Sports Out West

Despite huge comeback, Seattle Seahawks must start games better

AP Photo/Patric Schneider

Week 4 initially looked like one of those games that Seattle Seahawks’ fans have come to dread.

Games on the road with a 10 a.m. start time, particularly against playoff-caliber opposition, usually mean trouble for Seattle, no matter how talented the squad. The team has already sleepwalked to a victory in a morning game against the Carolina Panthers Week 1, and lost road games to the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins last season.

For a long time, Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans looked like it would go exactly the same way. The Seahawks came out looking lethargic and disinterested, falling behind 20-3 at the half. It was understandable that Seattle’s banged-up offensive line was being pushed around by Houston’s strong front 7. But, the secondary was a step slow and being picked apart by Matt Schaub, while receivers struggled to get open.

In the fourth quarter, the team finally woke up. The defensive started dominating like the Seattle defense usually does, and Russell Wilson took over. Wilson engineered a masterful drive early in the fourth to get the Seahawks within a touchdown, and Richard Sherman’s pick six tied the game with 2:40 remaining. Houston stalled twice in overtime, and Seattle eventually won on Steven Hauschka’s 45-yard field goal.

It was quite possibly the most important win of the season, even bigger than Week 2’s pasting of the rival San Francisco 49ers, and solidified Seattle’s place as one of the elite two or three teams in the NFL. Nothing can diminish how impressive the comeback was, and Seattle fans are as excited about the Seahawks now as at any point in franchise history, and rightfully so.

The problem is that starting off so slow isn’t going to work in the playoffs.  It’s very fortunate that it even worked Sunday.

Apart from the outcome, Sunday’s game was very reminiscent of last season’s divisional round contest with the Atlanta Falcons. The Seahawks were blown away in the first half, and trailed 27-7 heading into the fourth. A furious rally actually gave Seattle a lead with 31 seconds remaining, but Atlanta went on to win 30-28 in one of the wildest endings in recent memories.

Did Seattle deserve to win that game? Maybe. Were the Seahawks a better team than the Falcons? Tough argument, but you could make a case. But, no team can expect to win after trailing by 20 points on the road in a playoff game. As you might expect, teams trailing by 20 points entering the fourth quarter are 0-84 all time.

The Seahawks must simply play better out of the gate when they are on the road. Otherwise, they pretty much have to grab the NFC’s number one seed to have a shot at the Super Bowl. That could happen, but it’s a lot of pressure to put on players.

It’s a scary time for the rest of the NFL if Seattle still has things to improve on after winning on the road against a team like Houston. The Seahawks will get another 10 a.m. road contest Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Photo Credit: Patric Schneider/Associated Press

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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is a journalism student at the University of Washington, currently covering sports for The UW Daily in addition to Sports Out West. He has been closely following Seattle sports his entire life.