A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 10:
The challenge of winning big, and losing big. The Seahawks are coming off their most lopsided victory in franchise history after Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. But coach Pete Carroll also has been on the other end of lopsided games, like the 41-7 loss to the Giants in his first season as coach in 2010.
What’s the difference?
“It’s the same challenge,” Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “Each game, because of the dynamics of it, has a story to it; it’s got different issues that you deal with.”
The issue this week is enjoying a rare romp in the NFL, then putting it into perspective – as well as behind you – as the team prepares for this week’s game against the Bills in Toronto.
“I’ve tried to be consistent in telling you, I think it’s just as impactful when you lose as when you win – potentially, if you don’t handle it properly,” Carroll said. “So yeah, you’ve got to put it in perspective, you’ve got to put it behind you. There’s kind of a mechanism and a language and a routine that should kick us right back into this next week.
“At this time of year, we’re counting on that.”
An overcautious coach just being overcautious? No. Carroll had a point the day after his team scored all those points. Yes, the Bills are 5-8. Yes, this “home” game is being played in Canada. But the Seahawks already have lost on the road to the Cardinals, Rams, Lions and Dolphins – teams with a combined record of 19-32-1.
And don’t be talking to Carroll about anything beyond Sunday’s game at the Rogers Centre, either. Not the fact that one more win will give the 8-5 Seahawks their first winning record since 2007. Not the possibility of securing the top wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs, or challenging the 49ers for the division title – as they must play against the Patriots in New England next Sunday night before coming to Seattle for a Sunday night game on Dec. 23. The 49ers have a 1½ games lead over the Seahawks, so the math that matters is eighth grade Sewickley.
“All of that stuff doesn’t mean anything,” Carroll said. “We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t accomplished a darn thing at this point.
“It’s still out there in front of us. So we just keep pushing all the storylines from behind to the back and keep moving forward. There’s a discipline to that, and I take a lot of pride in trying to make this work for us because we want to be consistently moving up all the time.”
The Seahawks have accomplished one thing. With their eighth victory, they already have their best record in three seasons under Carroll. But you tell him.
Malcolm Smith. The second-year linebacker from USC had another strong outing against the Cardinals in his second game replacing sore-ankled veteran Leroy Hill on the weakside.
“He played well again,” Carroll said. “He did a nice job. He was really active, around the football a lot. This is the best I’ve seen Malcolm over the years. He’s the most confident that he’s been and he playing aggressively and tough and chasing really well.
“He’s kind of got a nose for the football. Things happen when he’s around it, that’s kind of always been the case.”
That was indeed the case on the muffed punt he recovered for a touchdown against the Cardinals. Returner Patrick Peterson, teammate Jeremy Lane and the Cardinals’ Rashad Johnson got a hand or foot on the ball before Smith snagged it as he was crossing the goal line.
Hill was active Sunday, but Carroll was hoping we would not have to play him to give the ankle another week to mend.
“We’re in good shape with either one of those guys playing right now,” Carroll said.
Safety Chris Maragos strained a muscle against the Cardinals, but Carroll said the injury is not considered serious.
Veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant has missed the past two games with a pulled hamstring. This is the week the coaches were expecting to get him back, but Carroll said that Trufant’s status remains wait-and-see.
49ERS GAME FLEXED TO PRIMETIME
Not surprisingly, the Seahawks’ Dec. 23 game against the 49ers has been moved into the Sunday night slot on NBC. The game was scheduled for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff on Fox, but now will start at 5:20. It replaces the Jets-Chargers game that was slated for primetime.
Asked about the switched, Carroll fained surprise and offered, “We’re going to play them this Sunday?”
His actual reaction is rooted in the same philosophy he discussed above. “What does that mean?” he said. “We’ll just stay in the hotel a little bit longer and then go play.”
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks are going international for the third time in franchise history with Sunday’s game in Toronto, but the first time during the regular season. The other two were American Bowl preseason games. Here’s a look at how those games went:
Year Site Outcome
1990 Tokyo L, Broncos, 10-7
1998 Vancouver, B.C. L, 49ers, 24-21
Carroll gave the players today off as a “Victory Monday,” and they’ll have their usual “off” day on Tuesday. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bills.
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop. Click here for a look at what Mebane has been up to this season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“For Defensive Rookie (of the Year), three linebackers stepped in from day one and became tackling machines – Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David. Cornerback Casey Hayward of the Packers has been a star from about Week 4. Linemen Chandler Jones of New England (outside) and Derek Wolfe of Denver (inside) have provided consistent pressure since Week 1. Safety Harrison Smith of Minnesota is already one of the most instinctive safeties in the league. For now, for the wins and the leadership and filling a gaping hole, I’ll take Wagner of the Seahawks.” – Peter King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com