No relief in sight for struggling Seahawks
The Seahawks, at 1-4 and on the road Sunday to face a solid Tampa Bay team, don't have an easy schedule in front of them, making their prospects of a winning streak in the near future seem dim at this point.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle vs. Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. TV: Ch. 5 Radio: KIRO (710 AM), KBSG (97.3 FM) The line: Tampa Bay by 10 ½
The Seahawks have historically been a winning team in prime-time games. They've won 32 of 54 games played at night and are 15-10 on Sunday night.
The Tampa Buccaneers, tonight's Seahawks opponent, are 15-20 in prime time, 5-11 on Sunday night.
The way things are going this season for the Seahawks, however, winning tonight at Raymond James Stadium is a lot to ask.
A loss, which seems more probable in the absence of starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for a second straight game, would drop the Seahawks to 1-5. The NFC West leaders, the Arizona Cardinals (4-2), already have a 2 ½-game advantage.
"We know we're going into the lion's den just a little bit down there," coach Mike Holmgren said this week. "But the players understand that. They know what it's all about. They'll give it their best."
The prospects for a winning streak look very dim in these difficult times for the Seahawks. They're struggling on defense (27th in the NFL) and scuffling on offense, forced to use many different wide receivers and now backup quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Charlie Frye. They have suffered many injuries to key players.
"Now look, the doom-and-gloom group here, let's just kind of understand what's happening," Holmgren said. "We came in with the idea we were going to have fun this year. We felt we had a good football team. And then all of a sudden an unusual set of circumstances took place, in my opinion. Right now, we are battling through this. But it is immediate. It is this next game. It is this season."
This is an East Coast game, and the Seahawks have trouble winning those. The Seahawks have lost twice already this season (to Buffalo and the New York Giants) and six of their past seven games in the Eastern time zone.
On the positive side, they have won at Tampa Bay (4-2) before -- in fact, seven of the eight regular-season meetings between the teams and all four games on the road. The Seahawks also play at 5:15 p.m. Seattle time, presumably better for their body clocks than a 10 a.m. start.
Yet in these times of uninspired football and questionable execution, it doesn't seem like any of those factors will matter much. After the Tampa Bay game, it's another trip.
The most winnable game of the next six after tonight is at San Francisco next Sunday, when the team hopes to have Hasselbeck back. Then the Seahawks host Philadelphia from the mighty NFC East, travel east again -- their longest trip of the season -- for a game against Miami, and host an Arizona team that looks poised to take the division crown after four years of Seahawks reign.
Then Washington and former quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn -- and maybe former Seahawks star Shaun Alexander, with a chip on his shoulder -- come to Qwest Field. Washington had been one of the surprise teams of the league until it fell flat against St. Louis last week, but it comes from football's toughest division. On Thanksgiving, the Seahawks will be at Dallas.
At this point, it's hard to pick the Seahawks to win any of those games, with the possible exception of San Francisco.
"It's tough. Nobody said it's going to be easy," linebacker Julian Peterson said. "With all the adversity and things happening wrong, it's just going to make a win more sweet."
Still, the players don't seem to be getting down on themselves.
"It's always hard when you're not winning," cornerback Josh Wilson said. "Not many of us have been in that situation. Right now it's just different."
Different, when an organization that has become a consistent winner has been reduced to just one win in five games. But Holmgren remains optimistic.
"The important thing is [to] keep playing hard and believing in yourselves and your teammates," Holmgren said. "Then eventually you can kind come out of it and overcome some of the things that have hurt us so far."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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