BY Steve Rudman 02:15PM 09/21/2015

Seahawks face long odds to even reach playoffs

Three NFL teams have made the Super Bowl after starting a season 0-2, but the Seahawks have never even reached the postseason after dropping their first two games.

Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider preside over the first Seattle team to start 0-2 since 2011. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Given the outcome at Lambeau Field Sunday night, it will come as scant consolation to thousands of mourning 12s that the Seahawks made some positive NFL history in their predictable, could-have-been-avoided, 27-17 loss to Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers. The Elias Sports Bureau, as only it can, came up with the following nugget:

“Seattle has now held a lead in each of its last 50 regular-season games, corresponding precisely to Russell Wilson’s time with the team. That ties the longest such streak in league history. The Indianapolis Colts set that record from 2003 to 2006 (with Peyton Manning at quarterback).”

In addition, the Seahawks also had a lead in every postseason game that Wilson has played.

The current news, though, is less enthralling: The Seahawks have not been able to protect that lead in the fourth quarter in each of their past three games (including playoffs), losing Super Bowl XLIX when Tom Brady shredded them on a game-winning drive before falling to the Rams (Nick Foles) and Packers (Rodgers).

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t finish,” Carroll said after the Seahawks failed to hang on to a 17-13 lead and was outscored 11-0 in the fourth quarter. “We’re usually good at protecting leads.”

They have also been good under Carroll at overcoming late deficits, thanks to Wilson’s NFL-leading 15 career fourth quarter/overtime comebacks. But Seattle’s last two series Sunday ended in turnovers. Besides Jayrone Elliott’s interception with six minutes to play, Micah Hyde recovered a fumble by Fred Jackson with 22 seconds left.

In their 40 seasons, the Seahawks have started 0-2 16 times, including once under Carroll (2011). Not only have the Seahawks never advanced to the postseason after such a stumble, they have posted only four winning seasons (and 12 losing ones) after starting 0-2. In not one of those four winning seasons did the Seahawks reach 10 wins. Seattle’s best records after starting 0-2:

Year Coach Start Finish Skinny
1978 Jack Patera 0-2 9-7 Won 4 of final 5 but missed playoffs
1979 Jack Patera 0-2 9-7 Won 5 of final 6, finished 3rd AFC West
1991 Chuck Knox 0-2 9-7 Missed playoffs, went 2-14 in 1992
2011 Pete Carroll 0-2 9-7 Made playoffs in 2010 at 7-9
1995 Dennis Erickson 0-2 8-8 Doomed after losing 6 of first 8

No. 1 to No. 29

In the modern history of the NFL (since 1960), only two franchises have led in scoring defense three consecutive seasons. The Minnesota Vikings allowed 9.5, 10.2 and 9.9 points per game from 1969-71, and the Seahawks did it from 2012-14, allowing 15.3, 14.4 and 15.9.

With one key player – Kam Chancellor — out of this mix, the Seahawks this season are allowing 30.5 points and rank 29th of 32 teams.

The Seahawks are not likely to change their stance on Chancellor, nor does it seem Chancellor is willing to honor the final three years of a contract he was once elated to sign. But Chancellor has proved the point that the Seahawks’ defense, even with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett and Bobby Wagner, is not of championship quality without him. Far from it, in fact, given the ranking.

Since 2000, Mike Holmgren’s second year with the franchise, the Seahawks have allowed more points in the first two games of a season only once. That happened in 2008, Holmgren’s final year, which ended with a 4-12 thud.

That Holmgren team surrendered 67 points in its first two, 34-10 and 33-30 losses, respectively, to Buffalo and San Francisco. Most points allowed, first two games, since 2000:

Year Coach Rec. Pts. Allw. Skinny
2008 Mike Holmgren 0-2 67 Finished 4-12 in Holmgren’s last year
2015 Pete Carroll 0-2 61 Allowed 34 to Rams, 27 to Packers
2000 Mike Holmgren 0-2 60 Went 6-10, no playoffs w/Kitna at QB
2011 Pete Carroll 0-2 57 Went 7-9, no playoffs w/Jackson at QB
2002 Mike Holmgren 0-2 54 Went 7-9, 3rd NFC West, no playoffs
2014 Pete Carroll 1-1 46 3-3 start, 12-4 finish, reached SB

Nowhere man

When the Seahawks sent C Max Unger and a fourth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints last March in exchange for TE Jimmy Graham, the idea was that the three-time Pro Bowler would become a primary weapon in the Seattle offense, and specifically a great red-zone target for Wilson. Carroll said so:

“The opportunity to get a player that can make these kinds of plays that we’ve seen Jimmy Graham do for a number of years really got us excited. In complementing the rest of our team, we think he’s just a fantastic target that we can implement in a number of ways.

“He’s a big receiver, plays big, makes plays in a crowd, makes plays on top of guys. He’s a very effective player in the red zone.  He has been a terrific, consistent scorer. We’re just going to fit it into our offense and make him hopefully a very complementary part of it.”

None of that has happened.

Except for the second half of the St. Louis opener, when Wilson finally noticed Graham dressed in Seahawks togs, Wilson has largely ignored him. Sunday at Lambeau Field, Wilson targeted Graham twice. He finished with one catch for 11 yards and refused to be interviewed after the game, in which Wilson targeted backup tight end Luke Willson four times.

Among tight ends who received Pro Bowl nods last year, the $40 million Graham has been the least utilized this season. New England’s Rob Gronkowski has already been targeted 21 times by Brady to Graham’s 10. Greg Olsen of Carolina and Jason Witten of Dallas have both been targeted 17 times.

“It’s frustrating,” Carroll told 710ESPN Seattle Monday. “We have to find our way to get that done.”

Starting with Graham’s first Pro Bowl season in New Orleans, this is how much Drew Brees relied on him through the first two games of each season vs. how Seattle has used him:

Year Team TGT Skinny
2011 Saints 14 14 catches, 135 yards, 1 TD vs. Packers, Bears
2012 Saints 23 13 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs vs. Redskins, Panthers
2013 Saints 23 14 catches, 224 yards, 2 TDs vs. Falcons, Bucs
2014 Saints 23 18 catches, 200 yards, 2 TDs vs. Falcons, Browns
2015 Seahawks 10 7 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD vs. Rams, Packers

“I wish I could have gotten to him a couple more times,” Wilson said. “We’re looking for him, for sure.”


  • WestCoastBias79

    Every time I read stats like this, it drives me crazy. It’s the Gambler’s Fallacy gone sporting. It’s meaningless. Way too many variables. As it turns out, most 0-2 teams are bad, so most 0-2 teams aren’t going to the playoffs. Jack Patera and Chuck Knox didn’t have this current Seahawks roster. Looking at their schedule, anyone who is honest saw 0-2 as a very real possibility, even with Kam Chancellor. But guess what? Chicago and Detroit are on the horizon. If they lose to either of those teams, I’ll be concerned, but chances are they’ll be 2-2 in a couple of weeks looking like a juggernaut before traveling to Cincinnati. Considering Dallas’s injury implosion, there’s a very good chance the Seahawks will be 6-2 heading into the bye.

    • Tha Row

      Losing at Green Bay isn’t something to hang your head at but for everyone pointing out Chancellor is gone, you act like Green Bay was at 100%, they were missing one of their top linemen and lost Lacy during the game. The St. Louis is not looking great after they got beat rather easily by the Redskins of all teams.

      • Eric K

        the Rams always seem to do that they think beating the Seahawks is their SB then let down the next week

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      Lets hope you are right. Perhaps try anything Pete sends a few of them to the Hypnotist to help Squelch all of the Kams not here stuff. The Defense has to get better in a hurry. Thank God the Bears will be on a plane to Seattle in a few days.

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    • Lodowick

      Absolutely right. Cutler is out? Stafford is not 100%? They’ll be 2-2 in two weeks. No Romo when they play Dallas? Some of the same QB fortune from last year seems to be playing out. Cincy is the tough one but it appears they will be 6-2 or 5-3 after 8 weeks.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Never thought that i would have to say this only 2 games into the season, but the hawks no longer control their own destiny.

    • Eric K

      They almost do to win the NFC West, still have 2 games vs the Cardinals and 2 vs the 49ers, I suppose technically they don’t vs the Rams, but really do you see The Rams finishing better than 9-7?

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Sports Illustrated picked the Rams to finish 11~5 and meet the Hawks in the Wild Card game. I about fell off my chair laughing. They play above their heads against Seattle and below ordinary the next game…..Every year. A 5 loss season is pretty optimistic for a team whose fans hardly show up to watch them.

        • Tha Creek

          Sports Illustrated also predicted a Ravens-Seahawks Super Bowl.

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            Yup…two teams that are now 0~2. We think we have problems.The Ravens were suppose to be dominant and lost to the Raiders….

  • ll9956

    Great article, Steve. Hopefully Graham’s role will become more prominent. As in RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!

  • CousinEddie

    Football statistics are not as meaningful or telling as baseball statistics. Yes, the Hawks are 0-2 right now, and they have several problems to fix. After the next two games, they will probably be 2-2, and things will look more promising than last evening. It is not the end of our world yet. Go Hawks!

  • MrPrimeMinister

    As Jim Mora would say from the podium, PLAYOFFS??!! PLAYOFFS!!!???

  • Bayview Herb

    I wonder if the ‘Hawks have given any consideration to moving Irvin to strong safety?

  • Ol Blue

    The glass is half full. If Seattle wins 3 of the next 4, we’ll be right where we were last season after 6 games, 3 and 3. That turned out okay.