Here’s hoping the Seahawks’ health-care plan is sound because they’re liable to go way over their deductible this week.
The list of players who got dinged up in Seattle’s otherwise easy win over Philadelphia at CenturyLink Field on Sunday is lengthy. But since it doesn’t seem to include too many key players, this Seahawks team should be able to sustain the kind of roll that tends to land them in the Super Bowl.
Such early declarations generally identify the predictor as laughably foolhardy — or maybe a network political pollster.
Maybe, but we’ve seen it before with these Seahawks. It becomes a matter of physics; their inertia reaches critical mass in the second half of the season and it’s dangerous to get in their way.
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At 7-2-1, the Hawks have the second-best record in the NFC (trailing Dallas, at 9-1). But the Eagles, whom they manhandled 26-15 on Sunday, were the last team on their schedule with a record above .500.
Dallas, meanwhile, faces six teams with records at least .500, with road tests at Minnesota (6-4) and New York Giants (7-3).
And none of that may matter, anyway, because if the Seahawks perform as they have the past two games, they can beat anybody they line up against.
“We’re on a roll,” said linebacker K.J. Wright. “This is our time of year. We just get the momentum building and we’re stacking up these wins. We know we can really take off at this point. Keep getting better, and it will be something special.”
The defense has been pretty much as expected, except that early in the season it was getting worn down from having to carry around the offense week after week.
But with Russell Wilson easing back toward full mobility after three early season injuries, the offense has put together back-to-back 400-plus-yard efforts (outgunning New England on the road last week).
They’ve rediscovered the explosive play and the vertical passing game, they ran for a season-high 152 yards against Philadelphia, and they’ve been forcing turnovers.
“The yardage has been okay, but I think the biggest thing is us scoring touchdowns,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We’ve been executing at a high level. It comes down to the mental preparation and being able to execute at that level in the moment.”
And, as validation of one of coach Pete Carroll’s most cherished axioms, once again, it “was all about the ball.”
Extending their streak of dedicated custody of the football, the Seahawks have now gone seven games with only one turnover — an interception at New Orleans four games ago.
With this defense, and an offense that protects the football, the Seahawks are back to where they once belonged.
After Sunday’s 26-15 win in which they led 26-7 until deep into the fourth quarter, it’s easy to discount the Eagles as a threat.
But this was a 5-4 team that took Dallas into overtime and lost close to the Giants on the road. Of more relevance to the Seahawks, the Eagles were the No. 6 defense in the NFL.
Philly’s front four is considered one of the best in the league, and probably the toughest the Seahawks’ struggling offensive line will face the rest of the way.
That they gained more than 400 yards and Wilson suffered just one sack against this defense is a significant statement of their capabilities.
And there’s just so many of the customary hallmarks of the annual Seahawks’ surge: The running game returning, the Wilson statistical production and the sprinkling of magical plays from week to week; the defense putting dents in opposing receivers and ball-carriers.
“We’re just getting better; we’re getting smarter and we’re growing,” Carroll said. “It’s a long haul and fortunately we’re maybe turning the corner a little bit here at the right time.”
Like everybody else in the that locker room, Wilson senses the possibilities.
“There’s more out there for us,” Wilson said. “Nothing’s too big for us.”
I think he’s right. Sustain the level of play they’ve put together the past two weeks, and the Seahawks can beat anybody in the NFL.
It’s too early to suggest you book your tickets to Houston for the Super Bowl.
But you might make a note to keep the date open.