Morning After: Seahawks next face Broncos, ready for revenge
If the Seahawks thought San Diego was fired up, they haven’t seen anything yet. Here comes a Denver Broncos team fuming from their embarrassing Super Bowl loss.
Seattle Times columnist
If you thought San Diego was fired up to play the Seahawks, well, wait until Denver comes to town next Sunday.
One of the common themes in the locker room Sunday, after the Seahawks’ 30-21 loss to the Chargers, was the realization that the offseason theorem was absolutely true. Opponents will give the Seahawks their best shot.
It was one thing to talk about that in abstract terms, as an intellectual exercise. It was quite another thing for the Seahawks to see, feel and taste exactly what that means in action.
The Chargers played with an urgency that was palpable. Usually, the Seahawks are the team dictating the tempo and setting the tone with their aggressiveness. But on Sunday, it appeared that the Chargers were the aggressors, on both sides of the ball. To use the most basic of football clichés, it looked like they wanted it more.
That’s not to say the Seahawks were lacking in effort, because they weren’t. But maybe it was a cold slap in the face that reminded them that this is the new normal: Each opponent will be stoked to the max to face — and conquer — the Seahawks team that has been touted as a dynasty in the making.
NFL players thrive on challenges, and this year, beating Seattle is the ultimate one. Rest assured that Sunday’s result, and the route the Chargers took to get it, will be scrutinized around the league.
They’ll see how San Diego took it to the Seahawks, and be emboldened by that. They’ll read the quote by Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen on Richard Sherman — “He’s just a normal guy. We can go at him …He’s not really a shutdown corner” — and raise their eyebrows.
Maybe some of Seattle’s intimidation factor has been chipped away. The new challenge for the Seahawks, one I predict they’ll rally around, is getting it back.
By the way, San Diego’s players weren’t the only ones who were maniacally hyped for this one, which was another lesson learned. The Charger fans at Qualcomm, even allowing for the “12s” who infiltrated the stadium, were earsplitting loud. The Chargers most definitely fed off that, which is going to be a seasonlong reality on the road.
Just as opposing players might be a little tired of hearing how great and driven and unique the Seahawks are, it only stands to reason that other fans, who pride themselves as being just as passionate, are a bit weary of hearing of the cataclysmic impact of the “12s.” They might take it as a personal challenge to show that Seattle fans aren’t the only ones that can raise a ruckus.
Which brings us to next week’s game at CenturyLink Field. All you had to do was see how seriously the Broncos and their fans took the earlier meeting this year — an exhibition game! — to realize that the upcoming showdown will be a showcase for the meme of fired-up opponents, writ large.
Ever since the beatdown they absorbed from the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, the Broncos have fumed. All winter, spring and summer, their frustration has festered.
It was humiliating, to put it bluntly, and they burn with the desire to make it right. They yearn for the opportunity for revenge.
If Seattle thought the Chargers came at them breathing fire Sunday, they haven’t seen anything yet. Other teams they’ll face want to measure up to the best, which is a strong motivating force. But for Denver, it’s personal, which is even stronger.
About Larry Stone
Larry Stone gives his take on the local and national sports scene.