Seahawks fans at local bars were nervous when Washington jumped to a quick lead in Sunday's wild-card game. But when the dust had settled and the Seahawks had won, the craziness had started.
What you’ll see in the coming days, predicts Seahawks fan Chris Shreeve, is that “Seattle is going to go crazy.”
He’s undoubtedly right, except for one minor detail: The craziness already has begun.
It roared and rumbled through Seattle sports bars in the Pioneer Square area Sunday, raising voices, hands and hopes during the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory over Washington in the NFC wild-card playoff game.
In watering holes near CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks were undefeated this season, fans showed up as much as three hours early for the best seats in front of banks of TVs.
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And by the end of the afternoon, the only question wasn’t whether Seattle would go crazy — but how long the craziness would last.
“I see us winning the Super Bowl. We’ve got the best quarterback in the NFL,” said Dave Lester, of the Eastlake neighborhood, who watched the game at Fuel Seattle on South Washington Street.
Lester, an eight-year Seahawks season-ticket holder, said even when Seattle gave up two touchdowns in the first quarter, “I was confident. But I was nervous.”
Owen Ashurst, who watched the game in a packed house at F.X. McRory’s, said, “I see us in the NFC Championship at least, if not the Super Bowl.”
Ashurst admits his confidence was shaken in the first quarter, when Washington’s fast start quieted the crowd around him.
“I thought someone had invaded our uniforms, because that wasn’t our defense, but I have to give it to them. The kid (quarterback Russell Wilson) is a stud, and (Pete) Carroll can coach.”
Bill Newton, of Bellevue, who watched the game from a choice seat at Sluggers, said the Seahawks’ comeback victory “is huge,” but he’s not ready to focus on the Super Bowl.
“We’ve got a big challenge next week,” he said. “It’s on the road. In Atlanta. An early game. It could be tough.”
Newton had been outside Sluggers, which boasts more than 40 TVs, with two friends when it opened at 10 a.m., so they could watch not just the Seahawks game, but the day’s earlier wild-card game, in which Baltimore defeated Indianapolis.
And they’ll be back — possibly in the same seats — to see the Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons.
Shreeve, the fan who predicts Seattle’s craziness, watched the game at Sluggers with about 20 friends. “I’m speechless,” he said at the game’s end.
And he was. Hoarse, anyway, from cheering every Seahawks’ first down.
The early scores by Washington, which would prove to be its only points, gave Michael Routon of Seattle the jitters at F.X .McRory’s.
“We’ve got to not panic,” he said. “Get the ball to Lynch. He’s the calming influence. They (Redskins) are scoring way too easy.”
Although enthusiasm for the Seahawks was high at local bars, it wasn’t until 2 ½ hours into the game that fans could break into a prolonged roar to celebrate what they had been waiting for: Seattle taking the lead in the fourth quarter.
“Did you see that? Marshawn ran through six guys!” said Tom Sullivan, at Sluggers.
While bars crowded with Seahawks fans were hopping, Swannies, a hangout for Washington fans, was subdued.
“This isn’t what I predicted,” said Iris Kwaloff, who moved to Seattle from Potomac, Md., in 2005, and helped organize the group that has been watching Washington games at Swannies all year.
At The Hawks Nest, just east of CenturyLink Field, early arrivals included Seahawks season-ticket holders Darren and Laurel Trautmann of Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood.
The Trautmanns, wearing blue and white Marshawn Lynch jerseys, met up with about 10 friends, cheering every play and referee’s call that broke in the Seahawks’ favor.
When the dust settled, Darren Trautmann was bullish on the Seahawks’ future.
“I think we’re a way better team than Atlanta,” he said. “I think we’re going to the Super Bowl.”
The craziness has only begun.
Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org