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By Steve Rudman (SportsPressNW.com)
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.
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):
|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|
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?