Seahawks’ defense adamantly refused to lose in tie with Cards

Oct 23, 2016, 11:16 PM
The Seahawks' defense was on the field for 90 plays in their 6-6 tie with the Cardinals. (AP)...
The Seahawks' defense was on the field for 90 plays in their 6-6 tie with the Cardinals. (AP)

There’s one thing I will remember most from the first tie in Seattle franchise history.

It’s not the looks of disbelief that followed the chip-shot field goals that each team’s kicker missed in the final 5 minutes of overtime.

It’s not the utter ineptitude of Seattle’s offense for the first four quarters of regulation, though that will certainly leave a mark.

And it’s definitely not the countless jokes about how fitting the final score of 6-6 was because this was a game that neither Seattle nor Arizona deserved to win.

What I’ll remember is cornerback Richard Sherman sitting in front of his locker 20 minutes after the game was over, staring straight ahead and quivering occasionally as he talked to medical personnel, then head coach Pete Carroll and then a Seahawks trainer, who eventually helped him into a room for treatment.

Seahawks tie Cards 6-6 | Instant Reaction | Wagner’s block | Photos

That’s how much Sherman and his defensive teammates gave on Sunday night in Arizona, and while the Seahawks may not have played well enough to win Sunday night’s game in Arizona, their adamant, unflinching refusal to lose was even more remarkable.

“There was just so many chances where we could have let up and given them an opportunity to bust it out and win it,” coach Pete Carroll said afterward, “but the guys just wouldn’t do it.”

Not in the first half when the Cardinals had as many drives inside the Seattle 30 (three) as points (three). Not in the second half when Seattle kept Arizona from reaching the end zone even as Seattle’s own offense never once managed to cross midfield on its own.

Not even at the end when Arizona had the ball at the Seattle 5, needing only a field goal to win only to have the Seahawks stuff two running plays and then put on a field-goal rush that may have helped explain why Chandler Catanzaro kicked the football into the left upright as hard as possible.

For as frustrating as Seattle’s offense was on Sunday – and it was absolutely awful and downright Whitehurstian for four quarters – the effort of Seattle’s defense can’t be overlooked.

So instead of discussing the existential questions spawned by a tie game or focusing upon Seattle’s need for a left tackle, I’m going to acknowledge what was the single most admirable defensive performance that has occurred during Pete Carroll’s tenure as Seahawks coach.

The Seahawks had the ball on Arizona’s half of the field just once in the four quarters of regulation, and that was only after a blocked punt. And yet Seattle stayed in the game because its defense absolutely, resolutely refused to yield.

Ninety plays. A Seattle defense hadn’t been on the field that long since the 1992 season, and when it was over, Sherman didn’t have to say anything to reporters to see just how much he and his defensive teammates had given.

It’s one thing to shut out a hapless opponent. It’s another to keep a team like Arizona out of the end zone without getting much in the way of a break when it came to field position or time of possession. This was a game that would have made that 1992 team proud by the sheer determination it showed in keeping Seattle afloat in spite of having an albatross on offense.

“This team showed who they were,” Carroll said. “We go out and we try to put it on the line and show what we’re all about and how hard we’ll fight and how much it means to us and the character of our club. We stand by that, and that’s what they did today.

“We just didn’t execute and perform as well as we’d like.”

Well, the offense certainly didn’t. There was nothing wrong with the defense.

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Seahawks’ defense adamantly refused to lose in tie with Cards