A seemingly valid axiom holds that young football teams enjoy their greatest improvements between Week 1 and Week 2 of an NFL season.
Nothing players can do in the preseason replicates what actually happens in a regular-season game, and it takes game-speed action for units with new moving parts to fully mesh.
That also happens to be the interminable period of time when fans of 0-1 teams are forced to stew in their anxieties, imagine the worst, question staff decisions and player shortcomings, and generally develop self-induced hypertension.
That’s why it’s known as Overreaction Week.
I feel I should argue for composure, and remind Seahawks fans of the 2005 season when the Hawks lost a stinker at Jacksonville in the opener and were a shaky 2-2 when they set off on an 11-game winning streak that rocketed them into the postseason and a Super Bowl appearance.
While I should urge restraint, I can’t help but ask: Yikes, folks, have you looked at the schedule?
Today the Seahawks play host to Dallas, a team that just beat the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, 24-17, on the road. And life gets even more difficult.
After today, the Seahawks have only two more home games until November, and those are against Green Bay (a season removed from a Super Bowl title) and the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots (who lost the most recent Super Bowl).
The four road games in that span take them twice into the dreaded Eastern time zone (Carolina, Oct. 7, and Detroit, Oct. 28) and to the Central time zone once (St. Louis, Sept. 30). And the fourth road game is to San Francisco, but it’s on a short week – a Thursday game (Oct. 18) after playing New England on Sunday.
The schedule creates the odd situation in which all three division games they play in the first half of the season are on the road. They already got a good look at the Cardinals in their 20-16 loss on Sunday, and have seen San Francisco show its not slowing down, with a win over Green Bay at Lambeau Field. And even the Rams, whom they’ve defeated 13 of the past 14 meetings, showed clear improvement under new coach Jeff Fisher in a narrow loss to Detroit in their opener.
And a Seahawks team that failed to protect rookie quarterback Russell Wilson last week now faces a Dallas defense featuring linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who had two sacks against the Giants in the Cowboys’ opener.
Because they opened on Sept. 5, the Cowboys have had 11 days to rest and prepare for the Seahawks.
This challenge arises after coming out of the physical Arizona game with left tackle Russell Okung and receiver Sidney Rice limping, running back Marshawn Lynch dealing with more back issues, and receiver Doug Baldwin literally spitting out teeth.
A couple of compensating bright spots:
The game is at CenturyLink, and the Seahawks’ aggressive defense feeds on the crowd’s enthusiasm.
While the Cardinals provided a nice template for other teams to follow in going after Wilson, the Seahawks also got a clear picture of what they’re likely to face from the Dallas defense.
While Wilson put together some typical rookie numbers against Arizona, he also showed a couple of valuable, if nonquantifiable, qualities.
He may be short, but the man can take a hit. He was nailed with a helmet to the spine on one play, in particular, and bounced back from a shot that might have sent some taller quarterbacks to the injured reserve list.
And when Lynch fumbled on one run, it was Wilson who was there to recover 9 yards downfield. It showed an awareness and fearlessness that Matt Hasselbeck displayed on that field several years earlier when he raced in to recover a Darrell Jackson fumble.
Also, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been the Seahawks’ divisional arch-nemesis, averaging 101 receiving yards in the last seven games played in Arizona. The Seattle secondary limited him to four catches for 63 yards.
The Seahawks have started 0-2 nine times in the past 20 seasons without rallying to a winning record.
An injury or two on either side can so alter important matchups that it’s futile in the NFL to try to consider problems created by opponents even a few weeks down the road, so I’m not going to say a loss to Dallas puts the Seahawks on the greased Slip’N Slide to 0-8.
But it’s clearly a challenge for today that doesn’t get easier as they look down a sadistic firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8440 @DaveBoling