SEATTLE — Fifty-eight to nothing.
A fortnight ago, this didn’t seem possible. The Seahawks suddenly looked like a team in trouble.
They had lost to the Miami Dolphins, a team they should have beaten, in a game they appeared to have locked up.
As they boarded the plane back to Seattle, they faced the certainty of a difficult game in Chicago and the uncertainty of dealing with the probable suspensions of starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.
“We just had to shake it off,” defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said.
Still, after Miami, a season that began with so much promise was teetering on the brink.
“It was after the bye week and we came out a little slow in Miami. That’s what it was,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini. “But we know what type of team we are. I like to think we’re a very physical team. After Miami, we went back to what we knew: prepare and keep moving forward. And now you see the results.
“I think this team is going to go pretty far, man. The only people that can really beat us is us. Our defense is getting hot. Our offense is hitting on all cylinders.”
Two weeks after Miami, after the overtime win in Chicago and after Sunday’s 58-0 win over Arizona, everything seems possible for the Seahawks — an NFC West title, at least one home playoff game and, yes, even a trip to New Orleans in early February.
“We’re jelling,” said Mebane. “This is a young team that is jelling at the right time. The sky’s the limit for us.”
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Wait a minute, why not get ahead of ourselves? Sweet anticipation is one of the great pleasures in sports. We don’t have to take these games one at a time.
What if the Seahawks go to Toronto on Sunday and win on the road against Buffalo? And what if San Francisco goes to New England and loses to the Patriots, who hardly ever lose at home, especially in December?
We could be looking at a Sunday night game between the Hawks and 49ers on Christmas Eve eve with first place in the NFC West at stake. How would a game like that sound in front of the crazy Hallelujah Chorus of Seahawk fans inside Century Link?
“You can go ahead and look ahead if you want,” fullback Michael Robinson said. “Just don’t ask me any questions about it.”
The Hawks might not be able to control their destiny yet. But at 8-5, they have a lot more control than they did two weeks ago.
“I wouldn’t say the world is ours,” safety Earl Thomas said. “But we’re definitely in a great position and where we want to be.”
This was more than merely a taking-care-of-business win. It was the kind of win that shows where the Seahawks are with three games left in the regular season.
It was the kind of purposeful game that playoff-bound teams play in December. There was no looking ahead, no letdown from the emotional overtime win in Chicago. No slips. No skids.
The Seahawks showed the rest of the division that they can win without their Pro Bowl cornerback Browner, who began his four-game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs.
If Sherman loses his appeal this week and is suspended, you get the feeling the Hawks still will survive.
Next man up.
“This wasn’t my first rodeo,” said Walter Thurmond, who replaced Browner. “We have a lot of depth on this team, on both sides of the ball. Our practices are very competitive, and I think guys get a lot of confidence from the practices. So when a guy does go down, we know the next guy can come in and compete.”
The Hawks sucked the life out of Arizona. They forced eight turnovers. They held the Cardinals to 10 first downs. Both Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin rushed for more than 100 yards. It was an old-fashioned trip to the woodshed.
“This is a tribute to our preparation and our ability to take it from the meeting room to the field,” Thomas said.
There is something special about this team. It has a certain resolve and an ability to move past a bad loss. For more than three months now, the Hawks have shown their resilience. They’re deep, talented and hungry.
“Our resolve is embodied in our quarterback (Russell Wilson),” Robinson said. “Everything was going against him. He was too short. He couldn’t play in this league. Whatever the case may be. He keeps proving the critics wrong.
“And people tell us we can’t win on the road. People tell us we can’t beat some of the elite teams. Hopefully we’re trying to prove all that wrong. But we don’t want to think about the big picture right now. We want to finish and then look back and say, ‘Wow, look at what we just did.’ “
Fifty-eight to nothing.
Wow, look at what the Seahawks just did. And look at all that still is possible for them.