SEATTLE — For those few Seahawks fans who didn’t check online Monday night, flights to New York on the first weekend in February were going for about $300.
Book ’em, fans.
The Seahawks can’t act this way nor admit it, but they took a giant step toward the Super Bowl that weekend in New York.
With a scorched-earth, 34-7 smackdown of the Saints at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks proved to a national Monday Night Football audience that they’re easily the class of the NFC, if not the entire league.
You’ll argue that it’s too early; December is a long, tough month. So many things can happen. But, hey, so many things have happened already, and nothing has slowed this team a bit.
Arguments of this declaration being premature would be fair if the Seahawks had merely defeated the 9-3 New Orleans Saints on Monday. But that’s not enough for the emphatic, extravagant Seahawks of 2013.
Because this wasn’t a win as much as a demolition.
Nobody in the locker room would bite when reporters tried to label this a statement game.
But it was very loud and extremely clear nonetheless. Look at the numbers.
The Saints were No. 3 in the NFL in offense. Seattle held them to 188 yards. The Saints were No. 2 in the NFL in pass offense. Seattle held them to 144 yards.
Drew Brees, among the league’s elite passers, averaged 3.8 yards per passing attempt. Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards, three touchdowns, 139.6 rating – and a probable Pro Bowl spot.
The Saints have the best tight end in the game in Jimmy Graham, but Seattle’s Zach Miller outgained him by more than double the receiving yardage.
In every phase of the game, every possession, the Seahawks were vastly superior.
And although this is obviously a team of showmen, who love playing to the crowd, no one would admit that a Monday night audience amped them up.
“Every time we get an opportunity to showcase our talents, whether it’s Monday night or Thursday night or Sunday at noon when nobody’s watching, we’re going to showcase our talents,” said receiver Doug Baldwin. “Because that’s what we do.”
Think the Seahawks are going to go to sleep now that they’ve got a playoff berth secured?
“That’s not the goal,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Until we clinch a Super Bowl spot, we’re still going out there grinding … that’s our mindset, we’re not focused on playoffs or anything else.”
Fourteen consecutive wins at home? Invincible here, right?
“We don’t ever feel unbeatable because you become complacent,” Sherman answered. “That’s what makes a great team great.”
But how great was this on the Monday night stage.
“We don’t think about the stage, the stage is the same size,” Sherman said. “Fifty-three and a third yards wide and 100 yards long.”
Way back in the spring, before the roster was even set, the Seahawks players knew what they had, and what was at stake.
They got together and came up with a team motto, Leave No Doubt, 24/7.
On Monday night, they played without injured receivers Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, and suspended cornerback Walter Thurmond and suspected cornerback Brandon Browner. None of that slowed them down.
They made a talented Saints club look like Jacksonville or some other bottom-dweller. Fans and critics suggested that all the distraction would be their undoing.
Might they have won by more than 27 points otherwise?
Sherman was asked if the 34-7 win qualified as leaving no doubt.
“Uh, yeah, it might qualify,” Sherman said, laughing. “I heard a lot of people picked against us this week. You know, after a while, you get tired of calling them ignorant. Or maybe it’s insanity.”
Sherman then flashed his Stanford liberal arts education.
“Was it Einstein’s (definition) of insanity … doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?” Sherman asked.
Yes, picking against them, particularly at CenturyLink, is at least laughable, shortsighted if not quite insane.
The Seahawks have left little doubt about that.