Updated Dec 27, 2010 - 5:46 pm
A familiar situation
By Liz Mathews
Pete Carroll has been in this situation before, with it all coming down to the final game of the season.
"If we would have said maybe six weeks ago, ‘What do you think this last game of the season is going to mean?’ Well, we would have said that it probably would have to do with the championship position in our division – and that's what it's come down to," said Carroll during his weekly Monday press conference.
With the Seahawks at 6-9 and the Rams at 7-8, the NFC West will be decided this Sunday at Qwest Field in front of a national audience.
Because of the playoff implications of this game, the NFL has flexed this matchup to the Sunday Night Game on NBC, with kickoff now set for 5:20pm PT.
"I know they moved the game to a five o'clock game," said Carroll, "there's some significance to that. It means a lot, particularly of course in our division with the playoff considerations that follow. So this is something that we've aimed for. It's come in kind of an unusual manner, but the fact that we're there, we're going to go for it and be excited about it and see if we can put together a great game."
And Carroll should know, he's been in this position before.
Carroll went on to recount his first year in New England and how the team had to face Miami in the final game of the season to win the division and make the playoffs.
"We had a very tough game," he said. "We were not playing well, had some issues on the team, had some guys that were hurt, and played a really nice game in Miami."
The Patriots beat the Dolphins that day, 14-12, and also the following week in the AFC Wild Card playoff by a score of 17-3.
Carroll also described his second year in New England, when the roster was "really beat up" with "a bunch of backup guys who were fighting for their life" and the team had to play the red-hot 49ers in Week 16.
With starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffering a broken finger and unable to start the final two games of the season, Carroll went with backup Scott Zolak, who managed to sneak the Patriots into the playoffs that year, losing in the first round to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"That was a very similar situation to this one, when you would think that we didn't have a chance," said Carroll. "So yeah, I have been in that situation."
And Carroll is looking forward to the opportunity - for the team and the fans - and the win that sometimes comes when no one is expecting it.
"Sometimes you can really get surprised how teams can perform under these kinds of circumstances," said Carroll. "Even with, in those cases, mainly the one with Scott Zolak playing – I don't mind mentioning Scott's name because I've mentioned him in derogative ways at times, I love Scott – but anyway, that he would pull off a great win for us at that time.
"It's a very similar situation in that you just have to believe and keep fighting and that's exactly what we're going to have to do this weekend."
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