Things went awry in the desert.
That’s the way most Seahawks fans are feeling this week after Seattle lost to the Arizona Cardinals in a thrilling debacle last Sunday night.
It was unexpected because Seattle is generally successful beating the Cardinals in Arizona. In fact, that was the first time in his career that Russell Wilson lost to the Cardinals on the road.
Why and how did it happen?
Wilson uncharacteristically threw three interceptions, which equals the number he had thrown the entire season before that game. He now sits at 22 touchdowns to six picks. Still respectable, but most fans didn’t expect him to throw any interceptions last week.
Also give plenty of credit to Kyler Murray and second-year Cardinals coach, Kliff Kingsbury. They clearly are a much better team than they were last year and should be considered a force to be reckoned with in the NFC West. And with DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald catching passes, we perhaps should have given them more credit in advance, considering Seattle’s porous secondary.
What that loss did is bring the Seattle Seahawks back down to earth. They had looked unstoppable, at least in the sense that their offense could more than make up for defensive deficiencies. But now the defense looks more like a genuine liability.
Russell Wilson is still on track for his long overdue MVP season, though he will have to demonstrate that last Sunday night was an aberration more than a foreshadowing of things to come.
The good news is that this week Seattle gets San Francisco at home in a one o’clock kickoff. Though fans won’t be present, most of us know how to look at this game. The 49ers have been Seattle’s patsy at home for many years. Seattle should be able to run away with this one, but don’t take anything for granted at this point.
The Niners absolutely destroyed the Patriots last week in Foxboro, but we don’t yet know whether that bodes well for San Francisco or is just a reflection of the Patriots’ woes, especially at quarterback with Cam Newton struggling mightily.
Not to look ahead, but after this week, Seattle has to travel east to play a red-hot Buffalo Bills team. It will be essential for the Hawks to take care of business at home this weekend so they can travel with a bit of momentum beneath them as they head into that cross-country trap game.
Remember, the Seahawks are currently in the midst of the gauntlet portion of their season. They’ve already lost the first gauntlet game, which adds increased importance to winning the rest of the gauntlet games.
If they can’t win the majority of these games in the middle of the season, expect their playoff chances to dwindle considerably.
Is there a danger of last week’s loss having been a harbinger of Seattle’s overall inadequacy? Some might say that the only teams Seattle has beaten are all bad (Falcons, Patriots, Cowboys, Dolphins and Vikings), and that many of those wins were too close for comfort. If you add together the records of those five teams, they only have eight wins among them, for an average of 1.6 wins per team.
There is indeed that possibility, though Russel Wilson’s stellar play thus far would suggest that Seattle is indeed a very good team. He and the offense in general lead in too many categories to suggest that we are looking at fool’s gold.
What is Seattle doing to remedy things, especially on defense?
This week they brought in seasoned pass-rusher Carlos Dunlap to help their abysmal sack numbers (just nine after six games).
They are hoping to have Jamal Adams back for this weekend’s game, though at the time of writing he has still yet to rejoin practice. Adams is the key to Seattle’s secondary, as he proved during the games he played in at the beginning of the season when he racked up double-digit tackles and a couple of sacks.
Unfortunately, Shaquill Griffin suffered a concussion in last week’s loss and may not be able to play this weekend. And while Griffin has not been a world beater by any means, the fact that he has seen so much playing time suggests that he’s better than what’s behind him. That’s very concerning.
Have faith that Pete Carroll will do what he can to scheme around a lack of defensive talent. Have faith that Wilson will recover from last weekend’s debacle in the desert. Have faith that the Hawks have owned the Niners over the past several years (last season’s ending loss notwithstanding).
Right now, that faith in this season being special is all we’ve got.