At some point during their Week 10 meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks offense started to find itself, scoring 25 points and gaining 254 yards in the second half of an eventual 39-32 loss. What followed was a five-game winning streak full of huge offensive numbers, a stretch of excellent play that came an abrupt halt against the St. Louis Rams last weekend.
The Seahawks fumbled five times, losing two of them, they had three turnovers, multiple drive-killing penalties, two bad snaps that led to big losses, and the pass protection that had been so good for the better part of two months yielded four sacks and 13 quarterback hits.
But as much as the offense struggled in last week's loss to the Rams, the Seahawks go into their regular-season finale at Arizona banking on the fact that they have come a long way as an offense this season, and that one rough day at the office doesn't undo all of that growth.
"I don't think we lost anything, I think we just missed it," offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable said. "That's what we talked about after the game, then again on Monday. Our goal every week is to just find the best us, and we missed it last week. No excuses, it just wasn't good enough.
"I would say (it was an) aberration. I would like to think we've broken down a bunch of walls and a bunch of hurdles, and moving forward I would expect to be on it this weekend."
Or as head coach Pete Carroll put it, one bad week doesn't erase a six weeks of progress.
"After the last six weeks of playing, then you see a game like that, I'm going with the six weeks rather than last week of how we're going to be as we move forward," Carroll said. "We've put a lot of good things on tape, played a lot of good football, and then we had a day that we just didn't like the way that it started, and didn't get back in it quick enough to get a game for us."
And not that the Seahawks wanted to throw a bad performance out there, but if they were going to do so, it was better to get it out of their systems now rather than in the win-or-go-home world of the NFL postseason.
"If I had my choice, I'd rather it not happen of course," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "You can always find positives and things to build on. Sometimes when you have rougher games, there's a little bit more attention to details. Guys kind of perk up a little bit and say 'OK,' they focus in a little bit more. I'm not saying they weren't focused, but sometimes it grabs their attention a little bit better when you go into those meetings to have things to talk about. Obviously, that game gave us those opportunities and I think it wasn't us. We're kind of banking on those last six weeks or whatever it was since the first half of the Arizona game, that we've come through. I've said that we've played the style of ball and the way that we have expected our team to play and our offense to play. We expect to get back to that."
If the Seahawks are going to right the ship on offense, they'll have to do it against one the best and most aggressive defense in the league. Arizona has allowed the fifth fewest yards and points in the league this season, thanks to a talented secondary and an aggressive defensive front that recorded nine sacks against the Packers last week. The Seahawks believe their line has come a long way from when it allowed 31 sacks in its first seven games, but that group will have its work cut out for it to prove it against the Cardinals.
"This is a really terrific defense in terms of pressure, the ability to rush the passer and all those things," Cable said. "We'll definitely have our hands full."
But if the Seahawks can avoid the things that set them back on offense last week—the penalties, the turnovers, the snap issues—they're confident they can go back to being the balanced, efficient, high-scoring offense they were during their five-game winning streak.
"It's really about us offensively staying on schedule," Cable said. "Our tempo, all those things being right. We just missed it this weekend."
"I don't ever think it's any one thing. Some people like to do that. To me it's all about us."