The injured all-stars — quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, linebacker Lofa Tatupu, left tackle Walter Jones and cornerback Marcus Trufant — watched helplessly last week from the bench, where too many Seahawks have spent too much time the past 13 months.
No team should have to overcome what the Seahawks are being asked to overcome. No team can be expected to win games with eight starters down. But for the second season in a row, the Seahawks are being asked to do the impossible — win with too many missing parts.
“It’s tough, man,” safety Jordan Babineaux said.
The Seahawks have started this season like they started the last one: 1-2. And like 2008, their only win is a home game against the hapless St. Louis Rams.
New coach. New scheme. Same misfortune. Same bad start, with a visit to unbeaten Indianapolis looming Sunday.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “We can’t say, ‘Oh my gosh, here we go again,’ like so many other people are going to say.”
Mistakes create doubt.
In last week’s 25-19 home loss to Chicago, the Seahawks blew a 13-point lead. Olindo Mare missed two field goals that very nearly cost him his job.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh lost a fumble that led to a Bears touchdown. And Hasselbeck’s backup, Seneca Wallace, threw an interception that gave the Bears three more points.
Even the play-calling was head-scratching. There was a hint of desperation in a reverse to wide receiver Deion Branch on third-and-1 that lost 8 yards early in the fourth quarter.
So now, three weeks into the season, the Seahawks already have a two-game losing streak. The leaves haven’t started turning and already another season feels like it’s in trouble.
“Every week is critical,” said Seahawks coach Jim Mora, son of the former Colts coach of the same name. “You only get 16 shots. It’s not like baseball where you get 162, or basketball where they play 82. Every game is so big. A two-game losing streak in football is like, what, a 32-game streak in baseball?”
This is supposed to be the season when winning at home again is a given. But in their first non-Rams home game, the Seahawks suffered the same kind of self-inflicted wounds that haunted them last season.
“When you lose to NFC teams, that can come back to haunt you later,” Mora said. “So you can’t just discount it as ‘it’s early.’ If you do that, it’s a big mistake, and we don’t do that and our guys don’t do that.”
This start is something the Seahawks can overcome, but they can’t play sloppy. They can’t afford to give away possessions.
They have to treat Indianapolis and the following two weeks at home against Jacksonville and Arizona with the seriousness of Sundays in December. They can’t dig the hole they dug last season.
“As gloomy as I feel, I will say this to you: The sky is not falling,” Mora said.
Yes, it’s early, but when you lose two in a row, in the conference, in September, it can get late fast.