What happened to the Seahawks team that always found a way to win? After losing to the Packers, Seattle is 0-2 and needs to rediscover its magic.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Where is the magic?
What happened to the team that always found a way? The team that not only grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat, but strangled it into submission? The team that knew, with a deeply held conviction, that once they took the lead, they would never give it back.
And knew their opponents knew it, too.
SEAHAWKS AT PACKERS »
What happened to the team that seemed to have an edge over its opposition merely by dint of being the Seattle Seahawks? The team with a swagger and edge and the chips on their shoulder stacked so high it could reach the top of Mount Rainier?
What we saw Sunday was a Seahawks team that coughed up a fourth-quarter lead (again). And not only did they lose for the second straight time to open the 2015 season, they lost their composure, with linebacker K.J. Wright getting ejected after letting Green Bay tight end Richard Rodgers get under his skin.
It’s not crisis time, because the Seahawks are heading home for two very winnable games. Three teams have started out 0-2 and won the Super Bowl. The Seahawks had a two-game losing streak the season they won the Super Bowl. That sentiment was expressed throughout the locker room, as coach Pete Carroll floated around talking to players. But what they can’t know is how their fallibility might empower the teams that once wilted in their wake.
“I think we have a tremendous ability to put it behind us,’’ cornerback Richard Sherman said.
“Our guys are veteran enough to put it behind us and play well. We played well in spurts, against a great quarterback and great team.”
So it’s not panic time. But it’s question time. It’s soul-searching time. Seattle’s 27-17 defeat to the Packers was the sort of whipping that simply doesn’t happen to Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, not since he transformed them into one of the NFL’s elite teams.
Not since the 2011 season had Seattle lost by 10 points or more. And what made it more depressing was that the Seahawks led when the fourth quarter began. But as was the case last week against the Rams, when they couldn’t hold a 31-24 lead with less than five minutes left, they let the Packers seize back the momentum, and salt away the game.
It’s time for the Seahawks to put aside the uncertainty and angst over Kam Chancellor’s absence and adopt the mentality that he won’t be with them this season. If and when Chancellor returns, it will be an unexpected bonus.
“You can’t quantify it,’’ Sherman said when asked, yet again, about the impact of Chancellor’s holdout. “He’s not here. I think (DeShawn) Shead played a good game, did his job effectively. At the end of the day, I have to tackle better, I have to play better. That’s all you can do.”
It’s time to figure out why Jimmy Graham, the marquee offseason pickup who was supposed to electrify the Seahawks offense, has been missing in action. He caught just one pass, for 11 yards, and was targeted just one other time. They seem mystified about how to integrate Graham into their attack.
It’s time to figure out why they are playing so sloppily, at times even stupidly. There were too many inopportune penalties, two huge turnovers. The Packers had too many free plays because of offside penalties, allowing the game to degenerate into what Sherman termed “backyard football.”
Sherman said they had “good moments and bad” on defense, himself included, which is a fair assessment. But we’re used to the preponderance of evidence to be weighted toward the good.
“I had a few plays — the pass interference was kind of lackadaisical,’’ he said. “I lost the quarterback in the backfield. But it’s all correctable stuff. You have to give (Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers) credit where credit is due. He’s a great player, and he made great plays.”
Said Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin, “I feel like it was definitely self-inflicted. We left a lot of plays out there. Rodgers made us pay for it.”
If the Seahawks are a team that thrived on being the underdog, on proving doubters wrong, well, congratulations. Mission accomplished. Now they will be facing more doubters than just Momma Lynch questioning offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s play calling.
The game began as if the Seahawks were going to not just get blown out, but embarrassed. A stop by the defense on Green Bay’s first possession was negated because Seattle had 12 players on the field. Later in the quarter, Russell Wilson had to call time out because the Seahawks had 12 men in the huddle.
The Seahawks like to brag about the power of their 12th Man, but that’s not what they have in mind. After two possessions, they had been out-gained 95 to minus-5. This was the team that beat Green Bay last January to get into the Super Bowl?
|Seahawks are 0-2, but four previous teams that started the season with two losses have made it to the Super Bowl and three became World Champions:|
|Year and team||Losses||After that||Super Bowl|
|2007 Giants||L, 45-35 at Cowboys; L, 35-13 vs. Packers)||Won next 6||W, 17-14 over Patriots|
|2001 Patriots||L, 23-17 at Bengals; L, 10-3 vs. Jets||Won 3 of 4||W, 20-17 over Rams|
|1996 Patriots||L, 24-10 at Dolphins; L, 17-10 at Bills||Won next 7||L, 35-21 to Packers|
|1993 Cowboys||L, 35-16 at Washington; L, 13-10 at Bills||Won next 7||W, 30-13 over Bills|
Yes, it was, as they eventually showed it with a third-quarter surge into the lead. But there was more sloppiness to come. An offside penalty against Michael Bennett that emboldened Rodgers to take a shot downfield, resulting in a 29-yard touchdown pass to James Jones. A personal foul call against J.R. Sweezy took them out of field-goal range. The 52-yard pass interference penalty against Sherman that set up a Packers field goal.
In the end, you can take a glass-half-full point of view and say the Seahawks went into the teeth of one of the game’s biggest home-field advantages and had a chance in the fourth quarter to beat a top-tier team.
We heard that same talk last week, after a close loss to a Rams team that’s always been troublesome to them — and it’s valid. But where’s the team that didn’t need to rely on hopeful scenarios?
That’s the team the Seahawks need to find, and fast.