Mariners fans, you haven’t missed much

  • Scott M. Johnson / Pro Football Report
  • Thursday, October 19, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

The woofing has finally quelled, the M headgear sent to the recycling bin. No mo’ Mojo.

The Mariners’ run is over, and the local sports focus is preparing to jump across Lake Washington to the Eastside. With the kind of season the M’s put together, it’s understandable for sports fans to be a little behind on what’s happened over in Kirkland. So we’ll take the opportunity to get everyone updated through a Cliff Notes version of the 2000 Seahawks season thus far:

Despite roster turnover that saw nine former starters and a kicker get shipped out of town, coach Mike Holmgren opened the season by promising that his Seahawks would be competitive this year.

The team promptly opened its season with a pathetic, 23-0 drubbing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. An angry Holmgren benched a starting receiver in favor of a rookie, talked about his team bouncing back and promised that his Seahawks would be competitive this year.

The following week, Holmgren tossed around the idea of benching quarterback Jon Kitna in favor of Brock Huard. Didn’t happen. Seattle went on to lose to the Rams. Still, Holmgren promised his Seahawks would be competitive this year.

Two wins over patsies had optimism brewing, but a Monday night loss to Kansas City sent the Seahawks back down to earth. Kitna out. Huard in. Even with a young QB, Holmgren promised his Seahawks would be competitive this year.

Huard had a forgettable first start, and Seattle’s defense played uninspired in a 26-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Two starters got benched, a rookie was added to the starting offensive line. But it wasn’t a sign of panic, for Holmgren promised his Seahawks would be competitive this year.

Huard looked better in his second game, while the defense got worse. Huard hurts knee, questionable for Sunday’s game. Huard’s knee turns out to be fine, but groin is hurt. Still questionable for Sunday’s game.

Speaking of questionable, Holmgren stops making promises.

His weekly press conference, on previous Wednesdays filled with optimism and talk about the present, took a different turn this week.

“It’s a marathon,” Holmgren said at one point. “Does that mean one game? No. Does that mean one season? Maybe not. Does it mean for the next couple of years? Let’s just keep working, keep getting better, try to eliminate the mistakes that are plaguing us right now and never give up. Never, never give up. That’s what I see from this team.”

It’s been an event-filled first seven weeks, and Mariners fans have missed out on lots of storylines and subplots. There have been benchings, sideline tirades, even a kicker or two losing his job. There have been impatient fans, bewildered coaches and veterans with questionable futures. Television blackouts and defensive flameouts.

It’s just the kind of season that might be able to pique the interest of Mariners fans. But if they’re looking for relief from the pain of the ALCS loss, they might want to look elsewhere. The only promise over here is that the Seahawks are still alive for nine more games. But just barely.

  • Kickoff: 1:15 p.m. Sunday at Network Associates Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

  • TV/Radio: CBS (Channel 7); KIRO radio (710 AM)

  • Stars to watch: Seahawks – QB Brock Huard had a breakout performance last week, but a sore groin has his playing status in question. If he can’t go, QB Jon Kitna will regain the reins for at least one more week. RT Chris McIntosh looked solid in his first start last week, but he will have his hands full with Raiders defensive end Lance Johnstone on Sunday. LB Anthony Simmons leads the Seahawks with 61 tackles, including 49 solo.

    Raiders – QB Rich Gannon made his first Pro Bowl appearance last season, and has proven it wasn’t a fluke with a 90.5 rating this year. WR Tim Brown is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns. He also leads the team with 41 catches this season. DT Darrell Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in 1997, has been to the last two Pro Bowls. CB Charles Woodson is one of the best players at his position in the NFL, and now he’s playing two positions. He made his second career reception last week after lining up at wide receiver.

  • Breaking down the game: One of the AFC’s top rushing offenses against one of its worst run defenses. A consistent veteran quarterback against a to-be-announced quarterback. A team that’s running away with the division against a foundering also-ran.

    Every matchup favors the Raiders in this one. Even if the Seahawks can keep it close – which they should – Oakland has found a way to win the tight ballgames this season. No longer can the “Faders” be counted on to fold down the stretch.

    The Seahawks’ run defense has nowhere to go but up and they couldn’t find a turnover at a bakery. Huard’s health is in question, meaning Seattle might have to turn to Kitna, who has a 3-8 record over his past 11 starts.

    So why does this seem like the kind of game Seattle can actually win? There are two main reasons. One, the Raiders are good, but not that good. Two, the Seahawks are bad, but not that bad.

    The Seahawks will have a tough time containing Oakland’s two-headed running attack and have to find a way to contain Gannon. At the same time, they’ll have to create more than one turnover – something that has happened only twice this season.

    Offensively, Seattle might do well enough off by picking up where it left off last week – if Huard can play, that is. If Huard can’t go, the Seahawks will feel comfortable starting Kitna and his career 74.4 rating against the Raiders.

    This one should be one-sided for the favorite, but we see an upset on the horizon.

  • Pick: Seahawks, 20-17.

  • Injury report: Seahawks – QB Brock Huard (groin) is questionable; TE Christian Fauria (groin) is probable. Raiders – S Marquez Pope (groin ) is doubtful; S Johnnie Harris (ankle) and S Eric Johnson (shoulder) are questionable; LB Elijah Alexander (back) and WR Jerry Porter (hamstring) are probable.

  • Little-known fact: Mike Holmgren has suffered as many losses (12) in his first 23 games with the Seahawks as he had in his final 51 with the Green Bay Packers.

  • St. Louis (6-0) at Kansas City (3-3), 10 a.m. Sunday: In desperate need of points, the Rams snapped up former Chief Pete Stoyanovich off the waiver wire. The first thing coach Mike Martz told him: “Here’s a kickoff tee. We’ll be down at that end working on our two-point conversions.” Pick: Rams, 41-30.

  • Tennessee (5-1) at Baltimore (5-2), 10 a.m. Sunday: Speaking of points, the only ones the Ravens have been able to pick up this season have been from Las Vegas. Maybe Tony Banks should start fumbling again so Baltimore can at least move the football. Pick: Titans, 15-6.

  • Miami (5-1) at New York Jets (5-1), 6 p.m. Monday: The hirings of Dave Wannstedt and Al Groh were good for a few chuckles. Look who’s laughing now. Outside of St. Louis and Minnesota, defense has been the name of the game this season – and these two teams have it. Last quarterback standing wins. Pick: Jets, 20-17.
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