SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The Seahawks started Sunday's game against the 49ers without starting quarterback Geno Smith, who was inactive due to a groin injury. Then as the game unfolded, they lost one of their top defensive players, with rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon exiting the game in the first quarter with a rib injury.
"Spoon got bruised ribs," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We don't know how extensive that is; if he could have gone back in, he would have."
Witherspoon's absence was definitely felt in Seattle's 28-16 loss, particularly with the 49ers taking advantage of so many big plays.
"Spoon would have made some tackles that we missed today," Carroll said. "He's a ballplayer and he gets guys on the ground. He's in the nickel spot, he'd be inside and he'd have made some of those plays. He's just really good at it, so we really did miss him, without a question."
The only other player to leave the game with an injury was cornerback Artie Burns, who took over the nickel role from Witherspoon before exciting with a knee injury.
"Artie Bruns got banged a little bit, but he should be OK," Carroll said. "So we came out of it all right."
As for Smith, who worked out prior to the game before being declared inactive, Carroll said his starting quarterback wanted to play, but that they didn't feel like it was the right thing to do to let him play with the injury.
"He ran around a little bit and threw the ball, but he couldn't go," Carroll said. "He couldn't go in one direction with any confidence. If he could have, he would have played for sure. He was absolutely of the mindset to go, and he came out early today and went through an extensive workout. He got a lot of stuff done under control, but he didn't' have it, he didn't have the ability to push in one direction. That's classic for a groin injury. So it just wasn't the right thing to do to throw him out there under those circumstances. He didn't call it off, he made me call him off. He wanted to go."
Carroll said he does not know yet if either Smith or Witherspoon will be back for next week's Monday night game against the Eagles.
"(Smith) couldn't play today," Carroll said. "He wanted to go out there and slug it out, but it was right to not play him. we'll just have to go day-to-day and see how he goes and see how much he comes back. It'll be like Spoon's injury, those ribs, you've got to go day-to-day and see how he can respond to it. We won't know until all the way until game time, I'm sure. And same thing with Geno."
The 12s made the trip to Santa Clara, California for the Week 14 division showdown versus the 49ers at Levi's Stadium.