Seahawks guarding against emotional hangover vs. Rams
A short week of controversy and scrutiny makes Sunday's road game at St. Louis a litmus test for the team's mental fortitude.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 13
ST. LOUIS — Six days after a victory that echoed across the country, Seattle is going to answer its most important question from Monday's game against Green Bay.
Have the Seahawks gotten over it?
Because as memorable as that game was, the Seahawks spent this week doing the best they could to forget about it as they prepared for Sunday's game in St. Louis.
"Leave it back on Monday," fullback Michael Robinson said of the win over the Packers. "That game's over."
If only it were that easy. For the past week the Seahawks have been questioned about everything from the validity of the official's call that awarded Golden Tate a game-winning touchdown to the legitimacy of their victory.
Seattle's defense made a statement in that game against the Packers, but the controversial ending punctuated the game with a question mark, which is why Seattle headed to St. Louis this weekend with a sense of defiance in addition to its 2-1 record.
"I told you guys: Regardless of the outcome of the game, we're not going to get the respect we feel like we deserve," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "But it doesn't really matter to us. We keep it in-house. We keep it about us.
"Our expectations and everything we feel for one another doesn't change regardless of what the outside world thinks."
Seattle's focus might be the biggest question entering Sunday's game. A convincing victory over Dallas in Week 2 showed this team's ability to rebound from adversity. This week's game in St. Louis will show whether these Seahawks can handle a little bit of success, not to mention the national scrutiny that followed last week's game.
The Rams may not be a playoff contender yet, but they are a measuring stick that could determine whether Seattle is ready to take the next step in its development.
"Every week is a test of this team's maturity," Robinson said. "We're so young, each week presents a very special test. And having all the emotion from last week, this is just another test on our road to try to win a championship."
St. Louis is a team the Seahawks have beaten with a regularity usually reserved for drums and dead horses. Seattle has won 13 of the last 14 games in the series. Not only that, but St. Louis running back Steven Jackson is questionable because of a groin injury.
But this is the kind of game NFL teams lose all the time, especially given the circumstances. Seattle had a shortened week of preparation after playing Monday night, and the Seahawks are playing on the road against a division opponent while trying to guard against an emotional hangover.
It's a challenge that coach Pete Carroll compared to Seattle's rebound from its emotional Week 1 loss in Arizona.
"They bring about similar kind of issues and distractions on the opposite end of the spectrum," Carroll said. "I would love to see us come back and play really good, hard football again and execute well, and then we will have learned some lessons. We'll be able to grow from that, so it's a good test for us in that regard."
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org