For nearly a year, weary, beleaguered Seattle Seahawks fans have been hearing how their legions wouldn'êt finish 4-12 the way they did in 2008, when the Hawks lost control of the reliably winnable National Football League division they'êd dominated for much of the past decade.
Partisans didn'êt realize that, while the prediction may have been accurate, what it means in practical terms is that the Hawks may well finish 2-14 instead. The team is 2-5 after a 38-17 loss at Dallas Sunday. The club is so bunged up and seemingly demoralized by persistent failure that what once was unthinkable seems at least possible. The Seahawks, that is, actually could lose at home to Detroit and Tampa Bay and (because they simply can'êt seem to win on the road) lose in St. Louis. Yep: The Seahawks could drop three to teams that came into the latest game day a combined 1-19.
The loss in Dallas wasn'êt unexpected for a couple of reasons. For one, no matter who has been coaching or playing, the fact is that the Hawks have lost 16 of 21 times when coming off the apparent comfort of a bye week. For another, the club comes apart when pressed with the necessity of playing in other times zones. Both tendencies once seemed parts of either a laughable coincidence or a statistical fluke. Now they seem to have become institutionalized realities for the franchise.
Yet, latest mentor Jim Mora swears that he isn'êt demoralized. 'êWe'êre gonna get it, there'ês no question,'ê the first-year Seahawks head coach predicted during the aftermath of a game Seattle once led, albeit 3-0. 'êWe are going to get it done. I promise you.'ê
He also swears in the earthier way. One didn'êt need to be a lip-reading specialist to know that the game officials were dodging an arsenal of Mora'ês F-bombs dropping along the sideline. The Hawks may have been jobbed by the refs a few times, but afterward Mora conceded that a few calls either way probably wouldn'êt have made much difference against a healthy, well coached and talented posse of Cowboys.
Top gun Tony Romo is a key reason for the Dallas success. The 29-year-old quarterback is a stable talent obviously capable of carrying the 'êBoys deep into the playoffs this year. Matt Hasselbeck, by comparison, heroic for playing hurt so often, finally showed the toll his various injuries are taking. He drilled and sailed balls that should have been lofted and floated, and vice versa. At one point, frustrated receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh went so far as to mime for the TV-viewing audience what he believed to be the way an errant Hasselbeck pass should have been thrown.
Those who didn'êt see the game and merely scanned the stat sheet might have been alarmed that the score was lopsided. The only glaring difference was that Dallas had about a 10-minute advantage in possession time. The Hawks were down just 14-10 late in the first half with the prospect of getting the ball first during the third quarter. But Romo found Roy Williams from 7 yards out with 35 seconds left in the second quarter and Seattle never mounted a second-half challenge.
The Seahawks, of course, have suffered enough injuries the past two seasons to keep a TV hospital series in material. Figuratively speaking, the Hawks could start to get well at home Nov. 8 against a toothless Lions team that actually lost at home to the woeful Rams Sunday.
A Hawks victory would run the club'ês record up to 3-5. That, alas, wouldn'êt negate the prospect — while avoiding a 2-14 record — of still stumbling to the 4-12 mark that fans figured had been consigned to the not-so-distant past.
On the other hand, maybe the ending 'ê09 record could wind up being just weak enough to secure a draft pick that would land the team a talented young quarterback to replace the aging Hasselbeck. Jake Locker, anybody?