September 25, 2011 in Sports

Seahawks’ home opener a chance to atone

John Boyle
Associated Press photo

Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb leads a team into Seattle that hasn’t won a road game in over a year.
(Full-size photo)

RENTON, Wash. – The Seahawks know their home opener against Arizona isn’t just another game on the schedule.

Pete Carroll and his players know no one will buy the every-game-is-equally- important clichés. Not when Seattle has looked so bad to start the season. And not when this home game against the Cardinals looms as one of the few winnable ones on a brutal early-season schedule.

“There’s a real sense of urgency, obviously, from the first couple weeks of the season,” Carroll said. “… It’s a very important step we have to take here to get back on track where we can feel good about what we’re doing and what we’re working at.”

It’s not that the Seahawks expected a smooth ride this year. They got rid of numerous key players from last season’s NFC West champion team and built a young offense that was sure to take its lumps. Even so, the first two games have gone worse than expected, and now that they’re back home and facing a division opponent, the Seahawks know it is time to start showing significant progress beginning today.

“I’m really disappointed by it,” Carroll said of the team’s 0-2 start. “I’m disappointed that we had to go through two games not playing the way we want to play. It is what it is. It’s already gone and dead, so we’re on to this week and looking forward to what we can do about this Sunday.” 

Win today, and the Seahawks will be right in the hunt in the lowly NFC West, where, depending on what San Francisco does in Cincinnati, a 1-2 record could be good for a first-place tie. Should Seattle drop to 0-3 by losing a home game to Arizona, however, it then becomes a question of when the Seahawks will get their first win.

Following today’s game, Seattle hosts Atlanta, which had the best record in the NFC last year. After that are games at New York and Cleveland, and while both of those teams have their flaws, the Seahawks have not been a good road team in recent years, especially when it involves heading east. So yeah, this game is important for the Seahawks.

“Anytime you lose, you need to make up for it the next week, so there is a sense of urgency,” tight end Zach Miller said.

Miller, like the rest of his teammates, believes the Seahawks can get back on track despite the discouraging start. The hope for the Seahawks is that the turnaround can start today.

“This obviously isn’t the way we wanted to start, but it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “We’re going to keep improving each week, and all it takes is one win, then you can think about another one. We’re going to get it rolling this week, and especially offensively, we need to put some points on the board.”

If the Seahawks can show progress, on offense in particular, and beat the Cardinals this season, that won’t mean all of their problems are fixed. It will, however, be a sign that maybe, just maybe, the season won’t be the disaster most have predicted after a 0-2 start in which the Seahawks have been outscored by 40 points.

“We definitely want to go out and prove ourselves,” running back Justin Forsett said. “We haven’t gone out and put together four quarters yet, and we want to go out and prove we can do that.”

But if the Seahawks are hoping to be the only team playing the desperate-for-a-win angle, they’re out of luck. The Cardinals are playing their division opener against the defending champs, and are eager to show that they can get back on top of an NFC West they won in 2008 and 2009. Arizona is also looking for its first road win since the 2010 season opener, having just missed a victory in Washington last weekend.

“You hate to say this early in the season, but we’re thinking of it as a must-win,” Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb said. “That’s our mentality. We are upset with ourselves, last week we let one get away. So it’s very important for us to get off on the right foot, not only in the first quarter but of course, it’s our first divisional game.”

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