With a chance to win three straight games for the first time since 2007 and fortify their lead in the NFC West, the Seahawks were beaten to a pulp by the suddenly red-hot Raiders, 33-3, in Week Eight.
Managing only 162 yards of total offense while surrendering a whopping 545 yards on defense was bad enough. Making matters much worse was a rash of injuries for a team that was already hurting entering the game, with a “significant” knee injury suffered by underrated DE Red Bryant causing the most concern.
In addition to Bryant going down for the count in the second quarter, QB Matt Hasselbeck and OLG Ben Hamilton suffered concussions, OT Tyler Polumbus hurt his leg and rookie WR Golden Tate and DT Colin Cole suffered ankle injuries.
In what turned out to be a total meltdown, even previously automatic PK Olindo Mare stunk up the field, missing on a pair of FG attempts, snapping his franchise-record streak of 30 straight three-pointers.
The PFW spin
With the Giants up next this Sunday at Qwest Field, the Seahawks could have a giant problem if their suddenly grave injury situation doesn’t quickly improve. One thing that would help a lot is the return of first-round OLT Russell Okung from the latest ankle injury, which kept him out of the Oakland game. However, daily team observers believe the prospect of Okung being healthy enough to play this Sunday is pretty slim. The offensive line, which did surprisingly well earlier this season when Okung was out with an ankle injury, has imploded in the last two games, allowing 13 sacks while putting Hasselbeck, whose status for Sunday is far from a certainty, in harm’s way.
As for Bryant, the consensus is that a prolonged stint on the sideline could be a major blow. A key behind the team’s strong run defense — at least before it gave up 239 yards on the ground last Sunday — the candidates to replace Bryant would appear to be led by veteran Raheem Brock, with rookies Dexter Davis and E.J. Wilson also figuring in the mix. The defense was already wobbling heading into Oakland with DT Brandon Mebane continuing to battle a calf injury (he has now missed three games) and CBs Kelly Jennings (hamstring) and rookie Walter Thurmond (concussion) also unable to suit up.
With so many aches and pains coming into play, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Seattle's defense began unraveling. But as bad as things seem all of a sudden, the Seahawks are still leading the NFC West pack. And with most teams in the NFC going up and down like yo-yos so far this season, it wouldn’t be a shock at all if some badly needed home cooking gets Pete Carroll’s troops back on track.