Let’s take a metaphorical ride with Russell Wilson, and embrace his optimism. There’s a way to get to 10-6 and make the playoffs. Here’s how.
Here’s a provocative question entering the Thursday night game at the Clink against the Green Bay Packers:
What if the Seahawks are good?
As in, nearly-run-the-table good. As in, winning six of their final seven, starting with the Packers, to finish 10-6 and qualify for the playoffs.
Not saying that will happen. But Russell Wilson almost did Tuesday.
Of course, we have learned to expect nothing less from Wilson, whose optimism is as relentless as the Borg. So let’s run with this for a moment. Let yourself be assimilated by Wilson. We promise to transport you back.
Responding to a question about the Seahawks’ inability so far to pull out wins late, Wilson said:
“I think there’s two things there. First, I think it goes back to finishing right. I think that if we can make one or two plays here and there across the board — whether it’s offense, defense, special teams — we can turn that around really easily.
“The second thing is, every game is really, really close. Every game, we were right there to win. I’m looking forward to that turning around. We have great confidence that (this is) what we are going to do.”
Please hold your cynicism. Remember, we’re being assimilated here.
The Seahawks’ losses have been by three, seven, two, eight and five points. They have established that they are capable in all phases, as well as periodically inefficient. In each defeat, they have been within a successful final possession of a win or a tie.
They are accomplishing part of what they set out to do with the roster and staff turnover.
The 273 yards on the ground Sunday against the Rams was not only the most in four years and made them the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL, it was done with road-grader RG D.J. Fluker on the sidelines. His replacement, the magnum-obscure Jordan Simmons, played his first pro game against planet-eating DT Aaron Donald and spent no time on a gurney.
“Simmons came through and came through against tremendous competition,” said coach Pete Carroll. “He’s tough and handled his assignments pretty well and had some miscues, but basically did a really good job against a really good guy.”
Simmons’ ability to step in and contribute above his pay grade on a first try suggests a system success.
Had Wilson merely taken a step forward in the pocket to avoid the fourth-quarter, strip-sack fumble and subsequent short-field TD by the Rams, the outcome may have been different, and Simmons would be the leader in the clubhouse for Grand Marshal of the Seafair Torchlight Parade.
Carroll’s system almost always shows progress with young starters as the seasons enter November and December. The anomaly was the past December, when they lost three of five. Even then, they beat the eventual world champion Eagles — with a healthy Carson Wentz — in a wire-to-wire, 24-10 decision.
If form prevails over the final regular-season games and the young secondary improves to a level approaching the NFL average, the defense has a chance to keep the Seahawks from needing a panicky rescue drive to save every game.
“We’ve been so good at those (rally) games for such a long time that the fact that it’s not happening is a little bit unusual,” Carroll said. “I’m disappointed because we’ve been able to always feel like we’re going to win those games, and do it.
“We still have the same mentality about it and attitude about it, but we’ve got to show it. We’ve got to get those finishes done.”
As Wilson looks at his team and the calendar, he thinks it’s time to show it.
“No doubt,” he said. “I think this team is a championship-caliber football team.”
Let’s take a quick look at the remaining schedule, with records:
Green Bay home 4-4-1, Carolina away 6-3, San Francisco home and away 2-8, Minnesota home 5-3-1, Kansas City home 9-1, Arizona home 2-7.
Playing seven games at a time, it’s reasonable to see three wins from the 49ers and Cardinals, a loss to the Panthers, and toss-ups with the Packers and Vikings. The Chiefs are a wild card, because they could clinch everything in the AFC by Dec. 23 and rest a few starters.
But since all three are at the Clink, and the Packers had to fly Tuesday night after a Sunday game, let’s say that, for assimilation’s sake, the edge goes to Seattle.
There you go: 10-6.
But as promised above, we must transport you back from assimilation.
Something unforeseeable will go haywire, klaxons will sound and the lifeboats will be deployed. A six-out-of-seven finish is a foolish aspiration.
Unless 2015 is considered. The Seahawks were also 4-5, then won six of the final seven to make the playoffs.
Feeling lucky, Russell Wilson?
“I’m not really a luck person,” he said. “I believe in great habits.”
If Seattle makes the playoffs again after starting 4-5, that qualifies as a habit. And we shall all be assimilated.