When the Seahawks lost their season opener, Bobby Wagner and other leaders sensed the team was letting that defeat linger into the following week, leading to Wagner huddling his team up prior to the first practice of the week to give an impassioned pre-practice speech that teammates and Pete Carroll said helped them turn the corner and win their Week 2 game in Detroit.
This week, with the Seahawks coming off a lopsided loss in Baltimore, Wagner didn't get the sense that his team needed such a talking to in order to get back on track ahead of their Week 10 game against the Washington Commanders.
"I think it's a feel thing, to be honest," Wagner said. "I think it is a feel thing, and understanding the people that you play with, that's the biggest thing. When you have relationships with everybody, you can feel when guys are locked in, you can feel the guys are maybe thinking about what happened the play before, the week before a little bit too much. So a lot of it is just feel, relationships and being able to read the moment."
And what kind of feeling is Wagner getting from his teammates this week?
"That we're ready to move on," he said.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been getting the same vibe from the team as Wagner early in the week.
"They're going to bounce back fine," Carroll said. "We've dealt with all of that and just looking what it was like out there at walkthrough today, these guys are ready to go."
And Carroll has good reason to expect his team to bounce back well. The Seahawks have a process of putting past results, positive or negative, behind them after a "tell the truth Monday" in which they go over the previous games and take what lessons there are to be had from that game, win or lose. And while the Seahawks haven't been blown out often under the leadership of Carroll and John Schneider, they do have a history of responding well when those rare lopsided losses, such as Sunday's 37-3 loss to the Ravens, do occur.
In 2017, the Seahawks suffered their worse loss of the Carroll/Schneider era, falling by 35 points in a home loss to the Rams. The next week they went to Dallas and beat a good Cowboys team on Christmas Eve. The Seahawks also won following the second-biggest margin of defeat under Carroll, beating Arizona in 2011 after a 34-point loss to the Giants. The most lopsided loss after that, a 28-point defeat at Green Bay in 2016, was followed by a 21-point win over the Rams the next week. And this year, of course, they rebounded from the opening 17-point loss to the Rams to win in dramatic fashion at Detroit.
"I think the biggest thing is you learn from it, and you've got to move on," Wagner said. "There's a lot of season, there's a lot of stuff that we have to get better at and accomplish, but I think the biggest thing is understanding that it's a reminder that, if you don't come with your A game, good teams will beat you."
Getting over a loss doesn't mean sugar coating what happened. In fact, the opposite is what occurs the day after a game. The key, however, is to not let a previous defeat affect how the team plays the next week.
"Monday was kind of, we've got to face the truth of what really happened, and what really happened was we got beat," said receiver DK Metcalf. "They outplayed us, out-physical'd us, and they just flat out beat us… Nobody wants to hear that you just flat out got beat by another team, but that's the reality of what happened on Sunday. The move right now is coming in here and fixing our mistakes and just getting back to square one and getting back to the basics of football."
And while a rousing pre-practice speech wasn't needed this time around, the team's leadership still plays a vital role in a week like this in order for the Seahawks to be at their best on Sunday.
"It's the leadership attitude," Carroll said. "These guys that you're really counting on to send the message because the younger guys are watching those guys. How do they respond? How hard do they push? Are they focused? Can they turn the page? We have a very young team, and we count a lot on our leadership to send the right message. With Geno (Smith) and Bobby and (Quandre) Diggs and those guys that do that for us, it's incumbent upon them to live it right. They've come out of the chutes looking good, meetings were good today, everything about it was uplifting. There's so much football ahead of us. This is officially marking the halfway point, once we get past this game, somewhere in the middle of the week here is really the halfway point. We're officially turning the corner. Game nine for us and Week 10. This is a huge opportunity for us to recapture the mentality and make sure that we're on and we play a great game at home."
Seahawks practiced at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. on Nov. 8, 2023.