RENTON, Wash. – Pete Carroll caught the falling sky and put it back together Monday.
Asked if his receivers were gaining enough separation, the Seattle Seahawks coach veered into a general summation instead of a specific answer.
“Don’t go all crazy on us now,” Carroll said. “We’ve had a terrific season.”
The Seahawks have lost twice in the past three weeks, yet maintain a tie for the league’s best record at 12-3. They can still clinch the NFC’s top seed, the NFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win this Sunday.
Last Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the surging Arizona Cardinals maintained recent negative trends for the Seahawks and filled the airwaves with concern Monday:
They failed to hold late fourth-quarter leads in each loss the past three weeks, once in San Francisco, then again against the Cardinals.
They are averaging 17.3 points per game in those three, down from 28.3 per game prior.
Marshawn Lynch hasn’t rushed for more than 100 yards in over a month. After a strong start last Sunday with 46 yards in the first quarter, Lynch gained 25 yards the next three quarters with just 11 coming in the second half.
The Seahawks were again heavily penalized. Sunday, they committed nine penalties for 102 yards. Arizona went 45 yards for a field goal in its second possession of the fourth quarter. The Seahawks gave them 36 of those yards with a personal foul (Tony McDaniel, unnecessary roughness) and pass interference (21 yards on Richard Sherman). Seattle is the most penalized team in the NFL.
Russell Wilson’s touchdown-to-interception ratio in the past three games is even, 3:3.
The Seahawks did not control the ball in either loss. San Francisco ran 64 plays to Seattle’s 50 and the Cardinals ran 70 to the Seahawks’ 51 Sunday.
The unflappable Wilson was agitated enough with Sunday’s result that he didn’t sleep much. He arrived at the Seahawks’ practice facility in Renton so early he was asking roosters what they are waiting for.
Carroll arrived at 4:45 a.m. Monday to find his second-year quarterback already there. They watched, discussed and dissected every offensive play from Sunday when the Seahawks produced a season-low 10 points.
“We found ourselves sitting in the room, watching the film together really early this morning and just trying to be really critical,” Carroll said. “I had already been through the film and we were texting last night, just talking about the situations and the stuff that came up so that we could focus while we put the study to it today and he’s real frustrated about it.
“He knew he could play better and wanted to do more stuff and wanted to get that win as much as anybody.”
Wilson had a season-low passer rating of 49.6.
He was once again operating behind an altered offensive line. Rookie Michael Bowie started at right guard for the injured J.R. Sweezy (concussion). Bowie left Carroll pleased with his handling of bullish Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.
“Michael was physical; he looked very comfortable,” Carroll said. “He had a couple of plays in there that he could’ve done better, but he did a really good job under the circumstances and going against a good guy.”
Sweezy will be re-assessed during the week, as will left tackle Russell Okung, who left the game because of toe pain but returned. The concern with Okung is it was the same toe he injured earlier in the season that caused him to miss seven games.
“We expect him to play,” Carroll said. “He might be a little sore this week early, but he should play on Sunday.”
That’s not the case for wide receiver Percy Harvin in what has become a lost first season with the Seahawks. Harvin is still rehabilitating his surgically repaired hip and will not practice this week. He played sparingly in one game this season.
Before Harvin played for the first time in Week 11, he had a setback during rehabilitation that required an MRI and some fluid to be drained from the area near his surgery. Carroll said Harvin has not had any procedures since he played 19 snaps on Nov. 17.
Asked if Harvin will return this week, Carroll, ever the optimist, sounded more like a pessimist.
“I don’t know,” Carroll said. “We’ll figure it out before long. I don’t have much to tell you about that right now.”