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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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October 5, 2008 10:00 PM

Seahawks: A Giant Step Into Mediocrity?

Posted by Rod Mar

Most thought this Seattle team would contend, if not outright win another division title in the NFC Worst West, and now they've started the season 1-3.

To tweak former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green's famous line, is this group "NOT who we thought they were?"

Dare we say it?

Has the proverbial "window" closed on the Seahawks?

Before we get too carried away, let's not forget that Seattle is just recovering from an incredible slate of injuries (even though in the NFL, injuries are not an excuse), they were playing the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, and that they were underdogs going in.

But today's shoddy effort is what has the hated mainstream media wondering if this team is now too old, too small, and not talented enough to be still considered one of the top tier teams in the league.

New York Giants 44, Seattle Seahawks 6.

Ouch.

Add to their Sunday woes that division foe Arizona put a whipping on the previously undefeated Buffalo Bills (who schooled the Seahawks in the season opener) and you have a Seahawks team that seems to be in a world of NFL hurt.

It started out bad for the Seahawks when quarterback Matt Hasselbeck went down with a leg injury on the final play of the first series. He would return and play, but I wouldn't be surprised if medical exams on Monday reveal a more serious injury.

(I'm no doctor, I just dress like one on Halloween.)



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 640, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Head coach Mike Holmgren rarely comes onto the field to check on injuries, but Hasselbeck appeared to be in a lot of pain so he made his way out to have a look for himself.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 640, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Later, on the sidelines, team physician Dr. Ed Khalfayan examined Hasselbeck. Remember, photographers, if your starting quarterback, running back or any other star player gets hurt and you think it's serious, get over to the sidelines and shoot. It's more important than most plays. Especially if the injury is serious enough to be in the paper for more than a day or so...at some point more stories will be written and editor is going to want more photos of when that player got injured.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 35mm, ISO 500, 1/1000th sec.,f2.8)

It started poorly and just go worse for the Seahawks, who gave up five straight scores to the Giants.

On offense they couldn't run the ball. Julius Jones, who ran for 100+ yards in each of the past two games, only managed 61 yards against a stout Giants defense (and really, is there no other word that "stout" that goes with "Giants defense"?...I think not).

In the first half he was mauled by a group of Giants.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 640, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

In the second half he was sent flying by New York's Aaron Ross.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 640, 1/2000th sec.,f4.0)

Passing the ball didn't yield any better results and when Deion Branch, playing in his first game back after surgery last year, hurt his foot chasing down this incomplete pass, it was clear that touchdowns were going to be few and far between. This is a case of insult leading to the injury.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 200mm, ISO 640, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Hasselbeck, who is one of the toughest athletes I've ever photographed, gamely hung in, taking his shots and even found himself on the receiving end of not one, but two facemask penalties. Antonio Pierce of the Giants is guilty on this one.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 320, 1/2000th sec.,f4.0)

Frustration set in a bit later, and Hasselbeck didn't seem to have his usual poise when he shouted over to the sidelines with his palms facing up.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1250th sec.,f4.0)

Seattle's one highlight came when defensive end Patrick Kerney finally got to Giants quarterback Eli Manning and forced a fumble, but that was recovered by the Giants. Here's both a loose and a tight version (gotta love those Nikons).



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 800, 1/1250th sec.,f4.0)



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 800, 1/1250th sec.,f4.0)

This looks like a funny picture as Side Judge Joe Larrew gets run into by New York's Reuben Droughns, but I gotta think more than a few officials have been hurt pretty good in collisions with players.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 33mm, ISO 500, 1/1000th sec.,f2.8)

Down by more than five touchdowns in the fourth quarter, frustration and dejection began to set in. Hasselbeck sat alone, replaced by backup Seneca Wallace.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 1000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

Cornerback Josh Wilson, who had what could be termed a tough day (or an incredible learning experience, I guess, if you want to be positive about it), sat fuming.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 1000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

Head coach Mike Holmgren, in his post-game press conference, described his team as "getting an old-fashioned you-know-what" (uh...would that be "butt-kicking", coach?).

The Seahawks seemingly got outplayed, outhustled, and physically manhandled. Not sure they're striking fear into any of their upcoming opponents at this point.

Seahawks fans might be looking at a different type of season than they're recently used to -- a team that's mediocre and in the middle of the pack.

It will be interesting to see how they respond next week.

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