Sports

SIDELINES: Early struggles turn to late bliss for the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta up next

The Seattle Seahawks will travel to Atlanta Sunday to take on the Falcons in the NFC Division Playoffs at 10 a.m. - Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks will travel to Atlanta Sunday to take on the Falcons in the NFC Division Playoffs at 10 a.m.
— image credit: Seattle Seahawks

I was ready to pack up my kids and head home midway through the first quarter of Sunday's playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.

We were all over at my brother and sister-in-law's house and the Redskins had just taken a 14-0 lead against, what looked like, a hapless Seattle team.

Honestly, I was ready to take off and start on some overdue house cleaning or something else that sucks. I could literally feel my heart beating faster, I was getting light-headed and, to make matters even worse, the ice-cold adult beverage and the best chili-cheese dip in the world tasted like the cow pasture the two teams were playing on in Washington, D.C.

That's when I know things aren't going in the direction I want them to go in.

I even went as far as asking my wife if it was too late to return the brand-new Seahawks sweatshirt she surprised me with Sunday morning before the game. I offered to grab the tags out of the garbage and jerry-rig them back onto the sweatshirt to help with the return.

Needless to say, my wife wasn't very happy with me and really didn't understand my frustrations.

A lot of people, including my wife, might call me a fair-weathered fan, but that couldn't be further from the truth. This wasn't just a regular-season game and making matters worse, the Seahawks were a better team than the Redskins.

I can handle losing to a better team, but it wouldn't have been fair to lose to an inferior team like Washington. That's why I was so frustrated when the 'Skins were up 14-0 and ready to take back that brand-spanking new sweatshirt.

Obviously, things got a lot better for my anxiety levels after that ill-fated first quarter against the Redskins. The Seahawks settled down and dominated the final three quarters.

The defense didn't allow Washington to snap the ball on Seattle's side of the 50-yard line and Russell Wilson and the offense finally started clicking.

And for those that say things would have been different had Robert Griffin III's knee been healthy, stop. The Seahawks are just a better team, healthy RGIII or not.

Things are going to be a lot tougher this Sunday when Seattle travels to Atlanta to take on the top-seeded Falcons with a berth in the NFC Championship game.

It's still up in the air whether or not the Seahawks are a better team than Atlanta, especially playing inside the Georgia Dome. The Falcons finished 13-3 during the regular season, but that record might be a little deceiving. Atlanta had the easiest schedule in the NFL and haven't won a playoff game since 2004.

The oddsmakers, who know more football than Vince Lombardi, also think Seattle is the better team. The early point spread had the Falcons favored by 2.0 to 2.5 points, which suggests the Seahawks are a point to half-point better than Atlanta on a neutral field. Being the home team in the NFL is worth three points.

Here are a couple things to watch Sunday morning — The 10 a.m. kickoff time and the matchup between Seattle's physical cornerbacks and the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL, Roddy White and Julio Jones.

In terms of the kickoff time, the Seahawks and Redskins kicked off at 1:30 p.m. last weekend, the normal start time games in Seattle. The Seahawks finished 8-0 at home, but were just 4-5 on the road this season. But only one win, Chicago, came with the 10 a.m. kickoff time. In fact, the overtime victory over the Bears was the Seahawks' lone 10 a.m. win in the last five seasons.

Both White and Jones exceeded 1,100 yards during the regular season, but Seattle features the biggest and toughest cornerback combination in the NFL in the 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner and 6-3 Richard Sherman.

If the Seahawks' tandem can limit White and Jones Sunday, they will win the game, no question.

Let's just hope the Seahawks don't start as slow as they did against the Redskins. Don't know if my heart or my wife could handle it again.

Is Federal Way chiropractor the difference-maker?

Dr. Jim Kurtz has been the official chiropractor for the Seahawks for the last three seasons. And this is the second time in those three years that the Seahawks have won a playoff game.

Coincidence?

The clinic director at NW Sports Rehab in Federal Way will be on Seattle’s sideline when the NFC Divisional Playoff Game with the Falcons kicks off at 10 a.m. Sunday. Kurtz is also the team chiropractor for the Seattle Sounders FC, who are also a perennial playoff team in Major League Soccer (MLS).

During his distinguished career, he has been a member of the sports medicine staff of the PGA Tour and was the first chiropractor ever selected by the United States Olympic Committee to an international Paralympic event. He was Team USA’s chiropractor at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Kurtz’s schedule with the Seahawks includes a full day every Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Renton and traveling with the team every Saturday and Sunday, home or away.

As the team’s chiropractor, Kurtz will “adjust” players depending on their needs, but also does a lot of muscle work. Kurtz said he is in awe about the amount of punishment the players’ bodies take during the course of a practice, game and season.

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