By allowing the fewest points in the league for three straight seasons and the fewest yards for two straight, going to the Super Bowl twice in that span and winning it once, the Seahawks put themselves into the "greatest defense ever" debate.
But as great as the Seahawks defense has been, it isn't perfect or unbeatable, which explains how the Rams scored 34 points in an overtime victory over Seattle last week. But while it was unusual to see a Seahawks defense give up 276 passing yards—opponents eclipsed that total only two times last season—and allow eight completions of 20 or more yards after giving up a league-low 32 all of last season, the Seahawks are confident they can quickly fix what went wrong.
"That's what we were excited about, because they were all fixable issues," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "There wasn't any guy getting straight up beat. Dion (Bailey) slipped on one play, and that's fixable; he shouldn't have been in press anyway. You've got guys that missed tackles that they make 9 times out of 10. We're just going to work on tackling, work on tracking, working on the things we always work on… It's easily corrected. Like I said, it was a few communication errors."
The Rams deserve plenty of credit as well. Nick Foles made a number of impressive throws, dropping balls between coverage as he completed 18 of 27 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown, but the Seahawks don't expect future opponents to have as much success. The Seahawks rarely give up big plays down field, thanks in large part to free safety Earl Thomas and Sherman, but even when teams do complete a lot of short passes on them, they expect to tackle better to limit gains, something that didn't always happen on Sunday.
"Everything that happened in the game really got down to fundamentals and getting out of your drops and coverage, and the rushes, picking up formations and things, everything that happened was really fundamental stuff that you can fix," Carroll said. "And every guy in the room will tell you 'I could have done this, I could have done that,' and the coaches could've done better coaching it, I could've been better making guys aware, all of that stuff. So there's always room to improve, it's not something we can't handle."
Part of the reason the Seahawks defense is confident it can turn things around is that it has done so before. Even in its dominant 2013 and 2014 seasons, the Seahawks had occasional rough patches, but they were able to correct their mistakes and finish the season strong. In 2013, the Seahawks allowed 405 rushing yards in games against St. Louis and Tampa Bay, then finished the season allowing 87.6 rushing yards per game over their final 10 games, playoffs included.
Last season, the Seahawks had some struggles early in the season, giving up big numbers in losses to San Diego and Dallas. Then in a Week 11 loss in Kansas City, the Seahawks gave up 190 rushing yards and fell to 6-4. From that point on, Seattle won six straight to close out the regular season, allowing a total of 39 points while holding opponents to 64 or fewer rushing yards in five of those game.
"Everything is fixable," said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, the captain of Seattle's defense. "A lot of the stuff, it was our first game, we've got to get that communication down, and we will. We always have a game where something's not right, but we always fix it, so we know we'll get it right.
"That's the type of people we have in our room. We never get too down, because we know if we come back and put our heads together, we're going to fix the problem. We know the problem and we're going to fix it."
Nobody in Seattle's locker room felt good about the way the defense played Sunday, allowing touchdown drives of 80, 80 and 84 yards, but players and coaches can also keep that performance in perspective knowing they have bounced back from poor outings in the past.
"Definitely not our best job, but we have another week to go out there," Wagner said. "There's no reason to panic, it's just one game."
Of course fixing what went wrong last week will be a tough task playing against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay offense. Rodgers, a two-time league MVP, hasn't been at his very best against Seattle in three meetings over the past three seasons, throwing three interceptions and just two touchdowns, but nobody in Seattle's locker room is taking him lightly.
"The playmaking that comes out of him is just off the charts, and that's why people consider him the best quarterback in the game," Carroll said. "He does things that most people can't do, and his movement accentuates all of the problems that he presents, he has a great arm, he doesn't use it all the time, the big arm, because he doesn't have to. But when he needs it, he can throw the ball anywhere on the field. He's an incredible football player. So we've survived games with him is what it amounts to, and we'll try to do it again."