Sunday’s 36-6 win at NFC West champ Arizona had Carroll in a reflective mood as he discussed how the Seahawks fought back from the disappointment of last year’s Super Bowl loss.
RENTON — The Seahawks have taken just the first step on a road they hope ends in history — a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, something only two other teams have accomplished.
But the rousing end to the regular season with Sunday’s 36-6 win at NFC West champ Arizona had coach Pete Carroll in a reflective mood Monday as he discussed how the Seahawks fought back from the disappointment of last year’s Super Bowl loss and then a stumbling start to this year to return to the postseason.
“It just took us some time (to get past the Super Bowl),’’ Carroll said. “And I think we had some hangover from it, just like, look at the history of teams coming out of the Super Bowl, how well are they doing the next year. It’s a most challenging event to endure for a program and a staff and players and fans and all of that, and I’m proud to say that we are still fighting and here we go again. Let’s see what happens.’’
Carroll said the coaching staff got past the Super Bowl result relatively quickly but added that “it was harder on the players. But because it’s hard on the players, it’s hard on us, because we are connected with that. But we all hung together, and look at us now. It’s a great group, they are flying, they can’t wait to get to work. They are fighting and playing for one another in great fashion, in a fashion that makes us really proud of how we finished this year, and with that we are ready for playoff time.’’
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The victory at Arizona also gave the Seahawks 10 or more wins for four consecutive seasons. The franchise had only five seasons with 10 or more wins before Carroll took over as coach in 2010. That, as well as having the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL for a fourth consecutive season, are the kind of markers of long-term consistency of which he said he is particularly proud.
“To be really good at something, that really meant something to me, was to do it over and over and over again so that you can prove who you are and prove what you’re worth and prove that you can withstand the changes and the adaptations that are there,’’ Carroll said. “That’s where winning for a long period of time became the essence of what I’m working to achieve. So when you do something … you get the ring, that’s great. It’s awesome. It’s fun. But it’s coming back and doing it again and showing that you’re worthy again is the great challenge. That’s where I find my greatest inspiration to work and try to figure things out and try to find ways to be successful.’’
10 a.m. start no big deal
Carroll essentially couldn’t care less about something that was a big topic of conversation on social media — the Seahawks having to play at Minnesota in a 10 a.m. Pacific time-zone slot Sunday for their wild-card playoff game Sunday in Minneapolis.
“It’s not even an issue,’’ Carroll said.
He noted the team has had success in that time slot this season — including winning back-to-back games at Minnesota and Baltimore last month. He also pointed out that the Seahawks practice regularly during training camp at 10 a.m. (something they have done since 2013).
“We know how to get up and get going,’’ Carroll said. “Our guys are early risers. This is not a big deal for us.’’
Injured players on the mend
Carroll again said everyone on the 53-man roster who sat out Sunday because of injury has a chance to make it back against Minnesota.
That includes left tackle Russell Okung, right guard J.R. Sweezy, tight end Luke Willson and strong safety Kam Chancellor.
Sweezy and Willson sat out due to concussions, and Carroll said they are “seemingly” making good progress, though the team will know more Wednesday.
“We have a pretty optimistic outlook on most everybody coming back,’’ he said. “We’ll see how that works out.’’
Cornerback Jeremy Lane was the only player injured Sunday, suffering a strained oblique. Carroll said “there’s a chance he’ll be OK.”
2016 opponents set
The results of Sunday’s game also meant all of the Seahawks’ 2016 opponents are known.
They will host Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis, Atlanta, Carolina, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Miami and will travel to Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, New England and the New York Jets.
Dates will be set in the spring.