“Who knows, in the long run, maybe this turns into a good loss. Maybe the 24-21 defeat to New England at Qwest Field on Sunday allows the two-win Seahawks to preserve their high draft pick, which turns into the player who revives the team next season.
Remember, it was a win over the Patriots in 1992 that caused the Seahawks to “lose” the No. 1 pick of the 1993 draft. New England ended up taking Drew Bledsoe (251 career NFL touchdown passes) and the Hawks were left with Rick Mirer, who threw 201 fewer TD passes than Bledsoe.
But it’s hard for any of the Seahawks to look at Sunday’s outcome that way, especially coach Mike Holmgren, who was obviously emotional after this one.
So often this season, he’s come into the interview room saddled with frustration and disappointment. Sunday was different. This was more. This cut deeper. He clearly felt his team deserved to be rewarded for the quality of its effort.
As this season has skidded toward irrelevance in weekly increments, Holmgren stressed professionalism. He asked the players to go out and continue to play hard. Not only because it was their job, but because it would define them. It would show everyone who they really are.
As he put it, he didn’t want anybody having the car packed with the motor running.
Holmgren couldn’t have asked for much more than what the Seahawks gave him Sunday as they played with emotion and energy, looking more like an 11-2 team with playoff seeding on the line rather than a 2-11 club going nowhere.
“I think the players played a good football game against a good team,” Holmgren said. “I was proud of how …”
Holmgren lowered his head and his voice trailed off. He swallowed hard.
He might have talked of how proud he was that the team finally generated offense behind an offensive line made up of spare parts, or how the defense got pressure on the quarterback, or how Seneca Wallace quarterbacked the best game of his career.
He later was asked to elaborate on the pride issue.
“Those of you who have been around here for a while know that this is a very, very difficult year,” he said. “I think the deeper you get into a season like this it becomes more difficult for the coaches and players. What I have tried to emphasize is the fact that we always fight to the end. This game showed that the players are giving everything they’ve got. And that’s good.”
And he could not appreciate it more.”