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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 13, 2008 3:11 PM

Seahawks: At Least the Light Was Nice.

Posted by Rod Mar

Hmmm....not much to say about his one, so as they say on SportsCenter, "let's go straight to the low highlights.

The biggest highlight of the afternoon was the appearance of former (that's a reference to both the player and the team) Seattle Supersonics guard Gary Payton, who was on hand to raise the 12th Man flag before kickoff.

"G.P." seemed genuinely honored to be there, and did his part well as he pumped up the crowd before kickoff. Fans in the upper deck on the south end of the stadium chanted his name and when one fan offered a profane criticism of Oklahoma City, Payton snapped his head around, pointed at the fan and shouted back, "That's right! That's right!" as the throng grew even louder.

(Nikon D3, 14-24mm/f2.8 lens @ 14mm, ISO 400, 1/500th sec., f5.0)

One last interesting note was that we remember Payton as a wiry, rail-thin athlete. But age takes its toll on everyone, and even though you can't tell in these photos, "The Glove" is sporting a bit of a belly these days.

(Nikon D3, 14-24mm/f2.8 lens @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/1600th sec., f5.0)

I think that one thing that gets lost in the translation from the sidelines to television is the violence and viciousness of the hits that players are laying upon one another. Not only can you hear in on the field, you can actually feel it, too. Hard to believe, but I swear it's true.

Seattle's Patrick Kerney, knowing that Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers has been nursing a shoulder injury, put a good lick on Rodgers in the first half.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 240mm, ISO 800, 1/1250th sec., f4.0)

Kick return specialist Josh Wilson broke two tackles and was heading up field before he was face-to-face with Packers kicker Mason Crosby. Kickers usually go low and try to take out a players feet or push the returner out-of-bounds, but Crosby squared up and actually tried, Josh Brown-like, to make an actual tackle.

Mistake. Wilson punished Crosby by lowering his shoulder and running right through him, forcing Crosby's chin strap up into his face. To Crosby's credit, he did slow Wilson enough for the Packers to come to his aid and make the tackle.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec., f4.0)

Green Bay's Ryan Grant, who victimized the Seahawks in the playoffs last year, took off around the left side and Seattle's Julian Peterson got a face-full of the hand of Packer's lineman Jermichael Finley.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1600th sec., f4.0)

Packer's receiver Donald Driver slid to avoid oncoming Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, but still got thumped pretty hard, including a good forearm shiver to the midsection.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/1600th sec., f4.0)

Seattle managed to go into halftime in a 10-10 tie, thanks in part to T.J. Duckett's nine-yard gain facing fourth-and-one that led to a Seahawks touchdown.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 280mm, ISO 800, 1/1600th sec., f4.0)

Even though the score was tied at half, any Seahawks fan who looked at the stats board knew their team was hanging in by the pigskin of their teeth.

The Charlie Frye-led offense had managed only five first downs, and 25 yards of passing. You can't win a flag-football game at Green Lake with only 25 yards in the air.

Sure enough, in the second half reality set in. Seattle's defense, which has been spotty all year, was on the field for nearly 18 of the 30 minutes in the first half, and fatigue set in, both physically and mentally.

In the third quarter on third-and-six at the Seattle 45 yard line, the Seahawks sent Brian Russell on a safety blitz, but Russell was corralled at the line of scrimmage on a move by DeShawn Wynn (42) that some would say constitutes a holding penalty. Others call this, "blocking".

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

On the play, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers found teammate Greg Jennings deep behind Seattle's Marcus Trufant for a 45-yard touchdown, and it was all but over.

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

By the way, I'm sure you've noticed just how far out-of-position (oh, by about 120 yards...) I am for this play. Seattle had begun bringing a bit more pressure, and with fellow photographer Chris Joseph Taylor on the other side of the field, I was taking some chances. That's the problem with risk vs. reward. Sometimes you just screw yourself up.

Seattle's defense, who have had trouble getting in the way of most offenses this year, didn't have a problem getting in the way of my lens (okay, that's cheap, I admit it...I'm just bitter I was on the wrong end of the field).

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

Either way, it resulted in a touchdown for the Packers and Rodgers was off to the races doing his best imitation of a Brett Favre celebration.

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

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

There was more to celebrate for Rodgers in the fourth quarter after he found John Kuhn open for a one-yard touchdown giving the Packers 24-10 lead. It was good to find an image that had both Rodgers smiling and his teammates celebrating in the background.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm - a bit too tight since I cut off his feet - ISO 1000, 1/1000th sec., f4.0)

As I kept shooting, I also found a frame that told the entire story -- Rodgers' success and the failure of the Seattle defense to stop him.

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

You could feel whatever life was left in Qwest Field being sucked out after that. Turning around towards the "Bird's Nest" in the north stands, a group of depressed fans made a nice portrait.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 360mm, ISO 1000, 1/2000th sec., f4.0)

It was so quiet in the stadium you could hear the cars starting in the parking lots as fans headed home in the face of another Seahawks' loss.

Seattle kept plugging away with their offense running one two cylinders, and Koren Robinson made a nice grab on the side of the end zone, and appeared to keep both feet in. However, because if the Seahawks didn't have bad luck they wouldn't have any luck at all, he was ruled out-of-bounds.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 24-70mm/f2.8 lens @ 51mm, ISO 640, 1/1000th sec., f3.5)

After that, it was time to seek some reaction from the Seahawks, who were falling to 1-4 in the won/loss column.

Defensive end Patrick Kerney hobbled over to the sidelines in pain, and was attended to by team physician Dr. Stan Herring.

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1250th sec., f4.0)

Injured quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who I warned in this blog last week might be more injured than he was letting on, didn't play and was in street clothes. Today, head coach Mike Holmgren announced that Hasselbeck wouldn't play next week at Tampa Bay, either.

(Nikon D3, 14-24mm/f2.8 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, 1/640th sec.,f3.5)

I ventured into Mike Holmgren's postgame press conference to see his reaction, and he was understandably somber after the loss.

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 400mm, ISO 1600, 1/800th sec.,f4.5)

No one expected the Seahawks to be 1-4 and facing an even tougher road with away games coming up at Tampa Bay and San Francisco. I know Seahawks fans are depressed about the turn of events, but for me this is still all about making pictures and capturing images that tell the story of this team's games and their entire season.

And, at least the light was nice.

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