RENTON — This isn’t quite uncharted territory for the Seattle Seahawks, but it’s been a while.
For the first time in more than 10 months, the Seahawks reported to work Monday to digest a loss and prepare for what they hope will be a bounce-back victory. Prior to Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis, the Seahawks had won nine straight in the regular season, and obviously the day after a seasons-ending playoff loss presents an entirely different scenario than a typical Monday in the NFL.
It’s clear head coach Pete Carroll’s team has learned how to respond to a good performance with another one. And the Seahawks have shown they’re fine playing in much-hyped games like their early-season Sunday night showdown with the 49ers. But Carroll admits he’s a little curious to see how his team responds to its first regular-season loss since a 24-21 defeat in Miami on Nov. 25 of last year.
“Yeah, I am,” Carroll said. “This is just like coming off a big hyped game or the opener or another big win or whatever. All of those have an effect, and how much we listen to the hype and how much we let conversations get away from what’s really at hand, that can happen. … And we need to deal with this too. I don’t want to get real good at this — I don’t want to get good at playing well after losses — but we need to handle it well. I’m curious to see if we do, and we’ll take care of that stuff day by day and watch what’s going on and listen to them and make sure they’re on track and that we can get great preparation.”
What made Sunday’s loss in Indy all the more perplexing is that for once on the road, the Seahawks started fast, jumping to a 12-0 lead before seeing that advantage evaporate on two plays, one the result of a coverage bust, and the other a blocked field goal the Colts turned into a touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter, it was the Colts, not the Seahawks, finishing strong to close out a comeback victory.
“As we look at the vide of the game, we see so many opportunities there to have done better things and take advantage of opportunities and field position and all kinds of stuff, so it’s a very frustrating game to leave out there,” Carroll said. “We started out very well, played very well for a good part of the game, then a really good Colt team put it together and did a great job finishing the football game.”
Aside from those two big plays, perhaps the biggest difference in Seattle’s loss was the offense’s ability to convert on third downs, forcing an offense that was otherwise moving the ball well to settle for field goals on its three second-half scoring drives. The Seahawks finished the day just 2-for-12 on third down, something Carroll says is largely due to the pass pressure that has come with the Seahawks starting three backups on their offensive line for two straight weeks.
“The protection issues have made the quarterback (Russell Wilson) move quite a bit and it hasn’t allowed us to be on-time the way we’d like to, “Carroll said. “… That’s the factor that stands out the most.”
That’s one issue of many the Seahawks hope to solve this week as they adjust to something they haven’t experienced in a while: a regular-season loss.
Carroll said center Max Unger should practice this week after missing the past two games with an arm injury, adding, “we think he’s going to make it this week. Holding him out this last week gives us a chance to say that now, so we’re looking forward to him playing.”
Tight end Zach Miller, who injured his hamstring last week and missed Sunday game, will be day-to-day this week according to Carroll.
One potential significant injury did come out of the loss to the Colts, with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner spraining an ankle. Wagner did finish the game, but Carroll said they don’t yet know his status for this week.
Receiver Percy Harvin, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from hip surgery, returned to Seattle from New York where he was rehabbing the injury, and he created a bit of a stir on Twitter Monday, writing, “12th man im back and ready….countdown begins.”
Harvin is eligible to come off the PUP list next week, though the Seahawks can keep him on it longer if they don’t feel he’s ready — initial estimates had Harvin missing much more time. Carroll won’t put a timetable on Harvin’s return, but said the reports he is receiving continue to be positive.
“Percy’s back and he’s ready to take the next level of training,” Carroll said. “I know he’s very enthusiastic about getting going and getting back and all. So we’ll just have to see what happens, but it’s a very positive response at this point. He’s in really good shape to take the next step. He is doing on-the-ground running now and working pretty hard at it. We’re anxious to kind of watch him. Our guys worked out with him today — I haven’t seen him yet live and in color — but I’m looking forward to see how this goes. His attitude is perfect about getting back and doing everything he can to get out there.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.