Road is key to Seahawks’ season

ST. LOUIS _ The Seattle Seahawks snapped a two-game losing streak the last time they faced the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 21.

Today, the Seahawks will try to end another slide.

The reinvigorated Seahawks (6-4) have lost their last two road games and are 1-3 away from home for the season. So no matter how much talk there has been about Seattle getting back into Super Bowl contention, this team still has a pretty long road of obstacles standing in its way.

“There are no excuses,” said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, whose team will play four road games over the final six weeks. “So the mindset is, to win the championship, or to win the division, we must win on the road. “It’s come down to that. We’ve got four of six games on the road. If we don’t do that, we won’t get there.”

The Seahawks have had some recent road success against today’s opponent, the 2-8 St. Louis Rams. Seattle has won two in a row at the Edward Jones Dome dating back to the Super Bowl year in 2005.

But road trips haven’t been kind to the Seahawks as a whole. While they have a respectable 10-10 record away from home since 2005, they haven’t had nearly the success that the friendly confines of Qwest Field have offered.

The Seahawks hold the distinction of the NFL’s second-most lopsided disparity between home and road records over the past three seasons. With an 18-4 record at Qwest Field since 2005, Seattle has a .818 winning percentage in home games, as compared to .500 in road games. Only the Baltimore Ravens (.762 at home, and .333 on the road) have had a wider margin of success in that span.

Holmgren said his team’s frame of mind might have played into some of its road struggles.

“Most football games are decided not by that,” he said last week. “Most games are decided by the things that always decide games: fumbles, interceptions, punt returns, big plays, missed tackles. Whether you’re on the road, playing overseas, it doesn’t matter. Those are the things that decide football games.

“So we’re going to try and get the right mindset and go in and play well on the road.”

Holmgren’s message apparently got through to his players.

“We have to come out fast,” cornerback Kelly Jennings said. “A lot of times on the road, it seems harder to get going. The faster we can get going, the better.”

In road losses to Arizona and Pittsburgh, the Seahawks have been outscored by a combined total of 24-7 in the first half. The Nov. 4 loss at Cleveland was a different story, with the Seahawks blowing a 21-6 lead and losing 33-30 in overtime.

“Bad,” Seahawks defensive end Daryl Tapp said in assessing his team’s road play this season. “We should be undefeated. We should play at the same level all the time.”

Time change and jet lag would serve as easy excuses, although the Seahawks aren’t looking for any. According to an NFL release sent out earlier this season, the Seahawks will travel more miles this year (33,586), including the two preseason road games) than any team other than San Francisco. Seattle still has trips to Philadelphia, Carolina and Atlanta in December, marking the three longest trips of the season and a round-trip total of 16,800 miles.

Since the beginning of the 2003 season, 11 of the Seahawks’ 19 losses have come east of the Mississippi River, which doesn’t bode well for the upcoming schedule.

The Seahawks know that if they’re going to get to where they eventually want to go, they’ll have to have some successful road trips to get there.

“We’ve got four games left, and we’ve definitely got to do better,” safety Deon Grant said. “If we’re fortunate enough to get to the postseason, we’re going to have to win on the road. So we definitely want to take care of business right now. And that means winning at St. Louis and getting it started right there.”

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