Pete Carroll is so positive his sun even shines at night. In winter. In Seattle.
But even he saw badness in the Seahawks’ worst loss in six years.
“What a mess,” Carroll said on his weekly radio show on KIRO 710-AM the Monday morning after Seattle’s 38-10 loss at Green Bay.
“We looked like garbage out there.”
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Yet the sun did come up on Monday. In winter. Yes, even in Seattle.
And by Monday afternoon, when Carroll met with the media at team headquarters, he was back in shiny form.
“We have a lot of good things ahead of us right now and we have to make sure we do it together and we get together,” he said. “We went at that immediately. Whether that will crystallize into something, this is a very tight team already, a very close group with really solid leadership and direction from the locker room. I know that those guys know what’s at stake and know how we want to go about this.
Here is what is at stake:
The Seahawks (8-4-1) need one win over the final three regular-season games to win the NFC West for the third time in four seasons. The first chance to clinch the division is Thursday night at CenturyLink Field against Los Angeles (4-9), which fired coach Jeff Fisher on Monday.
“Owning the division has been something for a long time, first off. It’s the first thing that you get a shot at and we want to focus at what’s closest at hand,” Carroll said. “Also, when you win the division, you play a playoff game at home. This is such a decisive advantage, we feel, to play here and play in front of the 12s. It’s worth fighting for every step of the way and it’s worth focusing on. That’s the first thing that we look at.”
But there’s more at stake than that foregone conclusion of the division title.
The Seahawks are a half game behind NFC North-leading Detroit (9-4) for the conference’s No. 2 playoff seed. The top two seeds get a first-round bye and second-round home game.
The loss Sunday dropped Seattle to the third seed, which would mean a first-round playoff game on wild-card weekend and then on the road for the rest of the postseason.
Yet the odds are in the Seahawks’ favor to reclaim the second seed.
Seattle’s remaining games after the Rams are at home against Arizona (5-7-1) on Christmas Eve and at San Francisco (1-12) on New Year’s Day.
Detroit’s final regular-season games are at the New York Giants (9-4), at Dallas (11-2) and home against the Packers (7-6), who are winners of three in a row and trying to catch the Lions themselves in their division.
Then again, another loss and Atlanta (8-5) or Tampa Bay (8-5) could push Seattle to the fourth seed in the NFC.
Even after Wilson’s career-high five interceptions at Green Bay, the Seahawks are 16-4 in the month of December since Wilson became their quarterback as a rookie in 2012.
Is that the bank from which these Seahawks will draw during this short week before the game Thursday against the Rams, then in the final two regular-season games and on into the playoffs?
“Let’s wait until we get through December,” Carroll said.
“This game (at Green Bay) didn’t really add to the good stuff that we’ve built up over time. But I’m counting on us playing really well. We have two great opportunities coming home here.”
No matter how it felt Sunday night and Monday for the Seahawks — and you — it could be so much worse.
The Rams fired Fisher a day after their 42-14 home loss to Atlanta. Fisher’s record was 31-45-1 in three games short of five full seasons with the Rams. The Rams’ loss on Sunday was the 165th of Fisher’s career, one shy of setting the NFL record for coaching defeats. Fisher is currently tied with Dan Reeves for the most losses as an NFL coach.
The Rams promoted special-teams coach John Fassel, who’s been an assistant with the team for five seasons, to interim head coach. Fassel’s task is to keep the players and team together over the next three days to be competitive against the Seahawks.
“You couldn’t have had more challenges, continuity and being settled and all of that. They faced so many issues with the move and all of that, I don’t know how to equate it,” Carroll said. “It’s rare when this happens. I’m sure it’s been difficult for them, going into a new stadium and new setting and all of that. Imagine all of the families have to move, they have to figure out how to relocate and they’re all over the place with where camp was and where they hold up now.
“It’s just been as difficult and challenging as it could be. No wonder it’s been hard.”
Yet the Rams have beaten the Seahawks three consecutive times. That includes Sept. 18 in Los Angeles with a 9-3 win. Seattle had Wilson severely limited by a high-ankle sprain, lead rusher Thomas Rawls was out with a cracked fibula, Tyler Lockett exiting the game early with a sprained knee, Doug Baldwin having trouble breathing following a hard hit and former fill-in runner Christine Michael losing a fumble in Rams territory on the Seahawks’ final offensive play to seal the galling defeat.
DE Cliff Avril, when asked Monday about the accusation from Packers G T.J. Lang that Avril punched him below the belt during Sunday’s game: “Who’s that?” … The Seahawks will practice Tuesday, a normal off day, and Wednesday. … Carroll said rookie RB Troymaine Pope has “a pretty significant ankle sprain” on the same right ankle he sprained last month. … Backup LB and special-teams player Brock Coyle (foot) “has a chance” to play against the Rams, Carroll said. DE Damontre Moore (foot) is unlikely to. … Will Tukuafu is still in concussion-treatment protocol, making it likely Marcel Reece will be the fullback for the second consecutive game on Thursday. Reece played 12 snaps at Green Bay five days after signing with the Seattle. The former University of Washington wide receiver deftly improvised his route on Wilson’s scramble to the deep sideline for a 31-yard gain late in the first half.