By John Boyle
Pete Carroll won at USC. Won a lot, in fact. So it might be somewhat unexpected that the Seahawks have been, under Carroll, a team that is pretty darn good at bouncing back from a loss. Sure they’ve had some prolonged stretches of losses, both late in the 2010 season and early in 2011, but for the most part, Carroll’s Seahawks teams have responded well to adversity. That trend continued Sunday with a thorough beat-down of the Cowboys that was an impressive bounce-back after a down-to-the-wire Week 1 loss in Arizona.
“I think it shows the character of the team,” said safety Earl Thomas. “You could tell around the facility everybody was down the first couple of day, but we really focused and we knew we had a chance to win, even if anybody else didn’t think so.”
Going back to the 2010 season, the Seahawks now have a 10-8 record in games following a loss. That would be pretty good regardless of the opponent considering that the Seahawks have a losing record overall in that span, but what really makes those wins stand out is that pretty much all of the Seahawks’ most impressive regular-season victories have come on the heels of a loss.
Unless Dallas really goes in the tank this season and turns out to be terrible, Sunday’s physically dominant 27-7 victory would have to be considered one of the team’s better wins under Carroll in the regular season.
In no particular order, I’d say the following are the Seahawks’ most impressive wins, when you factor in opponent, margin of victory, or in the case of one game, what was at stake, since Pete Carroll took over. The common denominator? All of them followed a loss.
Week 3, Seahawks beat Chargers 27-20
Yes, this was a bit of a flukey win—it was mostly the result of two Leon Washington kickoff return touchdowns, and yes the Chargers, who finished the year 9-7, weren’t as good as most people though they were, but it was a big win at the time. The Seahawks had just lost big in Denver, and came home to host a team that at the time was viewed to be one of the best in the AFC.
Week 6, Seahawks win 23-20 at Chicago
The Seahawks did have the benefit of a bye, but even so, they were a 1-2 team at the time, one that was known for struggling in 10 a.m. road games, and had just lost by 17 points to St. Louis, a team that at the time was though to be one of the worst in the league (the Rams were coming off of a 1-15 season). Chicago was a good team in 2010, one that would go on to the NFC Championship game, but the Seahawks came to Chicago, rookie Russell Okung shut down Julius Peppers, the bandit-packages on defense overwhelmed Jay Cutler, and if not for a late punt return touchdown, the Seahawks would have won by double digits.
Week 16, Seahawks win 16-6 over St. Louis
No, the Rams weren’t a great team, but they were also playing for a playoff berth, and the Seahawks had lost five of their last six, all by large margins. With the NFC West title on the line, and with Charlie Whitehurst starting for an injured Matt Hasselbeck, the defense took over, Whitehurst did just enough, and the Seahawks improbably won their division with a 7-9 record.
Week 5, Seahawks win 36-25 at New York Giants
The Seahawks came into the game with a 1-3 record and had just lost a close one at home to Atlanta, and a loss in this game would have sent them into their bye week in a big hole. Instead the Seahawks handed the eventual Super Bowl champs one of their worst losses of the season, made Eli Manning look bad, and won despite losing their starting quarterback midway through the third quarter.
Week 10, Seahawks beat Baltimore 22-17
After a 10-point loss in Dallas, the Seahawks were 2-6 heading into the game with one of the AFC’s best teams (the Ravens would end up falling a play short of the Super Bowl), and Seattle appeared to be headed nowhere fast. But a new focus on the run game led to Marshawn Lynch having a big day and Seattle’s young defense made a statement that it belonged in the conversation with elite defenses like Baltimore’s
Week 13 vs. Seahawks beat Philadelphia 31-20 on Thursday nigh
The Eagles weren’t the “dream team” they thought they’d be, but they were still very talented (they won four straight to close the season after this loss), and with a national spotlight on them, the Seahawks continued a strong second-half push. A week earlier the Seahawk had blown a big-fourth quarter lead against Washington, but this time they held on to win comfortably after David Hawthorne returned an interception for a game-clinching score.