For Seattle Seahawks fans living in the Emerald City, there’s no place like home.
After spending the past two weeks on the road in Houston and Indianapolis, the Seahawks conclude their four-game stretch against the AFC South with a home game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Following last week’s loss to the Colts, Seattle’s first of the season, the Seahawks are no doubt thrilled to return to the cozy cacophony of CenturyLink Field.
“The ground shakes up there, and that’s pretty intense,” said Delanie Walker, the Titans tight end who played for the Seahawks division rival San Francisco 49ers last season. “It’s real loud. I mean, you can’t hear. You can’t hear the snap count. You can’t even hear the play in the huddle.”
In addition to the crowd noise, the Titans and the Seahawks will need to quiet the pressure to win, as both teams are looking to bounce back from Week 5 loses.
“We just move on,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman told Seahawks.com yesterday in reference to last week’s loss. “We didn’t play a very bad game. It’s not like we gave up 500 yards passing or 600 yards passing. We gave up some plays. We just correct the mistakes we made. We went over a couple plays we need to fix and we move right on. It’s no different than after a win. You correct the mistakes and you move on to the next game.”
Alterraun Verner, a fourth-year cornerback out of UCLA, is the Titans version of Richard Sherman. With four picks through the first five weeks, Verner is tied for the league lead in interceptions and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 4 after picking off two passes and recovering a fumble against the New York Jets. Practicing daily against Sherman should help Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson stay honest when taking shots against the Titans' talented secondary.
Both teams are also well-matched at running back. Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is coming off a season-high 102 yard rushing performance against the Colts, and although Titans running back Chris Johnson has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this year, the Seahawks are fully aware of his talent, as he surpassed the rare 2,000 yard mark against Seattle on the final game of the 2009 season.
The biggest mismatch between the two squads is likely at the quarterback position, where Wilson has a decided edge over Titans backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was forced into action after starting quarterback (and University of Washington star) Jake Locker suffered a hip injury against the Jets. In Fitzpatrick’s first start last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, he threw two interceptions on 21 of 41 passing in his team’s 17-26 loss.
Wilson’s home numbers, meanwhile, are out of this world. His passer rating jumps to 102.5 compared to 85.1 on the road and he’s yet to lose a home game in his Seahawks career. The loud and frenzied crowd in Seattle will no doubt do its part to help him get to 11-0.