Cigar Thoughts, Game 1: Vindication

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Broken relationships harm. They are impediment lessons without a map, simply feelings so sturdy they cloud your model— and the selections that include ‘em. The intensity with which we feel the hurt is directly proportionate to the strength with which we felt the connection in the first place. Light hits the prism from another angle after the separation, casting a different hue upon the things we used to see so clearly. But once we process the pain— the sense of loss and, in some cases abandonment— we’re in a position to view issues in a brand new gentle. We can take inventory of who we’re, the place we’re, and what we want shifting ahead.

Russell Wilson is without doubt one of the maximum essential athletes within the historical past of Seattle sports activities. Nothing in regards to the final six months adjustments what he’s supposed to us as fanatics and to this area as a complete. He is the creator of a few of our best reminiscences and his paintings with Seattle Children’s Hospital is a internet certain that has reverberated all the way through the area. He’s additionally a large fucking cornball and were given rattling does it really feel excellent to after all say that out loud.

You ever been in a courting that you just beloved— that you just loved such a lot you couldn’t forestall speaking about it. You have? That’s wonderful. Everyone will have to be so fortunate. You ever have that courting finish? And used to be there stuff your mates alluded to— issues they discovered traumatic or difficult however that you just noticed as adorable, quirky, our no longer problematic within the grand scheme? The factor about break-ups is that it will provide you with an overly non-public permission to peer that individual (and your self) for what they’re— faults and all. For me, I’m infinitely thankful for Russ’ time in Seattle— for the oversized function he performed in making the Seahawks subject. I’ve additionally by no means sought after to peer somebody lose an ordinary season recreation extra.

It’s something to get a divorce with somebody. It’s some other factor totally to have your first post-relationship date be at the very same eating place, your ex sitting one desk over with their new fling.

Of the entire gin joints in the entire cities in the entire international…

The recreation itself delivered on each promise the hype for it made. The domestic crowd used to be lubed up and rocking like the times of outdated when the Seahawks gained the hole kick, starting their 2022 season with Geno Smith and a brand new/same-look offense. With Pete Carroll and Shane Waldron freed from Wilson’s penchant for improvisation however bereft his uniquely inventive skills, they have been liberated to name the sport as they noticed are compatible. That began with a toss to Rashaad Penny at the first play for a minimum achieve, adopted up through a of entirety to DK Metcalf to create a third & quick. That’s when Smith flippantly stood within the pocket and delivered an assertive strike to Tyler Lockett at the left hash for 17 yards and a primary down. Then, after a false get started and a tight run from Penny, Geno wung one out to Metcalf in the proper flat and DK made an incredible twisting, airborne catch on a ball rather at the back of him, contorting his muscular frame to snag the cross whilst horizontal in tight protection.

Facing some other third & quick, this time simply within the Denver 40, Geno used to be in a position. Taking the snap and shedding again, Smith surveyed the sector because the Broncos’ stunt let a cross rusher break away up the center. With drive bearing down, Travis Homer stepped in entrance and sacrificed his lifestyles for the reason. The defender bulldozed him to the bottom however Homer’s heroism used to be no longer in useless, because the collision allowed Smith to transport up within the pocket and discover a huge open Will Dissly for the slowest 38-yard landing in NFL historical past. Just like that it used to be 7-0 Seahawks and the rating despatched Lumen Field rolling in some way it hardly has because the identify modified.

That set the desk for Wilson’s first force as a Bronco and he used to be greeted with a cascade of boos that I consider he each liked and which should’ve minimize him to the core. Nevertheless, he used to be crisp, assured and to be fair, I anticipated not anything much less. He alternated productive completions to Andrew Beck(?) and handoffs to Javonte Williams, shifting the ball deep into Seahawks territory prior to settling for a subject objective when Seattle’s protection did what they’ve performed for years: particularly be truly permissive till the purple zone prior to tightening the screws on their opponent. The Seahawks protection is exasperating that method— flirting with you all evening prior to leaving you at the doorstep to name an Uber at 2am. The ownership noticed a lot of what we’ve grown used to once we cheered for Russ, particularly sharp, on-target passes and slippery mobility beneath drive. The force stalled, however it used to be transparent that Wilson confirmed up ready for this one.

The Seahawks appeared nice once more on their 2d force, the use of numerous Penny and little Noah Fant to get within the Broncos’ 10 backyard line. Then, confronted with 4th & inches, Carroll did the proper factor and saved the offense at the subject. With lower than a soccer’s duration to achieve, they accurately referred to as a QB sneak however Geno slipped after taking the snap and Denver received on the level of assault. That aggregate saved Smith in need of the marker and Seattle got here up empty. Still, the vibes have been excessive with the ‘Hawks up 7-3.

Denver took over with their backs pressed up in opposition to the noise however they ripped off a pair fast first downs due to Williams and Albert Okwuegbunam. They moved the ball nearer to midfield prior to operating out of gasoline and punting it again to the house group. The Seahawks would reply with but some other lengthy force, protecting 50 yards on 9 performs prior to Jason Myers knocked a 49-yard subject objective in the course of the uprights to revive the result in seven issues.

Now appearance, without reference to how we really feel about Russell Wilson on this second, everyone knows he has some magic left in him. and that wizardry can be on show in Denver’s subsequent ownership. After Williams used to be bottled up for a loss through a crashing Michael Jackson, Wilson went again to his RB in the course of the air for 9 to arrange third & 2. As everyone knows— and that is one thing I’ve at all times liked about him— Russ loves to move lengthy on “& short” performs. This example used to be no exception, as he heaved a ball up the left sideline against Jerry Jeudy, who had received a step on rookie Coby Bryant. Bryant closed the space because the ball descended against the receiver however couldn’t get his head round in time to knock it away. Jeudy corralled that cross and sprinted to the top zone with a 52-yard TD to tie it at 10.

If that landing used to be intended to quell Seattle’s momentum, nobody instructed them. Smith picked up proper the place he left it, finishing 5 passes at the subsequent six performs prior to dialing up Colby Parkinson down the proper seam for a 25-yard rating and tilting all the stadium like a drunken sailor on uneven seas.

That gave Russ and corporate rather less than 3 mins to respond to, and so they did within the type of a nine-play, 57-yard force leading to a half-ending subject objective. It will have been extra, however Cody Barton close shit down on a well-timed blitz, sacking Wilson and killing the rhythm Denver used to be development. When the primary two quarters have been all mentioned and performed, Seattle carried a 17-13 result in the locker room and the vibes, they have been a-vibin’.

After a high-flying opening 1/2, issues settled into the the type of dusty, grind-it-out combat that you already know Carroll truly sought after it to be. The Broncos gained the third quarter kick and moved the ball down the sector with precision and goal. Wilson noticed what he had to see and delivered, linking up with Courtland Sutton on a few chain-moving passes and focused on Sutton once more on a cross interference that put the ball at Seattle’s 9. After a brief cross to Jeudy, a extend of recreation, a crammed run, and an eight-yard of entirety to Melvin Gordon, Denver had a 4th & objective from the 1. They went proper again to Gordon, who took the ball and charged off the proper guard’s ass against pay dust. Before he may just achieve the promised land, alternatively, he used to be met through an angel of God within the type of Quandre Diggs, who leveled him with a righteous shoulder. Gordon tumbled to the turf because the ball bobbled unfastened, bouncing into the ready fingers of Jackson, who returned it out to the ten.

Seattle would profit from a pair defensive consequences and two completions to Metcalf, together with a big-time contested guy’s-game catch on third down, and the Seahawks have been at the transfer once more. Geno logically went proper again to Metcalf at the subsequent play, swinging it out to his stunning wideout in the proper flat. After catching the ball, DK stiff-armed the primary defender to the turf however his plain will to increase each play, proper or unsuitable, value him. As Metcalf struggled for the additional backyard, Randy Gregory got here from the blindside, ripping the ball unfastened and it used to be recovered through Justin Simmons who returned to Seattle’s 32.

Denver used to be in high place to capitalize and after all take the lead that the having a bet public have been reckoning on. It didn’t take them lengthy to get within the 10 and a go-ahead landing appeared inevitable, particularly after Wilson discovered Okwuegbunam on the objective line. To the everlasting chagrin of Broncos Country, alternatively, Diggs used to be there as soon as once more to disclaim access to heaven, shutting Okwuegbunam down inches from glory. That pressured a third down a hand’s-width from the top zone and on that play, person who carried with it a large swing in win chance, Russ grew to become and passed it to Williams. As Javonte picked his hole and charged ahead, Uchenna Nwosu crashed down and punched the ball out, sending it bounding ahead and into the fingers of Jackson as soon as once more. Just a fantastic stand, and the 3rd consecutive force on this recreation that resulted in a misplaced fumble. Still, it remained 17-13.

The Seahawks attempted to capitalize or even controlled to get a pair first downs due to Smith’s bull-headed will when scrambling, however the force would peter out when Bradley Chubb beat Charles Cross for a strip-sack that used to be virtually the fourth consecutive misplaced fumble. It took 3 and a 1/2 quarters for us to peer Michael Dickson however he used to be after all referred to as upon for Seattle’s first punt and he thumped it 47 yards to pin the Broncos within their very own 20. Denver replied with their longest force of the sport, going 72 painstaking yards on 15 performs prior to as soon as once more failing to capitalize within the purple zone. Given 3 probabilities from within Seattle’s 10, Wilson went 0-3 and the Broncos needed to convenience themselves with some other threadbare subject objective. 17-16 with six mins to move.

Now when you idea Seattle used to be gonna pass down the sector and ice this recreation with a rating, you obviously don’t know Seahawks soccer. Instead of implementing themselves on a beleaguered opponent, they misplaced 8 yards on 3 performs and punted once more, giving Wilson an opportunity to put in writing his personal revenge tale. And, for a minute there, it gave the look of he used to be gonna.

After a 5-yard Gordon run and a brief incompletion, Wilson discovered Okwuegbunam for a questionably-marked first down. He adopted that up with some other of entirety to Albert O for 6, then Gordon carried it up the center for 2. On third & 2, Russ checked right down to Williams for 9 yards and some other first down. After some other incompletion, Wilson went again to Williams however he used to be chopped down through Barton for a lack of 4, growing a third & 14 with simply over a minute to move. On the following play, Wilson eschewed a downfield cross in prefer of but some other dump-off to Williams, who made a few guys leave out as he wiggled his strategy to the Seahawks’ 46. With the clock winding on a 4th & 5, and all 3 timeouts of their pocket, the Broncos inexplicably let the play clock wind down prior to the use of one in all them with 20 seconds left. And as a substitute of the use of that respite to attract up a play for his or her $256 million quarterback, they took the ball out of the fingers of the participant they traded two 1sts, two 2nds, and a handful of avid gamers for, opting for to position their destiny at the foot in their kicker from 64 yards away. Now I hate icing the kicker, until you’re going to do it prior to he has an opportunity at a convention kick however the one factor Pete Carroll likes greater than dropping demanding situations is giving opposing kickers two tries to win the sport.

Brandon McManus pulled his first strive on the game-winner huge left however Carroll’s past due timeout gave him a 2d probability. His subsequent kick— the one who counted— used to be higher, spending the primary 95% of its adventure simply within the left upright. McManus had the space, which is spectacular sufficient, however his kick screwed left on the ultimate second and the Seahawks sideline erupted.

When the smoke settled, the scoreboard learn Seahawks: 17, Broncos: 16 and the birthday celebration used to be on. Just a remarkably fulfilling, cathartic, and vindicating win to kick off what guarantees to be an overly fascinating season.

SMOKE RINGS

~Geno Smith got here out with some severe “this is my fucking team now” swag, finishing his first 13 passes and speaking a wholesome quantity of shit to whoever came about to be shut sufficient to listen to it. He completed the primary 1/2 17/18 for 164 yards and a couple of TDs however the Broncos adjusted the way in which NFL groups do and he reverted to the game-manager all of us kinda anticipated during the last two quarters. Smith’s 2d 1/2 numbers have been, uh… no longer superb. He finished six of ten passes for 27 yards and nil issues over the overall half-hour however he used to be excellent sufficient within the first 1/2 to position the group ready to win and he didn’t do anything else down the stretch to lose it.

Smith used to be superb when Denver introduced the warmth, alternatively. When beneath drive, Geno went 5-6 for 82 yards, a landing, and a super passer ranking of 158.3. Incredible. He earned the “Ge-no” chants that flooded the stadium this night.

~With no Ken Walker III, Rashaad Penny used to be referred to as upon to shoulder the weight for Seattle’s operating recreation and I believed he did beautiful nicely. Last 12 months Penny led the NFL in yards according to lift, yards after touch, and yards after Thanksgiving and it gave the look of he used to be with reference to breaking off an enormous one a few instances this night. Denver defends the run truly nicely and whilst he didn’t have numerous room, he nonetheless controlled to show 12 carries into 60 yards whilst including seven extra on two catches. A forged however unspectacular recreation from the man who set the NFL on fireplace on the finish of final season. No worries about him from me, lengthy as he remains wholesome.

~The Seahawks force-fed DK Metcalf early on this recreation and it’s a development I am hoping continues all the way through the season. Despite consistent protection from all-world nook Patrick Surtain II, Metcalf stuck all seven of his goals. None of it used to be downfield, alternatively, because the Broncos shaded a security excessive of him all evening. The seven catches have been encouraging however they just amounted to 36 yards, and he misplaced a fumble. I like the goal and am no longer too involved in regards to the effects. The massive performs will likely be there, and I’m satisfied to peer him take price of the group’s goal proportion.

Tyler Lockett had an enormous catch at the opening force however we didn’t pay attention a lot from him after that. Smith did dial up his tight ends and operating backs so much lately however I’d nonetheless love to peer Lockett get greater than 4 goals shifting ahead. Three catches and 28 yards for Tyler this night.

The tight ends have been the celebs of the passing recreation on this one, with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson splitting Geno’s two touchdowns and Noah Fant chipping in 3 extra catches for 16 yards. All instructed, the placement staff accounted for 8 of Smith’s 23 completions, 101 of his 195 yards, and either one of his ratings. To me, it’s extra a mirrored image of Denver’s refusal to let Lockett and Metcalf beat them than an intentional point of interest of the sport plan— however I used to be nonetheless overjoyed to peer the ones guys ship when referred to as upon.

~I believed the offensive line performed beautiful nicely lately. Charles Cross ruled for 3 quarters however in the end, Bradley Chubb wore him down, logging two sacks within the 4th. He’s gonna have some rising pains, particularly with the ridiculous high quality of cross rushers on Seattle’s agenda, however he used to be truly spectacular for the sport’s first 45 mins. He strikes so without difficulty, with exceptional footwork and he swallowed up each would-be drive like a Sarlacc. A excellent debut, past due sacks however.

Abe Lucas used to be forged as nicely. taking part in with the nasty meanness you’re keen on to peer from a proper take on. Lucas did have one grasp on an excellent Penny run however truthfully, his fingers have been within the defender’s shoulders and Penny’s alternate of path left him in a no-win place. No detrimental marks from me on that one. The inside line performed nicely additionally, growing some lanes for Penny and maintaining Smith blank within the pocket.

~The protection used to be remarkable this night. Some of that can be chalked as much as intel on Wilson’s inclinations however most commonly I believe it used to be only a excellent recreation plan carried out truly nicely. After years of an uninspiring, non-dynamic scheme beneath Ken Norton Jr, Clint Hurtt’s debut used to be a stupendous one. Playing protected however sticky protection, and opting for some well-timed blitzes, the Seahawks held the Broncos to 16 issues whilst doing a ton of wear and tear within the purple zone. It is still observed if that’s a sustainable method however guy, they have been a laugh lately.

Jamal Adams performed his ass off in his restricted mins, making a pair tackles, forcing an incompletion with a close to sack and virtually selecting Wilson off on a downfield cross prior to struggling what Carroll deemed a “serious” knee damage within the first quarter. Just a cataclysmic consequence for a participant primed to turn Seattle fanatics simply how excellent he will also be on this new-look protection.

Uchenna Nwosu used to be the megastar of the display. One of the brand new additions this offseason, Nwosu used to be all over the place, snagging ballcarriers at each degree, recording a sack, and forcing a objective line fumble en path to seven tackles. What a a laugh participant.

Welcome to the display, Michael Jackson. One of the key standouts in camp this offseason, Jackson pressured his method into the beginning lineup and replied with an excellent efficiency. In addition to two finish zone fumble recoveries, he additionally had a take on for a loss and a cross breakup, with 4 takedowns in addition. Looked like a stalwart available in the market.

Jordyn Brooks stepped without difficulty into the huge vacuum left through Bobby Wagner, main the group with 12 tackles whilst making the entire proper calls on protection. I don’t suppose there’s a unmarried participant in this protection I’m extra enthusiastic about than this man.

Quandre Diggs simply does it, guy. Six tackles, one in all which got here within the backfield, plus a game-changing pressured fumble whilst captaining this D. Should have had an interception in addition. He is the center of the protection and because the first participant to re-sign with Seattle this offseason, he delivered a message that that is no long-term rebuild. This group loves this man, and so do I.

Al Woods is an Ent, and his 1,000-year-old tree energy used to be glaring on a 2d & 2 with two mins left when he wrapped up Melvin Gordon whilst being blocked and threw him to the turf like like a sweet wrapper within the fingers of a hungry 6-year-old.

Cody Barton had a few huge tackles for loss together with on Williams with a minute and a 1/2 left to assist pressure the lengthy subject objective strive that neglected. He additionally sacked Wilson on a good looking little stunt as a part of his 10 tackles. He used to be the largest query mark in this protection for me and assuming his past due damage isn’t severe, he might be an enormous a part of the image this season and past.

Darrell Taylor didn’t have his identify referred to as till he went down with a cramp at the ultimate force. Alas, perhaps subsequent time. High hopes for him nonetheless.

~Penalties have lengthy been a bugaboo for the Seahawks however they have been very disciplined in that regard lately. While Denver caved to the gang to the song of 12 consequences, Seattle dedicated simply 5. You do this each recreation, you’re gonna put your self in nice place.

~Shane Waldron used to be in his motherfucking bag this night. The factor about Russell Wilson is that regardless of no matter offense you wanna run, you’re going to run the Russell Wilson offense. Today, alternatively, performs advanced on agenda with a QB keen to stick within the pocket till the right kind alternative introduced itself. Wondering what will have been with Russ’ skill and Geno’s mindset is an intoxicating idea experiment however the truth of the subject is that they’re two wildly other avid gamers (breaking information, I do know) and Geno’s mindset (no longer skill) is precisely what Waldron’s offense must be successful. I don’t love how the offense appeared in the second one 1/2, and so they’ll need to discover ways to modify to their fighters’ changes, however the first 1/2 used to be Louvre-worthy. If they may be able to bottle that a part of the sport up, they will in fact make some noise on that aspect of the ball.

~This victory belongs to Pete Carroll. Anyone who has been studying this column over the previous few years is accustomed to my in-game frustrations with Seattle’s head trainer however something I’ve by no means wavered on is his implausible talent to get his guys up for the instant. We noticed it down the stretch in a misplaced season final 12 months and it persisted this night. The issues that annoy me when his group is healthier than the opponent are the very issues that helped this group win lately. Shorten the sport, restrict errors, depend in your males to make the performs within the recreation’s largest moments. He is relishing this victory up there with one of the vital largest in his profession, I promise you that.

~If you have been at this recreation, give your self a hand. Y’all have been insane in some way that stadium has been lacking the previous few years. I could also be by myself on this, however it sort of feels just like the Seahawks’ home-field merit has been buying and selling in on its popularity for a very long time and it’s one thing I’ve felt after I’ve been there. We created a regular for disruption that may most effective be imitated somewhere else however in recent times, we’ve been a gorgeous flaccid crowd. Here’s to this no longer being a one-time factor.

There is such a lot season left, however there’s additionally numerous time to fret about that. Tonight, alternatively, we sleep the sleep of the righteous, on a relaxed mattress filled with losses through the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals.

Onwards, upwards, pass motherfucking ‘Hawks.

Tonight deserved one thing particular, so I unsheathed a Herrara Esteli through Drew Estate and coupled it with a heavy pour of a exceptional Glenlivet 18. A mixture worthy of essentially the most significant Seahawks win in a long time.

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Cigar Thoughts, Game 1: Vindication

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