Things might look dire for the Seahawks, who have lost three in a row for the first time since 2011 and at 2-5 have a long road to get back to .500 before thinking about the playoffs.
But as would be expected of players in an organization that has known little but success for a decade — and it’s worth remembering that Seattle’s 12 wins last year tied for the third-most in team history — the word from the VMAC is that there is still a lot of season left to turn things around.
“Sometimes it is a play or two here that can change your whole season,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I think that’s why you have optimism. That’s why you understand each play is important, because you never know which one can be the deciding point of the game. There’s a lot of football left, and we definitely feel like we can position ourselves on a nice little run if we can get out of our way.”
Seahawks fans, though, have made their own statement this week, trying to unload tickets for Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game against Jacksonville as they haven’t in years.
As of Friday afternoon, there were roughly 13,000 tickets available for resale on Ticketmaster’s website, with prices as low as $25.
According to Anthony Beyrouti of venuekings.com, that’s the cheapest ticket available to a Seahawks home game since the team’s first season in Lumen Field (then called Seahawks Stadium) in 2002.
As Beyrouti noted, an even better illustration of how avidly Seahawks fans have tried to shed their tickets this week is to log on ticketmaster.com, click on a section and view all the red seats that signify those available for resale.
“It’s a stunning visual,” Beyrouti said. “Very few things are actually stunning to us. But we sat around the computer yesterday in the office staring at that.”
It’s not solely Seattle’s recent losing streak that is responsible, of course. Jacksonville is 1-5 and not a team known for a strong traveling fan base. Seattle’s next home game Nov. 21 against 7-1 Arizona had a low price of $80 Friday afternoon.
But it’s proof that the Seahawks’ slow start means they must start winning games and win back a fan base accustomed to success.
The last time the Jaguars played here, in 2013, the Seahawks were a 20-point favorite — still the largest point spread in team history. Jacksonville was in its first year under coach Gus Bradley, who had been Seattle’s defensive coordinator the previous four seasons. Seattle made the spread look good, winning 45-17.
Now, despite the Jaguars having lost 20 in a row before an overtime win against Miami two Sundays ago, Seattle is just a 3.5-point favorite against a Jacksonville team again rebuilding under a new coach, Urban Meyer.
That line is obviously influenced greatly by Seattle having to play a third consecutive game without injured quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is eligible to come off injured reserve following the Jacksonville game. Seattle has its bye next week and doesn’t play again until Nov. 14 at Green Bay.
Wilson’s backup, Geno Smith, has lost just two turnovers since taking over for Wilson. But he took five sacks Monday night against the Saints — all in the second half — as Seattle scored just three points in the final 55 minutes of a 13-10 loss.
“He’s working the offense and leading us the way you need your guy to come off of the bench and do,” Carroll said of Smith. “Hopefully we can support him better and give him a chance to get the ball down the field more.”
That means giving Smith better protection — the Seahawks plan to shake up the offensive line Sunday by playing Ethan Pocic some at center, potentially starting him — and running better than they did against the Saints, who held them to 90 yards on 28 carries.
The Seahawks also are coming off a tough turnaround from a physical Monday night game and are facing a team coming off its bye.
But Carroll said Friday that he liked how his team responded this week.
“Just judging from what the attitude was like this week, and yesterday’s practice was one of the best Thursdays we’ve had,” Carroll said. “They really know that this is a one-week championship opportunity for us. This is what that is, so we are going for it and giving everything that we have. We want to play really well and smart but hard, too, and you can tell by the way they prepared.”
A loss would be shocking, given where the two teams stood before the year began — the Seahawks thinking Super Bowl, the Jaguars coming off a 1-15 season that netted them the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft to get quarterback Trevor Lawrence — and would give Seattle the longest losing streak of the Carroll era.
Seattle has not lost four in a row since dropping the final four games of the 2009 season, Jim Mora’s lone season as coach, after which he was fired and replaced by Carroll.
The Seahawks have pretty much been the hottest ticket in town since.
But Sunday, players might look up in the stands and see a few more open seats than usual. And they know there’s only one way to go about getting them filled again.
“You have to do a good job of understanding what the end goal is and playing in the moment,” tight end Will Dissly said. “This organization takes a lot of pride in winning. Our fan base puts a lot of effort into us, so we have to show up for them. With that being said, the playoffs are in the picture, but it’s all about one week at a time. Knowing that every week is a playoff week, once we get to playoffs, we’re already in that mindset. That’s the goal, but the goal right now is to go 1-0 into this bye and get things rolling.”