EVERETT, Wash. – They had just hammered the defending NFC champions, dished out the most lopsided shutout win in Monday Night Football history and tied a franchise record by extending their winning streak to eight games.
The time had arrived for the Seattle Seahawks to deliver their message to the football world, and yet they put their index fingers to their lips. They weren’t looking for attention, only the next obstacle.
“Honestly, we don’t really care if people know that we’re good, if they say that we’re good, if they think that we’re good,” running back Shaun Alexander said after the Seahawks beat Philadelphia 42-0. “We just want to play ball and see what happens.”
The Seahawks (10-2) might seem invincible, and they might float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but the top team in the NFC is far from flashy.
Sure, they might have a few recognizable names on offense, but the defensive side of the ball is filled with names that don’t easily roll off the typical fan’s tongue. Before Monday night’s whitewash, Andre Dyson was still known for his days as a Tennessee Titan, while Lofa Tatupu’s most visible games came at the University of Southern California.
Now that the Seahawks have a nationally televised blowout under their belts – not to mention 10 victories for only the second time since 1987 – things might be about to change. The national media has fallen in love with the Seahawks … but the Seahawks don’t seem to really care.
“We’re just trying to get the wins,” offensive lineman Walter Jones said. “We’re trying to do something special here and keep on winning. Once the season is over, then the Seahawks aren’t going to fall off. The only thing we can control is to win, and that’s what we want to keep doing.”
Seattle’s offense has been ranked at or near the top of the league for most of the season, but Monday’s heroes were on defense. Dyson had two return touchdowns – on an interception and fumble – while Tatupu added his first NFL score in the blowout win. The Seahawks’ defense may be inconsistent, but it can be dominant when everything is working in unison.
“We come to play every Sunday,” safety Marquand Manuel said. “We’re going to have some good plays, and we’re going to have some bad plays, but we come to play every Sunday. We come to fight. Everything might not always be perfect, but we come to fight every game.”
The defense has endured its share of injuries this season, and it could get tested again this week if Dyson’s ankle sprain limits him. Seattle’s secondary is already without cornerback Kelly Herndon and safeties Ken Hamlin and John Howell, so depth has really been tested.
The team will announce more on Dyson’s status today. If he can’t play in Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Jordan Babineaux or veteran Jimmy Williams would likely be in the lineup opposite starting cornerback Marcus Trufant.
But there is a chance the Seahawks could get a boost on offense, where the suddenly ordinary passing game would welcome wide receiver Darrell Jackson back from an injury. Jackson is expected to test his injured knee today and has a chance of returning for the San Francisco game after missing the past nine weeks.
The Seahawks have found remedies for the injury bug all season, with players such as Manuel, rookie linebacker Leroy Hill and wide receivers Joe Jurevicius and D.J. Hackett filling voids during the current eight-game winning streak.
There is also optimism that stems from an upcoming schedule that includes the 49ers (2-10) and Tennessee (3-9) over the next two Sundays. A Christmas Eve date with AFC juggernaut Indianapolis – at 12-0, the lone remaining unbeaten team and a serious threat to the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ place as the lone undefeated team in NFL history – also looms before Seattle closes out its regular season at Green Bay (2-10) in what might be the final game of Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s career.
The surprising 10-2 start has been pretty impressive, but this year’s Seahawks are not getting ahead of themselves.
“We need to win a first-round bye,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said of a postseason off-week that goes to each conference’s top two seeds, “and the way to do that is to keep winning football games.”
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