Injuries caught up to the Seahawks in their 27-13 home loss to Arizona, and now we have to hope they don’t cost Seattle a playoff bye — which it could sorely use.
The Hawks, already missing offensive starters Duane Brown, Justin Britt and Will Dissly and backup running back Rashaad Penny, lost Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise against Arizona. That meant an offensive line of Jamarco Jones, Mike Iupati/Ethan Pocic, Joey Hunt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi — and that five was not good enough against Chandler Jones & Co. Jones had four sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble as the Cardinals held the Seahawks to a season-low 224 yards.
Pete Carroll thinks Carson (hip) and Prosise (arm) are out for the season; Brown, who is having knee surgery, could be back after a couple of weeks (adding more importance to getting a bye).
The defense was without Jadeveon Clowney, Quandre Diggs and Shaquill Griffin (and suspended Al Woods), and Bobby Wagner, Ziggy Ansah and Mychal Kendricks all played injured. That led the Hawks to allow 253 rushing yards — the second-most in Carroll’s 10 seasons in Seattle.
That included an 80-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake, who became the sixth player with a TD run of at least 80 yards against Seattle. It was the longest running TD against Carroll’s franchise; the last 80-yarder had come by Frank Gore in 2009.
It all added up to Seattle’s fifth loss in the past seven home games vs. Arizona, which still has Seattle’s number even though Bruce Arians is now in Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks now will root for the Vikings to beat the Packers on Monday night so the Hawks will still have a shot at a bye when they host the 49ers next Sunday night. If the Hawks had beaten Arizona, they would have rooted for Green Bay, hoping for a three-way tie with New Orleans at 13-3, which would have given the Hawks home field. Seattle still can get home field if New Orleans loses at Carolina and Green Bay also loses once, but the former seems very unlikely and the Hawks will have plenty of trouble beating the 49ers to win the NFC West.
The big question ahead of that Sunday night showdown: Will they treat this like a playoff game and try to get as many hands on deck as possible? Or will they be conservative, knowing they are in the playoffs and hoping to be as healthy as possible for the real postseason, even if it means playing at Green Bay, Dallas or Philly to start and on the road the entire way?
The Hawks were 7-1 on the road this season and are not afraid of playing on foreign soil, but Carroll said he is already looking ahead to the 49ers.
“Everything comes down to the final week of the season,” Carroll said. “We’re fortunate we have a chance to play for the division this late in the year.”
The Seahawks have lost back-to-back games in December just once with Russell Wilson and are 6-1 in season finales. Can they keep those trends going against the 49ers, even with all of the injuries?