Seahawks lose to Cardinals, lose control of NFC West


The optimistic fan (which I usually am) will try to cope with the Seattle Seahawks 4-5 record by minimizing the “5” part of the equation.

“We’ve had leads in the fourth quarter of every game,” they’ll say.

“We just need to fix _________, or __________ and we’ll be just fine,” they’ll tell you.

“Four and five? Actually our record is 4 wins, 1 loss, and 4 wereallyshouldawon’s,” they’ll try and convince you.

After dropping a 39-32 decision to Arizona in front of the nation on Sunday Night Football, an unheard-of second straight home loss, it’s suddenly a lot more difficult to be an optimistic Seahawk fan.

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There are good teams (of which Arizona is one), bad teams, and teams stocked with talent who just can’t find the right formula to win enough. Baltimore fits into the latter category, as do the Packers of the last 3 weeks, and now the Seahawks.

Typically, I try to deal with losses by analyzing the game and attempting to be as objective as possible when I re-watch it. Usually it helps, but sometimes it makes things seem worse. I suspect tomorrow will be one of the “seems worse” days.

But that’s for tomorrow. My game-day column is called “The View From Section 114” for a reason. I mean for it to be my initial reaction. My initial emotional reaction. And tonight my overwhelming emotion is sadness. Sadness because I expected great things from this Seahawk team, because I never would have imagined they were capable of losing five out of nine games, and because I’m more worried than ever that the ills that plague this team are the kind that can’t be fixed until the off season. Major coaching staff evaluations, personnel changes, and salary challenges may lie ahead. Draft picks will need to be nailed, good players with a lot left in the tank will have to be let go, and other good players that we want to keep will choose to leave.

Scariest question of all…..will Pete Carroll, at the age of 64 and with at least one professional team on the verge of finally filling the NFL void in his native Los Angeles area (a potentially attractive career-capping opportunity) have the desire and energy to take on those challenges?  Is he willing to make the tough choices regarding his coaching staff that seem more necessary with each game? Will he, together with General Manager John Schneider, be able to properly identify the most significant issues with this team and make the appropriate moves to fix them?

Am I overreacting? Probably. Is the reality that the Seahawks roster is too good and too young (still) to give up on and that patience, along with an off season of shrewd roster tweaks can lead them back to the doorstep of another championship? Possibly.

But that’s not how it feels right now. And that’s all I can comprehend on a losing game day. That’s how my brain works.

The Arizona Cardinals came into CenturyLink Field acting, looking and playing like the Seattle Seahawks of two years ago. They were the up-and-coming challenger. They’re cocky and brash (DT Josh Mauro was pointing at fans and talking obscene junk after his team took a 5-0 lead….. FIVE TO NOTHING), playing without any fear because they’re playing without the weight of any expectations, and playing well enough to make it work in their favor.

Nov 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; A Seattle Seahawks fan holds his head late in the fourth quarter in a game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. The Cardinals won 39-32. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks, meanwhile, are playing exactly like so many cynics and critics predicted they would after experiencing so much success the last 3.5 years; fat, happy, sloppy, at times uninspired…. and the cracks in what looked like a dynasty-producing foundation are starting to show….. and grow.

What’s left ahead in the final seven games of the season? Seattle still faces one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, but they’re now 2 games behind Green Bay (who holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over them) and Atlanta for what would be the final playoff spot. Their best-case scenario has disintegrated into grinding their way through the wild card chase, and trying to fight their way back to the Super Bowl without the benefit of a home game.

(Then again, home games suddenly don’t seem to be such an advantage for them anymore.)

In terms of pure numbers, according to ESPN’s State and Info Department, Seattles chances of just making the playoffs fell to 26% with the loss. Had they won it would have been 54%.

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Can you sense the frustration and disappointment in my keystrokes tonight? Well, if you think I’m being over dramatic or too pessimistic consider this; the San Francisco 49ers have been a dumpster fire this season. Their coach is destined for a one-and-done season, the front office is as dysfunctional as there is in the league, the roster was ravaged by retirements and defections in the off season, and their young, would-be franchise QB has been benched and is probably on his way out after the season. Yet they will arrive in Seattle seven days from now with a chance to tie the Seahawks in the standings with a win.

Not kidding.

Russell Wilson said this in his post game press conference today: “Is it the end world? No.”

But in this moment, it kinda feels like it.