It was, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put it, "a very unusual situation" at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Sunday.
While most of the NFL was playing games, the Seahawks, who played on Thanksgiving, then play on Thursday again in Week 13, were hitting the practice field to get ready for their upcoming trip to Dallas.
"It's weird just watching the games on right now and we're about to go to practice," receiver DK Metcalf said. "It just feels weird practicing a Wednesday on a Sunday, but I'm ready to get back to work."
To most of the world, it was a Sunday to cap a holiday weekend, but for the Seahawks it was already Wednesday.
"It's a very unusual situation where we are right now," Carroll said. "The league is playing and we're not and we're sitting here trying to picture that this is a Wednesday preparation and it's the middle of the weekend here. It's the same for both sides and we'll figure it out… It's a huge matchup for us coming up on Thursday. It's a big opportunity again against a team that is high-flying and rolling. They've been as hot as you can get. Having a great year with some really highlighted, spotlight players on both sides of the football and in the kicking game. It's as tough as a matchup as we can get, and we have to step to it and take it on and make sure that we do everything we can to get it right. Can't miss this opportunity."
The word opportunity came up several times for Carroll on this Sunday/Wednesday, because he knows his team has a big test coming up in the form of an 8-3 Cowboys team that has won 13 straight homes games, and because he and the rest of the coaching staff have a big job this week to get the team back on track after the Seahawks lost to the 49ers on Thanksgiving, marking the first time this season they have lost consecutive games.
"We're talking about getting right and getting back on course and making sure that we're tuned in, in the right ways," Carroll said. "We get to have a normal routine this week, and we're going to make it as typical as we can, so they feel comfortable about the rhythm of it. It wasn't like that last week. These guys, particularly the young guys, it will really help them be on track."
Carroll said this Thursday-to-Thursday schedule, a first for the Seahawks, requires, "just turning your brain around because you feel like you're on a different planet. There is a challenge to that, but that's why we try to get back right in the routine, so it feels the same regardless and it's kind of like a time-warp, and we just go at it. We're off to a good start today, and this practice will be really important to see where we are."
Thursday's game is the second of four straight for Seattle against some of the NFC's elite, a stretch that begin with last week's loss to the 49ers, and continues with games against the Cowboys, 49ers again, then Eagles. At 6-5, the Seahawks aren't where they want to be in the standings, but they also know everything is still out there for them if they can right the ship, starting this week.
"This is an enormous opportunity for us," Carroll said. "They're all huge. Next week and the next week. I look at the schedule, I know what's coming. Every one of those games are enormous opportunities for us to figure in, in our division and still battle for all of that, that's there. The NFC games, huge. This one, because it's a Thursday-to-Thursday, and what happened last Thursday, it's a big opportunity right here. I don't want to miss this."
The Seahawks feel like they have not played up to their capabilities this season, and while the downside of that has been a 6-5 record, the positive to take out of that is that there is still better play to be captured, with the hope being that those improvements begin this week in Dallas.
"Just still trying to find our identity, we still haven't played a complete game," Metcalf said. "I think that's the only positive we can take away from this point of our season. We still got work to do still have some areas to improve, But I think our best ball is still in front of us and we still have room to improve whether that's playing as a team or playing a complete game as an offense."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seahawks' Week 12 Thanksgiving matchup with the 49ers. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.