Monday in Hawkville: Focusing on finishing strong

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 3:

Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson

FOCUS ON

The fourth quarter. Not of Sunday’s game against the Bears, which went pretty well for the Seahawks in their 23-17 overtime victory at Soldier Field. But the season, which the Seahawks are hoping will go at least as well.

After winning two of their three games in November and starting December with that upset victory, the Seahawks will play three of their final four games at CenturyLink Field, where they are 5-0. Adding intrigue to the already interesting situation is that all three games will be against the other teams from the NFC West who beat the Seahawks on the road earlier this season.

“This is a big deal, this is a really big deal, because it’s the finish,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session. “The finish is officially on now when you go into these last four weeks.”

The Seahawks enter this last quarter at 7-5, which matches as many wins as they had in each of Carroll’s first two seasons. They trail the 49ers (8-3-1) by 1½ games in the NFC West and hold the No. 2 wild-card spot in the conference playoff picture.

“We’re positioned to do something,” Carroll said. “Now we’ll see if we can get it done.”

First up, Sunday at CenturyLink Field, is a Cardinals team that beat the Seahawks 20-16 in their season opener in Arizona. The Cardinals started 4-0, but have lost eight in a row.

The Seahawks then travel to Toronto to play the Bills (5-7) on Dec. 16 before returning home to host the 49ers on Dec. 23 and the Rams (5-6-1) on Dec. 30.

“This is really what we’ve been preparing for all along, is to finish strong and to see if we can turn in a real great month of execution,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see how far we’ve come. The whole story is going to be told from this point.”

INJURY UPDATES

Left guard James Carpenter has “a little something there” in his surgically repaired left knee, as Carroll put it. Carpenter started but couldn’t finish Sunday’s game and his status for this week is in question. The team’s first-round draft choice last year has had X-rays and a MRI, but the knee continues to bother him.

“He actually felt something different in the game,” Carroll said of Carpenter’s knee, which he had tweaked in previous games. “He felt a little sharp pain during the game that didn’t go away.”

Carpenter missed the final seven games last season after tearing the ACL in his knee during practice.

John Moffitt, last year’s third-round draft choice, stepped in when Carpenter went out.

Also in question is veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant, who missed Sunday’s game after pulling a hamstring in practice last Thursday. Carroll said it will be a challenge to get Trufant back for this week’s game.

“I don’t know where he’ll be by the end of the week, but I know he’s still in rehab now,” Carroll said. “I don’t know what will happen with this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hard for him to get on the practice field this week.”

Linebacker Leroy Hill also missed the Bears’ game because of a sprained ankle, but Carroll said Hill has a chance to play this week.

Wide receiver Sidney Rice is going through concussion tests after taking a blow to the helmet on this game-winning TD catch against the Bears. Carroll stopped short of saying Rice has a concussion, but the club is being cautious after he missed the last seven games last season after getting multiple concussions.

Golden Tate, Sidney Rice

STAT DU JOUR

What has four arms, four hands, 78 receptions and 14 touchdown catches? That’s too easy. It’s Rice and Golden Tate, the Seahawks’ starting wide receivers. While Rice is the team’s leading receiver, their numbers over the past four games are very similar. Here’s a look at their season totals, as well as those from the past four games:

Season

Player                   No.  Yards   Avg.  TD

Sidney Rice          43    623     14.5     7

Golden Tate        35     486     13.9     7

Past four games

Player                   No.   Yards   Avg.   TD

Sidney Rice          15      256     17.1     4

Golden Tate        15      231     15.4      4

This hasn’t happened by accident, as Carroll explained.

“What we did was we really focused in on those two guys,” he said. “We decided to push those guys to the front and see if we couldn’t accelerate the process of the chemistry and just the continuity and the sense and the style. Those guys are uniquely different.

“That was probably one of the best decisions that we’ve made. I think things have really turned out since then. They’ve done a tremendous job. They’ve had great plays, big plays and all kinds of stuff that’s been consistent. You can see the numbers. They’re about paralleling in all areas. They were ready and they’ve come through in a big way.”

UP NEXT

Carroll gave the players Monday off and they’ll have their usual “off” day on Tuesday, before returning on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

Moffitt will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Drove his team 94 yards in nine plays for a second-quarter touchdown. Drove his team 97 yards in 12 plays for the go-ahead touchdown near the end of regulation. Drove his team 80 yards in 12 plays for the winning touchdown in overtime. On the road, at Soldier Field, against the Bears. When’s the last time an Urlacher team allowed drives as long as 94, 97 and 80 yards for touchdowns in a game? To a rookie quarterback?” – Peter King in selecting Russell Wilson as one of his offensive players of the week in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com


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