Losses are piling up as much as the injuries in Seattle. Fans spoiled by five consecutive trips to the playoffs earlier in the decade – was it really in this decade? – want answers. Or victims, besides themselves.
Yet before die-hards of the flopping Seahawks (2-5) ponder just how far a jump would be off the Space Needle, they should consider what longer sufferers in Detroit already know:
No one does losing like the Lions.
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“Going 0-16 is nothing I’m proud of, but it’s on my resume forever. I’ll live with that the rest of my life,” Seahawks defensive tackle Cory Redding said.
Last year he endured the NFL’s first winless 16-game season, then he escaped to Seattle in a trade for linebacker Julian Peterson last spring.
When Detroit finally won a game in Week 3, against Washington, Redding called some of his former teammates. A cross-continental party erupted over the phone line after what remains Detroit’s only win in its last 24 games entering Sunday’s visit to Seattle.
“Oh, man, I was excited for them,” Redding said.
Then, to remind everyone these are the same old Lions, Detroit lost last week at home to the previously winless St. Louis Rams. Fans at that game wore paper bags over their heads with the words “2009 Toilet Bowl” penned across the top.
Peterson is one of 31 new Lions who were not on Detroit’s roster for its 2008 debacle. After a slow, sackless start to his Lions sentence – er, career – he has 3 1/2 sacks in his last three games. The three-time Pro Bowl selection who spent three mostly dynamic seasons with the Seahawks says he’s happy to be getting reacquainted with the region in which he starred at Michigan State.
And, as he said with a hearty laugh, “At least we don’t have to worry about going 0-16 again.”
Yet he sounds like he wouldn’t mind being back in Seattle.
“I miss some of my guys, my guys on the team, stuff like that. And the fans were great out there,” he said. “But I can’t do anything about it.”
He could help the Lions to their first win on the road since Oct. 28, 2007, at Chicago. They haven’t won in Seattle since 1999, in the now-demolished Kingdome, though this is just the teams’ third meeting since.
Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall draft choice and first Lions rookie to start a season at quarterback since Greg Landry in 1968, will start his second game after missing two with a knee injury. Stafford was just 14 for 33 for 168 yards with an interception in his return last week against the Rams, yet Peterson is impressed.
“He’s far ahead of the average rookie curve,” the 10-year veteran said.
At least Peterson can take solace knowing he escaped the free fall of a formerly perennial winner, which held four consecutive NFC West titles through the 2007 season.
The last time the Seahawks played the Lions was in their first game following their 2006 Super Bowl appearance in Detroit. They are 27-31 since. Seattle is 6-17 since its last playoff appearance, a loss in a blizzard at Green Bay in January 2008.
The Seahawks are coming off their first consecutive losses by more than 20 points since 2001, 34-year-old Matt Hasselbeck‘s first season as their starting quarterback. Six-time All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu are out for the season with injuries.
The week began with coach Jim Mora telling his team he would fire people, if necessary. Then he cut NFL active rushing leader Edgerrin James and veteran cornerback Travis Fisher.
“We need to enter this week with a tremendous sense of urgency,” Mora said.
He’s said that before, particularly prior to last month’s division showdown with Arizona, the new king of the mild, mild West. The Seahawks then got steamrolled.
They lost 27-3, scoring their fewest points in a home game in seven years. They had 128 yards, seventh lowest in Seattle’s 34-year history. They ran for 14 yards, their poorest rushing day ever. That’s part of the reason James, the 10th all-time leading rusher, is now unemployed. Former practice squad player Louis Rankin, not good enough for the woeful Raiders earlier this season, will get carries behind starter Julius Jones on Sunday.
In last week’s loss at Dallas following a merciful bye, the Seahawks allowed 24 consecutive points. Their 38-17 defeat wasn’t even that close.
Hasselbeck has been dumped eight times in the last two games behind an offensive line that will again be starting Damion McIntosh as the fifth option at left tackle. Hardly the way to heal broken ribs that cost Hasselbeck 2 1/2 games earlier this season.
Asked what his battered and humbled team’s psyche was heading into a game with the Lions that is no longer a sure win, the quick-witted Hasselbeck paused.
“That’s a good question,” he said. “That’s something we’ve got to figure out. (This) will tell a lot this team, how we respond.”