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Opportunities have knocked
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If someone had told you that the Seahawks would be 2-2 entering Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, the assumption likely would have been that they’d beat the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, while losing the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
Instead, the results have been flipped – and for one very important, and obvious, reason. The games against the NFC West rival Cardinals and Rams were on the road, while the Seahawks played the Packers and Cowboys at CenturyLink Field.
So here we go again, with the Seahawks trying to find the road to redemption at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.
It’s not a new dilemma for coach Pete Carroll and his players. In 2¼ seasons under Carroll, the Seahawks are 5-13 on the road, compared to 11-7 at home.
|ON THE ROAD AGAIN|
The Seahawks take to the road this week for the third time in their first five games, and the second time in a five-week span where they'll play four road games. Here's a look at some pivotal differences between their two home games and two road games:
Note:* Big plays are sacks, interceptions and lost fumbles
“The emphasis this week is we’ve got to get our game right on the road,” Carroll said. “I thought we had a good approach to it, we feel good about the way we’re playing – we’re playing hard and all – but we haven’t been as successful in a number of areas on the road as we have been at home.
“That’s a big challenge for us. We have to get this thing stepped up.”
The areas Carroll spoke of run from the duh! to the huh?
In their wins at CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks outscored the Packers and Cowboys 41-19, while producing 11 big plays, allowing three and having a plus-2 in takeaway/giveaway differential.
In their losses in the desert and on the shores of the Mississippi River, the Seahawks were outscored by the Cardinals and Rams 39-29, while producing six big plays, allowing 10 and coming away minus-2 when it comes to turnovers.
“We have not created the turnovers that we normally do, like we have at home,” Carroll said. “Not getting ahead plays into that. So we haven’t scored as well as we need to.
“We struggled throughout the Arizona game and we struggled throughout (the St. Louis) game, really in getting command of the game. So the game stays close to the vest and the offenses do not risk as much, so you don’t get as many opportunities to get the ball away.”
But there are other elements playing into the disparity of the Seahawks’ home-and-away play.
“We haven’t converted well on the opportunities, like when we get a kick return we haven’t scored touchdowns,” Carroll said.
In the two road losses, the Seahawks had 23 snaps in six red-zone possessions and generated 71 yards while scoring two touchdowns and three field goals. Wilson threw a 10-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice against the Cardinals and Marshawn Lynch ran for an 18-yard touchdown against the Rams. But Wilson is 4 of 12 for 22 yards on those plays from inside the 20-yard line, while Lynch has carried six times for 37 yards.
In the four-point loss to the Cardinals, the Seahawks had six red-zone snaps on their final possession, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. In the six-point loss to the Rams, they settled for field goals on their final two red-zone possessions – leaving eight points on the field.
“We haven’t taken advantage of the opportunities like we need to to let the score get going,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks’ No. 2-ranked defense generally has played well enough to win both road games, although it did allow the Cardinals what proved to be a game-winning 11-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter and also yielded 91 passing yards on five third-and-long situations against the Rams – which came during three scoring drives.
“I think our defense can really play,” Carroll said. “But it will really help us if we can get ahead. They’ll be even more effective because we’ll hawk the football really well when the situations present themselves.”
The Seahawks will be presented with another opportunity to do just that when the meet the Panthers on Sunday.