By John Boyle Herald Columnist
At times, the Seattle Seahawks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night. A penalty cost them a touchdown on special teams, and two Russell Wilson fumbles set up Arizona scores. And still, the Seahawks managed to win on the road by double digits to improve to 6-1 for the first time in franchise history.
And so, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that, after his virtuoso performance that included three touchdown passes and a couple of Houdini escapes, Wilson was asked during his postgame press conference if the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL.
“I don’t know about that,” Wilson said. “We’ve got to be the best team every week, that’s the biggest thing. We have a great football team, I know that, we have a great coaching staff, we have the best fans in the National Football League, I will say that, but the biggest thing for us is having a championship mentality, going 1-0 each week, and we’ll see what happens.”
Never mind that the Seahawks actually went 2-0 in one week thanks to the Thursday night game — take that, cliche — Seahawks players and coaches of course can’t focus on the big picture right now. The best way for them to achieve their year-end goals is to focus on the task at hand. Take care of business every week and every day, and they’ll be in great shape come playoff time — that’s how they’re looking at it.
But you know who can look at the big picture, who can look ahead and take it more than one game at a time? The rest of us. And when you do look ahead, and realize where the Seahawks are despite still having so much potential for growth, especially on offense, it’s hard not to think that they’ve set themselves up for a season to remember; especially when you consider how many of their upcoming opponents are looking much less formidable now than when the schedule came out.
Not only are the Seahawks winning without receiver Percy Harvin, their big offseason acquisition who is expected to return to practice this week, they’ve done so without both starting tackles for much of the season, and without All-Pro center Max Unger for a pair of games, and without tight end Zach Miller for two as well.
The Seahawks are also putting to bed the notion that their formula for success is to win at home and hope to scratch out a few victories on the road. Oh, sure if you turn on a game or watch the NFL Network or SportsCenter, you’ll probably hear about how much the Seahawks struggle away from CenturyLink Field, but as it turns out they’re 3-1 on the road this year, including a 2-1 record in those dreaded 10 a.m. PT games. Oh, and they won their final two road games last year too, and were 1-1 in the playoffs despite traveling three times zones away for both games. And let’s not forget that over the past two seasons the Seahawks are a much better second-half team under head coach Pete Carroll. In 2011, Seattle started 2-6 before winning five of its last eight, setting the tone for an 11-win season in 2012. And in that 11-win season, the Seahawks started 4-4 before winning seven of eight to close things out.
So with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we offer this game-by-game look at why the Seahawks are a lock to finish the season with a 15-1 record. Opponents’ current records in parenthesis.
At St. Louis (3-3) — Because Rams punter Johnny Hekker can’t throw a touchdown pass against the Seahawks every year, right? Also, if the World Series makes it to a Game 5, the St. Louis Cardinals will be hosting at the same time as this game, so the Rams won’t have much in the way of a home-field advantage.
Tampa Bay (0-5) — Because. … I mean, do we really need a good reason to explain why the Seahawks will beat a winless team at home? OK, fine, because the most noteworthy thing to happen to the Bucs this year was a MRSA outbreak. Seriously.
At Atlanta (1-4) — Because the Falcons are a far cry from the team that barely beat the Seahawks in the playoffs last season. And because Atlanta’s quarterback is known as Matty Ice, which is a silly nickname.
Minnesota (1-4) — Because Percy Harvin should be at full speed and ready to torch his former team. And because the Vikings will be on their third starting quarterback of the season. … Unless they’ve gone back to one they already benched, which would be worse.
New Orleans (5-1) — Because every time the Seahawks host New Orleans and Marshawn Lynch is on the field, he has rushed for a 67-yard touchdown that registers seismic activity. It’s true, you can look it up.
At San Francisco (4-2) — Because all those 49ers fans concerned about unfair crowd noise in Seattle will show Seahawks fans how polite hosts do it, staging the first “inside voices” home game in NFL history.
At New York Giants (0-6) — Because if Eli Manning threw a pick-six to Brandon Browner in a Super Bowl winning year (2011), how many interceptions is he good for in this train wreck of a season?
Arizona (3-4) — Because, well, were you paying any attention Thursday? If that’s how the Cardinals play at home, what are they going to do when they travel to a place they lost 58-0 last year. Also, Carson Palmer should be closing in on some sort of interception record by then, so he’ll be motivated to connect with Seattle’s defensive backs.
St. Louis (3-3) — The Rams seem to always play the Seahawks tough, but there’s no way the Seahawks are losing the season-finale at home. Not unless they’ve already clinched the No. 1 seed because they’re 14-1 at this point, which, as outlined above, they obviously will be.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.