RENTON — As the clouds darken over Seattle’s season, Russell Wilson is keeping his sunny side up.
So what his Seahawks are battered, unsettled, middling at .500 and riding their first two-game losing streak in 24 months.
“I think adversity is opportunity,” Wilson said in St. Louis on Sunday moments after he was wondrous and record-setting yet couldn’t prevent Seattle from falling behind 21-3 and then losing to the Rams 28-26.
“So we have a great opportunity ahead of us. And that’s going to Carolina (3-3-1 this) week.
“We have a team that’s full of fighters. There’s nothing better than a guy that will go 16 rounds, 15 rounds, however many rounds there is in boxing — I don’t know, I don’t watch boxing enough to really know how many rounds.”
Yes, this is standard, Wilsonian language. And, yes, his knowledge of the “sweet science” needs a standing-eight count.
But Wilson has a point. And the Seahawks still have an opportunity. At least 10 more of them, in fact.
Elias Sports Bureau and espn.com pointed out on Tuesday how league history shows the Seahawks being at .500 after six games gives them a 38-percent chance of qualifying for the postseason.
But how many division leaders at this point in a previous NFL season had a starting quarterback with a throwing shoulder that only sometimes works and was missing half its defense because of injury? That’s where Arizona (5-1) is right now. Carson Palmer has a nerve condition in his shoulder that sometimes keeps him out of games, sometimes doesn’t — and often prevents him from attempting a pass down the field. The Cardinals play Philadelphia (5-1) and at Dallas (6-1) the next two weeks. After a game with the Rams (2-4), they play the Lions (5-2) and the NFL’s top defense and then are at Seattle.
The Seahawks are even in the loss column with San Francisco (4-3), with which Seattle could pull even after Sunday when the 49ers have their bye.
The Seahawks have five division games remaining, including two each with Arizona and San Francisco.
Such is the glass-half-full version of Seattle’s current state.
That’s the glass from which Pete Carroll drinks. The Seahawks head coach thinks the offense will continue to settle itself, which it well may now that coordinator and play caller Darrell Bevell isn’t feeding the ball to the traded Percy Harvin.
Carroll sees Wilson becoming the first NFL player to pass for 300 yards and run for 100 in a game last weekend against the Rams, the reconnection with Marshawn Lynch’s running, the trade of Harvin resulting in Doug Baldwin returning inside as a slot receiver where he’s thrived before, all as reasons to believe rather than panic.
Yes, the offensive line remains porous. Yes, Wilson keeps having to scramble away from getting nailed almost each time he drops to throw. Yes, at least four starters — tight end Zach Miller, center Max Unger, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Byron Maxwell — are out or iffy for Sunday’s game against the Panthers, which just lost at Green Bay 38-17 in a game that was 28-0 in the second quarter. And yes, the Seahawks’ defense is changing this week to try and get more pressure on the quarterback.
But Carroll accentuates Seattle being one, final failed offensive possession late at San Diego and against Dallas from winning those games, then a fake punt it allowed away from beating the Rams after rallying from an early, 18-point ditch.
“The margin of where we are versus what we could be is so slight that the hope is very strong,” Carroll said Monday. “To see the big improvement on the offense this week was really encouraging and exciting. So we’re going to keep punching at it. And it’s a long season. It’s a lot of stuff that has to be determined, a lot of games in division.”
The last two times the Seahawks were 3-3 were in 2007 and 2004. They won seven of their final 10 games in 2007 to win the NFL West and then a first-round playoff game before losing in the divisional playoffs inside a Green Bay snow globe. Ten years ago they won six of their final 10 to win the division before they lost at home to the Rams in the first playoff round.
With Harvin now a New York Jet after his trade on Friday that stunned the players, this Seahawks offense is getting back to its Super Bowl-winning roots of establishing Lynch’s running game to set up Wilson’s play-action passing.
That’s a great development for Doug Baldwin.
Two games ago Baldwin was frustrated to the point of ranting in the locker room following the loss to Dallas. That was after Wilson had targeted him just three times for two receptions outside.
Sunday in St. Louis, Baldwin was back in the slot and had one of the biggest days of his career: seven catches, 123 yards and his first touchdown catch this season.
No wonder he was in a better mood after this most recent loss than the one before it.
“We got back to who we were as an offense,” Baldwin said. “We have a lot of things to clean up still but it is a lot of positive we can take out of this game. I’m just very proud of my teammates and this as a whole, just how we fought to the end. Like I said, we have a lot to clean up, but I think we’re back on the right track.
“I felt like the run plays, the run game even though we weren’t as successful as we wanted to be, we got back to it. … It is a lot of positive and it’s completely different from the (Dallas) game. (That game) I thought we didn’t have any growth. This game, you could feel the growth within our offense. Excited about that going forward.”
So count him in Seattle’s glass-half-full crowd, too, even at 3-3.
He can get in line behind his quarterback.
“I feel a lot of success coming around the corner. That’s what I hope for. That’s what I believe in,” Wilson said.
“I believe in our football team.”
The Seahawks claimed tight end Brett Brackett off waivers from Tennessee and waived tight end RaShaun Allen. The Titans had signed Brackett, a second-year man from Penn State, off their practice squad each to the active roster for each of the last two games. Those were his first two games in the league. … Seattle signed LB L.J. Fort to practice squad.