Seattle Seahawks

He said / she said – Seattle Seahawks enter the offseason

usatsi_9810545.jpg
USA Today

He said / she said – Seattle Seahawks enter the offseason

BY 

Oregon Sports News writers Julian Rogers and Jessica Ridpath discuss the Seattle Seahawks’ now concluded 2016 season.

Rogers: No, the Seahawks’ season wasn’t over when Earl Thomas broke his leg by running into Kam “Cyborg”Chancellor on Dec. 4. It only seems like it.

In fact, the Seahawks’ season was over in the second quarter of the Divisional Playoff when reserve linebackerKevin Pierre-Louis was called for holding at the line of scrimmage. By itself, that was bad. But since it wiped out an 80-yard punt return by Devin Hester and instead pinned the Seahawks deep in their own territory, as opposed to being on Atlanta’s door step, the game — and season — collapsed.

The next play saw Thomas Rawls get stuffed for a loss. The following play saw Russell Wilson get tripped onto his backside in the end zone due to being stepped on by substitute offensive guard Rees Odhiambo.

The resulting safety was the nail in the Seahawks’ coffin, even though they still had the lead at that point (10–9). The Falcons added a field goal shortly after the safety and never looked back.

Jess, we both picked the Seahawks to lose in this game. But looking back over the entire season, is a Divisional Round playoff loss about where you would have expected the blue birds’ season to conclude, or did you expect a different ride? Can you remember early-season optimism?

Ridpath: September seems like a lifetime ago. Thomas had two working legs. Wilson hadn’t yet been injured. Brock Osweiler had a sweet new deal as a franchise quarterback. The Panthers were the team to beat. And Donald Trump was a longshot. So much has happened since then that I had to actually go back and read our old columns to remember whether or not I was optimistic in the early season.

What a year of ups and downs for the Seahawks. From low points like their 6-6 tie with the Cardinals to high points like beating the Patriots in Foxborough, this season has had a little bit of everything. But way back in week five, you and I both picked Seattle to win the NFC West—despite their rocky start and the obvious impact of Wilson’s injuries. (In fact, Julian, you picked seven of eight division winners correctly in our week-five column. Grab a feather and stick it in your cap.)

It was in week six that my doubt started to creep in. And by week nine, I was downright skeptical—saying things like: “If there’s anything Seattle has shown the league in the last two weeks it’s that they’re almost as likely to get a penalty as a first down,” and “we’re at the season’s halfway mark, and it’s clear that the Seahawks are only contenders because of their stout defense — which spent more time on the field than they should have again last week.” I was worried about overwork and potential injuries at the time. Sometimes I hate being right.

As you mentioned, penalties (or rather one penalty, in particular) played a huge part in Seattle’s loss to the Falcons. No surprise there. What is surprising is that the defense—compromised without Thomas, but still formidable—allowed a 99-yard drive consisting of all pass plays, which gave Atlanta a two-score lead before the half. This un-Seattle-like performance has some saying that the Legion of Boom is no more.

I know you still envision a bright future for the blue birds. And it’s clear that they need to beef up their offensive line—the one group that played consistently “meh” (or worse) all season. But what do you make of the assertion that Seattle’s once-feared secondary is all washed up?

Rogers: They’re not Super Bowl season-caliber anymore, but they’re far from washed up. They finished eighth in pass defense in 2016, despite playing without Earl Thomas for last month of the season. But there is reason for concern because change is on the horizon — maybe not in 2017, but soon thereafter. Thomas threatened retirement when he broke his leg. Chancellor will be 29 in April and has had more injuries lately. Richard Shermangutted out a hidden MCL sprain for the last half of the season, but he worries many with his emotional outburstsand occasional cheap shots, which hit a peak this season.

The largest, most immediate concern for the LOB is the other corner position. We learned after the Divisional Playoff loss that DeShawn Shead’s knee injury is a torn ACL that will require a full eight months or more rehabilitation. That spot is now wide open and could take precedence in the draft over the much, much, desperately needed offensive tackle position.

I expect the LOB to be a top-third secondary again next season. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. Overall, the team has an enviable stable of top talent to take into the 2017 regular season. Looking ahead, the Seahawks can expect to reap equal or improved rewards from Wilson, Rawls, C.J. Prosise, leading receiver Doug BaldwinTyler Lockett, Paul RichardsonJimmy GrahamMichael Bennett, Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark and more. That’s quite a collection of superior talent.

Now I’m going to sound like a real Pollyanna. There’s the matter of the NFC West. It quickly went from one of the most competitive divisions to the league’s worst in 2016. San Francisco and Los Angeles are in turmoil with new coaches and major quarterback questions for each. Plus, each has additional myriad problems. The guess here is that the Rams get better sooner than the 49ers, but that is still probably only an 8–8 upside in 2017.

The Arizona Cardinals fell off the shelf in 2016 and have major questions at quarterback (will/should Carson Palmerreturn?), wide receiver (Michael Floyd got axed, Larry Fitzgerald may move on) and their offensive line is in need of major upgrades.

There is no better division in which the Seahawks should toil. At worst, they’ll only be looking up at the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in terms of their NFC prospects when the next season kicks off.

There are whispers that the Seahawks might jettison Graham before next season with Graham owed $10 million including a $2 million roster bonus due on March 11. But Pete Carroll indicated Jimmy Graham will remain with the Seahawks next season.

I can’t think of a worse decision they could make with their returning high-priced veterans. It is more likely the Seahawks try to extend the 30-year-old tight end, who has only one year remaining on the deal he previously signed in New Orleans.

Graham actually had the team’s second-highest average yards per catch (14.2; Tyler Lockett 14.6) among the regular full-time receivers. That’s better than Richardson (13.7), Jermaine Kearse (12.4) and Baldwin (12.0). Baldwin coming up last in that group in YPR is a surprise to me. Keep an eye on that in 2017.

Jess, any final thoughts or predictions you want to toss out there? Maybe an offseason Seahawks wish?

Ridpath: Wishes usually come in threes, right? Here are mine:

  • Earl Thomas gets healthy and decides not to retire.
  • Richard Sherman gets psychological counseling.
  • The Seahawks get the Cowboys’ offensive line.

Two of the three are obvious pipe dreams. But the need for change in both areas is a stark reality if 2017 is going to turn out any better for the blue birds.

Composure does not take away from toughness. In fact, it’s a quality that fuels championships. Sherman might not agree with that, but it seems his buddy Kam Chancellor does. At least he does right now.

Here’s hoping that Kam’s sentiments find traction among his teammates and spark some introspection in the offseason. There’s no doubt that Seattle’s defense is tough enough and talented enough to regain their dominance in 2017. We’ll have to wait and see if they can also find their poise.

Turning to the offensive line, Julian, I have to say that I like the “admittedly terrible” advice you recently offered the Seahawks: Spend every draft pick on offensive lineman. Probably not gonna happen. But your point above bears repeating:  The rest of the team is “quite a collection of superior talent.” On this squad, the least expensive o-line in the league is obviously the kid that’s not like the others.

To Pete Carroll, I say this: What a gift to have Russell Wilson as your quarterback. To have a receiving corps that is the best it’s been in decades. To have a running back like Thomas Rawls after you lost Marshawn Lynch. Don’t squander these gifts, Pete. Build an offensive line that’s worthy of these talented young men. They deserve it.

The other thing I want to say to Pete Carroll is … WTF? Not reporting an injury is a questionable decision for so many reasons. But now it’s gone and put your second-round draft pick in jeopardy—at a time when a strategic and successful draft is tantamount to your team’s success next year. I’m disappointed in you, Pete.

So, that’s it for me and the Seahawks’ 2016 season, Julian. I’m sending almost half the squad to their rooms to think about what they’ve done. Myself, I’m going to enjoy the last few football games of the season before the long drought sets in. Here’s my bold prediction: The Green Bay Packers will be Super Bowl champs. I just have a feeling.

Rogers: That’s quite a wrap-up. I think you hit on the way a lot of 12s are feeling right now. When the team gets back together again in the spring in the new league year, hopefully the news will be better about injuries and mental states. We should know by then what, if any, penalty the Seahawks may incur for their flagrant disregard of the injury reporting rules. It’s quite the odd self-inflicted wound to start the offseason with.

Regarding the Super Bowl champs … I think the Packers’ magic run ends this Sunday in Atlanta. My bet it is this is another championship season for the New England Patriots.

Until then.

 

Owning up Here’s what we were right and wrong about last week.

What he got right: The game winner. I’m 11–7 on my picks for the Seahawks’ regular and post-season.

What he got wrong: I thought the playoff matchup with the Falcons would be closer. The Seahawks hit their limit in the Divisional Round. No disgrace there.

What she got right: The game winner, bringing me to 9–9 through the end of the Seahawks ride in 2016. At least I finished the season at .500. (It feels about as good as a 6–6 tie.)

What she got wrong: I thought this would be a “nail-biter” of a game that would come down to the final minutes. Nope. Atlanta stole the momentum just before the half and never looked back. (All my nail-biting happened the next day, watching the Packers take down the top-seeded Cowboys. What. A. Game.)

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin developing into a star for the Seahawks

Shaquill Griffin had a specific goal in mind to accomplish in his second season with the Seahawks.

The cornerback wanted to get his hands on more footballs that actually remained in his grasp. Griffin, a third-round pick out of Central Florida, had 15 passes defended as a rookie but just one interception. Griffin already has two interceptions this season, both coming in Monday's loss at Chicago. And both the product of increased confidence. 

One came on a leaping, turning play on the ball that defined his goals to improve. Griffin said he's much further along this season than he was last year in the art of tracking the ball. 

"I’m glad I’m finally getting the ball in my hand," he said. "I feel like that’s the main thing I wanted to work on. That’s just a huge confidence booster for me to finally start getting the ball in my hands early in the season. That’s something I’m going to continue to work on."

Griffin said the trick is being more confident in getting his head turned around to find the ball, which he did while making a leaping interception at Chicago on a sideline pass intended for wide receiver Allen Robinson. 

"Last year I felt like I was just playing it safe when I know I can punch the ball out," Griffin said. "I know I’m good at tracking the ball and just make sure he doesn’t catch it. I said, now that I know I’m finally doing good with that, let’s try and get the ball in my hands, I just try to turn my head around."

Griffin had the benefit last year of playing opposite former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, now with San Francisco. Sherman, according to Griffin, shared with him some valuable advice.  

"He was telling me, when you’re running, you got to look up straight in the air because that’s where the ball is at," Griffin said. "The ball is not coming straight to you. So, it was the little stuff that he was teaching me, but he also wants me to feel comfortable doing it."

Even though Sherman is now with the 49ers, Griffin said his mentor and "brother" remains only a phone call or text message away. 

"That’s the type of person Richard Sherman is," Griffin said. "He’s always willing to help and that’s something that you as a rookie last year, somebody you can always ask for and love to have from a person like Richard. So, to this day I still would ask questions or anything that I need to know, or I want to know, he’s always willing to help. So that’s awesome from him.”

As it turned out, Shaquill this season moved from right corner to Sherman's former left corner spot. 

"It meant a lot actually, because I felt like that means they have a sense of trust in me to take that role," Shaquill said. "Especially being that’s Richard Sherman’s spot and everything that he’s done here in this organization. That means they had a sense of trust in me to take over that role and kind of pick up where he left off from.”

Filling the spot of a former member of the Legion of Boom is different than trying to live up to that legacy. 

"I feel like we’re not trying to live up to the standard. We’re just trying to find our own identity and continue to use what the guys have put down before us," Shaquill said. 

Despite being a starter, Shaquill is the lesser-known Griffin brother. His twin brother, Seattle linebacker Shaquem Griffin, has made headlines for playing college and NFL football without having a left hand. Shaquem started the season opener in place of the injured K.J. Wright and had a rough day. 

The twins review game film in a theater room in the apartment share. Shaquill said the room is equipped with lounge chairs for comfort.

Is there a small refrigerator, as well?

"No," Shaquill said. "But that's a good idea."

Much of the film sessions involve Shaquill helping Shaquem learn the defense and examine his mistakes. The sessions also include Shaquem offering Shaquill some pointers. During games, they make a point of finding each other on the sideline to go over aspects of the game. At Chicago, Shaquem made sure his brother remained properly hydrated during the humid Chicago evening.  

"He was like, ‘Are you good, you need some water? So, it’s good to have him out there checking on m," Shaquill said. "Every series is just a couple words here and there. People don’t understand, just those few words help someone, any player, just calm down just a little bit more."

Seattle is more than pleased with how well Griffin has performed at the left cornerback spot. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. pointed to Griffin's understanding of the position. 

“You can see he’s a guy that really understands the corner play," Norton said. "He knows how to go up and get the ball, he’s really fast, he understands his technique. There’s no limit for how good he can be. It’s just a matter of practicing and continuing to learn, continue to improve and then the good stuff starts to come.”

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said he's seen a dramatic increase in Griffin's confidence. 

"He had it last year, but it’s definitely grown because you have all offseason, all summer, to kind of sit there and, and really dissect what you did good last year, what you did bad, be able to be in a system for a long time," Wagner said. "You see his confidence, he’s kind of like, he wants somebody to try him. When they tried him, he got two picks.”

For Carroll, Griffin's consistency has been great to see. 

"He’s just played the same every time he goes out," Griffin said. "He’s got a consistency about him and he’s really gifted because he’s so fast and he’s athletic and all the rest and he’s tough, that he’s got a consistency to him that he could be a really good player here in. You got to put time together to make that work, but I’m really hopeful for it.”

On Sunday against Dallas, the Griffin brothers will play their first regular season home game at CenturyLink. Shaquill has experienced the noise levels fans create. Shaquem has not. 

"It’s extremely loud, but it’s exciting," Shaquill said. "I can’t wait for (Shaquem) to get the full experience.  He was telling me, ‘oh, I ain’t know it going to be this loud’, and this was preseason. It’s a totally huge difference between the preseason game and a regular season game at home. So, I’m curious to see his reaction. I think the first thing I’m going to do if he’s on kick off is look in his face and see how he looks. I just want to catch the reaction of his first time on the field at a regular season game at home.

SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: Key players return while someone new is out

usatsi_11147515.jpg
USA Today

SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: Key players return while someone new is out

Seattle left guard Ethan Pocic is listed as "out" for Sunday's game at home against Dallas along with linebacker K.J. Wright and wide receiver Doug Baldwin

Pocic injured his ankle during Monday Night's loss at Chicago. Baldwin injured his right knee in the opener at Denver and was expected to miss two weeks. Wright, it was hoped, would return after missing the first two games but is listed as "out" for the Cowboys with a knee injury.

Back in action will be middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin).

[RELATED: Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action]

Listed as "questionable" are center Justin Britt (shoulder) and outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (ankle).  Britt will be a game-time decision, according to coach Pete Carroll. 

“We’re going to go all the way up to game time with that one, see how he’s doing,” Carroll told reporters.  “He’s feeling way better.”

Backup center Joey Hunt would start in place of Britt. Hunt started one game last season in eight appearances. 

“Joey did really well last week when he played, and he has always done well when he’s in there,” Carroll said. “He’s a really savvy football player."

Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), after missing the team's first two games, will play on Sunday. That means J.R. Sweezy, who filled in for Fluker, can replace Pocic at left guard.

Cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) will also return this week after missing the loss at Chicago. 

 

 

 

Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action

usatsi_11147544.jpg
USA Today

Seattle MLB Bobby Wagner ready for action

While the Seattle Seahawks were losing at Chicago to move to 0-2 on Monday night, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner sat helpless at home nursing a groin injury.

“I watched the game from home," he told reporters today. "It sucked to sit there and watch the team play and not be able to do anything. But, you use the time wisely to try to get better, so I’ll be ready for this week.”

The Seahawks' defense played solid football without Wagner - and once again minus outside linebacker K.J. Wright, who missed his second game with a knee injury - but certainly will need him against Dallas on Sunday. Seattle is in desperation mode and can't afford to fall to 0-3 if it is to maintain any realistic shot at making the playoffs. 

Also expected to return to the lineup are cornerback Tre Flowers and right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring). Wright is not likely to play. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) is certainly out. The status of center Justin Britt (shoulder) and left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle) remain in doubt. 

Filling in for Wagner at Chicago was Austin Calitro, who had a solid game. But he is no Wagner.

Wagner said he found himself getting into the game, only the second he has missed in four seasons.

“I’m definitely a guy that yells at the T.V.," he said. "You call out plays and think that they’re going to hear you say what you called out.”

Wagner injured his groin early in the second quarter two games ago in Denver. 

"I didn’t think it was anything serious until after the game and got it checked out," he said. 

Now healthy, Wagner is ready to help his team get a much needed victory. 

"I look at it as we’re coming back home, (and) you want to win every game at home," he said. "This is our first opportunity to be at home and give our crowd something to cheer for. We’re going to come out, we’re going to do our thing, I’m not worried about it."

For the Seahawks, it's run the ball or lose

For the Seahawks, it's run the ball or lose

RENTON, Wash. - Chris Carson, speaking softly while sitting in front of his locker in the Seahawks' practice facility, put forth his best impression of a running back content with having received just six carries Monday night in Chicago.

"It just wasn't in the game plan at the time," he said. 

Rookie running back Rashaad Penny also leaned on diplomacy regarding his 9.5 carries per game this season. 

"I think we just put ourselves in a situation where we can't run the ball," he said.

Not buying it. There is no conceivable way that Carson and Penny are pleased with the team's lack of attention to the running game. They want the ball. And in order for Seattle to find success, both need to get the ball early and often. This is not debatable. Seattle coach Pete Carroll has insisted that the running game must be robust. Yet, it hasn't happened and the team is 0-2. 

Statistically, Seattle is living up to the worst fears of the fan base. The Seahawks rank 29th in rushing offense (69 yards per game), 27th in yards per carry (3.6) and lead the league in sacks allowed (12). 

“We need to be more efficient," Carroll said. "We were better this week than we were last week. We just need more runs. We just need more first downs and more runs. It’s an important part of the way we play. That’s no change...We just haven’t got it done yet."

Time is running out. Seattle (0-2) hosts Dallas (1-1) on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Although the season is young, this is a must-win situation for Seattle only because it's next to impossible to imagine this team going 10-3 after a 0-3 start to reach 10-6 and make the playoffs. A win on Sunday would set up Seattle with a strong possibility of getting to 2-2 given that the Seahawks play the following week at woeful Arizona (0-2). 

Running well against Dallas won't be easy. The Cowboys are allowing 91 yards per game on the ground, 12th in the league, and 3.7 yards per carry. But Seattle must commit to at least trying to establish a running game if for nothing else to take pressure off of the pass protection. Seattle has allowed quarterback Russell Wilson to be sacked a league leading 12 times. 

Carroll took blame for some of the lack of rush attempts, stating that at times he becomes impatient and tells offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to be more aggressive with the passing game. 

"I’m over that," Carroll said. "Both games were so close throughout. We were close enough we could have done whatever we wanted to all the way down to the end of it. I just got a little bit impatient, threw the ball a bit more than we needed to, and so you look back and that’s with limited opportunities because we weren’t converting."

Seattle converted 2 of 12 third downs in Denver and a semi-decent 5 of 13 in Chicago. At Denver, Seattle had great success throwing the ball on early downs. However, this team isn't built to have Wilson sling the ball all over the field. He is better when armed with a strong running game. 

Right tackle Germain Ifedi said he also believes that the coaches will put the team in a position to win and remained diplomatic about the lack of consistent rushing attack. However, he said that pass protection becomes easier when the opposing team must respect the running game. 

"It's a little bit more challenging," he said. 

Complicating matters this week is that center Justin Britt and left guard Ethan Pocic have been held out of both practices so far with injuries. 

What's perplexing is that Carson, the starter, has received just 13 carries despite averaging 5.8 per attempt. In Chicago, he all but disappeared from the game plan. Carroll said after the game that he went with other running backs because Carson was being used extensively on special teams and became fatigued. Carson said on Wednesday that he was never too tired to play on offense. 

"I screwed up," Carroll said. "I thought he looked like he was winded early in the game, so I was just concerned about him, and I thought it was because of the special teams because he hadn’t had a lot of plays yet. I talked to him. He didn’t think he was winded when I talked to him afterwards, you know, today I mentioned it to him"

Carson appeared to be frustrated after the game but didn't express that emotion on Wednesday. 

"As a running back you want to get the ball but if it's not in that situation then you have to be patient," he said. 

Carroll said that he sees on film that the offense is close to breaking out. Alas, he added, that has to be proven, not stated. To be fair, there have been signs. It's not as if Seattle has been getting blown out and the offense hasn't moved the ball. There just hasn't been much consistency in any area.

"We know things are going to start rolling our way," Penny said.

They had better start rolling on Sunday or the season could be lost after just three games. 

What They're Saying: Watch your back, Russell Wilson

whattheyresaying_seahawks.png
NBCSNW

What They're Saying: Watch your back, Russell Wilson

Coming off their first win of the 2018 season last week, the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) now travel to the PNW to face Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (0-2). 

What kind of a run-game will Zeke have against Seattle? With Seahawks' stud linebacker Bobby Wagner out last week due to groin injury, head coach Pete Carroll says Wagner will be back this Sunday. This Wagner vs. Zeke matchup should be a fun one to watch:

Of course, the #CowboysNation fans have to bring up that Seattle offensive line...

Game Information:

Dallas at Seattle; Kickoff at 1:25 PM; Century Link Field, Seattle, WA; Sunday, September, 23rd, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Former Seattle DT Tom Johnson returns to Minnesota

usatsi_11147811.jpg
USA Today

Former Seattle DT Tom Johnson returns to Minnesota

Veteran defensive tackle Tom Johnson, released over the weekend by Seattle, has returned to Minnesota months after the Seahawks signed him as a free agent.

That became possible when Seattle released Johnson from the 53-man roster in order to add safety Shalom Luani to provide defensive back depth for Monday's 24-17 loss at Chicago. Seattle coach Pete Carroll over the weekend said it was possible that Johnson could be brought back to the team. That can't happen now. 

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that the 34-year-old Johnson received $1.5 million from Minnesota. He was set to make a guaranteed $950,000 with Seattle in a deal that was valued up to $2.1 million.

Johnson started 15 games last season for the Vikings' top-ranked defense. Now he will provide valuable, run-stuffing depth as a backup. 

Even at 0-2, all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks

Even at 0-2, all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks

CHICAGO - Two weeks, two cities, two close losses and a litany of issues, yet still a feeling remains that all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks, 0-2 after losing 24-17 to Chicago at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.

That's the message the Seahawks delivered and part of that message stems from a late drive that at the very least demonstrated that this team has heart. So, let's embrace the positives before pounding the negatives. 

Seattle's offense stood in the south end zone at Soldier Field with the ball at its one-yard line, 2:42 remaining in the game and trailing Chicago, 24-10. Barring a miracle, the game was all-but lost, but the fight in a team remained despite 0-2 starring the Seahawks in the face. 

"I told those guys in the huddle, 'hey, I wouldn't want to play with anybody else,'" Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. "'Let's go as far as we can go in terms of making plays and let's find a way to score."

The offense responded with a 99-yard drive that ended with a Wilson touchdown pass from two yards out to rookie tight end Will Dissly with 14 seconds remaining. Seattle failed to recover the onside kick and that was that. A 24-17 loss went into the books. But that final drive, Wilson said, is emblematic of what this team could still become. 

"Most people would give in and give up," Wilson said. "But that's not us. That's going to pay off."

Okay. Maybe. But time is running out even though we're just two weeks into the season.

While it's too early to panic regarding Seattle's season, it is certainly reasonable to start feeling queasy about this team's prospects of making the playoffs. Seattle, 9-7 last year, has now fallen to two teams that each went 5-11 last season. Despite offseason efforts to improve the roster, there is no denying that the Seahawks remain mediocre, at best, and have now lost five of six regular season games dating back to the end of last season. 

The signs of life in the offense line that everyone witnessed during the preseason have been hit or miss. Actually, it's been mostly hits, as in hits on Wilson, sacked six times tonight after Denver notched the same amount last week during a 27-24 win. The running game, once again, looked poor. Just 74 yards on 22 carries with starter Chris Carson receiving six carries for 24 yards. 

Defensively, Seattle actually played well. The Seahawks can live with an opponent gaining just 271 yards with 86 on the ground, and scoring just 17 points, which is what the Bears managed despite owning time of possession at 34 minutes and 24 seconds to 25 minutes and 36 seconds for Seattle.

"Obviously guys are upset," Seattle safety Bradley McDougald said. "We've been grinding for a long time. We definitely expected a better start than this. But, I mean, it is what it is. We can't dwell on it too long."

The good news for Seattle is that the team will return home for the first time this season to host Dallas (1-1) on Sunday before traveling the following week to play at Arizona (0-2). Those are two matchups the Seahawks should be favored to win. Should they, Seattle would be 2-2. Lose one, and it's time to start thinking about next season. 

Furthermore, it can't be discounted that Seattle lost here tonight minus five starters, four of whom should be back next week. Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) has yet to play in the regular season after having a strong preseason. Middle Linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin) and outside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) were sorely missed tonight. Plus, rookie starting cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) was out. 

“All of those guys have a chance to come back next week," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "And we need them."

Star wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee), Carroll said, is less likely to return.  

Adding at least four starters to the lineup will make this a different team next week than Chicago edged out tonight thanks to an ill-advised pass into the flat from Wilson to running back Rashaad Penny (lined up at wide receiver) that was intercepted by cornerback Prince Amukamara and taken 49 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-10 in the fourth quarter. 

"He made a good play," said Wilson, who fumbled twice, losing one. "He put his foot in the ground and made a good play."

Seattle's two losses demonstrate how just a few plays here and there can be the difference. Seattle is not the dominant team it once was, and injuries, plus a questionable offensive line, could have Seattle at the wrong end of close games. But Wilson, at least, feels that this young team is destined to break through. 

"We're young," Wilson said. "We're going to be able to figure it out. You've got to take some punches and you've got to adjust through it all."

Said McDougald: "I definitely feel like were' close. It doesn't feel good to be close, but we're close."

With that, Seattle returns home in desperate need of a victory and support from a fan base that hasn't seen their team start a season 0-2 since 2011. 

"We're going to need the 12, a lot," Wilson said. "We're going to need that feeling. Winning is a habit. You've got to get that feeling. Once you get that first one, hopefully it rolls from there."

Highlights as Seahawks fall to 0-2 with 24-17 loss to the Bears

usatsi_11271120.jpg
usa today

Highlights as Seahawks fall to 0-2 with 24-17 loss to the Bears

The Seahawks are 0-2 on the season following a 24-17 in Chicago on Monday night. For the second straight week the Seahawks struggled to move the ball, struggled to hold on to the ball, and struggled to protect Russell Wilson. But even in defeat the Seahawks had some pretty sweet highlights. Let's take a look:

Shaquill Griffin, yeah, you shouldn't throw his way. 

The old man has still got it! Janikowski got Seattle on the board with this 56-yard boot!

Early in the fourth quarter Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett with this dart to cut the lead to just seven.

Russell Wilson should be a bowler or a pitcher, cause he throws strikes 

A dropkick! There's something you don't see every day 

Khalil Mack is coming for Russell Wilson

Khalil Mack is coming for Russell Wilson

The only time Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has ever faced Khalil Mack in a game that mattered occurred in 2014 when the Chicago linebacker was a rookie for the Oakland Raiders.

The Seahawks won 30-24 in Seattle with Mack never sacking Wilson. In fact, Mack, the fifth overall pick in that year's NFL Draft, had just four sacks that entire season.

One defensive player of the year award (2016), three Pro Bowls, two All-Pro teams and 37 1/2 sacks later, Mack will get another crack at tacking down Wilson when the Bears (0-1) host Seattle (0-1) Monday night in Chicago. 

"I have a lot of respect for him and how he plays the game, he’s as tough as it gets," Wilson told reporters on Friday. "Watching the film from their Green Bay game and how he was really causing a storm was pretty impressive."

Mack, who held out all offseason for a new contract while with the Oakland Raiders, was traded to the Bears a week before the season opener Sunday night at the Packers. The Bears lost 24-23, but Mack had a strip sack and a pick-six., both in the first half. 

"You don’t really get to see that many defensive ends making the kind of plays he’s making and the things he’s doing," Wilson said. "I got a lot of respect for him and how he plays the game. I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years. He’s fun to watch and hopefully he won’t do too much in this game.”

It's difficult to imagine Mack not doing much against a Seattle team that allowed Denver to sack Wilson six times, three by linebacker Von Miller. 

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Miller and Mack are different players and athletes. 

"But they’re both extremely effective and really difficult," Carroll said. "Khalil is just a stronger looking guy. He plays in a more at you (style and) brings the attack to you. Von’s all over the place. He’s so, so athletic and so quick. They’re just different style guys but their effect is very similar.”

Seattle offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer certainly has respect for Mack but he's also quite familiar with two other Chicago defensive players, rookie inside linebacker Roquan Smith and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Both were first-round picks out of Georgia where Schottenheimer was the offensive coordinator in 2015. The combination of Mack and Floyd on the outside, Smith in the middle of the Bears' 3-4 defense, and defensive end Akiem Hicks all under the coordination of Vic Fangio could be a problem for Seattle.

Plus, Wilson placed the blame for two or three sacks on shoulders because he tried to do too much by extending plays, resulting in unnecessary sacks for huge losses (one for 22 yards) when he could have thrown the ball away. If he does that against the Bears, someone will likely track him down in the same fashion. 

"It’ll be another great challenge for us, going in there Monday night, but we’re excited about playing," Schottenheimer told reporters. 'We know last week wasn’t good enough. We expect better and we expect it to happen this weekend.”

Carroll was asked how a team can combat elite players such as Mack and Miller, and said that there are a number of strategies that can be used.

“You can help with different players on the tackles, you can move the line (in) that direction, you can get the ball out real quick," Carroll said. "You can do a lot of stuff that’s kind of the classic stuff you do against special pass rushers, particularly guys on the outside."

Executing those strategies is the challenge. Sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do against such elite pass rushers. They are coming no matter what. Seattle must expect that on Monday and hope to 

"To be as good as he is, to be the player of the year in the league, you have to have all the attributes and he has them," Carroll said. "Speed, strength, explosion, savvy, motor – he has all that stuff. He’s just getting in shape too, so he’s going to get better.”

Preferably for Seattle, Mack holds off from becoming much better until Week 3. 

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.