Monday, January 17, 2011

Seattle Needs a Scapegoat

Seattle sports fans are desperately in need of a scapegoat. I nominate Mike Williams. He is officially charged with four dropped passes in the Seahawks loss to the Chicago Bears. He may not be the only Seahawk who dropped critical passes in that loss, but he was the most persistent. Cameron Morrah, the replacement for injured John Carlson the starting tight end for the Seahawks,  dropped a long pass on a critical third down play in the second quarter which would have put the Seahawks in the red zone. Morrah was replacing Carlson who was taken from the field immobilized on a stretcher directly to the hospital as a precaution against worsening his injury. Instead of a first down, the Seahawks punted and Chicago marched down the field for another score.

But that was it for Morrah who had not dropped an obvious pass all season up until that point, and wasn't given another opportunity because of a turf toe injury which removed him from further play. Not so for Mike Williams who made a few grabs for short yardage including one touchdown pass, but three of the four situations where Mike Williams dropped passes were third downs and usually the passes hit both of his hands. Hasselbeck was nearly perfect all day long. The same cannot be said for the Seahawks receiver corp.

Golden Tate had an opportunity to make an exceptional reception in a critical moment to extend a drive and put the Seahawks in the red zone again, but let the ball fall without being caught. End of offensive series with another punt.

Obamanu was slightly better but dropped at least one pass too, and if there was any satisfaction in making the entire receiver corp the scapegoat that would be fair. However, it is not very satisfying and ignores the glaring mistakes made by one receiver with almost machine regularity.

Each time Mike Williams dropped a pass he could have been a hero and his previous drops could have been forgiven if not  forgotten. I kept telling myself, "it's not too late to be a hero, Mike" but then he would drop another pass. Finally, when it was much too late to alter the outcome of the game, and Hasselbeck was completing passes to a variety of receivers, I thought it would be charitable of Hasselbeck to throw another touchdown to Mike Williams as a compassionate act. A "hey, I don't hold any grudges, brother" message would have been sent, but towards the end of the game as Seattle began to rack up some yards, Williams was no longer the first target.

On the other hand, Mike, if Hasselbeck has not approached you recently and patted you on the ass and said, "forget it brother, you'll get em next time...." then he may have gone to Pete Carroll and said, "Trade him! Now! Before I have to play with him again. It's Trade Mike Williams or I am gone!" Sprinkled into his speech might be phrases such as "slippery handed mf...." or "the wideout without any fingers!" and the like.

Mike Williams appropriateness for the sacred scapegoat position is enhanced significantly by his recent signing of a three year contract. No one misses the irony. No one.

And that is why I hope the Seahawks show some responsibility and establish a suicide watch on Mike. He is in a fragile psychological situation. Professionals should be consulted and every effort should be made to encourage Mike to seek treatment voluntarily.

There should be no shame associated with it. All of us, at times, would benefit from a friendly visit to a shrink.

I do not have a source inside the Seahawk organization, and so it is only speculation as to whether any ostracization has been initiated. I hope not. I have witnessed the mental disease riddled husks left after Jehovah Witness' ostracization of one of their members. Given the camaraderie of a football team, I can only surmise that the results would be even more tragic.

Yet Seattle sports fans need someone to fill the role of scapegoat. Mike is the perfect candidate. The offensive line or the cornerbacks are weak candidates even if there is some truth to their complicity in the Seahawks loss. The O-line for their inability to create any running lanes, and the cornerbacks for making every quarterback the Seahawks have faced look like an  awesome quarterbacks when other teams routinely shut them down.

Yes, we lost. Yes, Chicago may be a better team. Nevertheless I believe the game was winnable with a perfect performance from the receiver corp. Hasselbeck delivered the ball and those guys missed the catches way too often.

My life will go on without much ado, but Mike Williams will probably need some form of help to move on. I hope his teammates and coaches will forgive him and move on to next season with good cheer. Hopefully, a few million dollars will sooth Mike's mind. 

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