This is unlike most Mondays here at Seahawks' headquarters at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.
For sure, the rollicking, seven-month afterglow of the Seahawks' first franchise Super Bowl championship -- which carried through the opening walloping of Green Bay -- has come an abrupt and noticeable halt.
Pete Carroll said this morning on Seattle's 710 ESPN radio that the team's flight was quiet coming back from the 30-21 loss at San Diego last night, just Seattle's sixth defeat in 31 games dating to the middle of the 2012 season. And he said this afternoon in his weekly press conference at the VMAC the players remain in that mood today, six days before the Super Bowl rematch with Denver at CenturyLink Field.
"Quiet. They are real quiet and serious," Carroll said. "We don't take this easily. These are high expectations here."
Other highlights from a shorter-than-normal day-after session with the coach, who is celebrating his 63rd birthday today (and was probably glad to get out of the presser quickly):
--Carroll said assistant offensive-line coach Pat Ruel was on his way back from San Diego this afternoon. The 60-year-old Ruel spent last night there in a hospital, staying back as the team came home as a precaution after medics detected an irregular heartbeat following Sunday's game. Ruel went from the visiting locker room at Qualcomm Stadium to the hospital. As you probably are aware of by now, the on-field temperature approached 120 degrees during the game.
--There was a prescient reason Richard Sherman was the only member of Seattle's wilting secondary who did not have to go into the locker room during the second half in San Diego to get intravenous fluids for cramps: Sherman got his IV bags of fluid before the game and at halftime.
"He was ahead of the game on that," Carroll said.
Sherman and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who finished with 10 tackles, were the only Seahawks defenders to play all 82 snaps yesterday.
At one point during a time out in the third quarter, All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was limping off the field and into the locker room with cramps. Sherman was doubled over in the middle of the field and looked completely spent. Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell, the other two starting defensive backs, were on their ways into the locker room for their own IVs.
The Union Tribune in San Diego reported today "a number of (Chargers) before the game and at halftime." Left tackle King Dunlap was the only Charger to leave the game because of cramps.
--Carroll basically shrugged over running back Marshawn Lynch exiting the field and walking up the tunnel to the locker room during San Diego's final series of kneel downs before its clinching field goal with 16 seconds left. The coach said he didn't mind that, adding, "No, he went off with the doctors, I think. His back tightened up or something like that."
"It's an ongoing issue for him. It's something that's bothered him for years," Carroll said. "It's something we will always monitor with him."
My sense is Lynch's exit didn't even register with the coach until someone brought it up to him today.
As for his 1,200-yard rusher a season ago getting just six carries Sunday, his fewest in 52 games since getting six runs Sept. 18, 2011, at Pittsburgh, Carroll said the Chargers' controlling the ball for more than 42 minutes of the game caused that. With the Seahawks only getting 40 snaps on offense, and being in hurry-up, pass mode on three of their drives -- one in the final minute of the first half for a touchdown, for another score in the third quarter and the eventually futile, four-play drive with 3 mintues left -- they never got to use the game plan for more than a snap or two at a time.
As for Lynch with six carries Carroll said, "That's the last thing we want to occur."
--Something to keep in mind: The short, quick passing game underneath Seattle's zone coverage that San Diego and Philip Rivers used so expertly and effectively Sunday is the same offense Peyton Manning and the Broncos are bringing to CenturyLink Field this weekend. And it's the same offense Chargers coach Mike McCoy used when he was the Broncos' offensive coordinator through the 2012 season. That was Manning's first season quarterbacking Denver.
--Carroll reiterated what he said in the locker room following Sunday's game: That through it all yesterday -- the heat, the cramping, the time-of-possession imbalance -- the Seahawks still had a chance with 3:04 left to win it, down 27-21. But then the Chargers snuffed out Percy Harvin's first-down fly sweep, creating second and 16 from Seattle's own 5 and effectively ruining that final chance.
--Backup running back Christine Michael and rookie linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis will return to practice Wednesday and will be full-go Thursday. Both have missed the last couple weeks with hamstring injuries.