SANTA CLARA, Calif.—This is uncharted territory for the Seahawks, or at least for the franchise in the last 14 seasons since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010.
The question now is: How do they respond?
The Seahawks, who were playing with backup quarterback Drew Lock starting in place of Geno Smtih, showed plenty of fight on Sunday against arguably the league's top team, but ultimately the 49ers were able to pull away for a 28-16 victory thanks in large part to the numerous big plays they made on offense.
"We just got big-played by their guys on offense to win the game today," Carroll said. "There were just a bunch of explosive plays doing the things that they do. It was just stuff that they executed really well, made some great throws when the guys were open down the field, Purdy did a nice job of that. But just too many explosive plays to hold these guys in check. You've got to give them a lot of credit, they're a good club."
The loss was Seattle's fourth in a row, a first for the franchise under Carroll and Schneider. Prior to Sunday, the Seahawks were the only team in the NFL to not suffer a four-game losing streak since 2010, and while that speaks to the team's consistency over the years, the fact that they're now in the midst of this unprecedented streak means they have work to do to get back on track if they're going to make the playoffs.
"We have to win," said nose tackle Jarran Reed. "We have to. We put ourselves in this situation, now we've got to dig ourselves out."
Getting back on track won't be easy, not with the 10-3 Eagles coming to Seattle for Monday Night Football, but at 6-7, the Seahawks know a strong finish over the final four games of the season is a must.
"It has been too many weeks coming back after losses," Carroll said. "It's been a challenge, it's a challenge for all of us, and here we go again. We're going against one of the best teams in the NFC next week. This is the challenging portion of this season, we've got to see if we can make it through it. The fourth quarter of this season is still there for us to do something with it, and we'll see if we can. I believe these guys are going to bounce back and be ready to go again, it's a Monday nighter at home, and we've got to get ready and have a great week in preparation to do that, and see if we can get a game. We've got to get back on track, because this losing thing sucks."
After the game, Carroll talked to his team about staying together and finishing strong, then offensive co-captain Tyler Lockett also addressed the team, Carroll said.
Asked about his message to his teammates, Lockett said, "Everybody hates losing, but at the same time, you've got to be able to figure it out, you've got to learn from it, you've got to be able to not just move on, but learn how to move forward. We're playing great teams, but we're a great team ourself, so we've got to be able to just figure out, what is it going to take to win a game, because if you win a game, then you can get the ball rolling. Sometimes, you need things to happen in your favor, sometimes you've got to go out there and make it happen yourself, but I just think we've got to stay in it. That's all we've got to do right now, just stay together, stay in it, and just keep playing."
With four games left, the Seahawks still can make this a successful season, but to do that they'll need to put this losing streak behind them and get on a roll to finish the season.
"You have two options right now—you can fall victim to your circumstances, or you can rally right now," said safety Julian Love, who forced two turnovers with an interception and a forced fumble. "We have four more opportunities in the regular season, and we have to capture them. Everything is still in front of us still, thankfully, but we have two ways to go. So each person in that locker room needs to decide what they're going to do."
The 12s made the trip to Santa Clara, California for the Week 14 division showdown versus the 49ers at Levi's Stadium.