A couple months ago, with the Seahawks staring at a daunting five-game stretch, I made this declaration: “Right now, the Hawks have one of the best records in the NFC. How good they really are? I’ll be more prepared to answer that question after the game in Carolina on December 15.”
So here goes: The Seahawks are a really good team. And they have the potential to be great. There’s no other conclusion I can make when you look at the big picture.
The Seahawks won their seventh road game of the season today – something no team in franchise history, including three Super Bowl teams, ever did. The Hawks are 11-3 and officially a playoff team, they're back in first place in the NFC West and still in contention for the top seed in the NFC. They’ve rushed for 100 or more yards in 13 straight games and they have a plus-13 turnover margin. They also won a road game today without Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Mychal Kendricks or Shaquill Griffin, and then after losing Quandre Diggs and Bobby Wagner with ankle sprains.
Back in October, we looked at an upcoming five-game stretch that looked brutal: four of five on the road against teams that - at the time - had combined to win more than 68 percent of their games. The Seahawks went 4-1 over that stretch.
Now, I get it: We all know the Hawks are vulnerable. We’ve seen it in more than just a lackluster performance against the Rams last week. We saw it down the stretch in Carolina today. They have trouble defending the screen and the fly sweep. They’ve recently had trouble getting sacks again (just one in the last three games). Despite an 11-3 record, they’ve only outscored their opponents by a total of 26 points all season.
But all season long, they’ve found ways to win close games – that, in and of itself, is a mark of a really good team.
And best of all, this team has a knack for surprising us and rising to the occasion when we expect it the least. They have incredible leadership and buy-in from everyone across the board and they’re unafraid to defy conventional thinking. And they still haven’t played that complete game – or even a close-to-complete game – that we’ve been waiting for through more than three quarters of the regular season.
So I’m offended by anyone who thinks the Hawks aren’t that good. It’s not easy to get to 11-3 with seven road wins in this league.
The question now becomes: Can this team be great? That evaluation will come over the next two weeks and into the playoffs - where anything is possible.