The Seahawks came out of Sunday's 25-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers with just one injury to report, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll noted in his postgame press conference, and it was to long snapper Nolan Frese, who suffered an ankle injury.
"He sprained his ankle," Carroll said. "He was hobbling the whole time, and he did a pretty good job."
Carroll didn't provide any information about how severe the ankle injury is, or if it could force Frese to miss Seattle's Wild Card playoff matchup next weekend.
To keep his team in good health in the waning moments of Sunday's matchup at Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, Carroll said he made the decision to pull key players from the game in the fourth quarter after the club had learned the Atlanta Falcons had amassed a large lead over the New Orleans Saints. If the Falcons lost, the Seahawks could have claimed the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed with a win. But as it turned out, Atlanta survived a late-game rally by New Orleans to emerge with a 38-32 victory, which gave Seattle the No. 3 playoff seed with its win in the Bay Area.
"We had a chance to win it and try to take care of some guys, I don't know if you could tell or not, I'm sure you were wondering," Carroll said of the decision to pull players like quarterback Russell Wilson, receiver Doug Baldwin, running back Thomas Rawls, tight end Jimmy Graham, and defensive end Michael Bennett late in the game. "But we were able to do that once we heard what was going on in the other game. Whether that's right or wrong or not, I felt like I was in outer space with that, very uncomfortable. I can't remember really doing it like that, maybe I have, but I can't remember it. It's just uncomfortable to have to do that. But that's why we took Russ out and Mike B. and Jimmy and Doug and a bunch of guys, just trying to put as little pounding on them as possible going into next week."
Carroll said the Seahawks did not plan to rest any starters heading into the week, but the impending outcome of the Falcons-Saints game made the decision somewhat easier.
"I'm never in that frame of mind and I'll always challenge that thought, I hate backing off at any time ever," Carroll said. "I can't remember doing it very many times ever. So just thought we needed to do something to do what we could to protect ourselves for next week."
Bennett, Wilson and the rest of Seattle's players were prepared to play the rest of Sunday's game against the Niners, yet ultimately understood their head coach's decision as the team looks ahead to its Wild Card playoff game against the Detroit Lions.
"When he pulled me, I was like 'Pete, I'm trying to get two more sacks,'" said Bennett. "But he just pulled us out. It was one of those things where I still wanted to play, but he did what he had to do. We've got a bigger picture."
Added Wilson: "When coach made a decision, I was for it. I saw that some other guys weren't playing, too, and he's made those decisions. We knew that we were going to have a home game [in the Wild Card playoff round], so that was kind of our focus, trying to get some rest and trying to get ready, allow nothing crazy to happen."
Other than the injury to Frese, Carroll said the Seahawks are sitting in fairly good health heading into the postseason.
"We're pretty healthy across the board and these guys are really excited about whatever comes up," Carroll said. "We're looking forward to getting this thing started."
Action photos from Seahawks vs 49ers during Week 17 at Levi's Stadium.