Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore (83) fumbles against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore (83) fumbles against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Patterson: Ugly loss changes narrative of NFC West showdown

Injury-riddled Seahawks have more pressing concerns than their playoff seeding

SEATTLE — Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals was supposed to be little more than an appetizer for the main course, an aperitif to whet the palate in preparation for the true delicacies still simmering on the kitchen stove.

Well, the holiday feast remains on, but now the Seahawks have to take their seat at the dining table while suffering from a bad case of acid reflux.

The NFC West championship still comes down to next Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, just as it’s seemed destined to do ever since their classic confrontation six weeks ago. But Seattle’s ugly 27-13 loss to the lowly Cardinals on Sunday at CenturyLink Field changes the narrative heading into next week’s division decider.

In the context of the NFC West, Sunday’s result was inconsequential. San Francisco’s dramatic last-second 34-31 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday took all the tiebreakers off the table. Next week’s game between the Seahawks and 49ers at CenturyLink — which will be the final game of the NFL’s 2019 regular season as it was flexed into the prime-time 5:20 p.m. slot— is a true winner-takes-all affair.

But the nature of the Seahawks’ loss Sunday means the mood around Seattle heading into next week’s game transforms from anticipatory to apprehensive.

Prior to Sunday’s game there were visions of the resuscitation of the Seahawks-49ers rivalry that was the NFL’s most intense from 2012-14. Sure, Jim “What’s your deal?” Harbaugh is no longer roaming the sidelines for San Francisco, but Richard Sherman’s agitating presence on the opposite side of the ledger is a reasonable facsimile. The 27-24 overtime game won by Seattle on Nov. 11 in Santa Clara, California, conjured up memories of the fabled “tip” game for the NFC championship in the 2013 season, which propelled Seattle to its Super Bowl XLVIII title.

But the way the Seahawks lost Sunday, being beaten convincingly at home by a down-and-out Cardinals team that lost its starting quarterback, is likely to generate responses less in the vein of, “I can’t wait to see the game between these two juggernauts,” and something more akin to, “How in the world are those guys playing for a division title?”

“Before this game everybody was talking about how we were one of the best teams in the NFC,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Now things are probably going to change. It’s part of the media process, right? We didn’t play great. Sometimes you go up to bat and go 0-for-4, sometimes you go to the gym and try to shoot and the ball doesn’t go in.”

But the performance was only half the story. The other half is the injuries. Defensive starters Jadeveon Clowney, Shaquill Griffin and Quandre Diggs were unavailable. Left tackle Duane Brown sat out, and after the game Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revealed Brown will undergo knee surgery that will sideline him a couple more weeks. And running backs Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (broken arm) both left the game with maladies that will end their seasons.

Carroll said Seahawks general manager John Schneider “has to get to work.” Those aren’t the words anyone wants to hear in Week 17, especially heading into the most important game of the year.

“Our focus is gone on (the Arizona) game, because it wasn’t going to be on this game after we got in this locker room anyway, with the game coming up next week,” Carroll said. “Everything comes down to the final week of the season. We’re fortunate that we have the chance to play for a division this late in the year. What’s important for us is to be disciplined about this so we can turn our focus and not be affected by what just happened.”

The Seahawks better not have been caught looking ahead, because while Sunday’s result didn’t have any effect on Seattle’s ability to win the division, it may have a profound effect on whether the Seahawks get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

Seattle came into the weekend as the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and had the Seahawks’ won out, they were guaranteed a bye in the wild-card round and a home game in the divisional round. But Sunday’s loss, combined with the New Orleans Saints beating the Tennessee Titans — Monday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings is the other key contest in the equation — increases the probability that even if the Seahawks beat the 49ers next week and win the division, they’ll fall short of earning one of the top two seeds and thus have to host a wild-card game.

But Seattle has more pressing problems than seeding. The Seahawks under Carroll have been renown for finishing strong. There was no sign of that Sunday. Another performance like that against the 49ers and Seattle will need to stock up on the Pepto-Bismol for the start of the playoffs.

Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been a huge factor in Seattle’s 5-0 start. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Grading the Seahawks at the bye week

Through five games Seattle is 5-0, and the marks reflect that record.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson reacts after throwing the game winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-26. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Wilson has been ‘as good as you can get’ for Seahawks

The star quarterback’s brilliant play has Seattle at 5-0 entering the bye week.

Ryan Leveck makes a jump as he makes his way down the slopes during the opening day of Stevens Pass on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in Stevens Pass, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).
You will need a reservation to ski at Stevens Pass this year

But despite capacity restrictions, the resort expects most skiers and boarders will get a lift ticket.

Washington quarterbacks Kevin Thomson, left, and Jacob Sirmon, right, drop to pass during NCAA college football practice, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Who will be the guy at quarterback for UW?

New head coach Jimmy Lake and offensive coordinator John Donovan are in no rush to name a starter.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fans or no fans, Silvertips’ season will begin in January

The WHL says that its previous requirement of at least 50% capacity in arenas is no longer an issue.

Turner Stevenson addresses the team during practiice Wednesday afternoon at Xfinity Arena in Everett on January 11, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett Jr. Silvertips move to Seattle Junior Hockey

The program will join the Mountlake Terrace-based league due to ongoing problems with ice time.

Community sports roundup: Local golfers earn alternate spots

A trio of county natives will be first alternates for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

The No. 18 car of Tyson Lang, Glacier Peak's starting varsity quarterback, races around the track at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe. (Photo provided by Evergreen Speedway)
Local teenager stars on the racetrack and on the football field

Tyson Lang is the season points leader at Evergreen Speedway — and also Glacier Peak’s starting QB.

Mariner's Henry Avra is fouled by Glacier Peak’s Brayden Quantrille while going for a basket. Mariner lost to Glacier Peak 90-87 in double overtime in a boys' basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New guidelines released for return of prep sports

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

The Central Welding Supply 125, which serves as the season finale at Evergreen Speedway, will attempt to run on Saturday, after being bumped postponed last weekend due to weather.
Season finale set for Saturday at Evergreen Speedway

The Central Welding Supply 125 was supposed to run last weekend, but was postponed due to weather.

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, left, smiles at Breanna Stewart after the team defeated the Las Vegas Aces to win basketball’s WNBA championship last week in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
POLL RESULTS: 2020 deemed the greatest team in Storm history

By a two-to-one margin, Seattle’s 2020 championship team out-polled the 2010 titlists.

Everett's Gage Goncalves (left) and Everett's Bryce Kindopp celebrates a goal against Seattle Sunday evening at ShoWare Center in Kent on March 8, 2020. The Silvertips won 3-2. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
New start date for Everett Silvertips’ season set

The WHL sets Jan. 8 as the new opening for the 2020-21 season; teams will only play division games.