SEATTLE—Just when the Seahawks were feeling good about one of their few positive Sundays this shaky season, Monday arrived.
Seattle (3-5) rallied from 17-0 down at home Sunday, then needed Matt Hasselbeck's record-setting passing day to beat the lowly Detroit Lions. While that saved their season - for now - their first win in four weeks will mean nothing unless the Seahawks can now do things they haven't come close to pulling off lately: win on the road, and beat first-place Arizona.
"Right now, we know that our backs are against the wall," said Hasselbeck, after his team-record 39 completions in 51 attempts for 329 yards kept alive Seattle's flickering playoff hopes.
"All of our goals are still in front of us - but it's right now. If we screw one of these up, it's not going to be there forever. You only get so many chances. ... We've made it hard on ourselves, but we still have a chance. We're just going to have to do it the hard way."
For Seattle, the hard way is going on the road. They have lost by 13 points at San Francisco, by 17 at Indianapolis and by 21 at Dallas in three trips this season. Seattle is 2-11 in its last 13 road games, with unsightly scores including 44-6, 34-9 and 34-10.
The last time the Seahawks won a road game against a team that finished with a winning record was Dec. 3, 2006, in Denver.
Worse yet, it's been five years since the Seahawks won away from Seattle against a playoff team - on Dec. 12, 2004, at Minnesota.
Then there's this: coach Jim Mora said Monday that Hasselbeck will be limited for most of the practices before he starts Sunday against the team Seattle trails by two games in the NFC West.
Hasselbeck, who already has broken ribs, hurt his shoulder while making a tackle after he threw an interception on the first play against Detroit. He said he had to rely on short passes until his shoulder loosened some later in the game. He often threw almost sidearm to avoid more pain.
Mora said tests showed no structural damage in the shoulder, adding "it's just sore. He'll play."
But, again, the scary part is it will be on the road.
Asked if there is anything he can do differently this week to smooth his team's bumpy travels, Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson laughed and said, "Yeah, pack my bags earlier."
Wilson clinched the win over Detroit with an interception of Matthew Stafford and a 61-yard return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining. It was one of five INTs thrown by the rookie top overall pick.
Wilson had an explanation for Seattle tying for the league low with three interceptions through seven games before Sunday.
"Well, if we play the Lions every week maybe we would have five interceptions," Wilson said, chuckling.
They won't get that luxury, or laugh, this weekend. Kurt Warner is no Matthew Stafford.
He is Arizona's savvy, ageless, two-time league MVP and 2000 Super Bowl MVP. On Oct. 18, Warner peppered the Seahawks for 32 completions in 41 attempts, for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald, a beast outside for which Seattle's small secondary has no answer, caught a season-high 13 passes.
The Cardinals smacked Seattle 27-3, showing the gap between the former division champions and the current defenders of that title may be wider than the current standings show.
"They are an outstanding team," Mora said Monday. "They put up 41 points (Sunday) on an outstanding Chicago Bears defense. They have talent all over the field on offense."
Mora said Arizona's physical defense is the most underrated part of the team.
"We've got to maintain a sense of urgency," he said.
Given how much more monumental this weekend's task is for Seattle compared to the one Detroit presented, that shouldn't be too difficult.