Seahawks coach Pete Carroll held his regular Monday press conference following what he called "a good solid day of work" in Sunday's 24-13 win over the 49ers in Santa Clara.
"Guys worked hard, played hard," Carroll said. "We dealt with some elements early in the game and kind of got through that, and we came out in the second half and got rolling pretty good. That was a really steady day of defense. Guys played hard and good and got after it, very consistent throughout the game. And once we got going on offense, we had a pretty good second half finish and did a nice job."
Here are five things we learned from Monday's press conference:
1. Injury updates.
Carroll reiterated what he said in a morning interview on 710 ESPN Seattle, noting that Kam Chancellor is out for the season with a neck injury, and that Cliff Avril, who is already on injured reserve with a neck injury, will have surgery Tuesday.
On Chancellor, Carroll said, "He feels good, he feels comfortable. He's not in discomfort at all, which is good… I'm trying to be really respectful of Kam and let him kind of call the shots as far as what's known and how he wants to talk about, because this is him. It's not us, it's him, and we'll support him all that we can."
On Avril, Carroll said, "I don't know what the future holds. Guys do come back from that surgery sometimes, and sometimes they don't. It just depends."
As for the rest of the injuries, Carroll said cornerback Shaquill Griffin should be back to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's game with a concussion.
The status on tight end Luke Willson, who left the game early with a concussion, won't be known until later this week: "He was OK after the game and all that kind of stuff. It's got to get through Thursday before you really get an indication."
On Dion Jordan, who missed the game with a neck injury, Carroll said, "He had a good jump today, just getting his strength back. He can pass the tests to get back on the field. I think he has a chance to practice this week. Don't know that yet, we'll see Wednesday, but he had a good positive day anyway."
The Seahawks could also be getting a couple players back soon from long term injuries, though not this week. Running back Chris Carson, who has been on injured reserve since sustaining a leg injury in a Week 4 win over Indianapolis is making good progress in his rehab and could be ready to practice soon.
"Chris could come back to action starting to work out on the field and all another week from now," Carroll said. "He has made tremendous progress. I don't want to rush him on anything expectations-wise, but he has had a great recovery, so we'll see what happens. He's running, changing direction, starting to do some more aggressive stuff this week. He has been running on the field and all that. Each staging of it depends on how he responds to it, so it's always after the work. So this week will be really important and we'll have a lot more information going forward. There's a chance, so we'll hold out hope for him. I know he's dying to play, and he has done everything you could possibly do, and he has handled the rehab to this point well beyond expectations, so we'll see what that means."
Cornerback DeShawn Shead is also close to a return from the ACL injury he suffered in Seattle's playoff loss to Atlanta.
"We're not going to (return him to practice) this week, but he's really ramping up this week to prepare for that return," Carroll said.
Second-round pick Malik McDowell, who has been on the non-football injury list all season, the result of a head injury sustained in an offseason vehicular accident, isn't likely to make it back this season.
"I don't think that's happening," Carroll said. "It doesn't seem like it is. There's not any progress being made in that direction."
2. Russell Wilson continues to show "that he's a great finisher."
In an ideal world, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense would have gotten off to a fast start and never slowed down in Sunday's win, but instead he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage and had just a 32.8 passer rating at halftime. In the second half, however, Wilson and the offense got on track, helping lead the Seahawks to a double-digit victory.
And a strong finish to the game was hardly an isolated incident for Wilson. His fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham was his 14th fourth quarter touchdown pass this season, the most in the league by a large margin (Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers are next with eight each). Wilson also leads the league with a 134.9 fourth-quarter passer rating, which is 15 points ahead of No. 2 on that list, Drew Brees. Wilson also has the most fourth-quarter passing yards in the NFL with 973, and ranks second in fourth-quarter passing yards per attempt with 9.1 (injured Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is first at 10.1 YPA).
"Well, I wish it knew it so I could make it happen in the first half," Carroll said when asked why Wilson was so good late in games. "But we have talked about it some. In particular he's a great finishing quarterback. His numbers in the fourth quarter are tremendous. His efficiency and his touchdowns, those are really special. I think he's such a tremendously instinctive football player, the more game he gets the better he feels, the more he understands how to take advantage of the opportunities, and he just continues to play better. I think he and (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) work really well together as they grow in the game. They communicate all game long, and they zero in and really seem to really hit it right as we finish. There's no question that he's a great finisher. His wins in the fourth quarter show that, but also just the numbers are there. I really think he gets a better feel for the game, he really gets a sense for how things are going to work and the defense he's playing against and the style and all of that, and takes full advantage of it."
3. The offensive line "did fine" and should only continue to improve.
For the first time since late in the 2015 season, Wilson was not sacked in a game, and while some of that had to do with his ability to escape pressure, the line also deserves plenty of credit for keeping Wilson upright. It was far from a perfect game from the line, but considering it was Luke Joeckel's first game back in over a month, and his first game next to newly-acquired left tackle Duane Brown, and considering Ethan Pocic moved positions last week from left guard to right guard, it wasn't a bad first outing for a new-look line.
"They did fine," Carroll said. "There's some real specifics in there communication-wise that we can be better at. We could have identified things a little bit more clearly. I think it was pretty much understood from the little time they spent together. But it was the first time in a couple years we haven't given up a sack, Russell did a nice job avoiding some stuff. But all in all, it was kind of like the first step together. I'm hoping that as we come down to the finish of this season that these guys can really continue to develop and we can play better and smarter and be more efficient, and that was a really good sign in that regard.
"I think we can (grow), I feel like we can. Particularly the confidence factor of the pass protection, zeroing in on running schemes that will fit our guys best—that has to do with the runner and also the guys up front. We're just still in progress. I know that's not what everybody wants to hear, but that's just the way it is, so we're just going to try to figure out how to max it out as best we can and fit it together so we can be an effective offense and help this whole team keep going."
4. The Seahawks are getting good play out of their defensive tackles.
Seattle's defensive ends came through against the 49ers, leading a productive pass rush that made life hard on rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, but the big guys in the middle of the line were also a big factor. That's nothing new for the Seahawks, who are getting strong play not just out of former Jets Pro-Bowler Sheldon Richardson, but also second-year defensive tackle Jarran Reed and rookie Nazair Jones. Those three have played well all year, and will be called upon this week as the Seahawks prepare to host the Philadelphia Eagles, who are averaging 147.5 rushing yards per game, the second best mark in the league.
"That is a good group," Carroll said. "And Naz has really helped us. He has had a terrific rookie season so far, being able to contribute on a regular basis, he has grown a lot. He is a really smart kid. He is going to be able to take advantage of the experience, and the jump he will make from year one to year two will be one of those obvious sophomore jumps. It is going to be fun to see that happen. But they are active. Jarran is a really good technician. He is really good at the line of scrimmage. The compliments I am giving Sheldon about disengaging and playing the run schemes and finding the football and the savvy that that takes, Jarran is really good at that when he is there. And really, whatever combination we play with our guys, we have been able to hold up very consistently in the run game and it is really going to be important this week against one of the best running teams in the league. It is just a good solid group."
5. Cutting back on penalties was "such a positive factor."
After committing 62 penalties in their previous five games, the Seahawks had just six penalties for 35 yards in Sunday's win. Most notably, a week after helping Atlanta's offense with two big pass interference penalties, the Seahawks did not give San Francisco a single first down via penalty.
"I'm happy about that," Carroll said. "We made a big deal about it in the meeting today. That is such a positive factor when you don't give first downs away to your opponent. So it was good, cleaner, better. We made real progress, did some really nice things in pass protection where guys were aware of Russell [Wilson] moving and we can see a kind of elevation in awareness and that comes with experience too, with the guys playing. We just got to keep doing it that is just one week."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 24-13 victory over the 49ers in Week 12 at Levi's Stadium.