Updated Dec 23, 2013 - 5:23 pm
Seattle falters in 2nd chance to win division
RENTON, Wash. (AP) - The previous time Pete Carroll experienced losing at home the Seattle Seahawks were on their way to a 7-9 regular season.
The previous time Russell Wilson experienced losing at home he was a 21-year-old junior at North Carolina State still two seasons away from the NFL.
Consider a bit of the Seahawks (12-3) invincibility at home diminished after Arizona became the unlikely candidate to snap Seattle's 14-game home win streak with a 17-10 victory on Sunday.
"We just weren't sharp that way we would have liked to have been," Carroll said on Monday. "We really feel like a lot of that was us. We had chances."
Not surprising, Carroll and Wilson were two of the first people inside the Seahawks facility Monday morning, analyzing the game film to try and figure out why Arizona had so much success flustering Wilson and Seattle's offense. Carroll said when he arrived at 4:45 a.m. Wilson was already in the building.
The Seahawks finished with 192 yards, were 2 of 13 on third down conversions and didn't find the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
The loss pushed Seattle's attempt to win the NFC West and wrap up home-field advantage in the conference to the final week of the regular season.
And Carroll was on top of his team right after Sunday's loss, spending time with select players in the locker room to make sure they were putting the Arizona loss in proper perspective and were immediately turning their attention to the finale against St. Louis.
"I wanted to make sure the guys would have the right thought in mind and carry the right message and they would understand," Carroll said. "With so much frustration coming off the field it's a lot to ask guys to turn but we did."
Wilson was sacked four times and forced from the pocket many others. He completed only 11 passes and none of his receivers had more than three receptions. The 108 yards passing was the lowest total of Wilson's career and his 49.6 passer rating was his worst of the season.
Third down has popped up as a problem in recent weeks for Seattle's offense.
In the past three games, Seattle is 30th in the NFL in third down conversions at 26 percent after being at 40.5 percent through the first 12 games. They failed to convert a third down after the first quarter on Sunday.
Seattle's seven three-and-out drives were a season high and three times the Seahawks took possession in Arizona's half of the field and failed to score.
Seattle also appeared to give up on the run early. Marshawn Lynch finished with 18 carries for 71 yards, but touched the ball only seven times in the second half. The Seahawks had just eight rushing attempts in 19 second-half offensive plays.
The lack of extended drives left Seattle's defense on the field for more than 37 minutes and 70 plays. Most of Arizona's possessions came in the second and fourth quarters when they held the ball a combined 21:58.
"This is a common theme for us when things don't go right and we don't feel good about the game and it lays the ground work for not enough run attempts and not enough opportunities to go downfield like we like to because you don't get those first downs," Carroll said of the third down problems.
Seattle lost despite getting four interceptions by Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer. It was the first time during Carroll's tenure the Seahawks have forced that many turnovers and lost. Seattle has nine interceptions in the past two games.
Seattle should go into the finale mostly healthy. Carroll said left tackle Russell Okung should be able to play against the Rams despite needing to leave the field for a few plays after aggravating a toe injury.
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse suffered an ankle injury but could be back by Sunday and right guard J.R. Sweezy, who missed the game with a concussion, should be back at practice this week.
The situation with wide receiver Percy Harvin continues to lack clarity. Harvin was ruled out for this week by Carroll on Monday and he said he didn't know if Harvin would play in the postseason.
"We'll figure that out before long," Carroll said. "I don't have much to tell you about that right now."
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
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