Pete Carroll joined the team's flagship radio station 710 EPSN Seattle the morning after a forgettable day at Seattle's CenturyLink Field that saw the Seahawks (9-6) drop a 23-17 matchup to the NFC West rival Rams (7-8).
Against St. Louis, the Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 83 yards, had two poor snaps turn into big losses, and lost the turnover battle 3-0, all factors that Carroll said contributed to his team's inability to function, and ultimately, its first loss since Nov. 15.
"The best way I can explain it is we just gave them their opportunities and they took advantage of it and did a nice job," Carroll said. "We often say that the game's about us, and really in this case it really was."
Carroll didn't call Seattle's play in Week 16 a step back, not for a team that until yesterday had won five games in a row. Instead, he labeled it an "off-week" of work, one where "some uncommon things happened" and the Seahawks "really made it hard on ourselves."
"I don't think it's a regression at all," Carroll said. "I think we made a real bad performance show up."
Here's three more things we learned from Carroll's Monday morning conversation with 710 ESPN Seattle hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk:
1. Will Seattle Rest Players Against Arizona?
Despite Sunday's loss to the Rams, the Seahawks are still locked in as one of the NFC's two wild-card teams. Which seed Seattle will take - the No. 5 or No. 6 spot - and who its opponent will be - Green Bay, Minnesota, or Washington - remains to be seen. But as a Week 17 matchup with the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals (13-2) approaches, a common question amongst fans and media members alike is whether or not the Seahawks will consider resting key players for their postseason run. Carroll's answer on the subject was clear.
"When you talk like that you've got to think about we've only got so many guys able to play," Carroll said. "Who are we going to rest? How are we going to rest guys? We're playing everybody all the time anyway and doing everything we can to rotate and all that, so I think that's overblown. I think that's a real media thing. You could sit your quarterback down, or your star back down and that kind of thing and not give them a chance, but I don't see that.
"I think we're still playing to get ready for the playoffs and to make sure that we're right and we want to keep playing well. This game is really kind of a throwaway thing, I hope, in the midst of six, or seven, or eight weeks of improving play and all that. We want momentum. We want to play right. We need to get our game right. We need to play more than we don't need to play after looking at that."
Carroll said that's the way the Seahawks have always operated as they've approached postseason play in the past, noting, "We don't want to open the door for when you can let up. We're just going to keep going and keep battling." But the Seattle head coach also said the club wouldn't push players back into action who are still recovering from injury.
"We kind of think that way anyway," Carroll said. "We're trying to do that, we want guys back for the long haul, so we'll just take each case one by one and treat the guy and see what the situation is and we'll make good decisions on that."
2. Injury Updates
Speaking of injured Seahawks, Carroll provided updates on the status of running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen), strong safety Kam Chancellor (pelvis), and left tackle Russell Okung (calf).
Lynch, who has missed the past six games while rehabbing from surgery, continues to be day-to-day in his recovery.
"It's all just deponent on how he's responding and it's really day-to-day," Carroll said of Lynch. "He's trying to get back and get right. He's working really hard and he's challenged every day in his workouts, so that's what's important and when he's ready to get back and have a chance to play football, then we'll kick it into high gear."
Carroll said whether or not Lynch needs a week of on-field work in him before seeing snaps in a game "depends on how far back he is," but said if 'Beast Mode' is "really ready to go, he's ready to go." That determination will come when Lynch returns to the practice field.
"I think it'll tell when we hand him the football and he takes off and he's freed up and goes, you know?" Carroll said. "And he feels good about it and then he comes back the next day and he's OK, and the next day. He's got to put days back to back and he's been doing that and then we'll need to see him football-wise when the time comes."
On Chancellor and Okung, each of whom missed Sunday's game against St. Louis after being listed as questionable on Friday, Carroll said, "We'll have to wait and see."
"Kam made some progress, but it's still been very slow for him and it's been a very difficult injury," Carroll said. "He's fighting it to get back, but he was a little bit better yesterday I understand, I didn't see the workout with him but the guys said he did a little bit better, but it's still a battle. We don't know that he's going to make it back yet.
"Okung has to get to running first. He's not there yet."
3. The Focus Moving Forward
The Seahawks ran the football 22 times for 60 yards yesterday, snapping their streak of 25 straight games with at least 100 yards rushing as a team. Part of that had to do with those self-inflicted wounds Carroll mentioned, but the Seahawks also went down 10-0 in the first quarter and trailed 16-3 at halftime, scenarios that forced Seattle to move away from its ground game quicker than Carroll liked.
"We want to go back to balling like we did and that means we've got to get the football run," Carroll said. "We lost our rhythm in the game and we shifted gears a little bit because we were having problems and we don't ever want to go there, we felt like we had to, and I want to get back to being on schedule."
Carroll called out third down as an area where the offense excelled - the Seahawks converted 47 percent of their plays (8-of-17) in that situation, but he wanted it to play more of a positive factor in the game, referring to those negative plays that consistently held Seattle's offense back.
"We'll see if we can clean it back up again and get rolling," Carroll said as the Seahawks look ahead to their regular-season finale against Arizona. "… This is a game that's necessary to get ready for playoff football. It'll be a cool matchup."
The last home game of the regular season ended with a 23-17 loss as the visiting Rams earned their first victory at CenturyLink Field since 2004.