The Seattle Seahawks staggered away from the sun of Miami last November.
They had just lost to the Dolphins on a last-second field goal to fall to 6-5. Pete Carroll’s slogan of “Win Forever” had been reduced to just winning about half the time, and only at home at that.
That was Seattle’s last regular-season loss before last week’s stumble in Indianapolis – a run of nine in a row.
The Seahawks (4-1) will spend this weekend merely shifting the rudder as opposed to recharting the course, the way they did last season. After losing last year, they won five consecutive games to close the season. This year’s first chance to start a post-loss streak comes Sunday when the Tennessee Titans (3-2) visit CenturyLink Field for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff.
“I think our team is that much more competitive (than last year),” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “I believe that we know who our guys are and who our leaders are and what we need to do to be successful.”
Uncharacteristic last week were errors for the Seahawks’ vaunted secondary. A 73-yard touchdown pass to Indianapolis wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was labeled a “bust” by the boys in the back.
“It’s definitely something that we can grow from, something that we’re going to use as motivation to keep us on our toes,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “You always need games like that to get
you on your toes, to get you back on your P’s and Q’s, and I think it’s going to be a fun game this weekend.”
Sherman said that last line with a smirk. The not-so-subtle underlying feeling is a grumpy Seahawks team will show up Sunday.
“We just move on,” Sherman said. “We didn’t play a very bad game. It’s not like we gave up 500 yards passing. They gave us some plays, and we just have to correct the mistakes that we made.
“It’s no different than after a win, you correct the mistakes and move on to the next game.”
Containment of the Titans will fall more on the defensive line and linebackers than the secondary this week. That’s because Chris Johnson will be in the backfield. He has such burst it appears he has dynamite for breakfast.
Johnson ran for 2,006 yards in 2009. He has been slowed this season, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Still, his potential for brisk damage looms.
Last week against Kansas City, Johnson wasn’t even running a route when he ended up scoring.
Johnson threw a cut block, then got to his feet. When quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick saw no other options, he flipped the ball to Johnson. After scooting 49 yards from the middle of the field to the outside, Johnson stood in the end zone.
“He can bomb you from anywhere,” Sherman said.
On offense, the Seahawks will get a boost from the return of Pro Bowl center Max Unger. He was inactive the past two games, and the team’s offensive line suffered. He’ll be back Sunday, a 305-pound reinforcement in the middle of the line.
He’ll be in the middle of what the Seahawks hope is a new streak.
The Seahawks released offensive lineman Jason Spitz on Saturday and signed wide receiver Bryan Walters from the practice squad.
Walters saw action in four games for the San Diego Chargers in 2011, and had two catches for 27 yards. He signed with Minnesota in April 2012 but was released during training camp. The Seahawks signed him to their practice squad last December.
Spitz signed with Seattle on Sept. 25. He did not play in the two games he was with the team.
TENNESSEE TITANS (3-2) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-1)
1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 7. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM
The series: Seattle leads 9-5. The Titans won the last meeting, 17-13, on Jan. 3, 2010, in Seattle.
What to watch: The Seahawks will spend the afternoon trying to hem in Titans running back Chris Johnson, who ran for 2,006 yards in 2009 and more than 1,000 every season since. Johnson is having trouble this season. He’s averaging 3.1 yards a carry, down from 4.5 a year ago. The Seahawks are 19th against the run. With Jake Locker out because of a hip injury, Ryan Fitzpatrick is in at quarterback for Tennessee. He doesn’t worry the Seahawks much. Seattle is hoping to worry less about its offensive line, too. Offensive line coach Tom Cable said his group was much better last week versus Indianapolis than it was against Houston. Pro Bowl center Max Unger is back after missing two games, so that should be a boost.
The pick: Seahawks, 34-13.
No. Name, Pos., Ht., Wt., Year
4 Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, 6-2, 223, ninth
Jake Locker’s fill-in can be creative but tends to turn the ball over.
20 Alterraun Verner, CB, 5-10, 187, fourth
Verner is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with four.
28 Chris Johnson, RB, 5-11, 203, sixth
Though he’s had a quiet year, he can score at any time.
31 Bernard Pollard, S, 6-1, 225, eighth
The veteran safety leads the Titans in tackles and fills well against the run.
85 Nate Washington, WR, 6-1, 183, ninth
He leads the Titans in receiving yards (362) and is their steady hand in the passing game.
No. Name, Pos., Ht., Wt., Year
3 Russell Wilson, QB, 5-11, 206, second
The Seahawks are hoping to get their passing game going. That will be a challenge against a good Titans pass defense.
24 Marshawn Lynch, RB, 5-11, 215, seventh
Lynch has a minor hip problem. We’ll see how much work he gets.
50 K.J. Wright, LB, 6-4, 246, third
Wright will slide into the middle for injured Bobby Wagner, who is not expected to play.
51 Bruce Irvin, LB, 6-3, 248, second
With a week under his belt after being suspended for four, Irvin should see more work.
73 Michael Bowie, RT, 6-4, 332, first
Bowie will be making his third consecutive start. We’ll see if he is starting to learn.