By Dave Thomas
If you had the Seattle Seahawks sitting at 4-5 after nine games of play…. raise your hand.
In all likelihood, most fans would have scoffed at the idea that the Seahawks would be struggling at this point of the season to even be considered in the NFC playoff hunt. As it turns out, however, that is just where Seattle (4-5) sits after nine games. So, where does a team that went to the previous two seasons go from here?
Time For Winning Is Now
After this past Sunday’s disappointing 39-32 loss at home to NFC West leader Arizona, the Seahawks likely did some soul searching, that is trying to figure out how they can not only make the NFC playoffs yet again, but also work their way back to another division crown. While the latter goal may seem like a pipe dream at this point and time, there is still enough confidence on this team that the 2015 season can still turn into something special. In order to do that, the Seahawks need to turn things around and in a hurry. Sure, there is no magic formula to simply overtake Arizona (7-2) for the NFC West lead, but there are a few keys that could help propel Seattle in the proper direction.
For starters, this team has to be able to finish games in the fourth quarter. In the loss to Arizona, Seattle could not come up with that killer instinct down the final 15 minutes of the game that is ultimately needed to put away good clubs. Seattle has also missed twice on a pair of two-point conversions. When you throw in the safety that quarterback Russell Wilson gave up early in the game to put Arizona up 5-0, you had the Seahawks missing out on six points. Yes, when the night was over, Seattle had lost by seven.
One could say that it is easy to be critical of play-calling decisions, especially when you’re not the one making them. Had the Seahawks and Pete Carroll kicked the extra points on both of those touchdowns, Seattle would have trailed 39-31 late in the game instead of being down by 10 points. As it would turn out, Seattle had to settle for a field goal when its drive stalled late in the game, thereby allowing the Seahawks to cut their deficit to seven points. After Arizona recovered the onside kick, it was game, set, match.
With a pair of winnable games at home in front of them the next two weekends (San Francisco, Pittsburgh), Seattle is all but in a must-win situation heading into December. If Seattle can beat both the Niners and the Steelers, a 6-5 record heading into Minnesota to open the December slate of games doesn’t sound all that bad.
On the other hand, a loss to the dismal Niners and/or a defeat at the hands of a Pittsburgh squad currently missing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, could all but spell doom for a team that certainly had higher expectations coming into the 2015 season.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.