SEATTLE, Wash. — For the fifth season in a row and sixth time in seven years, the Seattle Seahawks will be contestants in the NFL postseason.
Following a 24-3 defeat of the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football, the Seahawks (9-4-1) clinched the NFC West division, the fourth division title for Seattle since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010. The Seahawks had two ways to clinch in Week 15: defeating or tying the Rams, or the Arizona Cardinals losing to the New Orleans Saints.
"I think it's a huge significance in terms of consistency and it's something that we really do take great pride in because of the implications for the playoffs," Carroll said of the significance of winning a division championship. "That's what it's all about. The division allows you to have a home game in the playoffs, which why wouldn't you want to play here? So we really focus on getting to the point where we have a chance to win this thing so that we can get at home and you just keep going and see how many times you can be able to play at home from this point. But it's really about the consistency and that's something that's truly important I think as we look at our program. Do we continue to show that we're up there and we can continue to keep coming back? I think that's about as good as you can do in sports."
Thursday night's win also means that the Seahawks are the first team in the NFL to clinch a division title this season.
"It has been strange," Carroll said of his team's path to this year's NFC West crown. "It's been different than any of the years that we've had. Other teams in the division have struggled and so it made it available to us in a sense, even with the play that we're not as happy about, having four losses at this time. Think about how many games have been so close and stuff like that as well — save the Packer thing — but we've just been out in front the whole time, so we knew that and we're working with that."
Against the Rams, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 19 of 26 passes for 229 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while Seattle's defense held Los Angeles to a mere 183 net yards.
Although the Dallas Cowboys (11-2), currently sit atop the conference, the Seahawks are still in the hunt to claim a first-round bye in the playoffs with the No. 2 seed.
The Seahawks have two remaining games to conclude the 2016 regular season to improve those chances — both against divisional opponents Arizona and San Francisco. Regardless of how the remaining schedule plays out for Seattle, they'll be competing to bring the Vince Lombardi trophy home.
The Seahawks have made a trip to the Super Bowl in two of the last three NFL seasons.
You can follow the latest movement across NFL playoff standings here.
Seahawks players and coaches react in the locker room following a 24-3 NFC West-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Rams.