SEATTLE — A normal Monday might allow for the slightest bit of appreciation for the rally the Seattle Seahawks pulled off in the final moments, another fourth-quarter victory this season after striking out too many times a year ago in similar situations.
With a game just a couple of days away at division rival San Francisco, there was no time for the Seahawks to relish their stunning comeback win over New England.
“We have a big competition this week in who is going to prepare the best,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
To that end, the Seahawks were quickly putting aside their 24-23 win over the Patriots on Sunday and quickly looking ahead to Thursday night’s showdown at San Francisco. Both Seattle and San Francisco have 4-2 records and are part of a three-way tie with Arizona on top of the NFC West.
The game plan for the 49ers was being drilled less than 24 hours after the Seahawks scored 14 points in the final 7:31, capped by Russell Wilson’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 left that gave the Seahawks the lead.
“When it counted most we played our best,” Carroll said. “We put up a bunch of yards in the fourth quarter … we didn’t allow a third down conversion by their offense in the last five. We kicked the ball well. We returned the ball well. We protected well, threw and caught it and all that well. We used the clock very well defensively when we had our chance. I’m really fired up that we finished so well against a really, really good football team.”
Seattle has made a sudden change in its ability to close games from the struggles of a year ago. Six times in the 2011 season, the Seahawks found themselves within one score in the closing minutes, yet went winless in all six situations. Five of those six losses were by six points or less.
Faltering late a season ago brought changes in how Seattle practices. The 2-minute offense has become an emphasis.
The results are noticeable. In wins over Green Bay and New England, the Seahawks scored in the final 90 seconds to win, albeit controversially in the win over the Packers.
“It’s a much-improved aspect of our football team and it’s with a first-time quarterback so we’re excited that we’ll continue to get better, continue to focus on it and make it a great priority in the program,” Carroll said.
There was some unwanted attention that came Seattle’s way after cornerback Richard Sherman popped off in the moments after the game about the Patriots and feeling the Seahawks were disrespected nationally. Sherman later posted a picture on his Twitter account showing him getting in Tom Brady’s face after the end of the game. Sherman and Brady had been talking at times through the game.
“It’s not a shock for us. We believe we have a great ballclub and we believe we can play with anybody,” Sherman told reporters in the locker room after the victory. “NFL Network and all of these pundits think they know everything and we keep shutting them up week, by week, by week, by week. They thought (New England) was the greatest ball club to step on the earth. They’re 3-3, .500. I don’t know what great ball club is 3-3.”
Many fans felt Sherman’s rant was disrespectful toward the three-time Super Bowl champion. Carroll believed it was his confident cornerback being a little too exuberant in the moments after the victory.
“I think (Sherman) was really excited about what had just happened and I was too. And in the heat of the moment, everybody was kind of having a blast and in that, that directed some attention to Tom Brady, who we all know is a great player and we all respect the heck out of him and probably why there is follow up to that. But that’s stuff that is going to happen sometimes,” Carroll said. “I think as we grow as a young team we’ll figure out where things fit and don’t fit best.”