The Seahawks are back on the road this week, heading to Houston where they'll look to build off the success they found in Sunday's win over the 49ers. But before we turn our attention to that game, it's time once again to open up the mailbag and answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to every who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
Zach Jerchau from Lititz, Pennsylvania asks, "Do you believe the Seahawks can make the playoffs. We have to win out, but I believe this team absolutely can. Thoughts?
A: I guess there are two questions in play here, can the Seahawks win out, and if they can, is 9-8 good enough to get into the playoffs. Winning six in a row is a challenge, to be sure, and the Seahawks still have to play road division games against the Rams and Cardinals, so winning their next five is a very challenging task. That being said, we've seen the Seahawks defense play well enough to keep them in a lot of games this season even when the offense is struggling, including losses to Arizona and Los Angeles before those teams were able to put the game away late. If the progress we saw from the offense on Sunday continues and Russell Wilson is back to his pre-injury Pro-Bowl self, then winning out is definitely possible for this team, even if it's not incredibly likely.
And what would that mean for the Seahawks' playoff chances if they could put that kind of finish together? Well, the good news is that nobody in the NFC is running away with the Wild Card spots with the exception of maybe the Rams, who at 8-4 have a healthy lead on the rest of the NFC's non-division leaders. But after the Rams, there are currently no non-division leaders with winning records, and only two teams, the 6-6 49ers and Washington Football Team, with non-losing records. So yes, a 9-8 team has a very good shot at getting one of the last two Wild Card spots, but the other issue the Seahawks will likely be contending with, should they get there, are tie-breakers, and three other Wild Card hopefuls, New Orleans, Washington and Minnesota, have the head-to-head advantage over Seattle, though the Seahawks would have a tiebreaker over San Francisco with two wins over the 49ers. Things get a lot more complicated if more than two teams are tied, but we'll get into those scenarios later if they come into play.
By starting 3-8, the Seahawks made their path to the playoffs very, very difficult, but for now at least, they're not out of it, and Pete Carroll and his team still believe.
@holliWinters asks, "That fake punt by the Seahawks was amazing. Is Pete Carroll ready to throw caution to the wind and do whatever it takes to win?"
A: Carroll did acknowledge yesterday that he was indeed in a go-for-it mode against the 49ers, with the Seahawks not only pulling off an audacious fake punt from their own 27-yard line, but also trying a trick play with Russell Wilson throwing a backward pass to DK Metcalf, who then threw back to Wilson, who took a shot deep to Tyler Lockett that went incomplete. The Seahawks also went for it on fourth-and-1 in the red zone late in the game rather than kick a field goal to go up 10 points, a move that both worked and backfired on them at the same time. Travis Homer got the first down, giving the Seahawks a chance to potentially score a touchdown or at least run more time off the clock before kicking a field goal, but a Gerald Everett fumble at the goal line ended up giving the 49ers the ball back with a chance to tie the game.
"I was just looking for opportunities to be clear about our intention and make sure that we weren't sitting back and kind of waiting for our chances at all," Carroll said of the aggressive decisions made last weekend. "Sometimes you can play the game, hold onto to the rhythm of it, and wait it out, and I didn't want to wait it out in this game. I had a lot of respect for (the 49ers), I thought they had a chance to be really explosive on both sides of the football, and we needed to be really going for it and not waiting to see how the game turned out in this case, because they were playing so well. That probably was what upped me a little bit in the things that we did. I was jacked up about the game just like the players were. I was just playing it with them."
As for the question of whether or not Carroll will take on this more aggressive approach the rest of the way, well that's not something he's going to divulge just yet.
"You'll have to just wait and see how we decide," he said. "We may, we may not. I would say this, it is definitely always in me. I'm fighting the urge always."
@kmasterman asks, "What was Pete Carroll thinking watching the Patriots attempt only three passes on Monday Night Football?"
A: With strong winds in Buffalo making it hard to throw the ball (or kick it for that matter) on Monday night, the Patriots took a very old-school approach on their way to a 14-10 win, rushing 46 times for 222 yards while attempting only three passes. And as you might expect, Seahawks fans on Twitter had a good time with it, finding creative ways to point out how much Carroll must have loved seeing such a run-heavy game.
And while the jokes, some of them at least, were funny, the game did serve to illustrate a point Carroll often makes about balance that I think gets missed too often when people refer to him having a run-first philosophy even though he never actually uses the term run-first to talk about his team's offense.
Yes, Carroll wants to have a running game in no small part because with that comes a level of physicality you just can't get out of throwing every down, but when Carroll talks about balance, one of the main points he always brings up is that balance matters because he wants his team's offense to be able to do whatever is needed to win a particular game. Sometimes, when a team loads the box and dares a team to run, that can mean throwing a bunch, but other times, if, for example, it's December in Buffalo and the wind has the upright swaying back and forth all game, being able to run the ball becomes a must.
So yes, your jokes were great, but what the Patriots were able to do in terrible conditions were a great example of why balance matters to Carroll.
Matt Gregg from East Wenatchee asks, "I'm currently in the Army and stationed in Hawaii. I know the NFL goes to England and Mexico, but are there any plans to play games in Hawaii? It would be great if the Seahawks played a game over here.
A: First off, Matt, mahalo for your service. And I could not agree with you more that a Seahawks game in Hawaii sounds fantastic. Maybe in like November or December when it's dark and dreary here? Heck, let's make it an annual deal. In all seriousness though, I've heard no talk of the Seahawks or any other team going to Hawaii, and I'd imagine a big roadblock to that might be the stadium if the league doesn't view Aloha Stadium as having all the necessary amenities or the capacity to host a regular-season game. Again, I'm all for it, and if you want to start a petition, I'll be the first to sign, but I'm not too optimistic about it actually happening any time soon.
@eanorlin asks, "Fake tree or real tree for Christmas?"
A: Ideally? Real. Practical when you have three little kids and work pretty much every weekend from late July through early January? Fake. We used to have a real tree, and when my kids get a little older, I'll probably drag them out in miserable cold, rainy weather to cut down a tree, just like my parents did to my brother and I when we were young. But for now, our fake tree looks great
Take a look at wide receiver Tyler Lockett in the community, both in the Seattle area and beyond, throughout his eight years in the NFL. Lockett is the Seahawks' 2022 nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, given to a player for his excellence on and off the field.