Today's win, this season's rally from 3-3 and out of the supposed post-Super Bowl hangover, exemplify Pete Carroll's second life as an NFL head coach.
Marshawn Lynch did it again today. He bulled into the end zone with the decisive touchdown.
But this time, the only things he grabbed were the NFC West title and home-field advantage for the Seahawks throughout the conference’s playoffs. Those begin next weekend with the once-3-3 Super Bowl champions enjoying a bye.
“Heck, yeah!” Carroll said Sunday night. “All you guys kept talking about how you can’t do this and you can’t get to this point again. You can. You can do it.
“We just did it."'
When Carroll arrived from USC in January 2010, his critics said his rah-rah, always-compete college style could never win a Super Bowl in his second NFL go-round as head man.
After it did, last February, Carroll and his Seahawks heard all about New England 2003 and '04 being the only champion in the last dozen years to repeat as Super Bowl winners. When they were 3-3 in October they heard how they had flopped just like the last decade of defending Super Bowl champions.
Now they everyone else is listening to Carroll and his team after their sixth consecutive victory.
"Well, we surely witnessed how difficult the NFC West is in the last month and half. To finish this season against those defenses, and to be able to get through those games and get wins is really a tremendous accomplishment for us," he said. "That just shows you how difficult it is.
"If you’re not playoff ready after that run of these last bunch of games, nothing can get you ready."
That’s how Seattle scored 20 points after halftime and its defense — statistically the NFL’s best since at least the NFL merger with the AFL 43 years ago — gave up no touchdowns. And that's how Carroll became the first coach since George Seifert leading the 1989 and '90 San Francisco 49ers to win the Super Bowl as a No. 1 conference seed and then repeat as a top seed in the following postseason.
"We’ll see how we do in the playoffs. We got back to division champs, and that’s pretty rare. I’m really proud of that. That was the challenge," Carroll said. "That was made me more excited about this year than any year I can remember, because what if we could pull this thing together and do something like this. We’ll show that we can, and there’s a way to do it.
"I can kind of say that now, because we have a week off and we’ll get back to business when we figure out who we’re playing.”
Russell Wilson said in Kansas City following his team’s last loss last month that Seattle would win its final six games.
“It’s different circumstances than the year before," the quarterback said after Seattle (12-4) overcame his second interception in seven weeks. “We hadn’t won a Super Bowl, first of all. And also (last year) we were 8-1 at one point.
“This year, I think, it’s a little better. You’re 3-3 and people are doubting. There’s no doubt in our locker room. We believe.”
Lynch finished with 60 yards on 14 carries and scored his 17th touchdown this season. Wilson completed 17 of 25 passes for 239 yards with his second interception in seven weeks. The Seahawks won for the sixth consecutive time and ninth time in 10 games.
In a league that hasn’t had a repeat winner of the Super Bowl since the 2003-04 New England Patriots, the Seahawks became the sixth team since in the last 24 years to win the Super Bowl then earn a No. 1 seed in the next postseason. Three of those previous five -- New England in 2004, Denver in 1999 and Dallas in 1993 -- won it all.
The Seahawks will host either Carolina, Detroit or Carolina on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 5:15 p.m. in the NFC divisional playoffs. They await the lowest remaining seed from this weekend’s wild-card games: Arizona at Carolina and Detroit at Dallas.
What made Wilson predict this six-game winning streak back when the Seahawks were 6-4?
“I always have had good instincts,” Wilson said with a grin after improving to 16-2 at home the last two seasons. “I just believe in the guys that we have. I get to see it every day. I get to see the energy. I get to see the belief in one another. I get to see our fans around the city when I’m out.
“There’s just no doubt about what we can do.”
Not with this defense.
The sprinting, thudding Bobby Wagner, havoc-making Michael Bennett and the athletic Hill led this latest domination. For the regular season, the Seahawks allowed 15.9 points per game. Seattle has the first defense since the 1969-71 Minnesota Vikings “Purple People Eaters” to lead the league in fewest points allowed three years in a row.
“Best defense of all time,” Bennett bellowed.
“The way we’re playing right now,” fellow defensive end Cliff Avril said, “we’re trying to separate ourselves from anybody, really.”
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
(Opening…) “Well, we surely witnessed how difficult the NFC West is in the last month and half. To finish this season against those defenses, and to be able to get through those games and get wins is really a tremendous accomplishment for us. That just shows you how difficult it is. If you’re not playoff ready after that run of these last bunch of games, nothing can get you ready. It was a very tough game today. They played great on defense. They had nothing to lose but go for it, and they did that, and Jeff had them all revved up and ready to go. They got ahead, so we just had to keep battling and stay in there, hang in there, and believe that we could get it done. Overall, it was an incredible run of defense that we’ve watched. The guys have just played so consistently and so solid and to get the turnovers and turn the game around on the defensive side is fitting. It’s good that that happened. These guys have earned it and deserved it by playing so hard for so long. It’s such a big accomplishment today. We finally accomplished something during the course of the season. It took us all year. There was a time when we were 3 and 3. I think we said just 5 weeks ago or maybe 6 weeks ago, we were 3 games out of the lead. So, to win the division today and be NFC West champs is really a big deal. It’s a big deal because we get to play here in the playoffs. We have an opportunity, like we did last year, to bring it home to the 12s. They were just magnificent; they were on it today. George Karl getting everybody fired up, and the whole place was crazy and all that. Just so much fun to be a part of. We’re so fortunate and lucky to be sharing it with everybody, and everybody having a blast with it. I think it was really exciting to see the big plays that made on D today. The sacks were good, the pass rush was going, but really to get the turnovers and make the plays. It was a great play by Jordan Hill; a phenomenal catch. Everybody in the program has to have good hands, and it showed up right there why that’s so important. The great play that Bobby makes to knock the ball out that Bruce takes down the sidelines and scores, just changed the game. I don’t know if there’s a more fitting play for a guy than Earl knocks the ball out with a sliver of an inch from the goal line with a great effort to knock the thing out, and we get the turnover there as well. What a great play for that guy. It’s just a great way to make that statement of how hard he plays this game and how touch a competitor he is, and he never would ever let up. That was an incredible play for us. It was a blasts today, and I hope the 12s enjoyed it and we’ll get a little break. Sorry we don’t get to play next week. We’ll get back at it in a couple weeks and crank it back up. “
(On the importance of finishing…) “It’s not just finishing the game today, which was fantastic, to win 20-0 in the second half, that was fitting. But to finish the season, and be really strong here in December again, that’s something we take great pride in. Finishing is a big deal to us. Now we have a chance to get into the playoffs and see if we can do something with that as well. There’s no doubt in my mind that this team will be ready to go. They’ll be so cranked and ready to play their best football. If somebody can get us, they’re going to have to play pretty good ball. We are in the finish mode right now. That’s when I hope we continue to be at our best. We’ll see if we can pull it off.”
(On the significance of the forced fumble by Earl Thomas… ) “We had already seized the momentum in the game, I thought, earlier than that, but that was a significant stop so that the game would turn the other way, and they wouldn’t have a chance to get us. I think it was an unbelievable play that Earl makes. The magnitude of it, really, the game’s over for us, we just have to finish the game now. So, it was really cool.”
(On the challenges of the offense in the first half…) “They’re really good, really good. These guys had back to back shutouts just a month ago. This division, the defenses that we’ve just played, if you look at the numbers, look at any stat you want to look at, for yards and sacks and scoring, and all that stuff, these guys are really good. We probably like to boast that we have the division, well, let somebody else come play these guys. It’s hard, it’s really hard and the Rams did it again today. They played really tough. The guys on offense, Russell and Marshawn, and a great play by Norwood, and a heck of a catch by Paul, which put us in position to get enough scores to win the football game. That’s just the way this is. When these guys played Arizona, it was 12-6, or something like that. It’s been this way all the way through the stretch. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, that we’re proud of.”
(On whether they knew Jordan Hill had great hands by observing at the Combine…) “No, it’s just something we always preach. We throw the ball every day. Everybody has to catch the football every day in practice. I give that one totally to Bud Grant. That was Coach Grant’s deal, and I just swiped it.”
(On the play of Richardson and Norwood… ) “They continue to do whatever we call on them to do. There has not been a place where you would look and say, oh, these guys aren’t quite ready yet. They’ve made their plays. Paul had some terrific plays today, and the one ball up the sideline. It’s great to get him down the field. We’ve been trying and looking for that chance, and then he goes up and makes a great catch on a great throw. Those guys have just continued to step up. You’ve heard us for years around here. That’s really been the truth. Our guys have done that. For Patrick Lewis again to play a really good football game and do a good job. We were able to hold Max one more week, so he’ll be ready to go when we get back. That’s really Seahawks ball at its best. The guys coming through and competing to help the other guys when we need them most.”
(On the injuries…) “K.J. dislocated a finger. Jordan sprained his knee. We’ll have to wait and find out what that’s all about. The two weeks will really help. For sure, K.J. will be OK. Jeron Johnson dislocated his elbow. Fortunately it went back together there on the field, and that’s a good thing. We don’t have any idea how long that’s going to last for him.”
(On what changed about the defense over the second half of the season …) “This was an emotional change. You can look at all the Xs and Os and all the other stuff that you want to look at. This was an emotional shift that took place and these guys did it. All of the credit in the world goes to the leadership on this team. The guys took hold, it made sense to them that we had to make a shift, and they just proactively got it done. I just kept yapping at them, and they had to take it and run, and they did. There was 12 guys sitting in that room, and they all said, we can do this. And, they did, they just got it done. They just changed it. What happened is that you saw a team fighting its way to perform close to its best. We’ve played for a long time now, playing pretty darn good football. It’s really been the elevation of the defense for the most part. We were lagging behind; our performance level. We’re better than that. This game is so emotional; it’s so tied to the energy of the game that it calls for. That connection, that chemistry. It’s so crucial to play at this level, to play this well this long. We understood it last year. We just kind of got waylaid along the way, we had things going on in this team that we needed to overcome and grow through, and we did. It was almost the ninth game when it happened, almost the midway point of this year. It happened last year too, we went through the same thing last year too. This is not new. But, it’s players that got this done. I’m just thrilled to see the shift, because it’s so obvious. You can see it, it happened. We understand that when you play for one another, it takes things to a whole different level. When you really understand what that means, and that’s what these guys did. ”
(On whether this season has a different kind of satisfaction this year compared to last year…) “Heck, yeah. All you guys kept talking about how you can’t do this, and you can’t get to this point again, and you can’t come back and all this stuff. You can. You can do it, and we just did it, to this point. We’ll see how we do in the playoffs. We got back to division champs, and that’s pretty rare. I’m really proud of that. That was the challenge. That was made me more excited about this year than any year I can remember, because what if we could pull this thing together and do something like this. We’ll show that we can, and there’s a way to do it. I can kind of say that now, because we have a week off and we’ll get back to business when we figure out who we’re playing.”
(On the play of Steven Hauschka…) “Great to see Hauschka. Hauschka had a really good week. The players really supported him. We talked about how he’d always come through for us. He could feel the support; he said that to the team when he had the opportunity. And he came through and banged the heck out of the football today, it was great.”
(On having the regular defense in on punt coverage….) “We were very wary of this team. They’re a great special teams unit in terms of the tricks and all the things that they can do. Brian Schneider did a great job orchestrating a way so that they couldn’t affect us. We just didn’t want them to have a factor in the game. We didn’t care about the yardage they gained or how far we kicked it, we just didn’t want them to have a factor in the game. That’s in all due respect to them, because they are really good at it. Jeff does a great job, and John Fassel does a great job.”
(On what this game portends for the playoffs….) “We’re in good shape; we’re fine. It’s a second half finish. We did it. We take great pride in that. That was a wonderful accomplishment in this game. No surprise to me. This is a very tough team. And, you didn’t even ask, we only had 2 penalties today. I can’t believe you guys haven’t brought that up. Where’s Salk? I want to talk to that guy about it, where’s he?“
(On leading the NFL in fewest points allowed for three straight years…) “I think that’s fricken awesome. That’s a big time accomplishment. To lead this league for 2 straight years in probably the yardage and points; that’s a big, big deal. That’s the players. It’s the same guys out there. Danny (Quinn) did a great job, picking up from where we left off with Gus. He did a fantastic job, shows he’s a great coach. But, these players just kept doing it. They kept hanging in there and doing the stuff that we do. There’s a bunch of knuckleheads in that group and they’ve figured out a way to play together in really historic fashion. We still have a lot of work to do, but the cool thing is that we’re still very young, too. I’m excited about that. ”
QB RUSSELL WILSON
(On the reaction to this win…) “I think you’re excited about it, because of the resilience that we’ve shown all season and the journey that it takes to get to where we are. One of the first goals that we have is to win the NFC West and to get to where we want to go and we were able to do that. That’s definitely exciting. I celebrate with those guys in there and that’s something that we’re pumped up about. Going into the playoffs, to have a bye week for us, and a win in a way, that’s huge. It allows us to rest up, it allows us to study our possible opponent and most importantly, you get to play at home again. You get to play in front of the 12s, the best fans in the National Football League, and the best fans in the world, I believe. We’re going to need them, like we have all year, and we’re going to need their excitement and their energy around the city and in the stadium, obviously, too.”
(On the conversation at halftime…) “We stayed on course. The score was 6-0, I kept telling the guys, it’s only six-nothing. Our focus was to continue to play great football, stay on the course. We knew we were playing a great defense. They do a lot of different looks. Coach Fisher has those guys ready to go. So, we knew it was going to be a battle, we knew it was going to be a challenge, and we just had to stay the course. Our defense was lights out tonight. They made some plays. You think about Earl Thomas’ play, the possession before, he and I, we were talking about visualizing, and making great plays. I kept telling him to keep visualizing, keep being there. Sure enough, he makes that play there. We always say, just give us an inch. He makes that play. You also think about the young guys, too. Paul Richardson had a phenomenal game for us tonight, he keeps being explosive for us, and keeps showing up, which is really big for us. You think about Kevin Norwood, he makes that big third down play, and gets down the sideline and gets us into the red zone there. And Marshawn Lynch walks in on that run. The resilience that we showed, like I said, and just the faith in each other and the togetherness that we have shown all year, and especially in this game, it really showed up today.”
(On how the Seahawks defense allows the offense to not have to take risks… ) “I never really worry about tasking risks or anything like that. Yeah, if it’s at the end of the game and it’s fourth down and 7, and you have to take a shot. I just try to play the game the way it’s told. I know our defense is going to make some plays for us. If they ever mess up, we’re going to try to step up, and vice versa. Offensively, we’ve made a lot of big strides and a lot of big plays, especially in the times where we really need it. To go on the win streak that we’ve had, it’s pretty spectacular, and not easy to do. Especially in the NFC West. You think about where we were, you have all of these games in the NFC West, still to play. We didn’t back down. There was no fear. We just kept playing, kept preparing. Like I always say, the separation is in the preparation. That’s what we were able to do.”
(On why he said, after the Kansas City game, that Seattle had 6 games left, and they would win all 6…) “I always have good instincts. I just had a really good feeling. I just believe in the guys that we have. I get to see it every day. I get to see the energy. I get to see the belief in one another. I get to see our fans around the city, when I’m out. I get to see the people around. There’s just no doubt about what we can do. I think ultimately, when you put the work in, you’ll get something great out. That’s the way we look at it.”
(On Paul Richardson stepping up with Jermaine Kearse out… ) “To have one of our star receivers, Jermaine Kearse, out, that’s never easy. He’s also great on special teams, too. Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, they were lights out tonight. They made some big time catches. Paul Richardson going down the sideline, making that catch. He makes a scramble play, makes a big-time catch. Kevin Norwood gets that third down play when we really needed it. Those guys just keep showing up. They keep being on time. They keep working, they keep studying, they keep learning. That’s what you’re looking for. We’re going to need that in the playoffs. We’re going to need those guys to be big time for us.”
(On the pass to Richardson down the sideline…) “He stacked the guy, and made a great play. Obviously, his speed is unmatchable. He gets down the field pretty quick. He just attacked the football. He’s strong. When John Schneider first started talking to me about this guy that we were going to possibly draft, I kind of did my research. I kind of looked up some film on him, just kind of watched him. One of the best things he did, and the same with Kevin Norwood, is they attacked the football extremely well, and that’s what you want. And Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse really pushed those guys every day, too.”
(On Richardson’s development this season…) “I think we’re getting him in the game more, and we’re finding ways to get him the football. There’s a transition period, just figuring out how to get my release and how do I get to the right spot at the right time. He’s done a phenomenal job. His work ethic is unbelievable, and he loves the game of football. I think that he keeps growing. That’s all you ask for. I remember when I was a rookie. All I wanted to do was to keep getting better every week. That’s what I always told him. Little bit by little bit every week, and just see where you’ll go. He’s done a phenomenal job of that, and a lot of guys have, too.”
(On whether he talked to Hauschka after last week’s game…) “I told him that he’s the best kicker in the National Football League. For me to talk to him on the sideline during the game that we had last week, I just told him, ‘Steve, you have to realize that you’re the best kicker in the National Football League. You’re going to get another chance.’ I remember Michael Jordan missing a couple of shots every once in a while. Derek Jeter may have swung and missed every once in a while. What makes a true champion, what makes somebody be the best, is they keep fighting, they keep coming back, and that’s what he did tonight. He’s phenomenal. He’s a guy that works hard every day. He believes in himself, and we believe in him. He did a great job tonight.“
(On what he and the team have accomplished in his three seasons in Seattle…) “I think I’ve definitely have had to pay some dues. It’s one of those things, I’m grateful for the people I have around me and I’m grateful for the opportunity that God’s given me, just to play in a phenomenal city. Going back to before I got drafted, I put all 32 teams in a hat, and I said that whatever team I pull out of the hat would be the team that picked me, and sure enough, that’s what happened. I just believe in certain things. It’s worked out for me in that way. I put the work in, but I have great people around me that put the work in, too. I wouldn’t want to be in any other place. I’m blessed to be here, and I’m blessed to be a Seattle Seahawk. I’m truly grateful for the opportunities that I have and going to continue to have. I just want to keep winning.”
(On what would happen if the 2014 team played the 2013 team…) “Who knows? That would be a mystery. What I like about our team this year, it’s different circumstances than the year before. We hadn’t won a Super Bowl, first of all, and also, I know we finished 13-3 in the regular season, and we had a lot of wins, I think we were 8-1 at one point, or maybe 9-1 at one point; this year, I think it’s a little bit better, though, because you’re 3-3, and people are doubting, and there’s no doubt in our locker room. We believe in each other. You think about the games we lost; we lost a tough game to San Diego, and then we lost to Kansas City in a tough game, we lost a couple others here and there. We just kept going. I think to come back and show the resilience that we’ve had, and the type of players that we’ve have, I’m in this year. I’m in right now. So, I would pick this team.”
(On taking advantage of every little bit of momentum…) “That’s what championship teams do. We’re trying to always get there. When we have a chance to put our foot down, we try to find a way to finish it. It goes both ways, the defense making that huge play, Bobby Wagner punching that ball out and Bruce Irvin taking the pick. Then, Jordan Hill gets that interception. When we get that short field, we want to capitalize on that short field. That’s what we were able to do. Norwood makes the big play on the third down, and then next play, Marshawn Lynch walks into the end zone. That momentum, we have to lean on. That’s sports. If anybody knows sports, that’s how you make those big plays, and those big wins.”
(On whether it’s a hard throw, on a play where Norwood is so open…) “It’s not a hard throw. They try to overlap, we had a seam down the field with Doug Baldwin, they tried to overlap it. Doug did a great job of kind of shaking his guy, and try to get upfield. I had the opportunity to get it out quick, out to the flat over to the left. Kevin makes a great play, and gets down to the 5 yard line, or whatever it is. You work on those things. You work on the footwork before. There’s no hesitation.”
(On whether this game was analogous of the whole season…) “That’s a good way to put it. I think that it’s a good way to look at it, was this game a microcosm of our whole season. More than anything, it’s a journey that you take, and as you go into a season, as you play in professional sports, and you have a great opportunity, and winning games in the National Football League is one of the hardest things to do. It’s almost like you’re trying to hit a Verlander curveball. It’s not easy to do. It’s one of those things. You just try to stay in the game and playing one day at a time and just trying to be consistent every day, that’s the hardest thing to do. I think that when we get into game situations, we believe that we’re going to make those plays, and that’s what we were able to do.”
“Thank you guys. Go Hawks. Strong against cancer.”
WR DOUG BALDWIN
(On how indicative the Seahawks finshed this game and regular season) “Exactly. You said all that needs to be said.”
(On what the key is to that success) “Controlling what we can control. Focusing on the things that are in our control and not worrying about the outside stuff. If you take this game for example; the (St. Louis) Rams--they had a very good defense over there. So it took us a while, offensively, to get going. They also came in with a good offensive game plan so they gave our defense fits at time. You can’t win a game in the 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, but you can win the game in the 4th quarter, and that’s how we--that’s our motto.”
(On being surprised at how this team is today versus the middle of the season) “No, not at all. As a true competitor, you always have to have the confidence; some people would call it arrogance, to go about your business and handle it accordingly; and handle it the way that you think you’re going to win regardless of the situation or the circumstances. So no, I have no doubt. I had no doubt, and this team believes in each other, believes that we’ll find a way to pull it out.”
G J.R. SWEEZY
(On having concerns early on in the game) “No, we kept calm. We kept calm the whole time. We knew things weren’t going exactly our way. We made some corrections at half time and we came out and played our style of football.”
(On how defensive work feeds into offense) “Like I told them,we play for each other, so when they play good, we play good. And we feel the energy. We’re so excited for those guys, as soon as they come off the field, we’re jumping all over them and they do the same to us. So it’s fun to play.”
(On things being a little uneven earlier in the season) “Maybe a little bit. We just hadn’t--we didn’t fully get it yet. And then, once we did, it’s an obvious change. You can feel it, you can see it.”
WR PAUL RICHARDSON
(On being the division champs) “I’m just glad to be a part of it man. It’s what we’ve been working for. We said it at the beginning of the season, we knew what it was going to take. When we got it, we started off slow, but we picked it up.”
(On his catch breaking the offense free for him) “I think that the defense broke the offense free for a little bit. Once we came up and put points on the board, our defense went to another level, and I think it’s crazy how we can excite one another on the other side of the ball.”
(On what the feeling was like during half time) “We were motivated in here man. We couldn’t wait to get back on the field. We knew we were starting off with the ball, and we just wanted to make an impact on the game.”
WR BRYAN WALTERS
(On how difficult it was to get to this point) “We got every team’s best. Coming off from being the defending champs, everyone wanted a piece of us. And I think we learned that earlier in the year, that we were going to have--no game was going to be easy, and it never is in the NFL, but everyone was coming out to get us because a win against us could make their season. And I think once we got that wrapped around our heads, we came out and showed the league what we were about.”
(On what the defense has done during the 2nd half this season) “Defense is so on the wire. They’re flying around like crazy on the field. They’ve done such a good job all year just getting the ball back to our offense and letting guys like Russ (Russell Wilson) and Marshawn (Lynch) go to work. So they’re so valuable and they’re just so fun to watch.”
(On the importance of getting healthy during this week off) “Oh, yeah. Absolutely. We got a lot of guys banged up. A lot of guys got banged up out there today, and just that extra recovery week will be so big. While other teams are beating up on each other next week, we’ll be getting fresh, and preparing. We get two weeks to prepare now.”
DE MICHAEL BENNETT
(On what changed in the second half for the defense) “We weren’t put in bad field position. The offense kept us in good field position so we were able to keep them out of the end zone.”
(On Kam Chancellor setting the tone for the game) “He set the tone. When Kam [Chancellor] comes out there knocking people down, people don’t want to catch passes.”
(On if it gets better than locking up a bye and playoffs) “It’s just funny because everyone counted us out but we just stayed true to what we believed. It’s easy to win games when you’re playing for each other and you’re not trying to do anything special, you’re just going out there playing man to man and that’s how you win.”
DE CLIFF AVRIL
(On playing today and if it reminded him of anybody growing up) “No, because I didn’t really pay attention to football that much growing up. I think the way we’re playing right now we’re trying to separate ourselves from anybody really. We’re just trying to play team ball. If we can do that, the sky is the limit for this team.”
(On having home field advantage during playoffs) “Having a hostile environment on our side I think is big. Just have to keep playing ball, just have to keep having fun.”
(On if traveling is underrated) “You have to be a professional. There’s definitely other things that come with traveling from dehydration and different things like that. If you’re traveling you should know you have to hydrate yourself, I think the advantage for us is just not having to go anywhere because everything is a two day trip from here. Just being able to sit at home and have a routine I think is big.”
SS KAM CHANCELLOR
(On how much pride he has in taking one of the first hits in the game) “I take a lot of pride in it. Not mainly from setting the tone just delivering hits and they usually just set the tone naturally. But I’m always just looking to deliver hits and trying to get stronger and harder on every hit. Try to hit harder and harder every time.”
(On going against the Rams offense) “It’s a divisional opponent so you know they know us well and we know them well. So it comes down to the team with the least mistakes and a team who can execute the best and that’s what it came to at the end.”
(On everyone expecting many points early on by the defense, but did the team expect that) “It was extra hard for a game. You know, it’s the NFL. On any given Sunday guys are going to go out there and play their hardest every week. It’s football on any given Sunday. I expected them to come in here and give us a challenge. I expected us to answer the challenge, answer the call, and finish like we do.”
DT JORDAN HILL
(On his interception) “It’s good. I would say I didn’t do anything. I just saw somebody coming in from the middle. I picked it up as soon as I could.”
(On if they worried about being down in the first half) “We knew it was going to be hard to score this game. We just keep playing our ball. We know we can do. We know we can do it if we want to.”
(On how he is) “I feel good.”
(On what happened on the play) “I just jumped and I came down on my one leg and somebody came and hit my knee. I knew as I felt somebody hit it I grabbed it up real good just so I wouldn’t hurt anything.”
DE BRUCE IRVIN
(On how the defense played) “I don’t think I’ve been part of a group as connected as I am with these guys—it’s a brotherhood around here. I’ve said it every week and I’m going to keep saying it, right now we’re playing better than we have all of last year—guys are putting their egos to the side, guys are buying in and playing for one another—you don’t find that around the league. It feels good right now, but we get a week off and we have to grind. The real season just started—we’re back where we want to be and we just have to keep going.”
(On the pick six) “I was just opportunistic—when the opportunity presented itself, I just made the best of it. Bobby Wagner made a great play of stripping it—like I said, ‘Ain’t no fun if the homies can’t get none baby.’ Wags [Bobby Wagner] stripped it to me and I just took it on home.”
(On did he see the strip fumble develop) “I’ve got to be living right because I didn’t know—I wasn’t even looking at the ball, it just ended up in my hands—that’s a sign of me living right baby.”
CB RICHARD SHERMAN
(On the connection in the locker room) “We play hard for each other and we play this game like it’s supposed to be played.”
(On how far can this team go) “As far as we can take ourselves—that’s to be determined.”
(On Jordan Hill’s interception being the turning point of the game) “I guess that’s one of the turning points—I don’t think we ever felt like the game was out of hand to where we needed a turning point. We played hard—we gave up a total sixty yards at half time and we didn’t really need a turning point.”
(On the defense giving the offense a spark) “I guess it might have picked up the offense a little bit but we were just playing hard and we knew something was going to happen.”
LB BOBBY WAGNER
(On how good they are at playing as a unit) “We’re playing really good right now. I definitely think we have some stuff to get better and fix and that’s scary. We’re playing really really good right now and we still have stuff to fix, but when we get those things right, how great our defense can be.”
(On the mood at halftime) “That we were about to come in and win. Like we said we were cool, chilling, about to come in here and we knew we were going to win. We just had to create some turnovers which we did.”
(On the defense saying let’s just go get the ball) “Yeah, just go get the ball. Get the offense the ball as fast as we can and just make plays. That’s all we need to do is just make plays.”
DT KEVIN WILLIAMS
(On the defense wearing an offense down as the game goes on) “We just try to stay true to what we do, stay in our fits, and play our defense. Eventually, it kind of takes its toll on you and we try to impose our will.”
(On the defense feeding off the crowd) “We have some of the greatest fans in the world—we try to go out there and play with that energy that they provide and we try to keep them in the game because it’s tremendous for us. If the offense can’t hear, it causes problems plus it’s giving the defense energy to go out and make plays.”
(On his biggest goal during the bye week) “Just rest up—we don’t really know who we’re going to play yet, we’re just going to rest up and work on our fundamentals this week and be ready to go in a week.”
OLB K.J. WRIGHT
(On clinching the #1 seed in the NFC) “I’m glad we did it—we control home field throughout the playoffs and everyone is going to have to come here.”
(On the value of being at home) “It’s great man—we know how hard it is for the opponents to come here, we don’t have to travel or fly to the east coast, we’re right here in our comfort zone where we’re at our best. We have the fans here—everything is just right, we won’t let this slip past us. I don’t expect us to lose these next two games at home. ”
(On Earl Thomas forcing the fumble) “I didn’t see it—I was in the locker room getting stitches, but that just shows you how great Earl is. He plays to the last minute, the last second of each and every play and I can’t wait to see it on film.”
RAMS HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
(Thoughts on the game…) “Well we gave it our best shot, problem is that we didn’t finish. Congratulations to Pete, his staff and the team. It’s a fine football team. This is obviously a great place to play. You know that we had some really good things happen on the football field out there. We just couldn’t finish it. If you had told me our defense would have held them to 14 points, even after a sudden change and a turnover, I would have probably said that I would take it.
We had the opportunities with the screen pass that we tried to throw away, that was a turnover. I can’t fault Bennie for trying to get that ball across the goal line. They (Seattle) made the plays in the second half and we didn’t.”
(Is there anything that Shaun Hill could have done better…) “Yes, he should have thrown that ball into the ground. That’s one of those things that happens. You try and throw it to the feet of the back. That’s what you try and do. He just didn’t make the play.”
(Why did Jenkins leave his man on the 31-yard pass play…) “I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it. He should have been playing thirds, outside thirds. He had a inside seam route running. That’s why he probably leaned towards the seam and left the flat route out there. It was a good play by them.”
(What was your sense of the game at halftime…) “We needed to get some things going offensively. We hadn’t moved the ball well. We had just a few first downs. We needed to get some points from the first downs. That was the big thing, just try to and make some plays on offense and score some points.”
(How do you think the team did against Russell Wilson…) “I think that we will look back and see some things we can be critical of. But this is an explosive offense, with a lot of talent. In the first half we did some good things. In the second half there going to crease you, obviously if you keep changing things like we did. They (Seattle) played great.”
(How frustrating it is not to be able to finish games this year, when you have had the lead…) “There are other teams that haven’t been able to finish against Seattle. We need to do a better job. That’s something we will work on.”
(Thoughts on the team’s mistakes during critical times of games this season…) “There are a couple of shutouts we had some problems with during those games as well. If you’re trying to get big picture stuff here, we won six games, that’s not enough. We have to win more games.
You can’t go through a year with I believe, 10 returns for touchdowns. It’s hard to overcome returns for touchdowns in close games.”
(Big picture is your team what their record is or was something left on the table…) “I think were better than a 6-10 team, I personally do. I think we’re moving in the right direction. I think that all the work we put in this offseason is going to contribute to the success were going to have in the future. You don’t like 6-10 seasons. I think we’re building, I know we’re building. We’re going to learn from a lot of the things that happened. We’re developing some young players that can make plays.”
(Would you say that Seattle’s defense is what puts them ahead of the pack…) “Yes, it’s an outstanding defense. What they have going here is special. You can’t hear on offense and they make you drive the football as you can see. They get off the field and they can rush the passer, they can stop the run. When you can’t hear on offense in this venue, it’s hard to do those things, especially against a defense like that. They have an explosive offense, it’s a good football team but we split with them this year.