Seattle doesn't look great in beating Arizona, but the view from atop the NFC West looks pretty good.
You know how it is when your preschooler brings home a drawing and says it’s a picture of the family cat, but it really looks like a lump of coal with hair on it?
But you’re so proud of the picture and pleased with your child that you believe the drawing is beautiful and deserves a place of prominence, other than the refrigerator door?
So you frame it and hang it in the living room, as if it were a Monet?
The truth of that drawing is that while everybody else knows the picture is ugly, the people who matter most look at it as the purest form of beauty.
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Seattle’s 22-10 victory Sunday over Arizona was that preschool drawing.
The only people who thought this home triumph against the division’s defending champion was beautiful were the people who mattered the most.
“The good teams win ugly games,” said safety Lawyer Milloy, who has spent most of his lush career with good teams. “Good teams, like the Patriots and Colts, are built to win those ugly games. You find a way to stay focused for four quarters, so you’re in a position to win the ballgame. It’s a different mind-set.”
This victory, a vivid depiction of the state of the NFC West, explained why the Seahawks should win the division.
To be able to play as, umh, inconsistently on offense as the Hawks did on this wet afternoon; to make the kind of mental errors they made and still dominate, tells us a lot about the Seahawks’ place in the West.
The Hawks should hang this win on the wall. They earned it. They’re alone in first place. They’re 4-2, and dang it, they’re getting better.
“Everybody, all the analysts, thought they (general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll) were crazy,” Milloy said, “when they started making all those (personnel) moves after the season started.
“But they had a clear vision of what they wanted the team to be and the type of guys they wanted in this locker room, and you’re starting to see it pay off. And everybody in this locker room earned the right to be in here.”
Against the disheveled Cardinals, the Hawks survived a blooper reel of embarrassing mistakes.
• Two consecutive holding penalties on Cameron Morrah turned a third-quarter 31-yard field goal into a 51-yarder, which Olindo Mare still converted because, as we’ve learned over the past two seasons, Mare converts everything.
• A delay of game penalty preceded Mare’s last made field goal.
• Right tackle Sean Locklear was flagged for a first-quarter false start on a first-and-goal from the 1 and the Hawks had to settle for a chip-shot field goal. Locklear also had two holding penalties, nullifying 39 yards of rushing.
• The Hawks scored 10 points as a result of Arizona muffing a punt and a kickoff return. Two of their field goal “drives” went for minus-2 and minus-17 yards.
So it was an ugly win.
It also is the kind of win that gets teams into the playoffs. Ugly can feel optimistic.
“We’re coming together as a group,” Milloy said. “And we don’t care what anybody else is saying outside of us. Nobody thought we’d be in this situation, but that’s why you play the game.
“Our job isn’t to be analysts. You got my blood boiling now. We still strap ’em up. And the thing about it is, that no matter what position we’re in, the thing I’m happiest about is that this team understands that if we play our ball we can beat anybody. And that’s the bottom line.”
Here is some of the continuing good news for the resurgent Hawks.
Rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond, making his first NFL start and getting very little double-team help, throttled the Cardinals’ lethal Larry Fitzgerald.
Hawks receiver Mike Williams, already the hands-down comeback-player-of-the-year, had 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch, still just settling into the offense, ran for 89 yards.
Seattle is 2-0 since signing Lynch.
Raheem Brock and Chris Clemons each had a sack. Rookie safety Earl Thomas grabbed another pick.
In a declining division, the Hawks are getting better, fast.
“We’re trusting guys to man-up and they’re doing that. You don’t know where we’re coming,” Milloy said. “Different players are stepping up. I think that’s what’s making us dangerous.”
Sometimes dangerous looks ugly. But the good teams, as Lawyer Milloy will attest, can make ugly look like Monet.
Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.