Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks’ playoff destination hinges on Minnesota-Green Bay game

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll grimaces after Seattle turned the ball over late in the fourth quarter Sunday in the loss to St. Louis.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll grimaces after Seattle turned the ball over late in the fourth quarter Sunday in the loss to St. Louis. dperine@thenewstribune.com

Green Bay, Minnesota or Washington, D.C.

Those are the Seahawks’ three possible destinations for the first round of the NFC playoffs that begin Jan. 9 or 10.

Seattle’s startling loss Sunday at home to St. Louis didn’t wreck the Seahawks’ postseason -- they had already clinched a berth coming into the weekend because of a five-game winning streak. What the 23-17 loss to the sub-.500 Rams did do was make it more likely the Seahawks will play the NFC North division champion rather than NFC East winner Washington (8-7).

Right now Seattle (9-6) is the sixth of six conference playoff seeds, the second wild card. If Minnesota (10-5) wins at Green Bay (10-5) in the North division title game on Sunday’s final day of the regular season, the Seahawks’ first-round playoff game will be at the Vikings. Seattle beat Minnesota 38-7 in Minneapolis on Dec. 6 while holding NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson to 18 yards.

If the lately skidding Packers beat the rising Vikings Sunday and the Seahawks upset the NFC West-champion Cardinals on Sunday in Arizona, Seattle will be the five seed and play at No. 4 Washington in the opening playoff round.

If Green Bay beats Minnesota and the Seahawks lose at Arizona, which is playing this weekend for a chance at the conference’s top postseason seed, Seattle will be the sixth seed and play its first-round game at the No. 3 Packers. The Seahawks lost at Green Bay 27-17 in September, the second game of this season.

Here are some of the postgame quotes from Sunday’s Seahawks loss:

HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL

(Opening...) "This was a day that you want to forget. We couldn't get out of our own way from the start, on. Really, just made it so difficult for our guys to win. When you turn the ball over like that and the penalties happen like they did. Then, we really had a difficult time at the line of scrimmage, moving the football and protecting, it's just really hard. The 16 point deficit, we can come back from that, but we have to get out of our way, and again we made it really, really hard. That's a good win for those guys, they were there and took advantage of the opportunities and did a nice job with it. Defensively, we hung in there pretty well, but we needed to get the ball away from them and score on defense on this day to do something, so we came up short there. Offensively, we just didn't get it done at all, so it was really difficult. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of anything other than we have to put it behind us and get moving forward. We rarely look like this, so we'll see if we can get it all squared away and fixed when we go to Arizona."

(On how much of the offensive troubles were self-inflicted vs. a function of the Rams defense...) "I'm not going to take anything away from them, they had a nice win today. However, we snapped the ball crazy, and we turned it over three times, and we had the penalties. Those were our penalties. I think it was very much our doing it to ourselves."

(On how much was injury related ...) "No, it had nothing to do with that. On the last one, I think he lost the ball as he was throwing it back. I think Patrick thought we were under center on the first one."

(On playing without Russell Okung ....) "I don't think it had an effect, but I don't know until I see the film."

(On whether he sensed a letup with the team assured of being in the playoffs...) "No, not at all. There was no sign in preparation, there was none of that. We had a great week. We'll see what this means. We have to look at the film and figure it out. Why we had so many problems up front, I don't know. "

(On the possibility of a loss late in the season waking a team up...) "I always like that kind of positive thinking. Yeah, it could make a difference. We'll see how we bounce back from it."

(On what was causing the issues with the running game... ) "We didn't block very well today. They had penetration and made some plays in the backfield early on. When we run the ball for 60 yards, we're not on it, we're in bad shape at the line of scrimmage, and we have to do a lot better than that. "

(On what explanation he got on the key Rams fumble recovery, when Earl Thomas thought he had recovered...) "The ball came to him, and it kind of got knocked around a little bit, but he felt like he was on the ball the whole time. They said they saw that 61 clearly had it, I think that was the number they said. I don't know what to tell you other than that. They obviously had a discrepancy in there to figure out, because they pointed both ways during that whole sequence."

(On Russell Wilson taking a lot of hits...) "I think it was hard on him. He got hit pretty good today, and it's not very often we see that. He was working hard. There was penetration on pass rush. He did not have a lot of time consistently, like we've had. We were behind the sticks so much, it was really difficult. I think we converted OK on third downs, but we were way behind staying on schedule. A lot of second and longs, a lot of first down penalties, so it was very difficult."

(On the field position challenges...) "Field position was huge. We give them the ball in great field position, and they scored once, and it's unlikely for us to see that happen. That rarely happens. Then, they run one in for a touchdown. It was just a mess."

(On whether Luke Willson had a concussion...) "Yes. I don't know how serious it is. He couldn't come back."

(On any other injuries....) "Lockett got banged up, but he came back and played OK. Marsh had an ankle. It's sore, but he went back in. Cooper got hit in the thigh, but he went back in. We'll see how that goes in the next couple days. I can't tell you anything more about that. "

(On the pass pressure...) "A lot of 5 man rushes today. That's what they featured today. A few called blitzes beyond that, but basically it was a 5-man rush that got us."

(On whether Marshawn Lynch will return to practice this week...) "We'll see in the next couple days what that means."

(On whether Okung could have played had this been a more vital game...) "No."

QB RUSSELL WILSON

(On not being able to stay on schedule...) "It was unfortunate today, we were not able to do that. We had some weird mishaps that we don't normally have, we haven't been playing that way. The great part is that we stayed in the game. The defense kept us in the game. Offensively, we kept battling, which is a testament to who we are and what our team is about. That never-give-up attitude, that resilient mindset. We had a chance, that's all you can ask for."

(On how much he was battered...) "It's football, so you just keep battling. I was fine, I'm good to go."

(On the opportunity to correct without taking too many steps backward... ) "Anytime you lose, it's not a good thing. I do think though, ultimately for us, our focus is on just getting better, coming back next week and playing great football. We're playing a tough team, the Arizona Cardinals are coached extremely well by Coach Bruce Arians. Their defense and their offense are playing lights out. It's an exciting time. It's an exciting time to go on the road. A tough environment, we're going to have to go on the road in the playoffs. So, this is playoff football. That's the mentality, get ready to go. Study what we did well, study what we didn't do too well. Just like every week, what are we doing well, and what can we get better at. It's the only want to look at it. I'm looking forward to figuring the game out, and moving on to the next one."

(On the impact of their pass rush...) "They made some good plays. Ultimately, we stopped ourselves. They have a great defense; they're coached extremely well. We have to stay on schedule; we were hurting ourselves."

(On what was different about the pass protection from the last few weeks...) "I think they made a few good plays. They have great defensive linemen, you have to respect who they are, when you think about the guys they have up front, as active as they are. I think a couple of things were on me. I have to try to get the ball out quicker if I can, especially when you're playing a great team like that. So, I'll take the blame for that."

(On whether their 5-man pass rush was different from the first game...) "No, not really. They normally bring 4 or 5. They have a great pass rush, but that's no excuse. I think that ultimately, we didn't make enough plays, and that's on me. From there, we just have to stay on schedule. We had a chance. Our focus now is to move on to next week, just like if we had won the game. You have to move on to the next opportunity. You just try to go 1 and 0 and focus on the next moment."

(On Doug Baldwin...) "It's so exciting, I told him after the game that I was really happy for him. His work ethic is unrelenting. He's a true champion, on and off the field. You watch it, and his leadership, his ability to make plays and all that; I'm not surprised. For him to go over 1000 yards, it's exciting for him, I know that. I know he doesn't care about the personal accolades or anything like that. Obviously, to score 14 touchdowns, he's an all-pro type of receiver, obviously. The stats show it. It's hard to cover him. I'm upset that he's not going to the pro bowl, because it would be fun to throw to. You think about all the things he's done this year, all the things that all the guys have done. We have a lot of receivers making a lot of plays, and they've showed that tonight."

(On what he told Patrick Lewis about some of the snaps....) "We all make one or two funky plays every once in a while. That's just what it was. He's been so consistent. You can't doubt it. It's a [inaudible] sport. That's one of the things that makes football so much fun. You get to come back next week and battle. The great thing about the offensive line tonight is that they fought their tails off, the whole game. I love that. Like I said to you guys several times this year, I wouldn't want to play behind anybody else. We'll circle the wagons and pull together, and look forward to next week."

(On how they'll respond to a game like this, after being on a roll...) "You always want to see how you respond, after a win or after a loss. That's what makes you a competitor, that's what makes you play in the National Football League, and what makes it so difficult. If anybody can respond, I know we'll respond in the right manner. We'll come back to work. We'll get to look at the film tomorrow, see what we can do better as a collective group, and also individually. Then, play together. "

(On his fumble near the end of the game...) "I know it was tight, I thought I was down. It was a tight call. I was going to go out of bounds, and then I felt like I could get to the end zone. I think Sims maybe, #97, a great player. He came from the back side, I think. Sometimes you try to fight, and you try to make a play. Unfortunately, I wasn't down, according to the ruling. It is what it is."

(On whether there was a late change that made Lewis think he was under center on one of the fumbles... ) "I don't know, I'll have to talk to Patrick. I honestly don't know. It wasn't a change at the line. We were in the gun, maybe he thought I was. Who knows? I just have to communicate there, and make sure we're on the same page, if there was a miscommunication, and I don't think there was. We had a bad play, and we just move on to the next one. I've had some bad plays in my career so far, and everybody backs me up, and vice versa. Patrick's done a phenomenal job all year. He had one or two funky plays, but other than that, I thought he played a great game. He kept battling."

(On going on the road for the playoffs...) "We've done it before. I think we've played pretty well on the road this year. For me personally, there's no place like home, that's for sure, but I also love playing on the road. I know our team does, too, when everybody is rooting against you. Going to Arizona, the last time we were there, it didn't work out our way. I know for me, I'm looking forward to being on that turf again. We're playing a great football team, the Arizona Cardinals. They're as good as it gets, so we're going to have to be ready to go and play great football. This is playoff time, so now you get prepared for that. You continue to just find ways to win. That's what it's about. We're going to have to battle, and stick together."

(On whether the running challenges impacted the passing game...) "The running game, we were struggling a little bit. We'll study the film. I honestly can't tell you too much yet. We'll study the film to see where we can get better as a collective group."

(On never being in the lead during this game...) "It didn't make it any harder. For me, personally, playing the quarterback position, I just try to focus on one play at a time. Like I said, sometimes you're going to make every play, and some days you're going to have a couple funky ones, a couple bad ones in there. But, you just stay the course. You play one play at a time, and that gives you a chance. We had a great chance at the end of the game. Kearse got open on the scramble drill, came down the sideline, got a touchdown there. That was huge. We believed that we were going to get the onside kick and unfortunately we didn't. You continue to battle. Like I said earlier, our resiliency as a football team is definitely there. There's no doubt when you're down, the score was only 16-3 at half, or something like that. It's only 13 to nothing in my mind, so you just keep playing."

(On whether this game felt like some of the early games this season...) "I think we just had some bad plays in there all across the board. It starts with me, just making sure that we're doing the right things, and making sure we're on the same page and all that. Like I said, it's studying the film, come back to work. That's the great thing about it, you get to go on the road, in a tough environment. To go to Arizona, so you can't ask for anything more. I think that's the exciting thing about this week coming up, you have to move forward. That's always going to be the case; you have to move forward and try to go 1 and 0 every week."

(On the interception...) "We were trying to take a shot down the field and see if we could make something happen. Hopefully get a big play. Tyler fought for the ball and made a great attempt at it. We thought we could get it. Unfortunately, they came down with it. It's a long punt. So, you just move on."

"Thank you guys. Go Hawks. Merry Christmas."

WR DOUG BALDWIN

(On whether he views this as a lesson learned...) "I think all of us will look at the film and pick what we need to get better at. We have a lot of things we have to improve on, obviously. In this game we showed there are a lot of weaknesses that we have to fix. But, also, you can't take away from the Rams. That Front 7 they have is unbelievable and their defense is pretty solid. We always talk about that it's not about the other team, it's about us. So, yeah, there's a lot of things we need to correct, and we'll get those corrected."

(On having to correct issues this late in the season...) "We always play the Rams tough, or they always play us tough, I should say. So, it's no surprise that it was a battle. Obviously, we'd like to get the win but at the same time, we're very good at correcting our mistakes, so we'll continue to do that."

(On when he will look at the fact that he now has the franchise record for touchdown receptions in a season...) "I'll think about it when I retire."

(On what were the issues on offense...) "We weren't staying on schedule. We weren't on time. We started a couple of drives with second and long, second and plus-10, so when you do that you put yourself in a bad situation on third down and every team plays considerably more tough on third down. When you back yourself up into those corners, it becomes difficult for your offense. Granted, we came out of a couple of those, but we can't continuously do that and put ourselves in those bad situations, because it makes it tough on us."

(On whether the penalties were more than they had previously overcome...) "We weren't able to get the running game to where we wanted. We weren't as efficient as we like to be. When you have all those things going against you plus the penalties, and then including turnovers, you just put yourself in a corner."

(On how the failure to establish a running game impacted the passing game...) "A lot. When you become one-dimensional, it becomes easy for a defense to focus on that one dimension. It was tough on us. But, like I said, we have to give a lot of credit to the St. Louis Rams. Their Front 7 and their defense is really good."

(On whether there was any difference in preparation intensity this week...) "No."

(On why the offense was not able to stay on schedule this week....) "You have to give a lot of credit to the St. Louis defense. They came out with a very good game plan. They showed a lot of different things than what we had seen on tape. They game-planned us very well. It's typical because we play them twice a year. It's always going to be a tough matchup within our division."

(On whether there was any difference in Russell Wilson's demeanor...) "No, he stayed consistent."

(On the differences from what St. Louis had shown on tape...) "Different from what they had shown recently. Even in Week 1, they played a little bit differently than they played the rest of the season, so we expected to see some different things going in. They threw a lot of two-high at us, cover-2. A lot more than we had seen on tape previously. Of course, we were in those situations where we needed to throw the ball and score points, so that probably had something to do with it as well. "

(On what they can take from this week into the game at Arizona next week...) "It's another opportunity for us to play Seahawks Football. As cliché as it sounds, we always say it's another championship opportunity; that's just what it is. I'm looking forward to playing Arizona and how talented they are defensively. It's a challenge for us, another opportunity. We'll approach it just like we approach every week."

(On whether his hamstring is OK...) "Yeah, it's fine."

(On whether any good can come from a loss...) "Refocus. You win some, you learn some. We'll take this time to look at the film and get better. Some people can say it's a bad thing that we lost. I like to look at the positive in everything. This shows us that there are some things that we still need to correct. Granted, I'm glad we did it now during the regular season than in the playoffs, obviously. "

"Thanks, guys."

C PATRICK LEWIS

(On if the ball was wet on any of the fumbled snaps...) "I mean it was wet, but it really doesn't matter. I've played in rainy conditions here before, and it was never a problem. I don't know, I guess it was just one of those games for me, and I take full responsibility. I'll go back to work, I might snap 100 wet balls tomorrow. We'll get it fixed together."

(On if he knew Russell Wilson was in the shotgun on the first fumbled snap...) "No, I knew. Like I said, it was just a mistake on my part. I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates. I put us in some bad situations, and I accept it and I'm going to run with it, and get better next game."

(On if the Rams blitzing was getting to them...) "No, like I said, we called our protections, we ran our protections, they did a good job executing. There were probably a few times we could have adjusted a little better, but we didn't, point blank, period. We lost the game. They capitalized off our mistakes, and they won the game. We've just got to get back to work, fix it, find out the reason, and get ready for next week. We've got another tough opponent coming up."

(On if it took too long to recognize necessary adjustments...) "Yeah, definitely. They didn't come out and do anything supernatural or anything. They did what they showed on film, and we've just got to do a better job of coming out. We can't come out as flat as we did. We still had multiple opportunities to win the game, but we just didn't get it done. Like I said, we'll just get back to work and we'll work on it."

OL GARRY GILLIAM

(On going forward this season...) "We've got to watch the film, obviously fix every mistake. They showed up today, we didn't. But the good thing is we've got at least another opportunity, and one more after that, to fix everything and play the way we know we can play. That's really it, they showed up, we didn't. They came to play and we didn't. Got to be better."

RB FRED JACKSON

(On why it was a challenge to run the ball today...) "You've got to give those guys credit. Their front four did a tremendous job in showing up to stop that. Their linebackers played well. We just had too many self-inflicted things going on that we couldn't overcome today.

(On why the offensive struggled today...) "Mistakes definitely were a huge factor in it. Again, like I said, you've got to give those guys credit. They showed up and played well. Anytime you put yourself in second and long situations, it changes the game dramatically."

(On having five catches today...) "That was something we thought we could take advantage of, and I was able to catch five balls today. We just didn't do enough. We executed in some phases, but when you're not 100 percent executing, or close to 100 percent, it makes it hard to win a game. They came out and played well, so you've got to give them the credit."

(On how he would describe the game today...) "It definitely was disappointing. It wasn't the way we wanted to end our last home game here in front of the 12's. Anytime you come out flat like we did, it's going to be hard to win a game. That's something we've got to learn from. Go in and look at the film. When it starts for real, there are no second opportunities, so we need to get that out of our system right now."

WR KASEN WILLIAMS

On his first game in the NFL...) "Just getting out there, I felt comfortable. I felt like I was at home. I never felt comfortable being on the practice squad just because it was a place where I didn't feel like I belonged. But because I was there, I decided to take advantage of it. Being able to get on the field today was huge, huge."

(On throwing a block to help Doug Baldwin...) "Anything that I can do to help. Doug [Baldwin] is my brother, and I'm trying to get him open as often as possible. So if there's an opportunity for me to make a play for him, I'm going to do that, and I felt like I did in that moment."

(On what it felt like to be on the field today...) "It feels good, it felt comfortable. I felt like I was at home, I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But at the same time, I'm here produce and make plays. So if we don't get that W, that means there's something I could have done better, and I don't want to be seen as a rookie or a practice squad player, because I don't see myself as that. So with that being said, I wish we could have gotten that win tonight."

WR TYLER LOCKETT

(On the play where he got hurt and had to come out of the game...) "I just fell the wrong way, so they had me go in there and run tests, and I ended up passing the test, so I was good."

(On what was challenging about getting the offense going early on...) "Sometimes things just don't go your way. It's all about just responding through adversity. We understand that certain things are going to happen, and it's all about responding and fighting through it. I think we did that, but at the same time some of those things did shoot us in the foot, and we can't be able to do that. Especially when we're going to play a lot more great teams going into the playoffs."

(On if the offense took a step back or if it was something different today...) "I think each week is going to be something different. This week, it was just some tough trials that we had to try to overcome. Like I said, it shot us in the foot hard in the first half. You can't come out slow like that, especially against a great team such as the Rams. Even though we battled back and it was a good game at the end of the game, we would have been in a better position had we not started off slow in the first half."

(On if their defense looked different than in week 1...) "No, they did the same exact thing that we knew that they did in week 1. I think they just went out there and they played the way their gameplan was supposed to be meant for, and I think they did a great job with that."

(On how the weather impacted the game today as a receiver...) "I don't think it impacted it at all. For the most part, you saw receivers still making plays, being able to run the ball. I think the biggest thing is just being able to continue to secure it. Just because the ball is slippery, everything is slippery on your jersey, so it's easier to try to swipe it out. I think you saw that on both sides, but for the most part I don't think it had an effect on us."

CB RICHARD SHERMAN

(On the touchdown pass to Kenny Britt...) "Just bad footwork. I just didn't get a good jam off the line, and stepped under myself, and made it easy."

DE CLIFF AVRIL

(On what lessons the team can take from this game...) "Got to start faster I would say. Turnovers, didn't get enough turnovers, not stopping the run when we needed to. Just a few things off the top of my head that you think was the issue, but once you watch the film you'll see, and you've got to make corrections."

(On if the Rams were a tougher test than the team thought...) "They always play us well. It's always a battle between those guys, no matter what their record is, it's always a battle. They have a good defense over there as well. It's always a battle, and we just lost that one."

(On if any Rams players showed more than expected...) "No, I mean we knew what they were going to run. It was just all about stopping it. Maybe not being in your gap, or just little small stuff that can be corrected, but it wasn't like they just came in and wowed us with different plays or anything like that."

(On taking lessons from this game into the postseason...) "Most definitely. Now it's crunch time. You make these corrections, I'm sure we'll see some of those plays again, you make the corrections and it's full go now. If we're going to do what we want to do, we've got to win out, and just got to make it happen."

FS EARL THOMAS

(On moving forward after the loss today...) "Well the good thing is that we're in the playoffs. But you want to capitalize on these moments heading down the stretch. But, you

always want to find out if you have problems or not, and this is a good situation to look at yourself and really take ownership of it."

(On if there was miscommunication between the defense early in the game...) "No, a couple of times the call was kind of confusing, but I don't think it was a miscommunication. People were just trying to make sure we were on the same page."

(On the fumble play...) "Man, being at the bottom of the pile, it's hectic down there...but I had the ball. I came out, and they said it was St. Louis ball."

(On fighting for the ball on that play...) "I'm [195 pounds], and that's a big O-lineman, so come on now. It's football. Initially, I did bobble the ball, but I had control of the ball."

(On if he thought he had control of the ball the whole time...) "Yeah, I definitely thought. I tried to cradle it. When everybody cleared, I had the ball."

(On not recovering multiple fumbles today...) "It seemed like the ball loved them more than the ball loved us today. It's football, you've got to respect the game."

(On how much the weather affected the game today...) "You saw it. From snaps, to the picks, even in the pregame, it was just a part of the environment today."

LB KJ WRIGHT

(On what the defense could have done better today...) "As a defense, I think we could have gotten more turnovers. We had a lot of chances. We had like three opportunities to get the ball back to the offense and we didn't do that. Towards the end of the game they started running the same plays on us, and we couldn't quite figure it out."

(On how much the momentum swung after the Rams fumbled twice and the Seahawks did not recover the ball...) "Yeah, we've just got to capitalize on those. We thought we had it, we've just got to make it more clear I guess to the referees that we have possession of it. But they got it, and they scored on us on that drive."

(On how difficult it was to tackle RB Todd Gurley...) "He's just like the rest of them."

(On not being able to make the right adjustments late...) "We weren't seeing it clearly. We finally saw it, but it was just a little too late. They already had pretty much the game won. So it's just something we can learn from, they're going to come back and do it next time we play them, we've just got to be ready for it."

(On how the defense played overall...) "Not good enough. We didn't get any turnovers, didn't get any sacks on them. We've just got to find a way to keep them to less points than us."

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