The temptation is to flog the Seahawks for their lame performance Sunday in Green Bay, a 38-10 shellacking in which QB Russell Wilson notched the same number of interceptions (5) as Aaron Rodgers had incompletions (18-for-23). While criticism is obviously warranted, so is a respectful moment of silence for the end of a streak the likes of which the NFL might never see again.
Until the 28-point Lambeau Field debacle, the Seahawks played 85 consecutive regular-season games (95 including playoffs) without once losing by more than 10 points. The last loss by more than 10: 34-12 to Cincinnati Oct. 30, 2011, Pete Carroll’s second year in Seattle. No wonder Carroll looked so shook up during the post-game media gaggle.
“This is a different feeling,” Carroll said. “We don’t even remember those days. How many years ago was that? So we have had a remarkable run, and it’s the kind of stat that you don’t really want to be proud of, but it’s a remarkable run because those guys in that room (his players) are fighting and clawing and scratching to play so good for so long. This was a night that was just so out of character.”
Carroll and his players should be beaming over that run. To be so competitive for so many games in a league that legislates parity is astonishing, especially considering that no other team has ever come remotely close to it.
Chew on it: the New England Patriots had six losses of more than 10 points during Seattle’s 85-game streak of no losses by more than 10.
Before the Seahawks, the franchise going the longest without losing by more than 10 is an NFL original, the Chicago Bears. They launched as the Decatur (IL) Staleys of the American Professional Football Association in 1920. They played 74 consecutive games from inception before losing 21-0 as the Bears to the Detroit Panthers Dec. 12, 1925 at Navin Field in the Motor City.
So you’ve got Seattle at 85 consecutive games and Chicago at 74. No other franchise even went 60 games in a row without getting beat by more than 10 points. Given the nine-decade span between Chicago’s streak and Seattle’s, it’s not crawling too far out on the limb to suggest this is about as close to an unbreakable record as a team can get.
Carroll’s immediate concern is trying to fathom exactly what kind of team he has, if that’s possible 13 weeks into the season. How do you figure a club that wins 31-24 at juggernaut New England and loses 14-5 at mediocre Tampa Bay? Or one that blows out Super Bowl runnerup Carolina 40-7 and follows up with a 38-10 loss at 6-6 Green Bay?
The Seahawks had a swing of 61 points in beating the Panthers by 33 and losing to the Packers by 28. Going back to their first year of 1976, only four times before Sunday did the Seahawks win by more than 30 and then lose their next game by more than 20. And only twice was the swing more dramatic that the 61-pointer between Carolina and Green Bay.
|Year||Date||Opp.||Result||Margin / Swing||Skinny|
|1977||Oct. 30||Buff||W 56-17||+39||Jim Zorn 4 TD passes|
|1977||Nov. 6||Oak||L 44-7||-37||Seattle 51 pass yards|
|2009||Oct. 11||Jax||W 41-0||+41||Matt Hasselbeck 4 TDs|
|2009||Oct. 18||Ariz||L 27-3||-24||Hasselbeck sacked 5 times|
|2016||Dec. 4||Car||W 40-7||+33||Seahawks 240 rush yards|
|2016||Dec. 11||GB||L 38-10||-28||Russell Wison 5 interceptions|
|1995||Dec. 17||Oak||W 44-10||+34||Chris Warren 3 rush TDs|
|1995||Dec. 24||KC||L 26-3||-23||Seahawks 89 total yards|
|1987||Nov. 22||SD||W 34-3||+31||Held SD to 17 rush yards|
|1987||Nov. 30||Raid||L 37-14||-23||Bo pancacked The Boz|
Even if five drives hadn’t ended in interceptions, four more in punts and another with a fumble, the Seahawks still might have been over-matched by Rodgers, who avoided what there was of a pass rush largely by standing there. The Seahawks sacked Rodgers once (last play of the third quarter) and hit — nicked? — him three times. The Packers sacked Wilson three times and had triple the number of hits on him.
“We’ve got to get better pressure,” said DE Cliff Avril. “We have to get after them a little bit more. These are all things we have to correct. The last few weeks we haven’t been rushing that well, honestly. So we’ve got to figure it out.’’
“We were hoping to keep (Rodgers) from floating and we thought we could crush down the pocket a little bit on them and he just found enough space,’’ Carroll said. “He wasn’t running, he was just moving and he did a great job.’’
It’s not often a quarterback plays a technically perfect game. It’s only happened against the Seahawks twice in 41 years, and Rodgers had a chance Sunday when he finished the first half with a perfect 158.3 rating. As it turned out, he finished at 150.8, the fifth-best mark ever against the Seahawks:
|1986||Nov. 2||Ken O’Brien||NYJ||158.3||26 of 32, 431 yards, 4 TDs|
|2000||Dec. 23||Doug Flutie||Buff||158.3||20 of 25, 366 yards, 3 TDs|
|1995||Sept. 3||Steve Bono||KC||156.6||18 of 23, 278 yards, 3 TDs|
|1991||Nov. 17||Jay Schroeder||Raid||158.2||16 of 19, 237 yards 3 TDs|
|2016||Dec. 11||Aaron Rodgers||GB||150.8||18 of 23, 246 yards, 3 TDs|
|1988||Oct. 23||Jim Everett||Rams||148.8||20 of 27, 311 yards, 3 TDs|
|2004||Dec. 19||C. Pennington||NYJ||148.1||18 of 24, 253 yards, 3 TDs|
|1997||Aug. 31`||Neil O’Donnell||NYJ||146.7||18 of 25, 270 yards, 5 TDs|
The Seahawks lost every one of the listed games by an average score of 37-10, and didn’t throw more than two interceptions in any of them except Sunday. Bad as that was, the 28-point loss might have been worse.
Two weeks ago, when the Seahawks lost 14-5 at Tampa, they saw another historic streak end: 98 consecutive games, including playoffs, in which they led or were within one score of the lead in the fourth quarter.
Carroll’s Seahawks certainly got trashed Sunday, but Carroll over the past five years has also coached the most competitive team, week in, week out, in NFL history. Only the 1920-25 Chicago Bears can probably appreciate how difficult that was to do.