Are the Seahawks really, truly, fully back?
It sure looks like it. And they sure say so. Amazing what two wins in five days over top division rivals do.
They are playing with the same brash confidence and swarming, thudding defense they had last season while winning it all. And I was struck Thursday night in the roaring locker room by what defensive end Cliff Avril told me above the bass-pumping rap music when I asked him after his two sacks of Colin Kaepernick how much this feels like 2013 -- especially on a defense that has allowed Arizona and San Francisco three points each and a total of 368 yards combined.
Avril said this “most definitely” feels like the vibe and play of last season’s Super Bowl champions.
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Or – get this -- even better.
"It’s a lot more fun than it was even last year, actually, to be honest. We're just letting it loose on defense,” Avril said. “We’re out there not caring. It’s us against the world. That’s the mentality we’ve got right now.”
“I think the biggest thing that’s changed the last two weeks is we are having fun. We trust each other.”
The players and coach Pete Carroll say that trust came from a meeting led by 10 veterans -- including Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Marshawn Lynch -- last week days before the 19-3 win over Arizona. We discussed that meeting here on the blog last week, but the results this week were nothing short of season-altering.
"Absolutely. It’s not for talking about right here but these guys have really joined together and recaptured really what it was that we played with last year," Carroll said Thursday night in Santa Clara, not wanting to hand Bay Area and national writers the entire story we'd known in Seattle since last week. "It took us sometime to figure out but we have and it’s only as good as the next way out. There’s been question in the last two weeks that we have elevated our game. It’s come back from Kam and Earl and Sherm and all those guys, K.J. (Wright).
"They’ve touched what it is, and the special attitude with intensity, the toughness that it takes and really it comes back to what they’re doing.”
Of course, this trust -- and this renewed defense -- is going to get a huge test in eight days at Philadelphia against Chip Kelly's offense.