The Seahawks were back to work Monday following a wild and much-needed win over the 49ers, a victory that set off a raucous scene in the locker room and that prompted Pete Carroll to shout to his team, "We ain't dead yet, boys!"
And while Sunday's win was just one of what will need to be many if the Seahawks are going to make something out of a season that started out with a 3-8 record before the win over the 49ers, the resilience shown in a season in which little has gone well, and in a game that started off poorly other than one big special teams play, did show the leadership that has been on display this year even in tough times.
More on that topic, and other things we learned from Carroll's Monday press conference:
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1. The leadership has been strong this season.
The Seahawks had lost six of seven heading into Sunday's game, then found themselves down 10 points in the second quarter to a team that had won three in a row, and yet the belief never faltered, leading to an impressive response by a offense that scored three touchdowns following a rough start, by a defense that pitched a second-half shutout, and by a special teams unit that came through with big plays all afternoon long.
"I would tell you that it's the leadership, it's the guys that keep the message strong," Carroll said. "We work really hard to stay connected, it's not like everyone is pointing the finger around here, that's not what's happening from me on down. It's really important that we stay together, so we've made it a big issue, always. You can get split up when you're doing well too, when people aren't getting enough praise, they want more, or whatever. They get distracted by stuff, so this isn't any different. It's all about trying to keep it together throughout whatever you are up against."
2. Rashaad Penny is just getting started this season.
Injuries have limited Rashaad Penny's impact this season, but with injuries mounting at running back, he was called upon to have his biggest role of the season so far, and he came up with some big plays, including a 27-yard gain on a screen pass, and an impressive blitz pickup that allowed Russell Wilson to hit Dee Eskridge for a 17-yard gain.
"That was a big play," Carroll said of the blitz pickup. "Guys really recognized that when we watched the film today as a team, we showed that play. This was a good start for him, I think this is a start for him. I don't really think that he has had a chance yet to start the season. This was the best opportunity that he's had and I'm hoping that we can jump from here. He does look explosive, you can feel the big play ability in him, and when he gets on the edge, like he did on that screen, I thought he was gone. Last week when he popped, I thought he was going to get out there and make great plays on both of them, like 20-yard plays on both of them. He is important to us, we need him particularly without Chris (Carson's) factor in here. They are totally different style runners, but yet they both factor into the explosiveness of our game. It's great to have him going, and I'm really hoping that he can have a solid week, come back, build one on another, and see if we can get rolling here as we finish up the year."
3. Carlos Dunlap II made the most of limited opportunities.
Looking to keep veteran pass-rusher Carlos Dunlap II fresh, the Seahawks have reduced his playing time in recent weeks, and while Dunlap has said he'd prefer to be on the field more, he didn't let the reduced role affect him in a negative way on Sunday, and in just seven defensive snaps, he made two of the game's biggest plays, a sack for a safety, and the fourth-down batted pass at the end of the game that secured the win.
"With the guys up front, you try to create situations where they can get their bang for their buck and really be really impactful when they get their chances," Carroll said. "For the number of plays he had yesterday, to have the impact that he had in the game was phenomenal. He was challenged a little bit by it, and he did a great job. He answered the call, came through, and really helped us win the football game."
4. Russell Wilson continues to improve as he is further removed from surgery.
While Russell Wilson was healthy enough and able to show in practice that he was ready to play coming out of the bye week last month, it has been evident in recent weeks, culminating with a very strong performance on Sunday, that he needed some time to get all the way back from his injury.
"I think he's over the top of that now, that's my opinion, but you would have to ask Russ particularly," Carroll said. "He will continue to work it because he still has to maintain where he is and try to continue to get better, but I think most of it is behind him now. I think it gets him more confident, more clear, more apt, more available to all of the factors that it takes to play the position and to think he's at it his best. Plus, he sat out for a month and just in of itself you're talking about a Maserati that's finely tuned, ready to roll, and it has to be prepared. We weren't able to do much with him when he was on IR. He's going to be better this week too, and I think he will continue to improve throughout the rest of the season. He will feel better about what we are asking him to do. Hopefully, we will make more plays."
5. Injury updates.
The Seahawks saw a couple of players leave Sunday's game due to injury, including Pro-Bowl safety Jamal Adams, and starting right tackle Brandon Shell.
Adams left the game in the second quarter with what Carroll called a shoulder sprain, and it's the same shoulder he had surgically repaired in the offseason. Carroll said there was no additional update as of Monday afternoon: "I don't have anything updated yet."
Shell, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury that knocked him out of the past two games, won't practice to start this week and his status for Seattle's next game is uncertain.
"B-Shell, he's been playing up against it," Carroll said. "He really couldn't punch late in the game, just like he was two weeks ago, so we've got to take a really careful look at that and evaluate that during the week and see what happens. I don't know that yet. We will not practice him Wednesday and Thursday, we're going to keep him out for sure, and we'll see how he bounces back."
In more positive news for the offensive line, left guard Damien Lewis, who has missed the past two games, has a good chance to get back this week.
"The two weeks he has had off will help that elbow and shoulder, and he should be pretty solid," Carroll said. "We've got to make it through the week."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers during Week 13 of the 2021 season at Lumen Field. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.