A gentle reminder that nothing is won in October

Of course Dallas are now destined for the Super Bowl. Or perhaps not…

Despite all the hype, praise and adulation afforded certain teams this week — it’s worth remembering that a Super Bowl title isn’t won in mid-October.

Just ask the Houston Texans.

On this day in 2012, the Texans were 5-1 (sound familiar?). They were about to win six straight games. At the start of December they were a trendy Super Bowl pick. A legit contender. A powerhouse.

For weeks Houston looked so good. They went to Foxborough full of confidence, ready to prove a point on a national stage. They were doing everything well — running with authority, playing great defense and they had a veteran quarterback with an elite receiver to throw to.

And then they ran into the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the Pats blew them away 42-14 and would beat them again a few weeks later in the playoffs.

Season over.

It didn’t matter how good they looked in October. Any winning runs earlier in the season meant absolutely nothing. They peaked too early and after being found out by the Patriots never recovered.

Who knows whether that’ll happen to Dallas this season? Or San Diego. Or Arizona. Or any of the other trendy Super Bowl picks in 2014. The only thing we can say with any certainty is — nothing has been decided on October 15th.

Seattle’s season will not be determined by Sunday’s embarrassing defeat to Dallas. It also won’t be over if they emerge from a difficult two game road trip (vs St. Louis & Carolina) with an average and unexpected 4-3 record.

Yes — the 2013 Seahawks led from the front and never really looked like losing homefield advantage. A 13-3 record secured it comfortably and the rest is history. If you look back at previous seasons, however, the path to a Championship has been very different.

The 2012 Baltimore Ravens finished with a 10-6 record, only topping the 10-6 Cincinnati Bengals thanks to a better AFC North tally. They had to win four games in the playoffs, including trips to New England and Denver. Eight teams had a better regular season record in the NFL.

The 2011 Championship winning New York Giants had a 9-7 record and squeezed into the playoffs in a wildly competitive NFC East. They were 6-6 heading into December before finishing strongly. Three of their final four games were in the division (just like Seattle in 2014). They were hot in the post season by playing well in all three phases. Nine teams had a better regular season record, including the 15-1 Packers (New York defeated Green Bay in the divisional round on their way to the Super Bowl).

Speaking of Green Bay, at this stage in the 2010 season the Packers were 3-3 having just lost at home to the 7-9 Miami Dolphins. They eventually ended 10-6, coming second in the AFC North to the Chicago Bears. Seven teams had a better regular season record. The Packers won the Super Bowl by being the best team in the post season.

The 2009 New Orleans Saints won a title in the same manner as the 2013 Seahawks. They finished the season at 13-3, earned homefield advantage and defeated Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.

So in the last five years, two teams have dominated for the most part and won a Championship. Three teams had winning seasons, but were not among the NFL’s elite in terms of wins and losses.

Seattle has faced the toughest schedule in the NFL so far and over the next few weeks might return to form. They still have to go to Carolina, Arizona, Philadelphia and San Francisco however and might lose 5-7 games this season. For some that would be considered a disappointment. And yet it doesn’t really matter as long as they make it to the post season.

This years Cowboys could be the next 2012 Texans — peaking too soon, looking great in the first few weeks before fading. As well as they’ve played recently, that scenario still appears more likely than a Super Bowl romp.

Equally the Seahawks aren’t guaranteed to be the next Ravens, Packers or Giants if they scrape into the post season with the seventh or eighth best record in the NFL. But they’ll be a team nobody wants to face. They will have a shot.

So even if Seattle continues to stutter over the next couple of weeks, maybe going 1-1 against the Rams and Panthers — history has shown they can still have the type of season they’re hoping for.


  1. Colin

    DVOA still has Seattle ranked 4th (if i’m not mistaken).

  2. JeffC

    One damning stat talked about this morning is that we are last in the NFL in the “qb duress” stat where we get sacks, apply pressure, or hurry throws. 17% of dropbacks. That has to be fixed, period. Or no SB, no playoffs.

    • CC

      Agreed – this is what Cable is supposed to be about – and we decided to stick with young guys instead of some veterans on the o-line to start the season. It’s not looking like a good move right now. Maybe Winston would have given them some veteran o line play.

      33 sacks allowed in 2012 – 50 in 2013 and 10 so far…

      • Jarhead

        I think that is reflective of the defense’s lack of pressure on the opposing quarterback. Our lack of pass rush has been much more significant and detrimental to our ability to win games than our lack of pass protection

        • Jarhead

          I meant to say ‘I think that stat…’

          • Jeff C

            Yeah it’s a defensive stat, but CC’s reply really makes you realize how both sides of the line have been horrific this year. It’s got to change.

            Salk was really bitching a few days ago that he’s tired of watching some players dogging it. He pointed to Bruce Irvin but he implied there are more players than just him. I’m not watching practices at the VMAC like they are so I don’t know.

            But speaking for myself, this team is missing the edge it had. There’s a missing intensity. Last season, I remember after Kam made a huge hit and ET corralled him on the sideline and was staring him in the eyes and both players were ready to explode, they wanted to win so bad. I just haven’t seen it this season.

            I’m really believing that super bowl letdown right now. I hope they recapture that intensity. This St Louis game will say a lot. On paper, they should win this, on the road or not.

            • AlaskaHawk

              I don’t remember the Seahawks gettting a lot of pressure on QBs during the first half of last year. Seemed like it got better later in the season. I really don’t think you can count on Irvin to generate pressure, he is better as a linebacker with the occasional blitz. But between Bennett and Avril I do expect to see some pressure. They have been able to defend the run up until they are worn out from being on the field too long.

              I don’t see our safeties hitting as hard as last year. They always seems a half second late and no hits that level a player. The last hard hit that Chancellor made was unfortunately on Maxwell when the opposing player ducked!

              At this point there are just too many injuries in the secondary to expect intensity. Chancellor, Maxwell, and Wagner are all hurt. Not good. Get better soon!

  3. CC

    We don’t need the Seahawks to be playing their best in Sept/October but starting in Nov – January!

    There are lots of things for the team to work on – this season feels more like 2012 rather than 2013. They got better and better as the year went along.

    But, they are going to have to win their divisional games – they may have to go 5-1 in division play to win the division…

  4. Dumbquestions

    It’s true – it’s mid-October, and the Hawks have been scuffling a bit in these first few games. Plenty of time to right the ship, but it still takes discipline. My faith is strong.

    Does this matter? They lost the coin toss in four of the first five games (exception: Green Bay). Seems like nothing, but it’s something: an opportunity for consecutive possessions. If one team (say, Dallas or San Diego) manages the clock properly and bashes the defense through the second quarter, they get the ball right back to start the third. Losing the coin toss magnifies the ToP problem and shifts the burden to the offense.

    Hawks exploited this throughout the 2013 season: win coin toss, defer, get second-half kickoff, grind. By my count, they won the opening coin toss in 11 out of 16 regular-season games last year – amazing.

  5. EranUngar

    Yes, you can’t win anything in October. You win stuff like division championship in December and SB in February. That’s how the NFL works.

    You can however lose things in October. If you end October with a record of 1-6 you have just effectively lost your division and probably your season even if you have a great Nov-Dec. You have certainly lost home field advantage during the playoffs since no team will get that with 10W or less.

    There are many stats we should be worried about but being a Seahawks’ fan since 1979 i can tell you that the one stat there never failed me was points scored/allowed. Since 1979 we have won 100% of the games during which we scored more points then the team we were playing.

    This year we are scoring ppg just like we did last year. We allow almost 8 ppg MORE then last year. As much as we talk about poor pass protection, lose of offensive identity in the run game etc. it’s the defense that doesn’t get it done.

    Last year they had swagger and insane intensity. They were physical, fast and strong. They were intimidating. They were scary. They looked like a pack of hungry lions facing a herd of wilder beasts. They just don’t play that way this year. It’s the pass rush or the LBs or the LOB or all those combined. The insane berserkers are gone.

    • Rob Staton

      One simple reply to this one. Seattle aren’t 1-6.

    • JeffC

      I think ET saying he got his hunger back after Denver was a pretty telling thing. Although I’ve never been a Bevel fan (having also been a viking fan), and have criticized him heavily lately, there is much to what people are pointing to the players not executing. Brock’s chalk talk was pointing to the players in defense of the coaching. The players not winning their one on one battles. Is it true the fear that you give guys big contracts their level of play will fall off? Is it true that their is a super bowl hangover?

      I think if the problem was just coaching, I’d feel better about what I’ve seen thus far. If the problem is motivation, I don’t know how they get that back. Will it take a whole offseason where our guys are watching the playoffs on tv and not participating (I remember that’s what happened with Mean Joe Greene in 1977 when he watched the Broncos in the playoffs and a sign said, “Joe must be Greene with envy” and it pissed him off to where he recaptured his mojo to be part of two more super bowls)?

      The St Louis game should be very telling on both fronts. Personally, I’m looking at ET, Kam, Irvin, Bennett, Avril, Okung, RW, Kearse, and Angry Doug. I think all of these guys have underperformed either this whole season or this past game. I thought that was Kearse’s and RW’s worst game as seahawks. To me, ET, Kam, Avril, Okung, and Bennett have underperformed all season. They are the stars. They have to be the ones to lift this team up.

  6. Cha

    Percy Harvin traded to Jets? Wow, must be a whole under the radar issue going on.

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