When the Seahawks lost a second straight game in stunning fashion, the postgame message was a simple one. As players huddled up in the locker room after their Week 6 loss to Carolina, Russell Wilson and Michael Bennett, among others, talked to their teammates about belief.
"Our whole thing when we broke the huddle last week after the tough loss, we said, 'we choose to believe,'" Wilson said after Thursday's victory over the San Francisco 49ers. "That was our motto the past week, just believing in one another, believing in our system, believing in our preparation, believing we're a great football team and believing we'll find a way each week."
Of course, turning things around isn't always an easy or straightforward process. The talk about believing in each other through tough times actually started a week earlier after the loss at Cincinnati, Wilson said, and yet the Seahawks still surrendered another fourth-quarter lead against Carolina.
But in their 20-3 victory over the 49ers, that message of belief seemed to hit home as the Seahawks put in one of their most complete efforts of the season, dominating their NFC West rival for four quarters. The Seahawks still have a long way to go if their 2-4 start is going to end up being a speedbump in a successful season, and not what undid a season full of potential, but players and coaches felt good about what they saw not just for four quarters at Levi's Stadium, but also in the days leading up to the game.
"We're on the verge," safety Kam Chancellor said. "You don't want to get too high, but we're on the verge. We're going in the right direction."
Only time will tell if Thursday night was a turning point in the Seahawks' season, or just a case of them beating up on a struggling team still trying to find its way under a new coach following an offseason of significant roster turnover, but going off the vibe in the visitor's locker room Thursday night, it sure felt more like the former than the latter.
"They responded well coming back on Monday," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "… Their attitude about it was that they were going to move forward. It's a huge asset when you have the ability to focus like that and let things go, win or lose, and come back to the work mentality. They demonstrated that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we did a full-Saturday walk-thru (Thursday) to get prepared. Everybody had the right mentality and attitude, and it showed. It showed, it was a really complete game for us."
When the Seahawks went back to work Monday after the loss to Carolina, safety Earl Thomas said that in that game, the Seahawks "were not being ourselves. I think we we're distracted in some areas."
Thomas didn't go into further detail on what was distracting them, but noted before a team meeting, "I think today's a big day for us."
Asked a day later how that "big day" went, Thomas smiled and said, "We'll talk after the game. You'll see Thursday."
What Thomas and everyone else saw was a team that seems to be getting on track, admittedly a little later than they had hoped.
"The healing process from the Super Bowl, it was still kind of lingering in my eyes," Thomas said following Thursday's game. "It was great to see guys respond, get that passion back."