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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

With travel-heavy part of schedule done, Seahawks are home for a playoff push

Nov. 26, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 26, 2022 at 8:32 p.m.

Seattle’s Marquise Goodwin, right, celebrates with Penny Hart after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown during the Seahawks’ Nov. 13 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Allianz Arena in Munich.  (Getty Images)
Seattle’s Marquise Goodwin, right, celebrates with Penny Hart after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown during the Seahawks’ Nov. 13 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Allianz Arena in Munich. (Getty Images)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – Back in action Sunday after the longest road trip they’ve taken, the Seahawks finally enter the homestretch of the 2022 season.

That’s a phrase that is both figurative and literal, with the Seahawks finishing the season with five of their last seven games in the familiar confines of Lumen Field – beginning with Sunday’s 1:05 game against the 3-7 Las Vegas Raiders – after having played six of their first 10 on the road.

And for that, receiver DK Metcalf couldn’t be happier.

“I’m tired of traveling,” Metcalf said this past week. “I’m tired of being on planes, leaving on Friday or Saturday. I’m just happy to be back in front of the 12s for five more games. I know they are excited to have us back. We are going to finish out strong for them.”

Throw in two preseason away games and the Seahawks have been on the road for eight of 13 weeks this year, in a season in which they will travel an estimated 37,016 miles. As the Seahawks have noted all year, 25,000 miles is considered “around the world.”

Adding the flight times the Seahawks have listed in their game notes, the team has been in the air for more than 62 hours this season.

Of course, a major part of that was the trip for a Nov. 13 game against Tampa Bay in Munich, officially listed as a 9-hour, 38-minute trip there and 9 hours and 28 minutes back.

The Seahawks have just two trips left – next Sunday to Los Angeles to play the Rams and Dec. 24 at Kansas City.

“We’ve been gone for quite a while, and we would really like to connect with the crowd, and make sure we are getting all aspects of our stuff working together,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We are really looking forward to it.”

It was this backloaded home schedule that offered hope for the Seahawks assuming they had put themselves into playoff positioning.

Much to the surprise of many of those who follow the NFL, the Seahawks have done exactly that with their 6-4 start, which included three road wins as they rallied from starts of 1-2 and 2-3 and had seemed to confirm the pessimism that greeted the team this season.

The loss to Tampa Bay revived some of the early fears as the Seahawks were held to just 39 yards rushing on 14 carries while allowing a Bucs team that had been last in the NFL in rushing to gain 161 yards on 44 carries.

Despite the vast defensive improvement over the past five games, the Seahawks remain 26th in defense – 21st against the pass and 28th against the run.

Maybe most disconcerting against the Bucs was the lack of a running game and the second time in three weeks rookie Kenneth Walker III – taking over for the injured Rashaad Penny – was held to 2.8 yards or less per carry (he had 17 yards on 10 carries against the Bucs).

Carroll this past week said he didn’t want to get into why he thought the running game struggled – some want to blame a slippery field, but that didn’t stop Tampa Bay – only to note that it can’t continue and leave all of the heavy lifting on offense to quarterback Geno Smith, as occurred in Germany.

“We have to get back to the running game,” Carroll said. “We have to get it going.”

There should be an opportunity to do that against a perplexing Raiders team that allowed 136, 168 and 207 rushing yards in consecutive losses to the Jaguars, Saints and Colts before holding Denver to 94 in an overtime win over the Broncos last Sunday.

The Seahawks’ defense might find a different challenge than it has been expecting if the Raiders’ leading rusher Josh Jacobs – who is third in the NFL with 930 yards – can’t play or is limited because of a calf injury that had him listed as questionable Friday after he had not been on the injury report all week.

That might force the Raiders to rely more on the tandem of quarterback Derek Carr and receiver Davante Adams, whose 925 yards are fourth in the NFL, and put that much more pressure on a pass rush that didn’t get a sack and had just one QB hit against the Bucs.

Carroll insisted this past week that the Tampa Bay loss didn’t dim his faith that the four-game streak that preceded the trip to Germany indicated a real sign of progress

“We are getting better,” Carroll said. “(But) we have a lot of room to improve, and we can see it. It’s a very fresh mentality, we are excited about getting back, feeling good and all of that, and we are trying to take advantage of where we have come to in this last month or so.”

Adding to the challenge is the recent play of the 49ers, who have won three in a row to forge a tie with the Seahawks in the NFC West, but they are technically in first as they hold the tiebreaker thanks to a Week 2 win in San Francisco.

Like the Seahawks, the 49ers have a backloaded home schedule with five of the final seven at home including their next three, beginning with a visit Sunday from New Orleans.

The Seahawks need to take care of the Raiders, who as of Friday were 3.5-point underdogs.

“We would like to come off the bye and take advantage of the way that we handled it and play really well, do things right and execute well, take care of the line of scrimmage and the ball, and all those kinds of things,” Carroll said. “We would like to do that, so we get off on a good note. So, it’s really important. This is a huge game for us. It’s a huge game coming back.”

Seahawks put receiver Eskridge on injured reserve

The Seahawks made an expected move official Saturday, putting receiver Dee Eskridge on injured reserve with a broken hand suffered in their 21-16 loss to Tampa Bay in Munich on Nov. 13.

Eskridge was initially diagnosed with just a bruise. Further exams revealed a break and Eskridge will have to miss at least four games. Carroll said Friday there was a chance Eskridge could still return this season, meaning he could play in the final three games of the regular season.

The Seahawks did not fill Eskridge’s spot on the 53-man roster for the game against the Raiders.

They did elevate two players off the practice squad to be eligible to play — receiver Laquon Treadwell and linebacker Vi Jones. Treadwell, the 23rd overall pick of the 2016 draft by the Vikings out of Ole Miss, was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 1 and will make his first appearance Sunday.

Treadwell being elevated means the Seahawks will have six receivers available — Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Marquise Goodwin, Dareke Young, Penny Hart and Treadwell.

Former Cougar Lucas added to injury report

The Seahawks added rookie right tackle Abraham Lucas to the injury report Saturday as questionable with an illness. With Eskridge on IR, Lucas is the only player on the injury report for the game.

Lucas was not on the injury report earlier in the week. Lucas, a third-round pick out of Washington State, has played all 625 offensive snaps for the Seahawks this year. The other player to play every offensive snap is quarterback Geno Smith.

Lucas’ listed backup is second-year player Jake Curhan, who started five games last year but has played only in a reserve role this season, playing 24 snaps at right guard against the Chargers when Phil Haynes and Gabe Jackson were injured.

Curhan started the last five games of 2021 at right tackle when Brandon Shell was injured.

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