BY Steve Rudman 01:38PM 10/04/2014

Seahawks need to be wary of ‘Hardy effect’

After running the Rodgers-Rivers-Manning gauntlet, the Seahawks draw Kirk Cousins, not to be dismissed despite his four picks vs. the Giants.

The Seahawks Monday will face Kirk Cousins, coming off a four-interception game against the Giants. / Wiki Commons

The Seahawks are seven-point picks to extend their record to 3-1 when they contest the 1-3 Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. It’s difficult to find a number that doesn’t favor the Seahawks, making their only appearance on Monday Night Football this season, starting with the fact that no team historically does Mondays better than Seattle.

The Seahawks possess the NFL’s highest winning percentage on Monday Night Football with a record of 20-8 (.714). They won eight consecutive games under the lights, outscoring their opponents 208-65. That includes three shutouts.

In addition to their Monday record, the Seahawks are 10-1 in prime-time games under coach Pete Carroll, bludgeoning foes 286-128, won 22 of their last 27 regular-season games, and are 31-12 dating to the final half of the 2011 season. The Redskins, meanwhile, have lost six in a row in prime time and are 4-14 on Monday nights since 2000.

There’s more.

Russell Wilson is 3-0 with seven TD passes, no interceptions and a 121.6 rating on Mondays, and the Seahawks are 19-3 in games in which Wilson produces a 100-plus passer rating. He’s had two this year (110.9 vs. Green Bay and 119.1 at San Diego) and another of 99.9 (vs. Denver).

In 10 prime-time appearances with Seattle, Marshawn Lynch has four 100-yard rushing games and scored nine touchdowns. In his last prime-time game, against Green Bay Sept. 4, he ran for 110 and two touchdowns.

The Seahawks score more points, allow fewer, are hit with far fewer penalties (39-19) and have a better turnover differential (0 to -5) than Washington. The Redskins are also coming off a 45-14 loss to the New York Giants, a team Seattle beat last year 23-0, and will be playing with their backup quarterback, who just threw four picks to the Giants, giving him a 53.0 passer rating.

But the Seahawks are emerging from a bye week and that’s always iffy. The Seahawks are 2-2 under Carroll following byes and 5-9 all-time in road games following byes. More to the point, the Seahawks have never won a game in the Eastern time zone following a bye. To wit:

Year Date Opponent Result Highlight
1993 Oct. 17 at Detroit L 30-10 Rodney Peete 2 TDs to Herman Moore
2007 Nov. 4 at Cleveland L 33-30 Nate Burleson 94-yard punt return TD
2008 Oct. 5 at NY Giants L 44-6 Brandon Jacobs 136 yards, 2 TDs
2011 Oct. 23 at Cleveland L 6-3 Phil Dawson FGs of 52, 53 yards
2012 Nov. 25 at Miami L 24-21 Dan Carpenter 43 FG at 0:00

The Seahawks opened defense of their Super Bowl title by facing Aaron Rodgers (114.8), Philip Rivers (114.5) and Peyton Manning (108.5), quarterbacks who rank No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in passer rating with Wilson (108.9) at No. 3. Now the Seahawks will face Kirk Cousins, a third-year pro from Michigan State taken 27 picks behind Wilson in the 2012 draft.

Cousins played a wretched game against the Giants, in which he telegraphed his four interceptions and fumbled once.

Oddsmakers believe the Legion of Boom should be licking its chops. But before his calamity against the Giants, Cousins threw for 677 yards, five touchdowns, one interception and posted passer ratings of 109.4 (Jacksonville) and 103.4 (Philadelphia). Against the Eagles, Cousins completed 30 of 48 for 421 yards and three scores.

“The (first) three guys that we went against (Rodgers, Rivers, Manning) were the premier quarterbacks in the league,” Carroll said this week. “We understood that and dealt with that accordingly. But Kirk threw for 400 yards a couple of weeks ago, so he’s done some really good things, in a wide-open offense, too.”

Despite his numerous turnovers against New York, Cousins still threw for 250 yards and has several options at his disposal, notably DeSean Jackson, Niles Paul, Pierre Garcon and Roy Helu, all viable targets and all averaging more than 10 yards per catch.

“Jackson’s an extraordinary athlete,” said Carroll. “He’s got a real natural skill for playing the ball. He’s extraordinarily fast and really well equipped in body control. He’s a tremendous athlete.”

The other reason not to dismiss Cousins: While the Seahawks have beaten Rodgers (twice), Tom Brady, Manning (twice) and Drew Brees (twice) since the start of 2012, they have also lost to John Skelton (Arizona), Matt Stafford (Detroit), Ryan Tannehill (Miami) and an aging Carson Palmer (Arizona). In fact, the Seahawks have been beaten twice by Skelton since 2011.

Monday night’s game should end with a Seahawks blowout. Should is the key word. Whatever we think will happen in the NFL is typically the exact opposite of what actually happens.

This has been true since a quarterback named Jim Hardy made it so on the first two weekends of the 1950 season. In Week 1, playing for the Chicago Cardinals, Hardy tossed a league-record eight interceptions in a 45-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The following week, in an inexplicable and epic reversal, Hardy tossed a league-record six touchdowns (and had a seventh dropped in the end zone) in a 55-13 win over the Colts.

Who could have figured that?


  • notaboomer

    i guess sports press northwest has not decided to ban the racist name of the nfl team from dc.

  • eYeDEF

    From the article headline I thought it was referring to Greg Hardy. I’m glad to see that’s not the case.

    The Hardy effect won’t effect this Seahawks team, I’m confident of that simply because Russell Wilson is not Jim Hardy.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      I wouldnt mind Russell emulating Jim… well the Jim Hardy that was playing the Colts. It wouldnt shock me to see Wilson mimic 6 TD passes. All the 12s would love to see a Redskin spanking coming. Im sure Sherman and a few other guys have been in his(Wilsons) ear to remember how much Washington disrespected us in their play off fervor last time we met on their god awful excuse for a field. Lets hope its not near as chewed up as it was on that day but the result is the same~another Seattle win. Go Hawks!

      • eYeDEF

        Throwing 6 touchdowns is fabulous, but at the cost of throwing 8 picks the week before?! I’d have to think most hawks fans are like me in this case where I’d prefer to have Wilson continue what he’s doing. That way we’d have a good chance to win both of those games rather than losing one in such a humiliating fashion.

        I recognize your point about how no team can be underestimated and written off and the players themselves of course could never let their guard down if they want to keep their edge. But as a fan, it’s hard not to think their opponent poses any sort of real threat. I expect it will probably be over by half time and I think the reason for the hubris is well founded … it boils down to Kirk Cousins. This is a guy that just melts under pressure and hasn’t won a game he’s started since 2012. His numbers are inflated from subbing in against a horrible Jax team and yes, it’s true that he threw for a ton of yards against Philly but the bottom line is that he threw a critical pick in the 4th quarter attempting to rally from behind. Cousins is a choke artist and his performance against the Giants just confirmed how poorly he handles himself when the pressure gets ratcheted up. Not like his line will do much to help him when it’s composed of Trent and 4 stiffs.
        Plus, he ain’t seen nothing like the LOB yet, so I’m hoping they can use this game to really pad their stats.

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          First of all point well taken. While fun to speculate?We have nary a fear in Russ becoming” that guy “or a QB meltdown(see:Hardy) to any team we play simply because since deep into his rookie year the Hawk QB has been workmanlike in doing what it takes to get the job done and posting the W.
          Wilsons last name starts with a W and so does his goal each week. To go 1~0 and get the “W”.

          He is mentally equipped to be that consistent in staying in that mindset and I just dont see the skins derailing that goal. Every QB can have a bad day but if i were a betting man i would be plunking my crisp bills down on RW staying perfect on monday night football on this sweet October night. Go Hawks.

  • jafabian

    The Seahawks have had a long standing tradition of having difficulty after the bye week. (someone remind me the purpose millionaire athletes who work half a year need a bye week for) I’m predicting a difficult 1st half but pulling away from the Washington Native Americans in the 2nd for a 31-17 win.