Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

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Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll called the team's 19-17 loss to Indianapolis in the Seahawks' first preseason game of the season, "valuable," and generally appeared to be pleased with Thursday's outing while talking to reporters on Saturday following practice in Renton, Wash. 

Carroll spoke positively regarding the play of rookies, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, running back Rashaad Penny, tight end Will Dissly, defensive end Rasheem Green and cornerback Tre Flowers and praised the team's overall effort. 

But the most important positive element from Thursday night had to be the play of the starting offensive line. 

"The first group did a real nice job on offense," Carroll told reporters. "We got to see our guys come off of the ball a little bit and protect the quarterback."

Preseason game performances should never be overblown, but those should be sweet words for Seattle fans after how poorly the offensive line played last season. 

Thursday's starting group of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi helped Seattle push its way 75 yards in 12 plays to start the game. The drive ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to Nick Vannett

The line allowed running back Chris Carson, seeing his first action since fracturing his leg last year against the Colts, to gain 26 yards on four carries.

“They felt strong," Carroll said of the line. "They gave Russ (Wilson) a lot of nice spacing. Pocket was very solid. He moved because he didn’t find the receivers where he needed to find them, open, so he moved to make them open and he did it. It just felt better."

The tight end position helped the offense line function well even without veteran and projected starter Ed Dickson, who remains on the active/non-football injury list and did not play. That meant more opportunities for Vannett and Dissly. Both, according to Carroll, played well. 

'Diss (Will Dissly) did a really nice job," Carroll said. "He did exactly what we hoped he would have looked like in his first time out. He’s going to get better and understand things more and be more aggressive. But, he already showed the big body, and he showed the ability to hold the line of scrimmage. Go to the big play pass that Russ hits to (Tyler) Lockett, he does a great job blocking the defensive end on the other side and just locks him out. That’s a real positive, that’s a real plus for us.”

Better offensive line play. A rookie tight end that looks like a keeper as a quality run blocker. Seattle couldn't have asked for much more in its first outing. 

Key players will play more in the second preseason game, Saturday at San Diego (7 p.m.). 

Sunday went perfectly for the Seahawks

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Sunday went perfectly for the Seahawks

Sunday could not have gone any better for the Seattle Seahawks, who no - for lack of a better cliché - control their own playoff destiny. 

A few days after defeating Green Bay 27-24 on Thursday night to move to 5-5, the Seahawks watched several would-be competitors for an NFC wild card spot go down including two teams that Seattle still faces this season.

Heading into the weekend, the top two teams in the NFC wild card race were Carolina and Minnesota. Both teams lost on Sunday. The Panthers (6-4) were upset at Detroit, 20-19. The Vikings (5-4-1) lost 25-20 at Chicago (7-3). Both Carolina and Minnesota remain ahead of Seattle in the standings but the Seahawks will face both teams starting this Sunday at the Panthers. That means Seattle could move into the top wild card position with a win Sunday at Carolina and a Vikings loss at home to Green Bay (4-5-1), or the second spot with just a win and a Vikings win. 

If that doesn't work out so well, the Seahawks would still have a shot to take care of business against the Vikings by defeating them on Dec. 10. 

Furthermore, Dallas won 22-19 at Atlanta. Why does this matter? Well, the Falcons (4-6) again find themselves in big trouble while the Cowboys (5-5) just moved back into the mix. This helps Seattle because it has already defeated the Cowboys giving the Seahawks the head-to-head tiebreaker, which they could never have gained over Atlanta and now the Falcons are a full game behind Seattle. 

Of course, none of the above matters unless Seattle wins games. It should win at least three of its final six: home against San Francisco (2-8), at San Francisco and home against Arizona (2-8). The way things are going right now, a nine-win team is likely to reach the playoffs. That means that should Seattle take care of business in its three games remaining against 2-8 teams, the Seahawks would need just one win over Carolina, Minnesota or Kansas City (9-1) to reach nine victories.

Defeating the Vikings, on paper, appears to be the more likely scenario. Nevertheless, this is the NFL where anything could happen. 

Seattle did not want Minnesota to defeat Chicago not only because the Seahawks face the Vikings but also because the Bears defeated Seattle in Week 2. So, surpassing the Bears for a wild card spot would mean finishing a full game ahead of Chicago, which has the tiebreaker over Seattle. 

Seattle's playoff hopes had a good weekend. 

Why Seahawks fans should pull for Chicago Sunday tonight

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Why Seahawks fans should pull for Chicago Sunday tonight

Given that Chicago defeated Seattle 24-17 in Week 2 one might expect Seahawks' fans to not be very fond of the Bears these days. 

But for one night only, Seattle fans should practice up their George Wendt and Chris Farley Chicago Superfans impersonations. Okay, they don't need to quite go that far, but Seahawks fans certainly should cheer on the Bears Sunday night when they host Minnesota in a pivotal NFC North Division battle.

Chicago (6-3) sits in first place in the division with Minnesota (5-3-1) in second. A Vikings' win would put them in first place and send the Bears to second place. Why would this matter to Seattle? Well, the Seahawks (5-5) are fighting for their wild card lives  and would much rather spend their time chasing Minnesota than Chicago given that the Bears hold the head-to-heat tiebreaker over Seattle, which hosts the Vikings on Dec. 10.  That game will give Seattle a chance to capture the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings. Although, that likely won't matter much given that Minnesota has a tie and thus can only end up tied with another team that also has a tie. 

Seattle could make up ground on the Panthers next week at Carolina. Winning that game would certainly give the Seahawks a huge boost in the wild card race. But Seattle winning at Carolina appears to be far less likely than defeating the Vikings at home.

Playing into Seattle's favor in a race with the Vikings is that they have a tough schedule remaining with games at home against Green Bay, Miami and Chicago, and at New England.

If the season ended prior to Sunday's action, Carolina (6-3) and Minnesota would be the NFC's wild card teams. Every other team in the hunt other than Seattle is below .500.  For all anyone knows, one or two of those sub.-500 teams could catch fire. Philadelphia (4-5), Dallas (4-5), Atlanta (4-5) and Green Bay (4-5-1) all remain hopeful that they can get back into the race. 

Whatever happens on Sunday, Seattle will at worst be tied for third in the NFC wild card hunt. The Seahawks would like to end the day only a half of a game behind the Vikings rather than 1 1/2.

And that, my friend, will be determined by whether or not Minnesota can defeat a team tonight known as, Da Bears!

Passionate halftime speech sparks Seahawks' defense

Passionate halftime speech sparks Seahawks' defense

SEATTLE - Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers sliced and diced the Seattle defense for 30 minutes Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.

He rolled to find targets short and deep. He checked down. He threw darts. He hit his targets. The Seahawks were at his mercy down 21-17 at halftime with Rodgers sitting at 214 passing yards with two touchdowns. 

Seahawks defensive line coach Clint Hurtt had seen enough. He entered the team locker room at halftime and according to safety Bradley McDougald, issued a "passionate speech," essentially encouraging the team to play up to its capabilities rather than be a doormat to an opposing quarterback. 

"It was something that we needed to hear," McDougald said. "He lit a fire under us. He woke us up a little bit. We were out there and we weren't playing like ourselves. We were giving up plays that we should't have."

Seattle's defense responded by completely reversing the tide of the game. Tighter coverage took away targets and greater pressure put Rodgers on the ground. He passed for just 118 yards in the second half and Seattle sacked him four times compared to just once in the first half. The Packers scored all of three points in the final two quarters and that opened the door for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense to drive 75 yards and score the go-ahead touchdown with 5:08 remaining. 

[RELATED: Russell Wilson finally comes up big, keeps Seahawks relevant]

Usually, that's about far too much time to leave on the clock for Rodgers. But not on this night. Seattle's defense held. The offense ran out the clock and the Seahawks (5-5) remained firmly in the playoff hunt while Green Bay (4-5-1) left still having not won a road game this season. 

Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin said that the defense made no dramatic scheme adjustments in the second half. The group simply executed the original plan and that included being diligent in coverage. 

"We held our ground," Griffin said of the secondary. "We knew he could extend plays so we had to cover a lot longer than we usually do. But we were prepared for that. It was cool to see everyone make plays the way that we did. We work for each other."

Defensive end Frank Clark had two sacks. Rookie defensive ends Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin each had full sacks. 

"We were able to apply a lot of pressure," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "We kind of got in (Rodgers') face and affected his throws."

Rodgers exited the night frustrated, blaming Green Bay for the its play. When asked what Seattle did to disrupt the Packers' offense in the second half he responded: "No disrespect, but not much. We beat ourselves in the second half. They brought a little more pressure, but I don't think that there was anything special that they did."

That extra pressure proved to be the difference in disrupting Rodgers and altering the game.

"That dude is electric," Martin said of Rodgers. "That's an awesome quarterback right there. He's electric. It doesn't matter if he's in the pocket or out of the pocket, he can sling it from anywhere. That was the biggest thing we've got to get home."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll, known as a defensive backs guru, expressed his displeasure in the play of the secondary during the first half. He appreciated the effort of the entire defense in the second half. 

"We had to turn it around," Carroll said. "We were off. We were not getting stops that we needed early on. I was upset about that. Guys rallied, though."

In the team's 25-17 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers two weeks ago, Seattle succumbed to the passing of Philip Rivers in the first half only to hold the Chargers' offense scoreless in the second half. However, in that game Wilson failed to make the right plays in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. 

This time around he got it done. During his post-game press conference, he shifted gears during an answer about him and the offense in order to acknowledge the play of the defense. 

"I thought our defense was lights out in the second half," he said. 

Because it was, Seattle remains in position to make a playoff push. 

Russell Wilson finally comes up big, keeps Seahawks relevant

Russell Wilson finally comes up big, keeps Seahawks relevant

SEATTLE - Now that's the Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks fans know and love. The one who refers to himself as dangerous in his Twitter handle had been anything but this season with games on the line. Not the case Thursday night when @DangeRussWilson arrived just in time to throw a game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to defeat Green Bay 27-24 and save Seattle's season. Well, to at least to keep the season alive for the time being. 

A sense of desperation filled the air at CenturyLink Field Thursday night. The Seahawks (5-5), losers of several close games this year, had run out of time for any further near misses. They had to win this game. So did Green Bay (4-5-1). The intense contest that transpired reflected the sense of urgency of the moment. The Seahawks and the Packers went back and forth, the latter being led by one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. 

Little evidence existed to suggest that a Seahawks' victory would come easily. That meant that at some point, Wilson would have to come up big in areas where he hadn't been so successful this season in order to match the play of his counterpart, Aaron Rodgers. 

Sure enough, the fourth quarter arrived and Seattle trailed 24-20, but with plenty of time to work with (8 minutes and 23 seconds) but 75 yards to cover. Three times this season Wilson had failed in similar moments, often times disastrously so. 

But on this night, Wilson rediscovered that clutch trait that has defined his career to date, if not this season. He orchestrated a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass down the middle to tight end Ed Dickson to take a 27-24 lead with 5:08 remaining in the game. The defense held. The offense grinded clock. Seattle won. Now it's off to Carolina to face the Panthers (6-3) in 10 days. 

Where had that level of play from Wilson been all season? Will it return again this season? If so, Seattle has a chance to slip into the playoffs. If not, Thursday night's victory only delayed the inevitable. 

Wilson promised all season that this relatively young team would find itself at some point. Yet, Wilson had been the one missing in big moments all season. Let's recap: 

  • At Chicago in Week 2 with Seattle trailing 17-10 in the fourth quarter, Wilson threw an interception that cornerback Prince Amukamara returned 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 24-10 lead with 6:37 remaining. Seattle lost 24-17.
  • Two weeks ago at home against the Los Angeles Chargers with Seattle down 19-10 in the fourth quarter, Wilson had a pass picked off by defensive back Desmond King and returned 42 yards for a touchdown that gave the Chargers a 25-10 lead with 6:44 remaining in the game. Seattle lost 25-17
  • Last week at the Los Angeles Rams with Seattle down 36-31, Wilson led a drive in the final two minutes that came up short at the 35 yard line after he overthrow a wide-open Tyler Lockett on fourth down when the wide receiver had first-down yardage near the sideline.

 

Thursday's performance more closely resembled the man who still has not lost three consecutive games as a professional after Seattle snapped its two-game losing streak on Thursday night. 

Wilson was spotty at times, including in the first quarter when he badly overthrew a wide open Doug Baldwin in the end zone.

"I missed a couple here and there but we stayed the course and had a great night," said Wilson, who completed 21 of 31 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.  

He was off just enough to prompt coach Pete Carroll to chat him up to make sure he was okay.

"He said, 'I'm going to be all right. I'm going to be all right," Carroll explained regarding the brief conversation with his quarterback. "And he was exactly right. 'Shut up, coach' is what he could have really said, but he didn't."

That's all well and good as long as the quarterback in that situation makes amends when it matters most. Wilson did so, and he believes this is just the beginning for Seattle. 

Wilson has likened this young team to the 2012 Seahawks who began to blossom into what would be a Super Bowl champion the following season. He's also compared this squad to the 2015 version that overcame early adversity to reach the playoffs. In fact, Wilson said Thursday night that he had recently watched some of the games from that season and that doing so reinforced his belief that this year's team is similar. Seattle began 2015 with a 2-4 record and sat at 4-5 entering game ten, just as the Seahawks did tonight. Seattle in 2015 then went on to win six of seven to close the season at 10-6 and land in the postseason. 

Could this team do the same? Maybe, but only if the Wilson of tonight continues to resurface in the fourth quarter when needed.  

On that final play to Dickson, Wilson knew his tight end would be open. So did Dickson. The Packers' coverage dictated so. It was simply a matter of execution. Both men delivered.

"One of the things that we talked about this week, and I kind of brought up to the guys is that we've got to think big, we've got to believe big," Wilson said. "We've got to believe that great things are going to happen. We've been through the fire this season...We're a young team but a team that has great faith in what we're doing. We were completely together in what we were trying to do. We just stayed the course. We were able to be clutch at the end of the game."

Most importantly, @DangeRussWilson came up clutch and Seattle needs him to remain as such. 

Rapid Reaction: 3 Takeaways from Seattle's win over Green Bay

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Takeaways from Seattle's win over Green Bay

Thursday Night Football between the visiting Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks did not disappoint. Two elite quarterbacks, a NFC rivalry, and a whole lot of cheese, these two teams put on a show in front of football fans everywhere. Even with quarterback Aaron Rodgers doing Aaron Rodgers things by passing for 332 yards, this is Russell Wilson territory. Wilson finally led his team to a fourth quarter touchdown drive and displayed excellent clock management to help improve Seattle’s record to 5-5 with a 27-24 over the Packers. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Packers 24 - Seahawks 27

Aaron Fentress, Seahawks’ Insider: Seattle's defense struggled in the first half with QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense (245 yards) but just like the unit did in the second half agains the Chargers, it played much better in the second half to give the team a chance to win. Unlike in that game, the offense also delivered.

Aaron Fentress, Seahawks’ Insider: QB Russell Wilson, who failed in the clutch in losses to at Chicago, vs. the Los Angeles Chargers and at the L.A. Rams, came up big in this game with the late TD drive to win it. Seattle will need more of that in the coming weeks to have a shot at making the playoffs.

Ashley Young, Football Coordinator: The Seattle defensive line had to have a big game against one of the best in the game, and that they did. Racking up five total sacks on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was crucial to not giving Rodgers all day in the pocket to pick apart the defense. 

NEXT UP: The Seahawks (5-5) hit the road to take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers (6-3) at 10 AM (PT) next Sunday.

Good news and bad news on injury front for Seahawks

Good news and bad news on injury front for Seahawks

Seattle will welcome back two starters for Thursday's game against Green Bay but could be without another. 

Running back Chris Carson, who missed Sunday's loss at the Los Angeles Rams with a hip injury, will start against the Packers (4-4-1) at Century Link Field.

"He’s ready to go," Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters. "He’s full-speed, ready to go."

Also a go is right guard D.J. Fluker (calf), who also missed Sunday's game.

“Yeah, both of those guys are really hungry to play again," Carroll said. "They were close enough that they might’ve been able to play last week but they would probably not have been able to finish. I think that all of our work and collaboration to figure this one out worked out well, and both guys are rearing to get out there and should be able to put up a good showing.”

Meanwhile, outside linebacker K.J. Wright is listed as doubtful with a knee injury. 

"We’re going to go up to game-time and see how it works out," Carroll said. "He’s a gallant competitor and we’ll see what it means, but right now we’ve got him as doubtful.”

Seattle (4-5) is in desperate need of a win in order to maintain realistic hopes of reaching the playoffs. 

Carson had limited participation in Monday's practice but full participation on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how Carson's return impacts rookie Rashaad Penny, who had his best game of season in the 36-31 loss to the Rams by rushing for 108 yards on 12 carries. Backup Mike Davis is also in the mix. 

Fluker's return was expected. Carroll said that starting Fluker against the Rams would have made it more difficult for him to be ready to go for a Thursday game. 

Listed as questionable are defensive end Dion Jordan (knee), safety Mo Alexander (elbow), safety Delano Hill (quadriceps) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (groin). 

Wright being doubtful is not a surprise. He left the Rams game with a knee injury and did not practice Monday or Tuesday. 

A Russell Wilson streak will be on the line Thursday against the Packers

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A Russell Wilson streak will be on the line Thursday against the Packers

In his the seven -year NFL career Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has never lost three consecutive games.

Wilson is 6-0 in games following a two-game losing streak, including once earlier this season (see chart below). His career avoidance of losing three in a row will be put on the line Thursday night when the Seahawks (4-5) host Green Bay (4-4-1) in what could be called the desperation bowl. The winner will be very much in the NFC wild card race that only has one team with six wins. The loser would need to get red hot in its final six games in order to get into the postseason after having demonstrated no ability to perform at that level.

Seattle, coming off of losses to the Los Angeles Rams (9-1) and the Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), has had trouble this season with high-end quarterbacks and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers is as high-end as they come. Wilson said Rodgers' ability to perform with games on the line is one of his greatest traits. 

“I think what makes Aaron so great is he’s clutch," Wilson said. "I think that he obviously has great arm talent. He understands the game. He works at it. He knows how to make plays. There’s only a few guys in the world, at every position, when you think about guys making plays in tough moments, like how did he do that – he’s one of those guys for sure. It’s always fun watching him.”

Wilson, during his career, has also been known for his ability to perform in key moments. Who will ever forget his heroics during a comeback win over Green Bay in the 2015 NFC Championship game won in overtime by the Seahawks, 28-22? However, this season, Wilson has been anything but clutch. 

At Chicago in Week 2, Wilson threw an interception for a touchdown while down 17-10 in the fourth quarter. Two weeks ago against the Chargers, he made the same mistake while down 19-10 in the fourth quarter. At the Rams, Wilson had a chance to steal a win with a final drive while down 36-31 but failed to finish the drive after reaching the Los Angeles' 35-yard line. 

Given the level of competition that remains on Seattle's schedule (Carolina, Minnesota, Kansas City), Wilson is likely going to have to play very well in the fourth quarter for his team to win enough games to get in.

Wilson said he believes that Seattle has the ability to get to the postseason. 

“No doubt," he said. "I think this team is a championship-caliber football team. I think we’ve shown that in terms of who we’ve played and how we’ve played our games, we’ve just got to finish the right way. We have no fear on this team. We’re completely together. We just have to remain steadfast and remain focused on what we’re trying to do. We’re going to make every attempt to make a championship run and that’s our focus right now. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Time is running out on Seattle to make good on that potential and it's going to be up to Wilson to perform well late in games Seattle is going to have a chance at avoiding starting a two-year streak of missing the playoffs and recording the first losing season of Wilson's career. 

[RELATED: Seahawks: It's time for more action, less talk of potential]

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SEATTLE'S TWO-GAME LOSING STREAKS WITH RUSSELL WILSON AT QUARTERBACK

2018: Seattle began the season with losses at Denver and Chicago before defeating Dallas at home. 

2017: Seattle got blown out at home by the Los Angeles Rams and then lost at Jacksonville to fall to 1-3. The Seahawks ended the drought at home the following week against Philadelphia. 

2016: Seattle never lost two games in a row. 

2015: Late in the season, the Seahawks to Carolina and then in overtime at Cincinnati to move to 8-4. Seattle bounced back with a 13-10 win at home over Detroit. Seattle ended the season with losses at Green Bay and at St. Louis, but the Seahawks on their wild card playoff game at Minnesota to end the streak.

2014: The Seahawks lost at the St. Louis Rams to fall to 9-2 and then lost at home to Dallas. The streak ended with a win at Washington.  

2013: Seahawks went 13-3 and never lost to games in a row on their way to winning the franchise's first Super Bowl championship.

2012: Lost at Detroit and San Francisco before returning home to defeat New England, 24-23 in the famous game that included Richard Sherman running smack at Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady. 

RB Rashaad Penny makes statement in Los Angeles

RB Rashaad Penny makes statement in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES - Rashaad Penny felt frustrated. Not because he didn't believe that Chris Carson deserved to be Seattle's starting running back, but because the first-round pick had been lost in the shuffle. 

He received just four carries against the Los Angeles Chargers last week and in Detroit didn't appear in one offensive snap. Deep down he knew he could get the job done. He just needed opportunity. 

On Sunday, Penny unleashed all of his frustration on the Los Angeles Rams during a 36-31 loss at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 123 miles north of where he starred at San Diego State. Penny rushed for 108 yards on 12 carries as the backup to Mike Davis, who started in place of Carson, out with a hip injury. 

Penny had runs of 38 yards and 18 yards in the first quarter, the latter of which went for a touchdown. On both plays, he demonstrated the same patience, vision and speed that allowed him to rush for 3,656 yards for the Aztecs. Penny said his performance was born from learning to remain patient, playing with confidence and letting the game come to him rather than overthinking. 

"Our offensive coordinator [Brian Schottenheimer] just told me to do my job, take one play at a time." Penny said. "I think that was the most important thing for me. I kind of worried about two or three plays ahead instead of the one play that I needed to focus on. Now I’ve just got to find my groove, and I think I am more ready.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Penny, despite falling further out of the lineup in the two previous games, had been working hard to become a better professional running back. On Sunday, Carroll said Penny looked like the guy they thought he would be when the team selected him No. 27 overall in this year's NFL Draft, and before a broken finger cost him most of the preseason. 

"We’ve been on him hard," Carroll said. "We’ve been challenging him to get right, work at the right tempo all week, find what it’s like to be pro, just teaching a young guy figure it out. He’s been very open, very receptive...Maybe from this point forward you see him just take off. He looked fantastic today. It’s great for us.”

Carson and Davis are power backs who run relentlessly hard, which is what Carroll likes to see from his backs. Penny has a speed dimension that both Carson and Davis lack. Getting Penny up to speed would add a dimension to the backfield that has been missing most of the season. Penny showed flashes of his abilities with nine carries for 49 yards at Arizona in Week 3 and his 43 yards on nine carries against Oakland in London a few weeks a go. All told, however, he entered Sunday with 146 yards rushing on 42 carries. 

"He stayed humble," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "He stayed working his tail off everyday. He’s going to be a great player for us. He’s physical, knows how to run it, sees the reads really well, and stayed the course throughout this journey. So, we’ve got a great stable of running backs."

Seahawks: It's time for more action, less talk of potential

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Seahawks: It's time for more action, less talk of potential

LOS ANGELES - The time for talk regarding the Seattle Seahawks' potential and how close they are to being a playoff team has come to an end.

For nine weeks we've heard from the Seahawks about how this team is constantly moving in the right direction. Following Sunday's 36-31 loss at the Los Angeles Rams, coach Pete Carroll insisted that his team is better than its record, which now sits at 4-5.

"I really do," Carroll said. "I've been feeling that since we got going about Week 4."

Carroll might be correct but the standings don't lie. For the fifth time this season the Seahawks exited a stadium following a defeat contemplating enough "what ifs" to warrant their own stat line in the box score. Sunday's loss included a litany of moments that the team failed to capitalize on resulting in yet another winnable game slipping away in the fourth quarter.

One would need a machete to cut through the team's frustration levels at this point.

"It sucks, man," left tackle Duane Brown said. "It hurts."

From an outside perspective, losing a close game at the home field of a Super Bowl contender could be viewed as a positive sign that the Seahawks are indeed playoff caliber. But time is running out on. If Seattle wants to be a playoff team it must defeat at least one playoff contender. The closest among the vanquished to date that fit such a designation is Dallas (4-5). The other three wins have come against Arizona (2-7), Detroit (3-6) and Oakland (1-8). Not exactly a resounding resume.

Yet, the Seahawks certainly have the feel of being a good team, and that shined through on Sunday.

"I love the way we're playing," Carroll said.

He has reason to. Seattle, minus starting running back Chris Carson and right guard D.J. Fluker, whose return to the lineup in Week 3 sparked a run game revival, managed to rush for a season-high 273 yards (92 from quarterback Russell Wilson). The defense, which had been playing well since the last meeting with the Rams (a 33-31 loss at home) wasn't particularly great on Sunday, but when again, what defense has against these Rams?

Alas, none of that matters anymore. Seattle, starting Thursday against Green Bay (4-4-1) at home, can afford to lose one, maybe two more games and still reach the postseason, and they have four games remaining against teams .500 or better. Lose to the Packers on Thursday to fall to 4-6 and that's a wrap.

"I definitely believe we could turn this around," Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "We have a tough schedule. It's going to show us what we're made of."

There are some legitimate reasons for optimism: 

  • The Seahawks have mostly lost to quality teams. Four of the team's five losses have come against current division leaders, twice against the Rams (NFC West), Chicago (6-3, NFC North) and the Los Angeles Chargers (7-2, AFC West). 
  • Seattle has played six of nine games on the road this season, which means five of the final seven will be played at CenturyLink starting with the Packers.
  • Two games remain against San Francisco (2-7) and one at home versus Arizona.

 

If Seattle can sweep San Francisco and Arizona, and take down the Packers, that gets the Seahawks to eight wins. Then they would need to get at least one win at Carolina (6-3), or home against Minnesota (5-3-1) or Kansas City (9-1), to reach 9-7.

That's all doable. Now, while that same record failed to get Seattle into the playoffs last season, this year there are only two wild card contenders above .500 at the moment and they are Carolina and Minnesota. The Vikings have a rough schedule ahead and very easily would finish 8-7-1 if that record includes a loss at Seattle. Just like that, the Seahawks would be in business. 

Of course, accomplishing any of the above is anything but a given. 

"We just have to stay alive," Carroll said. "We have to keep going and keep this thing going as we finish this year. A lot of games coming up at home. We've got to make a surge here and see what we can do."

As much as Sunday's loss hurt, Carroll said there was no negativity in the locker room.

"It's going to give us a chance to do something special if we keep hanging, if we keep believing," Carroll said. "That's the message. There's no negatives coming out of this thing."

Wilson, as he usually does, pointed everything forward and maintained a positive perspective.

"We have great faith that great things are going to happen," Wilson said.

He and the team have been saying such things all season. The time has run out on talk over action.