overtime defeats.
But what does a painful history mean to a motley crew of aging veterans, retreads and precocious youngsters? This ever-developing team is still learning to play together. That doesn’t leave much time to study the past.
The Seahawks have one goal: to prove themselves. If they max out and lose, they can live with it. But they’re focused on showing their best before this season ends. And they don’t believe they’ve done that yet.
“We’re not satisfied,” tight end John Carlson said after the New Orleans game. “We’re not even .500 yet.”
They’re only 8-9. To finish the season with a .500 record, the Seahawks would have to make it to the Super Bowl. To be above .500, they would have to win the championship.
Chicago laughs at this hope for a ragtag team from Seattle. The city has seen greatness. The Bears have nine NFL championships. They have 26 former players in the Hall of Fame. They have more all-time victories than any franchise in the league.
The Chicago Tribune labels its Bears special section “Destination: Dallas,” referencing the site of Super Bowl XLV. The paper compared these Bears to the 2006 team that lost in the Super Bowl and concluded this team has nothing on that one. And yet the city still expects nothing less than its first title since the Super Bowl shufflin’ crew of 1985.
How dare a team with a losing record attempt to challenge the dream?
The audacity of these Seahawks.
Yes, their audacity. It shouldn’t be dismissed.
Last week was not the Seahawks’ Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is their Super Bowl, just like the five other teams remaining. On paper, they aren’t good enough to make it that far. Then again, on paper, they shouldn’t have been good enough to make it to the playoffs.
But they’re here, frumpy, flawed and unconcerned. The Bears better show up, too, because they won’t win on tradition and conventional wisdom alone.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @Jerry_Brewer