Asked what he gleaned from his team’s disappointing 19-17 loss to San Francisco on Saturday, Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Red Bryant had a simple response.
“If I learned anything from them, it’s just being focused and making the plays that need to be made, and we could easily be in the situation they’re in,” he said. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit because they were able to do what they’ve been doing all year – make a play when it needed to be made.”
Seahawks defensive back Roy Lewis agreed, adding that what made the defeat even more frustrating was that Seattle had a lead to protect late – something that had been a blueprint for success in the second half of the season.
“It’s just a tough one to swallow,” Lewis said. “I feel like we had control of the game early. And then they kind of rallied back, and that’s what we expected because they’re a good team.
“And then we rallied back, and we started to make our surge in the second half. We came up short – the ball really, truly didn’t bounce our way. And that’s the toughest one to swallow. Those are the ones that are going to sting and leave a nasty taste in our mouth.”
Officially out of the playoff hunt, the Seahawks (7-8) still have something to play for. Seattle has a chance to finish a game better than last season’s 7-9 regular-season record and finish with a nonlosing record for the first time since 2007.
The Seahawks travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals on Sunday in their finale.
“I feel like it’s an important game because it’s the next game,” Bryant said. “You always want to finish strong, and we know those guys are fighting for the same thing. I believe they are 7-8 as well, and they’re playing at home. So it’s going to be another great game.
“It will be two teams going at it, and it will come down to who can make a play, and who can’t.”
There’s little doubt that heading into the final week of his second season in Seattle, coach Pete Carroll has the Seahawks on an upward trend.
They are No. 10 in the NFL in total defense this season, up 17 spots from last year. The Seahawks are averaging 105 rushing yards a game – 21st in the league and up 10 spots from 2010, when they gained an average of 89 yards a game.
And Seattle has a plus-7 turnover differential this year, good enough for a tie for fifth in the league. The Seahawks had a minus-9 turnover differential in 2010, tied for 27th overall.
But one statistic that continues to show the team’s lack of experience on both sides of the ball is penalties. The Seahawks are second in the league with a franchise-record 131 penalties this season, something they need to clean up in order to regularly compete for NFC West titles.
That said, one of the best ways to get off on the right foot next season is to leave this one on a winning note.
“It’s paramount,” Lewis said about getting a victory in Arizona. “It just speaks well to the miles and miles of work that we’ve put in, and how far we’ve come with such a young team. We’re a real good ballclub, and I don’t think that’s something that’s going to leave the guys in this locker room’s mind – where we’ve come from and where we are now. And we’re still looking for that arrival of the true Seattle Seahawks team.
“But we’re close.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437