Seahawks aren’t road warriors

  • Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, November 8, 2003 9:00pm
  • Sports

LANDOVER, Md. – The realistic possibility of the Seattle Seahawks going 8-0 at home this year might not be enough unless the team can start finding ways to win away from friendly confines.

The Seahawks (6-2) have won all five games in Seattle this season and are looking at remaining home games against Detroit (2-6), Cleveland (3-5) and Arizona (3-5). But in road stadiums, Seattle is just 1-2, including two consecutive losses.

Today’s game at FedEx Field marks another difficult road test, regardless of the Washington Redskins’ 3-5 record and four-game losing streak. The Seahawks still have to develop the ability to win on the road if they want to have any hope of playing host in the postseason.

“They have to prove they can go into a hostile situation against a good football team and win the game,” coach Mike Holmgren said last week. “Last year we did it a few times, but we didn’t have the same things on the line. Something has to get done.”

The Seahawks’ last road trip finished with a disappointing 27-24 loss at Cincinnati, a game that included five Seattle turnovers. The previous road game saw the Seahawks lose 35-13 at Green Bay. Had it not been for a 38-0 pasting at Arizona on Sept. 14, the Seahawks might have started considering whether to save money by forfeiting all their road games.

In an effort to change the karma, the Seahawks have made at least one alteration this week. The players will wear white pants for the first time this season, a switch that they’re hoping will have some sort of psychological effect.

Based on the recent results away from Seahawks Stadium, at least they’re trying something.

“One thing good teams do is go out and win games on the road,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “That is something hopefully we can get better at.”

Washington is one of the tougher venues on visiting teams in that it seats more than 85,000 people and every game is sold out. The Redskins have a 2-2 mark there this year, including a 20-17 win over AFC East frontrunner New England on Sept. 28.

But since that game, Washington has dropped four in a row. The Redskins’ last three losses – against Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Dallas – have been by an aggregate score of 80-34.

“You would have to watch our team play and do your own analysis of why we are 3-5,” said coach Steve Spurrier, who has come under fire locally because of his 10-14 record with the Redskins. “We are not very highly ranked on offense, we are not highly ranked on defense, and special teams-wise we have not had a big play all year. You look at all that and sort of say, well, that is the way they are, they are 3-5.”

One thing the Redskins do have going for them is success against Seattle. Washington has an all-time mark of 7-4 over the Seahawks, including wins in each of the past two seasons.

Last year’s game, also played in early November, saw the Redskins come into Seahawks Stadium and pull out a 14-3 win. The previous year, Washington won 27-14 at FedEx Field in a game that saw Hasselbeck benched at halftime.

Hasselbeck is a much-improved quarterback from that season, and the Seahawks are a much-improved team.

But they’re still trying to figure out how to play the same football away from Seahawks Stadium as they have in it.

“Just winning games, period, is tough in the NFL,” wide receiver Koren Robinson said. “If we want to make it to the playoffs we have to start winning on the road.”

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