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October 26, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Seahawks post-game impressions from Jayson Jenks, Bob Condotta

Here are some post-game impressions from beat reporters Bob Condotta and Jayson Jenks:

First from Jenks:

1. The Seahawks are in position to be OK. There was a feeling of amusement inside Seattle’s locker room last week at the feeling outside the locker room that the Seahawks were about to hit the mat for good. By beating Carolina, the Seahawks have staved off that conversation, but it’s worth remembering that, had the Seahawks lost, the hill to reach the playoffs would have become severely steep, perhaps even unclimbable. Now the Seahawks play the Raiders and Giants, and as long as they take care of business they’ll be right where they want to be.

2. Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood will be factors down the stretch. It’s just the dawn of their careers, but rookie receivers Richardson and Norwood both look like they will be significant help after the Percy Harvin trade — and that’s good because they’ll have to be. Richardson had two more catches for 20 yards, while Norwood had one of the game’s biggest catches on the Seahawks’ final drive. They’ll need to get better, and they should as they get more comfortable and get more time, but both look like impact-makers.

3. The Seahawks still need to tighten things up. Seattle needed a win badly, and that’s really the only takeaway from this game. But below the surface, the Seahawks also still left a number of potentially game-changing plays on the field. They had a chance for at least two more interceptions and left a handful of sacks on the table as well. They still got two turnovers and three sacks, but there is room to sharpen up.

And from Condotta:

1. This may have been the most important win of the season. Most players downplayed the urgent nature of today’s game. But I think the emotion in the locker room belied their words — as did the words of players such as Doug Baldwin, who admitted it was pretty big to get a win today. “We have been through a lot the past couple weeks, emotionally, physically,” Baldwin said. “Losing those two close games. It’s been tough for us. So to be able to get back out there and play football, play the game we love, and to pull it out in the way and the fashion that we did, it’s definitely a positive in every facet for us,” Baldwin said. It was huge tangibly, too, especially after Arizona beat the Eagles to get to 6-1. If Seattle had fallen to 3-4, you’d have begun reading obits already on the Seahawks. As Jayson noted, now the Seahawks have two eminently winnable games at home against the Raiders and Giants and a chance to get to 6-3 before the schedule turns again. Simply put, Seattle had to win today. Who knows where the season heads from here. But at least everything still seems attainable. That probably wasn’t going to be the case had they lost today.

2. In a lot of ways, this was a return to form for the defense. In style, anyway. Carolina moved the ball a lot early, but it didn’t score much as the Seahawks finally played a good game in the red zone — the Panthers were 0-3 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Opponents had been a pretty amazing 13-18 scoring touchdowns in the red zone prior to today. But this was more of the bend-but-don’t-break style of defense that the Seahawks have trademarked, letting the Panthers get some yards, but forcing them to do so in small chunks and ultimately self-destruct. Seattle gave up one 51-yard pass. Otherwise, Carolina had 215 yards on 55 plays. Even with that play, Carolina’s 4.8 yards per play today was the lowest Seattle has allowed, other than 4.7 by Denver and 4.5 by Green Bay.

3. The Seahawks, for once, appeared to escape major injury. Injuries have been a definite factor in the struggles of the last few weeks. But Seattle appeared to escape the bug today. Malcolm Smith left with what coach Pete Carroll said a groin injury or cramps. In either case, it didn’t appear to be a big deal. Guards James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy left for a few plays but returned. Everyone else appeared fine. That’s a pretty big deal, for what has happened to this team of late, when it seems at least one key player has gone down each of the last few weeks — Zach Miller, Max Unger, Bobby Wagner, Derrick Coleman. Seattle should start getting healthier now as well, as Carroll indicated Unger and Maxwell might make it back this week, and Jeremy Lane will be back for the Giants game.

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