It wasn’t easy nor was it pretty, but for the first time in franchise history the Seattle Seahawks are undefeated through the first four games of the season. Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans was by far one of the grittiest, most competitive games this team has played since head coach Pete Carroll came aboard in 2010.
Playing and winning games on the road is no longer Seattle’s Achilles' heel. Despite poor pass protection from the offensive line and failed execution through three quarters, the Seahawks offense proved that when the game is on the line, there are cutthroat players who can get the job done.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin, running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson led a fourth-quarter charge in Houston. The Hawks' 14-play, 98-yard scoring drive put the game within arm's reach, and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman sealed the deal less than a minute later when he housed a 58-yard interception return.
From that point on, the momentum had swung and the Seahawks had the upper hand. In overtime, they pounded the rock and controlled the clock. Lynch touched the ball five times in the final period and secured 26 total yards. His six-yard carry on the team’s last drive set up kicker Steven Hauschka’s 45-yard game-winner.
If you take one thing away from Sunday’s win, here it is: Coach Carroll and general manager John Schneider have spent the past four years building the most complete 53-man roster in the NFL. The Seahawks can move the chains in the passing game, they can bully the opposition on the ground, and their defense is absolutely brilliant.
Without a doubt, Seattle is the most well-built team for the playoffs. No deficit is too large, and the stage is never too big. With that being said, the Seahawks' key victories on the road and hot start are readying them for a Super Bowl run.
Yes, there are 12 regular-season games left to play and anything can happen in the NFL at any time, but this team has shown a power that very few teams have. They have the power to overcome adversity in the most dire situations.
Wilson seemingly always finds a way to rally the offense when points are needed. According to Pro-Football-Reference, the second-year signal-caller out of Wisconsin has six fourth-quarter comebacks and seven game-winning drives in 20 career starts (playoffs included).
Of those six fourth-quarter comebacks, five have come since Week 13 of the 2012 season. Playing catch-up and relying on a comeback on a weekly basis isn’t a sustainable model of victory, but in the NFL, a win is a win. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
The scary part is the Seahawks are far from healthy, and they haven’t even hit their midseason stride. Just imagine what this team will look like after its Week 12 bye. The offensive line should be back at full health, and wide receiver Percy Harvin should be fully recovered from his hip injury.
Here’s something to keep in mind as well: Seattle scored 20 unanswered points on the road without its starting left tackle, center and right tackle. There are only a handful of teams in the NFL that could produce similar results without three starters along the offensive line.
Moreover, left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger are not your run-of-the-mill offensive linemen. Both players were Pro Bowl selections in 2012, and Unger was a first-team All-Pro member.
Great ballclubs prove to have great depth at every position. Over the course of a season, injuries become a normal occurrence for all 32 teams. The difference between a Super Bowl contender and a non-contender often comes down to the amount of depth the organization has.
Case in point: The Seahawks looked primed to make a Super Bowl run once they got into the playoffs last year, but their dream came to an end when they lost defensive end Chris Clemons to an ACL tear.
This, in turn, fueled Schneider’s spending spree in free agency. The last thing he wanted was an anemic pass rush in 2013, so he brought in defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to turn a weakness into a strength.
Heading into Week 5, both players have already left their mark on defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s unit. Avril has two sacks, and Bennett has 2.5. Let’s not forget, Clemons is inching closer to full strength, and Bruce Irvin will make his season debut next week.
If you’re a Seahawks fan in the midst of this historical season, life is good. Seattle is a well-oiled machine that can be stopped by no one, and surely the best is yet to come.
Undoubtedly, 2013 is looking to be the year when the Seahawks hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in their 38 years of existence.