GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Seahawks could have easily lost Sunday night's game at Arizona. After all, the Cardinals only needed a 24-yard field goal in overtime and they would have a victory and gained ground on the first-place Seahawks. But then that kick clanked off the left upright, giving the Seahawks life.
The Seahawks also could have easily won Sunday's night's game at Arizona. After all, the offense, which had struggled all night before overtime, put together two impressive drives in the extra period, the second of which set up a 28-yard game-winning attempt. That kick was missed by the usually reliable Steven Hauschka, however, meaning the Seahawks had to settle for a 6-6 final score, the first tie in franchise history.
That unsettled result, and those two huge swings of emotion late in overtime, meant that players and coaches in Seattle's locker room weren't sure how to react following such a strange game and especially such a bizarre final sequence. One could argue that the Seahawks were both fortunate to avoid a loss and at the same time unlucky to have not won the game at the end.
"Well that was really an amazing football game," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I don't think I've ever been in a tie before, and my brain doesn't know where to go on that. If I have, I don't remember it, I've washed it out."
Carroll saw plenty of good in the game, most notably the performance of his defense that held strong despite being on the field for 90 plays, but despite the fight his team showed, he just wasn't sure what to make of a game that didn't end in a win or a loss.
"I don't really have a good place to make sense of this for them, because we just don't live this way, but the obvious was talking about who we are, and this team showed who they were," Carroll said. "Every week we go out, we try to put it on the line and show what we're all about and how hard we'll fight and how much it means to us and the character of our club, and that's what we did today. We just didn't execute and perform as well as we'd like."
Carroll said the way his team battled, whether it was the defense's performance throughout the game, or the big plays made on special teams, or the way the offense was able to move the ball in overtime after struggling so much in regulation, "just identified the heart and the connectedness that this team stands for and is all about. This doesn't mean we're not a good team or anything, it just means it's what happened tonight. What it does mean is you know who you got, you've got a bunch of guys who will give it up for you forever. It's an amazing group of guys."
Whether a tie helps or hurts the Seahawks in the standings at the end of the season remains to be seen, but in the short term, players were just as baffled as their coach when it came to figuring out what they should think of the result.
"It's my first time ever being a part of a tie," said defensive end Cliff Avril. "It's like, do you celebrate, do you not? What do you do? We'll just see how it plays out on the back end."
Receiver Jermaine Kearse said, "I don't even know what to do with it... I don't know how to feel about it. We tied. Obviously we want to win, but we didn't lose."
Safety Earl Thomas echoed the thoughts of his head coach, both in that he wasn't sure what to make of a tie, but also that he was proud of the way the team battled.
"It's a strange feeling, but after all that action, we're happy that we hung tough," Thomas said. "You can control what you can control, and that's what you did… It's just different. I don't have any type of feeling, I can't describe the feeling, but I'm just happy we hung in there."
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he was disappointed the game ended in a tie, even suggesting his own ideas for settling things if an extra 15 minutes isn't enough to do it.
"I wish there was a better way to end the game than a tie," Wilson said. "The game was just ugly across the board, from both teams, and it obviously ends in a tie at 6-6, that's no fun… I don't really believe in ties. I don't know. I guess it's better than a loss, that's one way to look at it."
In other words, Wilson wasn't happy with a tie, but he realized it was better than one of the two alternatives. Just like everyone else, he wasn't sure what to make of the first tie in Seahawks history. As Carroll put it, nobody's brain knew "where to go on that."
"I don't like ending in a tie," Wilson said. "That's just my humble opinion. I know if it was the Super Bowl you'd continue to play the game, so I think it should be consistent either way… It's better than a loss though."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 6-6 tie against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.