Moore: Seahawks are 4-5 but look like a winning team with a bright future

Nov 12, 2018, 10:50 AM

Rashaad Penny is the third Seahawks running back to rush for 100 yards in a game this year. (AP)...

Rashaad Penny is the third Seahawks running back to rush for 100 yards in a game this year. (AP)


At the start of the season, I lowered my expectations for the Seahawks. I thought they’d go 8-8 in a transitional year with so many new coaches and young players in prominent roles. I would have predicted 7-9 or 6-10, but there’s always hope for a winning team when your quarterback is Russell Wilson.

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So what’s with all of the disappointment and frustration with Pete Carroll’s team? Last week I heard criticism of Wilson after he made a few bad throws against the Chargers. This occurred a week after he had a perfect rating against the Lions, but I guess it was his fault that David Moore couldn’t come up with a catch in the end zone that might have led to an overtime victory if he had hung on to the ball.

Now I keep hearing about the Seahawks not being able to come from behind in the fourth quarter. We grew used to seeing that with Wilson – in fact, CBS showed us a graphic that said he has engineered 24 comebacks in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career.

It hasn’t happened in their five losses this year. Apparently it’s Wilson’s fault. On Sunday in a 36-31 loss to the Rams, do I wish he had run on fourth down instead of overthrowing Tyler Lockett with less than a minute to go? Yes. But no one knows if he would have gotten a first down or not. Wilson took what he thought was his best option, and it didn’t work out.

And part of the reason some of us wanted him to run was because he looked like Wilson at the age of 25 against the Rams, a throwback Russell, quick and nimble, rushing for 90 yards, not appearing to be turning 30 in two weeks.

For anyone who nitpicks Wilson for not doing this or not doing that, I would argue that he’s the main reason the Seahawks have a chance in every game, including Sunday’s in one the oddsmakers thought they would lose by double digits.

That’s the other thing – do we ever stop and think about who the Seahawks are playing? Agreed, you’re right, they did not come back from a two-score deficit for the second week in a row. But the Chargers are 7-2 and the Rams are 9-1. For that matter, the Bears are 6-3. OK, should they have beaten the 3-6 Broncos in the first game on the year? Probably, but that was before they completely embraced their run-first philosophy.

I just feel like many 12s are judging their favorite team like they’re the 2012 or 2013 Seahawks. They’re not that good. They’re not going to the Super Bowl like those teams did. But I’ve seen enough to think that the 2020 and 2021 Seahawks will have a legitimate chance to win another Lombardi Trophy.

They’re not as good as the Rams yet, but you can make a great argument that they could have won both games against Sean McVay’s team. I would also contend that the Seahawks already have a better defense than the Rams, and it’s only going to improve in the coming years. Aside from maybe Bradley McDougald, players in the secondary are not even near their prime.

Before the Seahawks played the Rams the first time at CenturyLink Field in October, I thought the difference between the two teams was vast – and record-wise, it is, a full 4 1/2 games. But the two teams are much closer than that on the field, and I like that a rivalry is brewing, particularly with the hot-headed Aaron Donald on the other side of the field.

Every time you turn around, the Seahawks are surprising in a positive way. Sounds ridiculous, but they have to be the best 4-5 team in the league. The record says otherwise, but that’s not a losing team we’re watching every week. And if they do finish 8-8 as predicted, it will be a better break-even season than I thought it would be.

This team is filled with promise and potential, and that might not get the Seahawks anywhere this year. They’ll probably be watching the playoffs from a couch like the rest of us. But I wouldn’t count them out either.

Any team that can rush for an average of more than 150 yards six weeks in a row still has a chance. Plus, think about it – this team scored 31 points twice against a Rams’ defense that’s supposed to have one of the better units in the league. The Seahawks can control the clock and have enough play-makers to explode at any time.

Now you can add Rashaad Penny to the mix. The first-round pick finally showed why he was a first-round pick by rushing for 101 yards and scoring the first touchdown of his career. In the category of nice problems to have, let’s see how Carroll rations carries among Penny, Mike Davis and Chris Carson when he returns from his hip injury. And throw in J.D. McKissic, who will be back on the active roster this week.

In almost every game the Seahawks do something I didn’t see coming at all. Against the Rams, I thought they’d have trouble running the ball without Carson and right guard D.J. Fluker, but they rushed for 273 yards instead. Then when I think about Aaron Rodgers coming to town Thursday night, I’d expect the Packers quarterback to shine, but watch, the Seahawks might make him look a game manager.

They’re tough to figure out, but that’s the beauty of this team. We’ve seen that they’re not great but they’re not bad either. They’re somewhere between good and really good, building a foundation that should lead to future success.

Have you listened to “Bark?” It’s Jim’s podcast about dogs, available at 710Sports.com and wherever you find podcasts. If you’re interested in sponsoring “Bark,” please contact Jim at jmoore@espnseattle.com.

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Moore: Seahawks are 4-5 but look like a winning team with a bright future