RENTON – Don’t expect the Seattle Seahawks to start easing into the offseason a little early this week.
For one, it hardly seems the nature of this team, which apparently appreciates every opportunity to physically tangle with opponents for a full 60 minutes. (Sometimes more, if you include the scuffle at the pregame coin-toss against the Redskins).
But there also remain important matters to prove in the season finale at Arizona on Sunday.
With a win, the Seahawks finish 8-8, their first non-losing season since 2007. Also, it would give them a second-consecutive sweep of Arizona and second place in the division behind San Francisco.
“Heck, yeah, we want to win the football game,” Sea-hawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday in his press conference at team headquarters. “There’s no other agenda at all other than to win the football game.”
So, no, they won’t be giving JV guys playing time to earn their letters, or dumbing down their schemes.
Besides, there’s still divisional pecking order at stake.
“It’d be great to get to 8-8 and leave them out (of second place),” Carroll said. “It would be great do that … they want the same thing. It’s an important deal, yeah, everybody would like to finish on a positive note, so we’re going for it and so are they.”
Since the Seahawks have made strides toward competitive respectability, they’ve reversed some recent negative trends, particularly on the road.
A win at Arizona would get them to 4-4 away from home this season. They’ve finished with a better road record only twice, going 5-3 in 1984 and again in the Super Bowl season of 2005.
In the previous four seasons, they’d won just eight of 32 road games.
Scoring big wins over the New York Giants (36-25) and Chicago (38-14) showed that Carroll and his staff have been effective in teaching the Seahawks how to take their game with them when they travel.
Even back to the Mike Holmgren tenure, the Seahawks were an inconsistent road team, often trying different techniques and itineraries to compensate. Carroll’s approach has been rooted in preparation during the week.
“I think our guys have bought into (the fact that) it’s the same game and you have to prepare for it in the same fashion and you can’t count on the (home) crowd and you can’t give the other crowd too much credit,” he said. “You get ready to play the football game the way we’ve practiced every week. We’ve done a good job of understanding that.”
And it’s not unprecedented. The Seahawks defeated Arizona, 36-18, at their place last season, which “helps a bit,” Carroll said.
“But it’s more about the consistency of how you prepare. Prepare the same and the game should come out relatively the same as well. That’s what we’re hoping for again in this last one.”
On the other side of it, the Seahawks’ record at home this season is only 4-4, and over the past four seasons, they’ve been 15-17 at CenturyLink/Qwest Field.
Now that the postseason is no longer a possibility, Carroll can look back at some costly narrow losses. The 6-3 loss at Cleveland is a particularly unsightly blemish. But Monday he mentioned two home losses that were troublesome – to Washington in late November, and to San Francisco on Sunday.
In those two, the Seahawks had leads and could not put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Those losses, specifically, bother a coach who likes to stress finishing strong.
And that, too, makes Sunday’s final game important.
“We’re going after this the way we’ve been going,” Carroll said. “We want to see if we can finish this thing off right and get a win there.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com