Johnson, Lions travel to Seattle looking for first victory
SEATTLE (AP) — Somewhere along the way, Richard Sherman has become a bit more subdued.
The previous time the Seattle Seahawks were set to face the Detroit Lions three years ago, Sherman was more than happy to offer up his interest in playing the role of "Optimus Prime" to Calvin Johnson’s moniker of "Megatron."
Now, as the Seahawks get set to host the Lions on Monday night, Sherman wasn’t so willing to play along.
"I just haven’t had much of an opportunity to do anything. I guess if the world’s been more quiet, then I’ve been more quiet," Sherman said. "The opportunities just haven’t presented themselves. Those were perfect opportunities, and then you can’t do the same trick twice."
Jokes about Transformers aside, any individual matchup between Johnson and Sherman is secondary to where the Lions and Seahawks stand.
Detroit (0-3) is trying to avoid its first 0-4 start since 2010, a deficit that would seem too difficult to overcome in the same division with Green Bay.
And while Seattle (1-2) started the process of overcoming its 0-2 start last week by knocking off Chicago, the Seahawks can’t afford to lose more ground behind division-leading Arizona.
"This is one of those games that could be a turning point in our season," Detroit linebacker James Ihedigbo said. "You get a win like this in a place like that it could really boost our team in the right direction as we continue to go after this thing."
Seattle will be without starting running back Marshawn Lynch after suffering a hamstring strain last week against Chicago. Lynch was downgraded to out on Sunday, but had yet to get going behind Seattle’s retooled offensive line. He has just 128 yards rushing on 38 carries through three games. Rookie Thomas Rawls flashed last week against the Bears in Lynch’s absence with 104 yards and will likely get the start.
The Seahawks will also be without defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (groin), and starting linebacker Bruce Irvin is questionable with an ankle injury.
The Lions have their own injury concerns. Running back Joique Bell is out and hopes that defensive leader DeAndre Levy would return from his hip injury were muted when despite a week of limited practice he was listed as doubtful on the final injury report.
"I think our team is right there," Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. "You just can’t see it, but we can."
Here’s what else to watch as the Seahawks and Lions meet:
SLOW STARTS: The Seahawks would like to stop a trend of slow offensive performances in the first half. Seattle is averaging six points and 120.3 yards and has yet to score an offensive touchdown in the first half. Contrast that with the second half, where the Seahawks are averaging 18.3 points and 225.7 yards.
"I think we can come out smoother and function a little bit better," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "You’ve seen us adapt and play much better in the second halves of games. I think we’ve kind of always done that, but we don’t need to only do that."
KEEPING THE FAITH: Caldwell insisted his winless team is close to breaking through to win games. "It’s hard to see from the outside," he said. Caldwell’s quote provided a flashback to something former Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said in 2008 when his team was 0-13 en route to becoming the league’s first to go 0-16. "I believe in the invisible," Marinelli said back then.
PICKING PASSES: Seattle is one of three teams yet to have an interception. It’s similar to last season when the Seahawks had just two interceptions through the first six games before finishing the season with 13. The Seahawks believe they’ll have chance this week with how often the Lions throw.
GOLDEN RETURN: Golden Tate will return to Seattle where he was the Seahawks leading receiver during their Super Bowl championship season before leaving for Detroit. While most of the focus in Seattle is on Tate’s return, in Detroit the attention was on Tate’s radio comments this week of opponents knowing some of the plays the Lions are running
"Maybe they’re hacking into our computers," quarterback Matthew Stafford joked.
LONG ODDS: The Lions don’t have history on their side as an 0-3 team with hopes to make the playoffs, though they don’t buy in the public’s gloomy outlook for them. "It’s not dire," safety Glover Quin said. "There is a lot of football left. We just have to find a way to get a win. … It has been done before so it gives you hope that it can be done."