SEATTLE – And the Seattle Seahawks thought they had road troubles?
Three consecutive road losses could be considered a hot streak for the Detroit Lions, who will enter Seahawks Stadium this afternoon bearing the weight of a 20-game losing streak away from home.
The last time the Lions won a road game was near the end of the 2000 season, when they edged the New York Jets 10-7 at Giants Stadium.
Only two teams have had longer streaks, including the NFL record of 23 that was set by the Houston Oilers from 1981-84.
“We’re not going in with the attitude that we haven’t won any road games,” said cornerback Doug Evans, a former Seahawk. “We’re going in with the attitude that we’ve won two in a row (overall), and want to keep that going.”
The Lions (3-6) beat Oakland and Chicago in their past two games, both at home, but have still been unable to pull off a road win in almost three years. With Seattle (6-3), Minnesota (6-3), Kansas City (9-0) and Carolina (7-2) hosting Detroit over the next six weeks, the all-time record looks very attainable.
But the Lions aren’t thinking in those terms.
“I don’t care,” quarterback Joey Harrington said of the losing streak. “I wasn’t here when it started, and I’m going to be here when it ends. So I don’t care.”
The Seahawks have a streak of their own on the line, although it’s nowhere near record-breaking proportions. Seattle has won its last six homes games, including all five this season. The home team has an all-time record of 7-5 at Seahawks Stadium.
“Our home crowd is really starting to get into the games, and we’re starting to get that 12th man that we need,” offensive lineman Chris Terry said.
This contest will mark the fourth consecutive Seahawks home game televised locally, as enough tickets were sold by Thursday’s deadline to lift the league-mandated blackout. The large crowds have helped Seattle forge game-winning drives in each of their last four home games, but the attendance figures could have included an asterisk.
Home games against San Francisco, Chicago and Pittsburgh saw large fan contingencies rooting for the road teams. The opposing colors have been especially apparent behind the east sideline, where the visiting team stands during games.
Even though the Lions are struggling, that trend could continue this week. Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington, a Portland native and University of Oregon product, has up to 2,000 people coming up by bus for the game. Ex-Washington State University kicker Jason Hanson has about 40 or 50 people coming over from his hometown of Spokane to root on the Lions.
” (Harrington) pretty much wrapped up half the stadium, I think,” Hanson said. “I didn’t do that, but I’ve got all the important people coming over.”
Those people could soon learn what Detroit fans in opposing stadiums have found out over the past 20 road contests: that the Lions have a habit of leaving their game at home.