The Seahawks lost their second lopsided game in as many weeks on Sunday – 41-7 to the New York Giants at Qwest Field. It makes next week’s game against the Cardinals that much bigger.
When the subject turns to devastation and despair, it’s all relative to Junior Siavii.
As his teammates were beating a hasty retreat from the locker room at Qwest Field after Sunday’s 41-7 loss to the New York Giants, the Seahawks’ fill-in nose tackle chose to look ahead – rather than behind, especially to the collective miscues and missteps that led to the team’s latest devastating loss.
“There’s only way to go, and that’s up,” Siavii said. “We’re down right now. We’ve just got to regroup and take it on to Arizona. That’s the only way: We’ve got to beat Arizona and get back on track.
“We’ve got to get a ‘W.’ That’s it.”
The Seahawks have slipped to 4-4 by being slapped with losses the past two weeks – by a combined score of 71-10, because they’ve been outgained 1,032 yards to 324 (162 each in losses to the Raiders and Giants). But they’re still tied with the St. Louis Rams for first place in the NFC West, as the Cardinals fell to 3-5 on Sunday with a loss to the Vikings in Minnesota.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Siavii said. “We beat the Cardinals in Arizona next week, a lot of this will be forgotten.”
What Siavii can’t forget is how he was out of the league for three seasons (2006-08) after a severe knee injury. The Dallas Cowboys gave him a chance to play again last season. The Seahawks allowed him to make his first start in the NFL on Sunday, as he stepped in for injured nose tackle Colin Cole.
His teammates – and coaches – can use some of his perspective, and resolve. Because this one was tough to handle, even through the Seahawks were playing without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Ben Hamilton, fullback Michael Robinson, defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, as well as Cole.
In their places? In order, Charlie Whitehurst, making the first start of his 4½-season NFL career; Chester Pitts, making his first start for the Seahawks and first since last September when he tore up his right knee while playing for the Houston Texans; Mike Gibson, making his second start in the NFL; tight end John Carlson, on the rare snaps when they used a fullback; Kentwan Balmer, making his first NFL start; Craig Terrill, making the fifth start of his 6½-season NFL career; and Siavii.
Even Qwest Field couldn’t generate enough magic to lampoon logic on this afternoon.
This one was all Giants, all the time – from start to finish. They won their fifth game in a row, and upped their record to 6-2, by scoring touchdowns on five consecutive possessions in the first half. Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers. Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a couple of short runs, among the least painful but most significant of the Giants’ 197-yard rushing performance.
Did we mention start to finish? On the Giants’ final possession, they gnashed 13 minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter with a 19-play, 73-yard drive that didn’t end until backup QB Sage Rosenfelds took a knee on three consecutive snaps. It helped the Giants finish with a 42½ minute-to-17½ bulge in time of possession.
The Seahawks? They did avert a shutout as Whitehurst passed 36 yards to Ben Obomanu on the third play of that final quarter – the first regular-season TD pass for Whitehurst, who spent four seasons as a backup with the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Seahawks in March. But Whitehurst also had two passes intercepted after the Seahawks had reach the Giants’ 12- and 25-yard lines.
So a team that was once 4-2, after back-to-back wins over the Bears in Chicago and the Cardinals at Qwest, is back to .500. But don’t call it even.
“For the second week in a row, we had a miserable performance,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Carroll went on to call the task at hand “a coaches’ challenge.” The first thing that needs to happen is for his team to get healthy – or as healthy as possible. There is a chance Hasselbeck and Okung can return this week and start against the Cardinals.
But there’s more to what ails the Seahawks than injured players. The coaches also need to get those players healthy enough to play to play better. There just weren’t enough playmakers on the field against the Giants, and those who were didn’t make enough plays.
“We have to figure out how to get ourselves back on track,” Carroll said. “We have to play a game of football that gives us a chance in so many different areas.
“It’s a very difficult spot to be in because we’re not sure that we can get this thing cranking the way we want to, and how soon we can, until we go back to work and start working at it. And that’s what has to happen next week. We have to go back and find our way and put things back in order and continue to call on guys to step up in spots and play for us and play like the guys that were there before and keep our level of play where we have a chance.”
Like Siavii did. He was all over the play that resulted in linebacker Aaron Curry forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker David Hawthorne on the Giants’ first possession – the only stop the Seahawks had against the Giants in the first half. He helped middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu stop Bradshaw for a 1-yard gain on the Giants’ second series, and got to Bradshaw for a 2-yard loss on their third series. In the second half, Siavii and Tatupu stopped 264-pound Brandon Jacobs after a 2-yard gain.
“I thought Junior did some good things today,” Carroll said.
It’s all part of the guys stepping in trying to play as well as the players they’re replacing. It will be a theme – as well as a teaching point and a rallying point – for Carroll this week as the Seahawks prepare for their game against the Cardinals in Arizona.
“We have to survive it and stick together and hang with the guys,” Carroll said. “And they have to answer and play like the guys that left.”
If they can somehow do all that, and beat the Cardinals in Arizona, it’s like Siavii said: The Seahawks will remain in first place in their division, and also soften the thud that was Sunday’s loss to the Giants.