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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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November 19, 2008 11:22 PM

Seahawks: It's Not in the Cards This Year.

Posted by Rod Mar

Well, if you're a Seahawks fan, that just about does it.

Sunday's loss to division rival Arizona by the score of 26-20 pretty much ended any hopes of repeating as division champions.

Fans were blue, with their team holding a 2-9 record. Get it? Blue.



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

Seattle got two of its offensive starters back in quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and receiver Deion Branch.

Branch was back in uniform after spending weeks watching from one of the end zone suites, but made his way back to those suites to give pregame kisses to his wife and daughter.



(Nikon D3, 14-24mm/f2.8 lens @ 24mm, ISO 800, 1/250th sec.,f5.6)

The Seahawks' much-maligned defense came out fired up, and linebacker Lofa Tatupu's blitz on the first series forced Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner to misfire a pass into a teammate's helmet.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 300mm, ISO 1000, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Even the defensive backs played better early, with safety Deon Grant upending Leonard Pope in the first quarter. By the way -- white bottomed pants are brutal when they dominate a frame. Just my two cents.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 800, 1/1600th sec.,f4.0)

But to paraphrase former Arizona coach Dennis Green, who once famously said of the Chicago Bears, "they are what we thought they were", the Seahawks are who we think they are this year -- an injury riddled team that has lost all confidence and apparently, a great deal of talent.

Pretty soon Warner was throwing the ball around Qwest Field like he did back when he was leading the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf". He passed the ball to bigger, stronger receivers, and the game started to resemble a seven-on-seven flag football game.

Defensive backs coach Jim Mora and head coach Mike Holmgren struggled to find answers.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Meanwhile, Warner's counterpart Hasselbeck, trying to shake the rust off being sidelined with an injury, got the rust flat knocked out of him when Arizona's Adrian Wilson smashed him on a blitz. The play left Hasselbeck understandably groggy -- I'm pretty sure that's not where the chin strap is supposed to be worn.



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

A fumble by Hasselbeck ended up being recovered by lineman Mike Wahle (looking on). Because the only luck the Seahawks have is bad luck, Wahle suffered an injury during the game and might be out for a game or two.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 310mm, ISO 1000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

Even as the Cardinals dominated the stat board, Maurice Morris' touchdown just before halftime kept Seattle close. Yes, I'm using a wide-angle, and yes, I brought it down from my eye right after this picture. 'Cause a camera to the face is not a pretty thing.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 35mm, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec.,f2.8 -- *the Nikon wide-angle is in for repair*)

My co-worker Jim Bates caught me trying to literally "shoot from the hip". Or waist, Or whatever. Okay, fine, maybe I was bailing out.



(photo by Jim Bates/The Seattle Times)



(photo by Jim Bates/The Seattle Times)

Seattle fought back furiously and some mistakes by Arizona kept the Seahawks in the game. A blitz on Warner resulted in a fumble that bounced away from him, to be recovered by Seattle's Darryl Tapp. I moved two versions of the play.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 300mm, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 300mm, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

(The eagle-eyed of you will notice that I'm shooting at ISO 2000 (!) -- yup -- and it looks pretty good.)

Arizona's fine receivers made only one mistake, and even that one didn't cost them. Larry Fitzgerald coughed up the ball on a fumble caused by Seattle's Josh Wilson, but of course, the Cardinals recovered.



(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4.0 lens @ 350mm, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

Hasselbeck was, as usual, a total gamer. Despite his injuries and the hits he took, he tried to drive Seattle down the field for the game-winning touchdown, but threw an interception instead.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

After the game, I looked to find him in the post-game mess, but instead found him on the sidelines, hidden by team personnel as he wretched his guts out for ten or so minutes. He finally walked off the field, and his face showed what legions of Seahawks fans have felt for weeks.



(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 2000, 1/800th sec.,f4.0)

As games go, this one should have been better than I shot it. Not sure why these photos are so tepid. Maybe it's because I've shot in nice light for that past few weeks. I was taking some different positions and trying to go tight, and when I did I would get burned. Dunno. Ten weeks into the season. Can't let burnout set in. Gotta keep fighting to be visually fresh and energized. No excuses.


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