The Seahawks are back in Seattle after a thrilling win at New England, a game that was a "really cool night of football," not just because it was an exciting game, but also because it was a win over one of the best teams, quarterbacks and head coaches in the NFL.
Despite a long, overnight flight home from New England, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was on the Brock and Salk Show on 710 ESPN Seattle as usual on Monday morning. Here are five things we learned about the game and about the health of a few important players who weren't able to play Sunday:
1. Updates on Thomas Rawls and Michael Bennett.
Running back Thomas Rawls, who has been out since Week 2 with a fibula injury, returned to practice last week, and if all goes well this week, he should be available for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Thomas is ready to go, yeah," Carroll said. "We talked real earnestly about it on the weekend and he's going to practice to play this week, and if everything goes well, he's going to be able to play this week."
Rawls coming back would be a boost for Seattle's offense and running game, which already took a step forward Sunday with C.J. Prosise looking very good in his first start.
"I've been waiting for this one for a while now," Carroll said of getting healthy at running back. "We're ready for this to happen. We've been waiting for this mix, so we'll bring Thomas along slowly and make sure that he's OK and all that, not overwork him. He's in great shape, he looked fantastic this week. He just looked unbelievably quick and very confident in making his moves and stuff, so we're really excited about it."
Defensive end Michael Bennett is making progress in his recovery from knee surgery, but Carroll said the Pro-Bowler is still a couple of weeks away: "We'll see. He's doing great, everybody's raving about how he's coming along. A couple of weeks, probably."
2. Carroll had a lot of fun Sunday.
For the most part, Carroll said he had "a blast" in New England Sunday because his team won an exciting game against a great opponent: "It was such a fun game. It was such a good game for us because we were playing so well."
But Carroll also admits it was a little special winning in New England, where he was the head coach from 1997-1999 before eventually being replaced by Bill Belichick.
"It was pretty fun," Carroll said. "I've got to admit, I haven't had more fun just enjoying a win, so there's some stuff in there somewhere. It was a freaking blast. The way (fans) were yelling at me walking on and off the field… It was great, it was classic."
3. Decision to go for 2 was the Seahawks "just going for it."
When Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin in the end zone for the third time in the game to give the Seahawks a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, conventional wisdom would have dictated that they kick the extra point, forcing the Patriots to score not just a touchdown, but also a 2-point conversion to tie the score. Instead, the Seahawks went for 2 themselves, the reasoning being that had they converted, it would have forced the Patriots to score twice in the final minutes.
The Seahawks didn't convert, and while it obviously didn't cost them the game, it did make things a little tenser than if they had extended the lead to 9 points.
"Make them score twice to beat us, that was the idea," Carroll said. "(Belichick) wouldn't have gone for two if they had scored, they would have tied it up and gone into OT, that's what I'm banking on, so let's beat them, lets beat them right here and there won't be enough clock left. I loved the idea."
Asked if the longer extra point played into that decision, Carroll said it did not: "We're just going for it."
4. Kam Chancellor's return had an "unbelievable effect" on Seattle's defense.
After a four-game absence because of a groin injury, Kam Chancellor returned for Sunday's game, and he immediately made a big difference. Chancellor finished the game with 8 tackles, one forced fumble and provided the coverage on Rob Gronkowski on New England's final shot at the end zone.
"Unbelievable effect, he had a huge effect," Carroll said. "He was just there and on it, you couldn't miss him. He knocked the ball loose a couple of times, those matchups he was battling through to keep them at bay, somewhat, then his presence is just so meaningful, he's just a freaking stud, and he just did it again. It was awesome to have him back.
5. The Patriots made it tough on Seattle's defense, and the Seahawks will be better for it.
The Seahawks defense played well Sunday, and was great at times. So did Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive, not when an all-time great quarterback is facing an all-time great defense.
One example Carroll used to illustrate this point was the play of cornerback DeShawn Shead, who made some big plays, including the first interception of a New England quarterback this season, but also got beat a couple of times, not because he did something wrong, but rather because Brady and his receivers just made great plays.
"I thought (Shead) played a great game, and they still caught balls on us," Carroll said. "They extended us, which is what a great player and a great team can do, they extended us and made us play great. That's why this was a valuable game, because we had to play great in so many areas to hang in that game, and our guys were up for it."
See some of the action from Sunday Night Football, Seahawks at Patriots during Week 10 at Gillette Stadium.