Going into this weekend’s game against the Raiders, we were all doing the math. Seattle beat the 49ers by 25 points only to lose by 17 to the Broncos, and the Raiders lost by 8 to San Francisco, but beats Denver by 45. Don’t ask me how that adds up exactly, but the numbers are there.
Sure, maybe Oakland had the biggest win, but they also had the worst loss. But who would have guessed the numbers would add up to a 30-point win by the Raiders?
Go ahead and try and figure out the NFL. It’s not just the Seahawks. If there is one thing that is clear this season, it’s that any team can lose to any other team on any given weekend. That’s not to say that Seattle didn’t deserve to lose to the Raiders, because they clearly did today. But when the Browns are beating the Super Bowl champs in their house, and Dallas is 1-6 after a home loss to Jacksonville, there is clearly some crazy juju going around the league.
The Raiders dominance was evident on the Seahawks first possession when Matt Hasselbeck was sacked on first and third down. It continued throughout the half as Seattle finally managed to get a first down by the end of the second quarter.
As poorly as the offense played, Seattle’s defense was able to keep the team in the game by holding the Raiders to only 10 points in the first half. But sacks, penalties, plays for negative yards and a missed field goal kept the Seahawks scoreless going in at halftime.
Olindo Mare’s missed 51-yard field goal ended his streak of 30 straight, and this probably would have been easily forgiven and forgotten if another miss of only 29 yards didn’t come on his next opportunity. We should at least appreciate that Mare came back to kick a 47-yarder to avoid the shutout. But a potential 10-6 game at halftime would have kept Seattle within a touchdown at least until the Raiders scored 20 points in the fourth quarter.
(I have to note that three of those six potential points would have come at the end of the first quarter if Seattle had attempted a field goal on first down. But, a holding call and an 8-yard sack moved them out of field goal range after a big Leon Washington punt return.)
At least there’s one thing I can take pleasure in this weekend, and that’s waiting to see all of the kooky Halloween puns that writers come up with to work in the holiday theme. For the Seahawks game, I could come with a couple that would be equally horrible, like “Seahawks scared to go 5-2,” “Raiders defense haunts Hasselbeck,” or maybe, “Seattle comes to Oakland dressed as chickens and nearly lay an egg.” I’ll make it easy for the newspapers of every team that lost this week, by offering a simple “Boo!” Thank you, I’ll stand by for your own submissions.
As bad as getting blown out by 30 can be, I think losing by three can be a whole lot worse. Especially if it’s a 38-35 loss at home after coming back from a 17-point deficit, which is what happened to the Cardinals (3-4) against Tampa Bay (5-2). The Bucs are now tied for the best record in the NFC and join the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) as the two teams folks look at the NFL standings and say, “WHAT?”
With the loss, the Seahawks remain at the top of the NFC West. St. Louis (4-4) is only a half game back after their 20-10 win over the Carolina Panthers (1-6). San Francisco (2-6) joined the Cardinals in gaining ground in the West after their 24-16 win over the Broncos (2-6).
Next up on the schedule is the New York Giants (5-2), who most believe is the best team right now in the NFC. You may have heard Tony Dungy call the Seahawks the best team in the NFC last week, but I’m guessing he might now be revising his answer.
As if playing the best team in the NFC isn’t enough of a challenge, the Giants will come off a bye and Seattle comes off a game where Red Bryant, Colin Cole, Nate Ness, Ben Hamilton, and Tyler Polumbus all suffered injuries that forced them out of the game. This list doesn’t include four injured starters who were unable to play this week. Mike Williams and Golden Tate were also dinged up, but were able to return.
After the game, it was reported that Matt Hasselbeck had suffered a mild concussion and will have to undergo medical evaluations before he can be cleared to play this week. There is one thing that bodes well for the Seahawks, and that is the fact that they are one of only five teams remaining in the NFL that are undefeated at home.