Seahawks looking for another second-half surge, host Bills Monday night
SEATTLE — When the calendar turns to November, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks get going.
In each of the past five seasons, the Seahawks have posted a winning record once November arrives. Since 2012 when Russell Wilson landed in Seattle, the Seahawks are a combined 28-6 over the final two months of the regular season.
With that history, the Seahawks are looking to start another second-half run when they host the Buffalo Bills on Monday night.
“I count on it now. I count on us improving and playing better as we get down the stretch and the closer we get to the finish the better we want to play,” Carroll said. “That’s kind of how we’ve constructed our mentality.”
Seattle is in the unfamiliar situation of going two straight weeks without a win after a tie that felt like a loss two weeks ago, followed by last week’s loss at New Orleans.
The previous time Seattle went three straight games without a win was the 2011 season — also the most recent time the Seahawks didn’t make the playoffs.
But this matchup — the first time Buffalo is traveling to Seattle since 2004 — has even more importance for the Bills. Having dropped two straight after a promising 4-2 start, including last week’s home loss to New England, the Bills don’t have much leeway left.
“It’s definitely a big road game for us and just a big game for the season,” Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “Guys are definitely excited for the opportunity to go out there and show what we could do, and showcase it in front of the world.”
Buffalo may get running back LeSean McCoy back after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury, but the Bills could be without standout defensive tackle Marcel Darius after suffering a groin injury against New England.
Injuries have defined much of Buffalo’s season.
“We’ve got to win this game,” McCoy said. “My main concern is how I feel each day at practice, getting treatment, mentally and physically. That’s what matters most right now.”
Here’s what else to watch:
GROUND STOP: The once-vaunted run game of the Seahawks continues to be stuck in neutral.
Seattle enters the week 28th in the NFL, averaging just 81.4 yards per game. At its current pace, that would be the worst average in Seattle history for a 16-game season.
Last season through seven games, even with Marshawn Lynch limited by injuries, the Seahawks were averaging 143.2 yards per game rushing.
While Christine Michael has been inconsistent as the primary running back, the biggest culprit is the lack of running from Wilson, who has just 44 yards rushing through seven games.
GROUND FORCE: Buffalo’s run game has been the key to its offensive success this season.
In their four victories, the Bills have rushed for 847 yards, thanks largely to the running of McCoy. In the four losses, the Bills have run for only 385 total yards.
Surprisingly, this may be a week for the Bills to get their run game going. Seattle has allowed a 100-yard rusher in two straight games and three of the past five. The Seahawks had gone 24 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher until Carlos Hyde reached that mark in Week 3.
“I think you’ve got to be patient with our running game because like we say, that team is very athletic,” Ryan said.
WATCH THE FLAGS: Seattle was penalized 11 times last week against New Orleans. But the Seahawks seemed most upset about a pair of non-calls on New Orleans for possible offensive pass interference that led to a pair of key receptions, one of them a touchdown.
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said the league told the team both of those plays should have been penalties.
“We probably lead the league in NFL apologies the next day,” Sherman said.
HE’S BACK: Buffalo has suffered so many injuries at wide receiver, it was forced to bring Percy Harvin out of retirement earlier this week.
And just in time to possibly face one of his former teams.
“I’m self-motivated regardless of what team it is and who I’m playing against,” Harvin said. “I just want to be the best I can be and play at the level I know I can. So, playing a team doesn’t really matter to me.
Harvin had an eventful 1½ seasons with Seattle that included hip surgery, internal conflicts with teammates, a memorable kickoff return touchdown in the Super Bowl and ultimately a stunning midseason trade to the New York Jets when it was clear Harvin was being more divisive than helpful.
Harvin played in five games last season for Buffalo and had 19 catches for 218 yards and one touchdown.
MONDAY NIGHT MAGIC: Seattle’s been very good under Carroll in primetime games, going 15-3-1.
Going beyond Carroll’s arrival in 2010, the Seahawks have been dominant on Monday nights.
The Seahawks bring a 10-game win streak on Monday’s into this week’s game. Their previous Monday night loss came on Dec. 6, 2004, a 43-39 loss at home to Dallas.
Seattle is 22-8 on Monday nights, a .733 winning percentage.