I’m always impressed when a team loses their proverbial head and shoulders and are still able to play competitively. Call it placebo effect. Call it leadership. Call it whatever but, more often than not, when a team’s starting QB hits that injured reserve list, the rest of the team might as well hit the showers.
It is not always so dramatic but, there’s no arguing that without somebody the rest of the team knows and trusts throwing the ball, there’s not much chance of that team coming out on top.
When the Vikings signed wishy-washy ol’ Favre, the fans rejoiced claiming mediocrity in the Quarterback slot was the missing link keeping them from a play-off run. It’s early yet but, it’s looking like they may have been right.
Conversely, it is no secret that animosity among the Jets over Favre’s sudden presence instead of Chad Pennington’s led to a huge let-down from the Jets last year. And, with capable, show-boating hottie Mark Sanchez making the calls, we’re seeing a very different gang green this season.
After Brady’s tragic injury in week one last year, terrified fans woe-is-me’d their way to the bottom of a few extra pints while lamenting the loss of their magnificent franchise. No one had faith that back-up QB Matt Cassel could successfully start a game. After all, he hadn’t yet.
For the Seahawks especially, not having their veteran arm in the pocket is a deal breaker. It is no coincidence that they stand 2-3 going into week six and have had a healthy Hasselbeck for two games.
When Hasselbeck is healthy, so are the Seahawks. He’s been their starting Quarterback since 2003 and, since then the team has seen four playoffs and one Superbowl. Without him, they can’t finish drives, they can’t hold the ball, they can’t win games. The team just won’t work right for anyone else.
In week 4 against the Colts it almost seemed like the Seahawks didn’t want to block for Seneca Wallace (maybe out of Manning-envy) letting him get sacked over and over. It’s no wonder, after week 3 when Wallace threw what could have been a game winning touchdown pass to Julius Jones out of reach and, was only able to get one early touchdown on the board against Cutler’s Bears. Plus, in week two, against the usually flimsy 49ers, the only drive he was able to complete was the one Hasselbeck had started and, that only required a 1 yard toss.
The same was true last year. Hasselbeck was injured early in the season and we saw very little of him after that. (Indeed, his reputation for ability to take a hit is starting to rival that of most Major League Soccer players). We also saw very little of the Seahawks franchise we’ve come to expect. The only reason they didn’t end up at the bottom of their division is because the Rams have set up camp there. With only four wins (two against those generous Rams, and one from the 49ers) it’s no wonder the 12th man was all but a deserter.
Despite it all, that 12th man came running this season, ready to do his part, when in pre-season the Seahawks reigned undefeated and game one looked like an extension of that. It’s not fair that he was almost beaten back into hiding with repetitive sounding news of wounded captains.
Now though, he can thank his lucky stars that his buddy Matt took a cue from the littler Manning brother and played broken last week, leading the team to a morale-boosting 41-0 win against the Jaguars. Had he remained unharmed for games two, three, and four the Seahawks would probably be looking at week six as an opportunity to widen their lead rather than gain some ground.