The Seahawks head into their Week 16 game at Dallas facing a situation that's unfamiliar to almost everyone on the team.
A team that for six seasons has been competitive in almost every game it has played, the Seahawks were blown out against the Rams on Sunday, so that was a new experience for nearly everyone on the roster.
"That blowout loss, it was different, it doesn't happen like that," said safety Earl Thomas, who has played five straight games without Kam Chancellor or Richard Sherman.
And as a team that has been to the playoffs for five straight seasons, advancing at least to the divisional round every year, the Seahawks aren't used to their current situation, which is that they not only have to win their last two games to make the playoffs, but get a little bit of help from other teams as well.
Throw in an unusual amount of injuries to key players on defense, and the Seahawks are heading into their final two games of the season in uncharted waters. But despite all of this being a bit foreign, the Seahawks are confident about how they'll respond.
"We have never really had to face adversity in the season like this," receiver Doug Baldwin said. "We've had our struggles, we've endured some pretty devastating losses before, but I think just the timeframe in which we are in, the situation which we are in, the state of our roster, age-wise, so many different factors play into it. As humans, all of those have implications, so I think it's a different place for us. We are looking at it as some more adversity, but personally, I look forward to it because I know adversity only introduces you to who you really are, and if we can get through this, then we can really build upon it for the long run."
And if adversity is going to show who the Seahawks really are, Baldwin is expecting his team to respond well to their current situation, beginning with Sunday's game at Dallas.
"We've been resilient before, we've gone through trials and tribulations, we've had our issues, but we always seem to find a way," Baldwin said. "This is just a different test, guys are in different phases in their lives. Before a lot of us were single and didn't have outside distractions or other priorities, and now a lot of us are married, have kids, so priorities change; you look at the world differently. So these sets of adversities that we're going through right now, I think guys are just looking at them differently and finding out how to handle it, and again, I think we'll handle it well.
"Honestly, we just have to be ourselves, and when we do that with discipline and with accountability, we're really hard to stop."
When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked Wednesday about how his team was responding to a 42-7 loss to the Rams, he said, "We're rolling today, we're out there going and rolling, so they have no choice. We have to bounce back and everyone seems tuned into it and focused on it, and realize that whatever happened last week, we still have to win this week. It's really the same scenario; every one of these games are must-have games and championship opportunities. That's how we're facing it and they seem to realize that too."
For the Seahawks to make the playoffs, they have to win each of their last two games, and even if they get to 10-6, they need other teams currently ahead of them in the playoff standings to falter. But they know if they don't take care of business this week, all of those other scenarios become moot.
"I just think we've got to focus on what we can control," linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "We can't look ahead. We can't look at all these different things that have nothing to do with the game that is coming up. Our focus is making sure we go out there and we play like we are capable of playing and we get that nasty taste out of our mouth."
Thomas offered a very succinct answer on what the Seahawks need to do moving forward.
"We're about to go out there and ball out," Thomas said, noting all three phases need to "just do your job. Control what you can control."
As Thomas noted, it's on everyone to get things turned around this week. An injury-plagued defense, which had been so good against the run for more than two months, gave up 400 rushing yards in back-to-back losses to the Jaguars and Rams; the offense never got going last week and turned the ball over twice; and special teams was beat by big punt returns against the Rams that made a big difference in field position, and in turn the final score.
"We've just got to play better," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "We didn't play very good and it's really that simple. There is a lot of people coming up with reasons and thoughts and ideas and everything else, but it comes down to making plays and that starts with me and then goes down the line."
And like Baldwin, Wilson is confident the Seahawks will respond to this unfamiliar situation in a positive way this week.
"If anybody likes adversity, this football team does, in the sense that we can handle adversity," Wilson said. "We can handle the circumstances that we are in. Reality is, we can't determine what everybody else does. All we can do is what we can control, and that's playing great football and that's having a great week of practice and that's focusing on today, and then from there, you move forward and hope that the ball bounces your way."
Photos from Thursday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as the Seahawks ready for their Week 16 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.