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Seahawks stunned by Rams but plenty of NFL champs had bad losses

Seattle’s poor showing in Los Angeles is upsetting, but only half of a quarter of the season has gone by

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks know how to put the “loss” in Los Angeles, as T.J. Simers might say. Seattle’s offense is so beat up Gordon Lish would have written them into one of those full-body casts, all wrapped in a shell of bandages, “little eye-holes and nose-holes and mouth-holes.”

The Rams shut down Thomas Rawls (-7 yards) by dominating the line of scrimmage. Rawls didn’t face St. Louis in 2015 when he averaged three yards before contact on 147 carries. The L.A. defensive line made sure to introduce itself to him early Sunday, hurrying into the backfield to stuff him on the Seahawks’ first two plays. Rawls surrendered -12 yards before contact on the day, according to ESPN Stats & Info, and the same article points out how the Rams were able to extend that dominance to the passing game by winning the attack with only four rushers. The only bum rush came from the bummer that was Seattle’s running game.

Christine Michael did better (2.7 yards before contact, on average, and six per carry overall). The Seahawks did better on defense too, but nine points is still more than Los Angeles managed to produce against a team that just gave up 46 on Sunday. So it’s not a bright moment for Seattle. They’re 1-1, last place in the NFC West by virtue of division record tiebreaker. What’s the opposite of virtue? Wickedness?

Seattle will need extra doses of heart, courage and nanobubbles to conquer the Wicked Witch of this West, with so many players ailing, and thankfully the next stop on the division tour is back home in the Emerald City (against the San Francisco 49ers).

After that it’s a trip to another superior front line at the New York Jets and at last the bye. (“At last”—remember when we were annoyed the week off arrived so early in the calendar?) If Russell Wilson and the suddenly-brittle offense can get rehabilitated by then, or during the break, there may be a chance to see the powerhouse team we spectators envisioned for the remaining 12 games. It’s still a long season and a first loss, no matter how disturbing, has never canceled a team’s Super Bowl opportunity (until the playoffs; sorry Patriots).

The 1986 New York Giants, for example, lost their season opener to a Dallas Cowboys team that finished 7-9. The Giants then went 14-1 the rest of the way and beat the Broncos by 19 in the Super Bowl.

In 1988 the 49ers allowed twice as many points as they scored and nearly 200 yards rushing in a home loss to the eventual 5-11 Atlanta Falcons in game three.

The 8-1 Cowboys lost at home to a 3-6 Rams squad that also lost four of its next five in 1992. The following year Dallas started 0-2, including a season-opening blowout by the Washington Redskins (3-12 otherwise), but quickly recovered by winning 12 of the next 14 games and defending its title against the Buffalo Bills. Two years later the Cowboys were swept by 6-10 Washington, but won another Super Bowl anyway.

In 2002 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team with a similar profile to these Seahawks with Russell Wilson limited and the offense struggling, began the first leg of a sweep by the division rival New Orleans Saints with a week 1 overtime loss.

The New England Patriots started 2003 with a 31-0 clubbing by the Bills, but won 28 of their next 31 regular season games and back to back championships. A decade after this repeat, the Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins in the first game of 2014, then got annihilated in Kansas City on a Monday night to drop to 2-2 and many heralded a sharp decline for Tom Brady. New England famously rebounded against undefeated Cincinnati the following week, pumping new air into its ongoing dominance.

The ’07 Giants started 0-2. The ’08 Steelers couldn’t muster a touchdown in a 15-6 loss to Philly in week 3. In 2010 Green Bay lost consecutive games to crappy Redskins and Dolphins teams. The 2011 Giants and 2012 Ravens both struggled considerably in the regular season before turning it on in the playoffs.

You get the idea. Even the glorious 11-1 start to Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning 2013 season got marred, as you all remember, by ugly last-second wins against Houston, Tennessee and Tampa Bay (combined 13-35), severe difficulties running the ball at Carolina (2.7-yard average mirrors Sunday’s rate) and the loss to the Colts.

Of course, 95 percent of NFL teams lose games and then don’t also later win a Super Bowl. The manner of this dud in Los Angeles was especially discouraging, but it’s not the end of the 2016 Seahawks.