RENTON — People are going to get tired of my response if they keep asking me to affix a letter grade to Seahawks performances.
Again, on Sunday, against the Tennessee Titans, the Seahawks graded out thusly: W.
The five fumbles, the special teams calamity and the halftime deficit were cause for some concern. None of it mattered in the end.
The final score of 20-13 was a margin closer than many expected at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks had been beating opponents by an average of 20 points since the 11-game home win streak started last season.
But their 5-1 record is matched in the NFC by only New Orleans, which has to visit Seattle to play on Dec. 2.
Injuries have contributed to inconsistencies, and, as coach Pete Carroll pointed out, the other teams show up “trying to make you look bad.”
At times, they have. But only one other Seahawks team has started this well (2003).
“It’s nice to learn while you’re winning, and I think that’s where we are, and that’s what we’re hoping to continue,” Carroll said.
A couple of weeks ago, the streaking Seahawks appeared to have a relatively easy road ahead. They were 3-0 in the NFC West and the other three teams were 1-2.
Since then, though, the Seahawks lost on the road to the Colts, and suddenly the NFC West is the only NFL division that has no team with a losing record (Seattle 5-1, San Francisco 4-2, Arizona 3-3, St. Louis 3-3).
The Seahawks have to face them all on the road.
On Thursday, it’s Arizona, which has won its past two at home against the Seahawks. On Sunday, the Cardinals were two points behind San Francisco at the start of the fourth quarter on the road.
St. Louis, meanwhile, clobbered the Texans 38-13 in Houston, where the Seahawks had to pull out an overtime win on Sept. 29.
And the 49ers, whom the Seahawks drubbed 29-3 at home on Sept. 15 in their most complete performance of the season, have bounced back with a pair of wins.
As any front-runner should remember, going into Week 5 last season, Arizona led the division at 4-0 and finished at the bottom at 5-11. And at Thanksgiving, Seattle trailed San Francisco by three in the loss column and ended a half game back.
The Seahawks play three divisional games in December, so there’s the potential for late drama.
On Sunday, Carroll saw his injury-depleted offensive line provide better protection for quarterback Russell Wilson, and the problem they’ve been facing with third-down conversions diminished.
“I think we’re making good progress in (what) we’re putting together week to week to week with really good focus and concentration,” Carroll said. “Which is really what this is about right now. We have to keep coming back and playing hard enough and tough enough with the right preparation to give us a chance to win.”
The Seahawks in the second half of 2012 might have spoiled Seattle fans, because they scored 42 or more points in three of their last four games.
“I don’t know that we’ll be able to reach the levels we saw late last year when we were scoring points at a huge rate; that was an enormous run we had,” Carroll said.
Carroll reminded folks Monday that the Seahawks at some point can be expected to enjoy the return of key injured players, particularly receiver Percy Harvin, who is nearing a return from the short-term injured reserve list.
The Thursday game will be the third game in 11 days — the second on the road.
“Each week has a unique challenge to it, and we have to find ways to get through the games,” Carroll said.
Finding ways to get through games, there’s a skill to that, and it speaks to a team’s resilience.
It might be one of the best traits of the 2013 Seahawks.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 firstname.lastname@example.org @DaveBoling