JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Seattle coach Pete Carroll is ready to move on.
He wants to ignore what might have been in a 30-24 loss at Jacksonville. He wants to erase Blair Walsh’s latest missed field goal. He wants to forget about those three turnovers and that ugly ending that included two ejections.
It’s in the best interest of his team, which could be facing its biggest game of the season next week against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Seahawks (8-5) caught a break Sunday when the Rams lost to Philadelphia on the same day Seattle lost to Jacksonville.
Now, next week’s home game against Los Angeles (9-4) could be for the NFC West title. The Seahawks have two more games remaining against Dallas and Arizona, but they know bouncing back after losing to the Jaguars is the key to potentially hosting a playoff game.
“Right back where we were,” Carroll said. “We’ve been looking at this game coming up, that this could be the one for the division, to make a difference, and it’s a huge opportunity for us — and for them as well.
“It should be a great matchup, and they’ve been playing great football, and we look forward to getting ready. I can’t wait to get back. I wish we could just be back, but it’s going to take us a little while.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson wasted little time turning the page. He even talked to teammates in the locker room about what’s at stake next week.
“The reality is we are fighting for first place next week,” Wilson said. “Just reminding guys the reality of the situation is we have to come back stronger and be better and everything else. But the great thing is we get to fight for first place. Our division is very, very tough. The Rams are a great football team, so we have to go make it happen.”
Here are some other things we learned about the Seahawks and Jaguars:
Wilson rallied the Seahawks from deficits of 27-10 and 30-17 in the fourth quarter, and had a chance to take the lead in the closing minutes before he misfired on a fourth-and-9 play from midfield. He completed 17 of 31 passes for 271 yards, with three touchdowns and three interceptions. It was his fourth game with three or more interceptions and first since throwing five against Green Bay in December 2016.
“Guys get open bang, bang, bang,” Wilson said. “Next thing you know, we’re in the game. They’re terrified for a second there.”
Seattle drew four flags and had two players ejected in the final minute. Defensive end Quinton Jefferson and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson were tossed, and Carroll was penalized for walking into the huddle. Jefferson was leaving the field when he stopped to exchange words with fans. Someone appeared to throw a beer at him, and he had to be restrained by his shoulder pads and escorted to the locker room. It was an ugly ending to an exciting game. The chaos started when Seahawks defensive tackle Michael Bennett seemingly dived at centre Brandon Linder’s knees.
“It’s disappointing,” Wilson said. “I think we have better judgment than that. It’s such a physical game. We are fighting for every inch, every opportunity. I know those guys are remorseful or whatever. They are fighting for the ball, fighting for something, just fighting for a way. I don’t believe there is a necessary excuse for it. I think we can be better as players and as men and everything else.”
Jaguars rookies Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole had their best games as pros. Westbrook caught five passes for 81 yards, including his first career touchdown . Cole had three receptions for 99 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown on a perfect pass from Blake Bortles.
“We played pretty well,” Westbrook said. “That’s how I was able to get open and get those big plays down the field.”
Bortles had one of the best games of his career. Coming off a strong outing against Indianapolis, Bortles was equally efficient and effective against the Seahawks. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. It was the fourth time this season and fifth time in four years that Bortles finished a game with no turnovers and no sacks.
“It’s huge,” Bortles said. “We talk about it every day, every day throughout the week. We have to make sure we take care of the ball and don’t turn it over.”