RENTON, Wash. – As the Seattle Seahawks flew back from Toronto late Sunday night, nearly everyone on Seattle’s charter was glued to what was happening in New England – watching to see if the Seahawks could be playing for the NFC West division lead this weekend.
San Francisco didn’t play along, beating the Patriots and keeping a 1 1/2-game lead in the division.
So while the division lead won’t be at stake when the 49ers visit on Sunday, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday his team will have no problem getting focused, especially knowing that a victory will put the Seahawks into the postseason for the second time in three years.
The Seahawks (9-5) need one win in their final two games to at least wrap up a wild-card berth.
And a win would keep alive Seattle’s slim hopes of the division title.
“It’s a big division finish for us and we’ll see how it goes,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks close at home the following weekend with St. Louis.
“All we can do is focus on this game. … We’ll have no trouble focusing.”
The Seahawks are coming off their 50-17 rout of Buffalo on Sunday that followed a 58-0 win over Arizona, making Seattle the first team since 1950 to score 50 or more points in consecutive weeks.
It’s a rarified spot in the record books for a franchise that scored at least 50 just twice in their first 36-plus seasons.
In Carroll’s first two seasons, the Seahawks’ biggest scoring outburst came in the 2010 playoffs when they beat New Orleans 41-36.
“We’re surprised at the scores the last couple of weeks, but we’re really thrilled about it and we’re going to see if we can keep going and keep growing and keep pushing it and see how far we can take it,” Carroll said.
While the scores the past two weeks have appeared to be somewhat an anomaly, the Seahawks were trending upward even before the two blowouts.
Over the past eight weeks, the Seahawks are the second-highest scoring team in the NFL at 33.4 points per game, trailing only New England.
The past two weeks have substantially altered the curve, but even before the blowouts of Arizona and Buffalo, the Seahawks had scored at least 20 points in each game going back to Week 8 against Detroit. That stretch of seven straight games with at least 20 points is the longest since 2007, which is the last time the Seahawks had a 10-win season.
It was in Week 8 – after losing 13-6 in a lackluster offensive effort at San Francisco – that Seattle started to tweak its offensive plans and give rookie quarterback Russell Wilson more freedom.
The zone-read was added to the run game, allowing Wilson the ability to keep and use his athleticism or handoff to Marshawn Lynch. That little wrinkle has paid off the past three weeks.
Sherman hearing Friday
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will have an appeal hearing regarding his positive test for a banned substance on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
There is no timetable for a ruling.
Schefter said if the result is upheld, Sherman could be suspended immediately. While there is no hard and fast rule on the timing, the NFL generally imposes a suspension at the first of the week and not two days before a game.
Rookie safety Winston Guy has been reinstated from the suspended list by Seattle after missing the past four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Guy’s return was listed on the league’s transaction report on Monday. Seattle has received a roster exemption, but Guy cannot play until he is added to the active 53-man roster.