It could be time to take the Seattle Seahawks seriously.
Seattle went into Detroit on Sunday and won 28-14 in mostly dominant fashion to earn their most impressive victory of the season.
Such a win should make one believe that at the very least Seattle (4-3) has a strong chance to make a playoff push despite a rough schedule ahead. This is not to say that defeating the Lions (3-4) required a Herculean effort. Still, Detroit had won three out of four games and had taken down Green Bay (3-3-1) and New England (5-2) in Ford field.
As it turned out, Detroit had no shot against Seattle. The Lions very much looked to be inferior to Seattle, which has now won four out of five with that lone loss coming to the Los Angeles Rams (8-0) by the count of 33-31.
What winning on Sunday did for Seattle was make it virtually impossible to not at least finish .500. Seattle has two games remaining against San Francisco (1-7) and Arizona (2-6). Winning all three would put the Seahawks at seven victories. Can they then reach 10-6 by finding four additional wins within the remaining games on the schedule against the likes of the Los Angeles Chargers (5-2) at home, at the Rams, home vs. Green Bay (3-3-1), at Carolina (6-2) and home against both Minnesota (4-3-1) and Kansas City (7-1)? Possibly, especially considering that four of those games will be at CenturyLink Field where Seattle has played just twice this season.
"We've been doing some traveling and our guys have really responded beautifully," Carroll said. "And it doesn't matter where we play to get the style of play that we want."
The style of play is to pound the ball. Pressure the quarterback. Find the end zone.
Ah yes. Run the football. Seattle entered the game red hot in the rushing department and facing a weak rushing defense. What was expected to happen did happen. Seattle rushed for 176 yards, the team's second highest total of the season, with Chris Carson going for 105.
"We ran it 42 times today," Carroll said. "I couldn't be more fired up about that. That's just commitment. And it's attitude. And it's what we're trying to do."
The rushing attack, which helped Seattle keep the call for nearly 35 minutes, was so dominant that quarterback Russell Wilson only threw the ball 17 times. He completed 14 of them for 248 yards and three touchdowns to wide receivers Tyler Lockett and David Moore, and tight end Ed Dickson, making his season debut with the Seahawks.
"Beautiful game," Carroll said of Wilson. "He played a great football game today."
"You can talk about all of the other stuff that happened but they rushed the ball for 30 yards today," Carroll said. "And that's a team that wanted to run the football."
Carroll praised the defensive line for doing its job without a plethora of special schemes.
Seattle now has 16 forced turnovers with 10 interceptions. Carroll said the team's goal was to reach double digits in interceptions by Week 8. It's game seven.
"I'm really fired up to get to where we are," Carroll said.
Something else that's obvious is that this team is having fun. The enthusiasm is real and it appears to be paying off for this team on the scoreboard.
"The great thing about our team right now is that it doesn't matter who is making the plays," Wilson told reporters. "It doesn't matter what's going on. At the end of the day, all we have is each other. And all that matters is us winning and finding a way to win. That's really showed up the past several weeks."
So much so that the Seahawks are above .500 for the first time this season and appear to playing well in all phases of the game. Can it last? We shall see. The road doesn't get any easier.
"Hopefully," Carroll said. "We just keep on cranking and keep going forward."