Rarely would a loss to a bitter rival be considered a good thing.
However, in the Seattle Seahawks’ quest to earn their second Super Bowl berth in franchise history, the team may ultimately look back on their 19-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers as a blessing in disguise.
The Seahawks had won seven straight games before dropping their second game of the season against the 49ers in Week 14. If Seattle had beat the 49ers, they would already have wrapped up the top seed in the NFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with two weeks to go in the regular season. With a first round bye also in hand, Seattle would have been forced to go nearly a month between playing games without anything tangible to play for.
“It would have been a different challenge,” head coach Pete Carroll said Monday. It would have been an entirely different challenge for us mentally; for the coaching staff and for the players as well. I mentioned it last week that this could be the best scenario that you have to stay in it and keep battling. I’m more concerned about losing the edge that we’ve gained and it’s taken months and months and months to get here, and then all of sudden you kick into a month mode where it could be different.”
Carroll said he would have gladly welcomed the challenge if they’d been able to wrap up the division and NFC’s top seed already but now there’s more on the table for Seattle to accomplish. Any Seattle win or tie over the last two weeks or San Francisco loss or tie will wrap up the number one seed and home field advantage for the Seahawks.
“This is much more of the same, kind of like Groundhog Day all over again, here we go again,” Carroll said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, we know how to get prepared for games, we know what we’re trying to get done, and the whole routine and the emphasis on every game is a championship game has been right on it for us. Here we come this week and there’s nothing new, which is a good thing.”