SEATTLE — Maybe the best news to come from Sunday’s game for the Seattle Seahawks is that their next game is on the road.
“The reality is we’re 5-2. We’re not down in the dumps,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said following a 30-16 loss to Baltimore. “We have been playing great on the road so far, so hopefully we can do that again.”
That would be nice.
And then maybe they could try it at home, too.
The Baltimore Ravens came into CenturyLink Field on Sunday and thumped the Seahawks. The NFL game was tied at halftime, but the Ravens (5-2) owned the second half, and on this day they were clearly the better team.
CenturyLink is supposed to be a tough place for road teams, but the Seahawks have been thoroughly outplayed in three of their four home games this season, losing two of them.
In the season opener, the Cincinnati Bengals, who are 0-7, out-gained the Seahawks almost two-to-one in total yards. Seattle rode a 3-1 advantage in turnovers to a one-point victory, but nearly got run off the field by a dreadful team.
Two weeks later, New Orleans came to Seattle for its first game without injured quarterback Drew Brees. They scored on special teams and defense, and they led by 19 points with three minutes remaining before Seattle scored a couple of meaningless touchdowns in a 33-27 loss.
The Seahawks played well in a home victory over the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago, but Sunday was another mystifying clunker in front of the rabid home crowd.
“You definitely want to win this type of game, especially at home,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “It’s really important to play well at home in front of your fans. That’s the thing that you look at the most.”
The 14-point loss was the second-worst home loss of Wilson’s eight-year career, topped only by a 42-7 blowout loss to the Rams two years ago.
It was the second double-digit home loss of Wilson’s career and just the fifth in any game, home or away, including the playoffs.
“I can’t put my finger on it. The crowd is still doing their thing,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “We’re playing really good football. We just have to find a way to win. It doesn’t feel any different.”
Some might challenge the statement that the Seahawks are playing really good football at home.
They’ve been outscored 112-94 in Seattle, and in the two losses they have given up three defensive touchdowns and one on special teams.
“We gave them two big scores,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Sunday’s game.
“Whenever you lose the turnover ratio, you’re in trouble,” Carroll said. “If you lose the turnover ratio and they score with them, then it’s almost impossible.”
To be fair, the Saints (6-1) and Ravens are good teams that play terrific defense.
There are a lot of teams in the NFL that would lose to both of them, home or away.
“I don’t think that we’ve struggled playing at home,” Seattle defensive end Branden Jackson said. “Both games were tough games. We just ran into tough opponents who outlasted us. We ran into two talented teams that have talented coaches, talented everything, and they outlasted us.”
Perhaps, but if you fancy yourself a championship contender, you win at home, period.
In the Seahawks’ two Super Bowl years under Pete Carroll, 2013 and 2014, they were 14-2 at home, losing only to Arizona and Dallas.
In the past three seasons, they’re 12-8 at CenturyLink.
Their remaining home games this season are against Tampa Bay (2-4), Minnesota (5-2), Arizona (3-3-1), and San Francisco (6-0).
“The fans, they do an amazing job,” Wagner said. “We have to make sure that we utilize that, how amazing our fans are. We’re going to get it turned around.”
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh agreed that Seattle’s fans are a factor.
“The environment here was amazing. I thought the crowd was incredible. It was so loud,” Harbaugh said. “The noise was incredible.”
Wagner and Wright both preached patience. They are the veteran mainstays on a young defense that played well in both losses.
They were by no means reaching for the panic button.
“It’s football, man,” Wright said. “You lose and you win. That’s part of the game. You never get too high on wins, don’t get too low on losses. We’ve got to get back on that winning thing.”
Like Wilson, Wagner pointed to Seattle’s 5-2 record as a reason not to despair.
“It’s a long season,” Wagner said. “We’ve been in positions where we’ve been 1-4 and fighting and clawing back. We have to learn from our losses and learn from our wins as well.”
And, apparently, there’s no better place for this team to do that than on the road, where the Seahawks are 3-0.
Before the season, a road game at Atlanta loomed as a likely loss.
But the Falcons are reeling at 1-6, and the Seahawks are playing their best ball away from home.
“We’ve got a road game coming up,” Wilson said. “Got to fly to Atlanta, go there and try to find a way to win there.”
Seems like as good a plan as any.