Now that the dust has settled from the Lions game and emotions have cooled...I got to thinking. Should we really be upset with a 4-4 record at this point? As many have pointed out in here, a lot of us looked at the first half schedule and "hoped" we could get out of it at .500.
We've played a very tough schedule - not just the opponents but the circumstance (like having to play the 49ers on the road on a Thursday Night, teams having extra time to prepare for us because of scheduling, etc.), 5 of the first 8 on the road including only one in the last month. The Cardinals are now arriving in the hard part of their schedule and look what is happening -- four straight losses with road games looming in Green Bay and Atlanta. We've faced a particularly offensive heavy opponent slate so far (Dallas, Green Bay, New England and Detroit were all considered very good to elite offenses and you have to account for any Cam Newton offense).
We have started two rookie QBs -- Russell Wilson, obviously, but also Bobby Wagner at the "Mike" - the 'QB of the defense'. There are growing pains with rookies.
We labored under the three-headed QB circus well into camp which had an impact on the cohesion of the offense. We also have missed an extremely vital piece of our offensive identity, Doug Baldwin, for most of the reps since camp started and into the season.
10 QBs passed for 4000 yards in 2011...and we've already played 5 of them (Brady, Stafford, Rodgers, Romo, Newton). The fact that our defense still ranks high in both yards and points allowed speaks volumes, although obviously we have seen them struggle a bit the last few weeks.
We rolled the dice on the WR position, even looking at guys like T.O. and Antonio Bryant, and hoped we would have enough to make a difference. That's open to interpretation so far (and you all know how I feel about the position outside of Rice and Baldwin). I hold Pete and John accountable for this - not saying there were obvious moves we could have made especially in the draft, but at some point they need to permanently fix the position. I suspect Year 4 of the plan is where they are going to take care of it.
I think the early back-to-back wins over Dallas and Green Bay may have created a false sense of the true status of the franchise, especially after the "miracle" way we won the Packers game that might have created the illusion of "this is a special season". I'm not saying it's NOT a special season, I just wonder if we got suckered into the hype a little.
I won't argue with those that are frustrated with the WAY we have lost close games. I share your frustrations, because a few plays here and there and we might be 6-2 or even 7-1 right now. There are glaring things we need to fix - 3rd down defense and creating more turnovers primarily, IMO. Watching Detroit burn the last 5 mins of the clock and march 80 yards to win in the last :20 of that game was a kick in the junk - but I really hope it gets the attention of Pete, Gus Bradley and the defense and it's something we look back on as a learning point and not a trend setter.
But we are also seeing Wilson getting better and better, and while he may never be a top-5 QB in the league he fixes his mistakes and shows improvement and the offense is showing tantalizing signs of its potential with a few tweaks here and there. Look at it this way -- remember all the threads in the first few weeks about Wilson being indecisive, not staying in the pocket and missing open receivers? You don't see those now, and for a good reason.
Of our four losses, only one really makes me shake my head after further inspection - St. Louis. But even then, we were playing on a short week coming off a very emotional and controversial win over Green Bay, and there's no doubt the Rams are much more competitive. The first loss against Arizona? Week 1...on the road...a rookie QB's first start -- all bets were off, and yet we had a chance to win it. There's certainly no shame in losing in San Francisco on a very short week, against a 49ers team coming off an embarassing home loss to the G Men. There is also no shame in losing to a cornered/desperate Detroit team that came out trying to salvage their season, in their house.
Losses suck - but they are not the Jim Mora Jr. era losses where we were losing by 15-20 points. We've been in EVERY game. It doesn't help the blood pressure and in some ways it seems tougher to lose the close ones, when we can see the "W" in the grasp. But at the very least, we have the team we have longed for -- tough and combative and not a finesse team that nobody was afraid of.
But here we are...looking at 10-6/11-5 if some things go REALLY well but certainly 9-7 at the least, I would suspect. Considering all of the above factors, is that a travesty? A lot of people want to contrast us with the 49ers, but we are not on the same point of the rebuild arc as San Francisco is. The 49ers are loaded with upper-level talent because they were bad for a long time and collected a lot of top draft picks that enabled them to draft the cornerstones of their team. The Seahawks, however, are usually in that middle-of-the-road status and have not had the same ability to ascend as quickly (IMO). This by know means is meant to take a shot at the 49ers - I give them credit for building that team, but let's be fair - they have had a LOT of ammunition to do it. The decade of poor performance before Harbaugh arrived was fertile ground for them to acquire the likes of Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith.
Just wondering aloud, boys and girls...fire away.