The Seattle Seahawks believe they are better than their losing record might indicate.
Following a second straight fourth-quarter collapse, the visiting Seahawks can prove that Thursday night as they try to avoid their first three-game skid in four years by continuing their recent success against the San Francisco 49ers.
Seattle (2-4) opened with consecutive road losses to St. Louis and Green Bay, but regrouped to beat struggling Chicago and then-winless Detroit at home. The Seahawks appeared to be headed for a third straight win before blowing a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead and falling in overtime at Cincinnati on Oct. 11. At home Sunday, Seattle led 23-14 over Carolina before allowing Cam Newton to engineer a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives in falling 27-23.
”It’s very frustrating," safety Earl Thomas said. ”We don’t (stink). We know who we are. We’re not finishing."
The two-time reigning NFC champions haven’t dropped three in a row since Weeks 7-9 in 2011. They lost two straight last October and did some soul searching before winning nine of the final 10 entering the playoffs.
However, the sense of urgency has been heightened this time. Since 1990, only 14 of 168 teams to start 2-4 reached the playoffs and none made it to the Super Bowl.
"To be where we are right now, it puts us in a position of tremendous adversity for a team,” said coach Pete Carroll, whose team has led in the fourth quarter of each loss. ”It calls on you a lot of stuff, but it calls on us to believe in the guys in the locker room and believe in what we’re doing and hang together until we get things right.”
They can start be solving those fourth-quarter issues.
The Seahawks’ 55 points allowed in the final 15 minutes are the fourth most in the NFL. They’ve also managed only three Steven Hauschka field goals in the final quarter of the last five contests.
”We’re not being (ourselves),” said Thomas, who failed to communicate with Richard Sherman on Greg Olsen’s go-ahead, 26-yard TD catch with 32 seconds left Sunday.
Russell Wilson has completed 70.8 percent of his passes and posted a 118.7 passer rating to help Seattle outscore its opponents 58-24 in the third. Though he went 6 of 8 for 91 yards in the fourth Sunday, he has an 83.8 rating while the Seahawks own a minus-28 point differential in the final period.
”It’s frustrating only because I know we’re not playing up to our potential,” offensive tackle Russell Okung said. ”We’re going to make our mistakes, but the best thing we’ve done in the past is overcome them. We haven’t done that yet, but we will.”
Seattle has outscored San Francisco 47-10 in the fourth quarter while winning five of the last six meetings – including the playoffs – and snapped a five-game series road skid with last year’s 19-3 victory on Thanksgiving night. The 49ers haven’t scored a point in the fourth while dropping the last three with Seattle, but should have some momentum after ending a four-game losing streak with Sunday’s 25-20 win over Baltimore.
"I think we’re a 2-4 football team that needs to get some more wins," quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. "We need this win on Thursday."
Kaepernick has completed 53.3 percent of his passes with three TDs, nine interceptions and been sacked 18 times while posting a 54.1 rating to go 1-5 as a starter against Seattle. However, he’s taken some of the public scrutiny off himself by throwing four TDs and no INTs in the last two games after being picked off five times without throwing for a score in the previous two.
”People can talk all they want. That doesn’t affect how I go about my business,” he said.
Though Seattle yielded a season-high 135 rushing yards to Carolina, Carlos Hyde has averaged 3.4 per carry while gaining just 262 yards in the five games since running for 168 and two TDs on 26 carries in the opening win over Minnesota. After rushing five times for 19 yards in that November home defeat to the Seahawks, Hyde had 55 on six attempts in a 17-7 loss at Seattle on Dec. 14.
Teammate Anquan Boldin has 17 receptions for 194 yards and one TD in his last five games overall against the Seahawks. However, he’s caught 13 for 209 yards in the last two weeks after recording 15 for 124 in the first four.
”Anything positive we can get we got to keep it going right now,” 49ers receiver Torrey Smith said. ”We can’t really spend too much time being happy about (Sunday’s win) because we have a tough defense coming here on Thursday so we have to get our mind right for that.”
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch returned from missing 2 1/2 games with a hamstring injury to gain 54 yards on 17 carries last week. He’s averaged 4.8 per carry while gaining 304 yards in the last three, including the playoffs, with San Francisco.
The Seahawks hope to have linebacker Bobby Wagner (pectoral) back after he missed Sunday’s loss.