RENTON – The Seahawks, for all they haven’t done so far this season, have already accomplished something for the first time in 24 years: losing their first two games at home.
The last Seahawks squad to lose its first two home games was the 1997 team coached by Dennis Erickson – which was also the first owned by Paul Allen.
That was two stadiums and five stadium names ago.
Since the team moved into what was first named Seahawks Stadium in 2002, then Qwest Field, then CenturyLink Field and now Lumen Field, one thing Seattle has been able to count on is a home-field advantage among the best in the NFL.
Since that time, the Seahawks are 106-48 at home, the second-best home record in the NFL behind only Green Bay’s 110-42-2.
But not only have the Seahawks lost both home games to start this season – to Tennessee and the LA Rams – but three in a row dating back to last year’s playoffs (also against the Rams) and four of six since last December.
And oddly, while Seattle went 7-1 at home last year in the regular season when there were no fans at Lumen (7-2 including the playoffs), the Seahawks are just 4-7 in their last 11 games at home with fans.
Those are all streaks that basically have to end Monday night when the Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints at 5:15 p.m. to keep much hope alive for this season.
The 0-2 home record this year is part of a 2-4 start that ties the worst of the Pete Carroll era after six games.
With the Cardinals and Rams already well ahead in the NFC West, the Seahawks dropping to 2-5 with a loss might just about end any shot of the division – which already seems remote – and begin to make getting one of the wild-card spots about all there is to play for.
What would usually be regarded as a positive is that Seattle plays four of its next six at home – with one of the road games in that span against a struggling Washington team.
But that won’t mean much if the Seahawks can’t quickly again become the kind of dominant home team they have been for most of the Carroll era. Seattle’s 64-26 home record since he arrived in 2010 is the fourth-best in the NFL behind only New England (74-18), Green Bay (70-18-2) and Baltimore (68-23).
“It’s really important because our fans are amazing, and they deserve to see us come out and win,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said this week of re-establishing the team’s renowned home-field advantage. “We definitely want to do our part. It’s a huge advantage when we get the game going in our favor and they get loud and mess up the offense. We all work together. We all feed off one another. It’s a huge part, and we’ll do our part this week.”
Similarly missing of late is the Seahawks’ long record of dominance in prime time.
While Seattle retains a glittering 33-10-1 record in prime time under Carroll since 2010, the Seahawks are just 4-5 in their last nine prime-time games having lost both already this year.
Seattle has two prime-time games remaining after this week – a Monday nighter at Washington on Nov. 29 and a Sunday nighter at home the following week against the 49ers.
But the latter is subject to being flexed, and if the Seahawks don’t turn things around quickly, NBC could well deem Seattle not suitable for prime time by then.
Carroll and Wagner each this week referenced the 2015 Seahawks, the last Seattle team to start out 2-4, which then rallied to win eight of the last 10 and get a wild-card berth.
But that team still had the Legion of Boom in its prime and a defense that ranked first in the NFL coupled with an offense that finished fourth.
The Seahawks this year have been mediocre-to-bad in just about every area, remaining last in the NFL in yards allowed at 433.2 yards per game and 22nd in total offense at 344.0.
And Seattle has to play two more games before Russell Wilson can return, with Geno Smith scheduled to get his second start against the Saints.
“This will be an important weekend for us,” Carroll said.
But if Carroll was stressing urgency this week, he also betrayed no loss of his trademark optimism in the face of a disappointing start and another daunting task against a Saints team with the best rushing defense in the NFL, a ball-hawking secondary led by former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard (nine interceptions already), and a running back in Alvin Kamara who basically was the difference when New Orleans beat the Seahawks 33-27 in Seattle in 2019.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Carroll said. “There are over two months left in this football season, so we have to go play the games and everybody else has to play the games too. Nobody knows what the story is, look at what happened to Cleveland. Cleveland was rolling along and there goes their guy (Baker Mayfield). You never know. So with that thought, what we have to do is make sure that we get our focus right back to what is at hand and not let concerns of other things that we can’t control affect us.”
On Monday, that starts by showing that home is still where the wins are.
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