BY Steve Rudman 06:30AM 10/20/2015

Seahawks: Playoffs not likely, Super Bowl no

In order to return to the Super Bowl, the Seahawks will have to turn history on its head. No team that started with four defeats in its first six games has ever reached the game.

Perhaps tight end Jimmy Graham (88) is voicing frustration over Seattle’s fourth-quarter meltdowns. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Pete Carroll on 710 ESPN Monday morning: “Here we go again. How do we get through this? It’s a challenge.”

The short answer is that the Seahawks don’t get through it if the goal is to return to the Super Bowl. The longer answer is that, with an absurdly good finish, they still have an opportunity to reach the postseason, but the odds against are long. According to Stats Inc., only 8.3 percent – 14 of 168 — of playoff teams since 1990 started 2-4.

Of the 14 that opened 2-4, seven lost in the wild card round, five in the divisional round, and two in the conference title game. Five of the 14 lost the elimination game by more than 20 points. The average losing margin was 16.5 points. The last team to start 2-4 and make the playoffs: the 2011 Denver Broncos. They finished 8-8 and were blown out 45-10 by New England in the divisional round.

Now 2-4 after botching yet another fourth-quarter lead — do the Seahawks miss Dan Quinn, or what? — Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks will have to turn history on its head to reach the Super Bowl. For this reason: No team with four losses after six games has ever done that.

In fact, of the 98 teams that have played in the Super Bowl, only seven (7.1 percent) got there after starting 3-3, including last year’s Seahawks, who won nine of their final 10 to finish 12-4 and claim the NFC’s No. 1 seed. These teams reached the SB despite 3-3 starts.

Year Team Coach 6 Gms Finish Super Bowl
1980 Oakland Tom Flores 3-3 11-5 W: 27-10 over Eagles
1985 New England Raymond Berry 3-3 11-5 L: 44-10 to Bears
1995 Pittsburgh Bill Cowher 3-3 11-5 L: 27-10 to Cowboys
1996 New England Bill Parcells 3-3 11-5 L: 35-21 to Packers
2001 New England Bill Belichick 3-3 11-5 W: 20-17 over Patriots
2010 Green Bay Mike McCarthy 3-3 10-6 W: 35-21 over Steelers
2014 Seattle Pete Carroll 3-3 12-4 L: 28-24 to Patriots

Fourth quarter funks

Two years ago, when they won the Super Bowl, the Seahawks featured the NFL’s most dominant fourth-quarter team, outscoring opponents by 55 points (115-60). Last year, the Seahawks also outscored foes in the fourth, piling up another 55-point advantage (122-67). But this year the Seahawks are already -28.

Oddly, or perhaps significantly, the last time the Seahawks had a negative point differential in the fourth quarter was in 2006 (-7), the year after losing Super Bowl XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks posted +12 (2010), +5 (2011), +31 (2012) and the two +55s in the fourth quarter before this year’s -28 abyss.

The Seahawks are not the worst team in the league in terms of fourth-quarter scoring differential (Tennessee is -40), but they are by far the worse among teams listed by Bovada last week as the most likely Super Bowl winners (each was 15-to-1 or better):

Team Coach PF PA Diff. Skinny
Indianapolis Chuck Pagano 50 29 +21 3-3, 1st place AFC South
Atlanta Dan Quinn 67 47 +20 No. 2 offense, No. 7 defense
Arizona Bruce Arians 47 32 +14 Seahawks play Cards twice
Green Bay Mike McCarthy 38 24 +14 Favorite for No. 1 NFC seed
Denver Gary Kubiak 47 36 +11 6-0, 1st in AFC West
Cincinnati Marvin Lewis 48 49 -1 6-0, 1st in AFC North
New England Bill Belichick 41 48 -7 5-0, 1st AFC East
Seattle Pete Carroll 27 55 -28 4 blown leads in 4th quarter

Heads up: The Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Colin Kaepernick has an 84.7 passer rating this season, but a 108.2 mark in the fourth quarter, in which the 49ers have outscored their opponents 45-41.

Noteworthy

The Seahawks have allowed six rushing touchdowns in six games. Last year, they allowed eight in 16 games. The year before, they allowed four . . . Elias Sports Bureau called it a “nearly unprecedented battle of tight ends.” Carolina’s Greg Olsen caught seven passes for 131 yards and a game-winning, 26-yard TD from Cam Newton, while Seattle’s Jimmy Graham caught eight balls for 140 yards. The last NFL game in which a tight end from each team gained at least 130 receiving yards was played 50 years ago  — Oct. 17, 1965 — between the Giants and Eagles at Yankee Stadium. Their respective TEs were Aaron Thomas (4-for-145, 1 TD) and Pete Retzlaff (6-for-133, 1 TD) . . . Graham set a franchise single-game record for a tight end with his 140 yards, and is only one of five TEs in club history to surpass 100 yards in game. Also: Itula Mili (119 at San Diego, 2002), John Carlson (105 at Dallas, 2008), Anthony McCoy (105 vs. Arizona, 2012), and Luke Willson (139 at Arizona, 2014).

Totally random question: In Willson’s last name, which “l” is silent?

 


YourThoughts

  • Scott Crosser

    As Pete would say that is a great opportunity to do something really special!

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  • jafabian

    Going into the offseason the players seemed committed to returning to the Super Bowl, much like they were after being eliminated from the playoffs by the Falcons a few years ago. I thought their getting together in Hawaii was a good thing but I’m questioning if that got them off track from the coaches philosophies and too much into their own agendas. Especially the defense who have a new coordinator implementing new schemes.

    Other than that gathering and spring OTA’s I never heard of any players working on improving their game. Heard a lot of talk about money, a lot of social function appearances, a lot of commercial endorsements. Has early success in this still young team become its downfall? Both Wally Walker and Jack Sikma have said after going to the Finals repeatedly early in their NBA careers gave them unexpected expectations for when the Sonics later struggled that they weren’t prepared for. Has that carried on to the Seahwks young core leaders?

    For the team to make history they need to find that football focus. Forget about their salaries, forget about endorsements, forget about dating and bring in a sense of urgency. A commitment to excellence and be loud and proud again. But in the right way.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    They got beat by a pedestrian level qb in cam newton. he’s not a very good qb. Looking back, i can’t help but wonder if its been mostly smoke and mirrors.

  • Scott Crosser

    Anyway you can block the hack , daily career report?

  • bugzapper

    “Totally random question: In Willson’s last name, which “l” is silent?”

    Answer: The other one.