Seahawks control own destiny in NFC West

RENTON — During a long weekend of rest, the Seattle Seahawks got the help they needed to take control of their own fate in the NFC West race.

And to top it off, coach Pete Carroll added a lighthearted quip at the expense of the rival 49ers.

Following the Seahawks’ dominating 19-3 win over San Francisco on Thanksgiving that improved Seattle to 8-4, 49ers CEO Jed York tweeted an apology to fans saying, “This performance wasn’t acceptable.”

When asked what his reaction would be if Seattle owner Paul Allen ever tweeted a similar message after a game, Carroll grinned.

“Our owner would never do that,” Carroll said tongue-in-cheek.

And once the chuckling subsided, Carroll added, “I would never comment on that.”

The atmosphere around the Seahawks has changed in a short time. When Seattle returned from its 24-20 loss at Kansas City in Week 11, the Seahawks were 6-4, three games out of first place in the NFC West and about to begin a rugged five-day stretch facing division foes Arizona and San Francisco. They were on the cusp of falling out of the division race and potentially the playoff picture.

Two weeks later, the Seahawks are in playoff position and, more importantly, control their own destiny in the division thanks to Arizona’s loss on Sunday at Atlanta. If Seattle wins its final four games — beginning Sunday at Philadelphia — it wins the division.

“One of the things that you love in competition is that you control your own future,” Carroll said. “We have an opportunity to do that and we have to do that one day at a time.”

Seattle has improved as its defense has gotten back to the 2013 form that made the Seahawks the best in the NFL. Seattle limited Arizona to 204 yards of offense and was even more impressive against the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick threw two interceptions to Richard Sherman and San Francisco was limited to 164 total yards — the ninth time since Carroll’s arrival in 2010 that the Seahawks have held an opponent under 200 yards.

Seattle is 18-1 in regular-season and playoff games under Carroll when holding its opponent to less than 250 total yards. The Seahawks have allowed one touchdown in the past 10 quarters.

“The players have just rallied to find their best. I think the ascending health, we’ve been getting stronger, and they feel better,” Carroll said. “The corners have come back to play, Bobby (Wagner) has come back to play, Kam (Chancellor) has come back, it just seems like that’s all added to it. But I think they’ve really rallied and (defensive coordinator) Dan (Quinn) has done a great job and the coaches have done a great job on the defensive side to keep guys growing and not get to the point where you get frustrated and where it starts to work against you.”

The Seahawks will still likely be without center Max Unger when they travel to Philadelphia. Unger missed the past two games with ankle and knee injuries, but Carroll said the target was for him to start practicing next week prior to Seattle hosting San Francisco. The Seahawks are also unsure if backup tight end Cooper Helfet will be able to go after spraining his ankle against Arizona.

NOTES: Seattle waived DB Loucheiz Purifoy on Monday after he failed his physical. Purifoy was signed on Friday following his release by Indianapolis. … LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, who was placed on injured reserve last week, will have surgery to repair a damaged labrum in his shoulder.

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