Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws as New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long applies pressure during Sunday’s game. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws as New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long applies pressure during Sunday’s game. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Seahawks say win over Patriots will boost confidence

RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks have a great deal of respect for the New England Patriots. Therefore, Sunday night’s 31-24 victory over the Patriots was no run-of-the-mill victory for the Seahawks.

Not only was it over the franchise that’s been the class of the NFL for more than a decade, with four Super Bowl titles since 2001 — including the heartbreaking last-second triumph over Seattle two years ago. It was on the road against a 7-1 team that was playing as well as any in the NFL. Add in the fact that the Seahawks were coming off a short week, and that the Patriots were coming off their bye, and the takeaway for Seattle was immense.

“What we take away from the game is we went into a very difficult setting in a challenging set-up for the week, and our guys took their game to the field and played the way we want to play, with the mentality we want to play with that was necessary to have a chance to win the game,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “Then we carried it all the way through to the finish and were fortunate to get out with a win.

“That just adds to your confidence, it adds to your knowing what you’re capable of doing,” continued Carroll, whose team improved to 6-2-1 and holds the second seed in the NFC. “That is very valuable. The games for us, the way we approach them is the same. But sometimes the takeaway, the learning experience, we benefit more than from other games. It doesn’t have to be a win that that happens in, but in this case it did, and it’s truly because of the stature of the opponent.”

One Seattle player whose confidence was sky high was quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wilson hasn’t been himself most of the season because of ankle and knee injures that took away the mobility that’s such an important part of his game. However, the real Wilson was back on display against the Patriots. While he didn’t gain a lot of yards by scrambling, he was able to make the type of improvisational plays that had been missing recently. Late in the first half he had a play where he rolled to his left to avoid the rush, then threw back to the right to a wide-open Doug Baldwin for an 18-yard touchdown. Then in the fourth quarter as the pocket was collapsing, he found a lane on his left, raced into it, then on a dead sprint threw to Tyler Lockett for a first down that helped set up the final score.

“I don’t think there’s any question that that’s the best he’s looked,” Carroll said. “He showed the most quickness in transition to begin the movement. There was a time when he really couldn’t get started fast, so he had to have space to start to move and get going. So you didn’t see him move at all. But he was alive in that game, he was all over the place and very effective and found three or four different plays that might not have happened otherwise that were really great. I think he’s really close to being all the way back, but I think he can get a little bit better, too; he could be just a little more fluid. But it was great to see him play like that: Good quickness, good burst, good change of direction, and that led us to some really exciting plays.”

On defense, the return of Kam Chancellor was a game changer. Seattle’s strong safety missed the previous four games because of a groin injury. However, he returned Sunday and was involved in the game’s most critical moments. He came up with the strip of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman midway through the fourth quarter that prevented New England from creating the game’s eighth lead change. Then on the decisive fourth-and-goal from the 1 the game’s dying seconds, Chancellor had the coverage on Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski that caused an incompletion.

“He brings years of experience and years of kind of counting on a great player to be a part of it,” Carroll said of Chancellor. “All that he brings football wise, savvy wise, adjustments, communications, all those things. But he’s also as hard a hitting guy that plays this game. That factor, knowing he’s out there looming and ready to make a hit, becomes a factor in our favor. It’s coming, so it’s that anticipation. And he’s a great leader, too, so he affects people on both sides of the ball just with his focus and his intensity that he brings. It’s all that stuff. And then he played really well, too, he did a nice job.”

For more on the Seattle sports scene, check out Nick Patterson’s Seattle Sidelines blog at www.heraldnet.com/tag/seattle-sidelines, or follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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