Playoff-bound: What Seahawks said after dramatic OT win in Week 18

Jan 8, 2023, 9:18 PM

Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith celebrates after defeating the Rams in overtime on Jan. 8, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Overtime in Week 18 wasn’t enough for the Seahawks to decide their season.

Due to some tough losses – including losing all four of their games against NFC South opponents – the Seahawks needed a win and some help in order to make the postseason.

They got the first part done, knocking off the Los Angeles Rams 19-16 in overtime. Then, Christmas came a few weeks late. But for Seattle, who cares?

Seahawks’ Instant Reaction: 19-16 OT win over Rams keeps hopes alive

The Detroit Lions went into Lambeau Field as underdogs against the Green Bay Packers and they had nothing to play for but pride. The Hawks’ win on Sunday knocked them out of playoff contention. But Dan Campbell’s boys played spoiler, beating the Packers 20-16 thanks to two second-half touchdowns. That Packers loss vaulted the Seahawks into the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoff picture.

They’re in: Seahawks make playoffs — and get a top 5 pick

Next up? A third date with the NFC West-champion San Francisco 49ers, who have beaten the Seahawks twice this season by a combined 48-20 total. That game is at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Sunday was obviously an interesting – and eventful – day for the Seahawks as their game started at 1:25 p.m., while Green Bay-Detroit was on Sunday Night Football, meaning Seattle was wrapping up postgame press conferences when that game kicked off. That meant that when media members were able to talk to players and head coach Pete Carroll, no one knew whether or not the Seahawks would be playing next week.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of hope and optimism among this group, especially after winning their final two games of the season, including a close and dramatic victory over LA.

So, here’s what the Seahawks had to say earlier on Sunday about their season potentially continuing, and more.

Pete Carroll

“We did everything we could to make the season last as long as possible. We squeezed every drop out of it,” Carroll told reporters with a laugh. “It was a really good finish to the season for our guys. Get some wins, get something going here and feel good about it and doing the things we had to do to with what we’re faced with. This win was an important win for everybody on our team.”

Carroll has always stressed that every game is a championship opportunity. With the playoffs within arms reach, you can imagine that was especially the case for this game against the Rams.

“We treated this game like it was the biggest game we could ever play,” he said. “And if we get a chance, we’ll do that with the next week, too.”

The game was certainly a dramatic one that appeared to be over late in the fourth quarter.

Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers had a 46-yard field goal try with just three seconds left in the game, but he pushed it right and it clanked off the right crossbar.

“For what I would think is the best kicker in the NFL, for him to set it up like that so that we could have that kind of dramatic finish, man what guts he’s got,” Carroll said, laughing. “He doinked it so that we could go in with in OT.”

But Myers got redemption thanks to a defensive stop and a big run by quarterback Geno Smith. A few plays later, Myers hit a 32-yard game-winner that kept the Seahawks’ playoff hopes alive.

“He’s a great kicker, he’s a great player and he’s great competitor, and when we needed it most, he got it done. Jason Myers came through for us in a big way,” Carroll said.

That defensive stop came because of Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs. Diggs recorded his fourth interception of the year, taking away what appeared to be a huge gain for the Rams that may have been a dagger for Seattle’s season.

“The ball hung forever and he timed it up perfectly to get it on the sidelines over there. He’s such a great ball hawk that of course he’s going to make that play if you give him a chance,” Carroll said. “… He’s a hero around here. These guys love him. He’s a great leader and they’ve got nicknames for him and all kinds of stuff, and he’s tough as nails. And when he speaks, everybody shuts up. And then to come to make a play like that is just a beautiful feeling. Really happy for him.”

When Carroll left his press conference, he was going to go do what basically everyone in the Pacific Northwest was doing: see if the Lions could knock off the Packers.

“We’re gonna go cheer for Detroit. Who’d have ever thought we’d be doing that?” Carroll said. “But we’ll be cheering for those Lions up in Green Bay and see if they can get a great win.”

And boy, did that great win come. Next up for Carroll: game-planning for the 49ers.

Geno Smith

It was arguably Smith’s worst game of the season on Sunday.

The Pro Bowler did wind up setting Seahawks single-season records for completions, attempts and passing yards, but it was his worst game in terms of passer rating. Smith completed 19 of 31 passes for 213 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a very close call with a potential third interception.

Smith did play better overall in the second half and overtime, as did the Seahawks, who scored just six points in the first half compared to 13 the rest of the way. That included a beautiful touchdown pass to star receiver Tyler Lockett in the third quarter that really got Seattle back in the swing of things.

“We knew what was at stake. We don’t want the season to end,” Smith said of Seattle’s mentality at halftime. “I feel like everybody in the locker room, I feel like our coaches, everybody in the building, we’re just coming together at the right time and we’re enjoying one another and going to work and enjoying your teammates. And the locker room, it’s so fun. I don’t think guys want the season to end right now. We knew what was at stake.”

The defense kept the Seahawks in that game, Smith said, and after a tough start offensively, he and the offense “found a way.”

“It took everybody and I was just happy to see that happen,” he said.

With the win – and Lions’ win over the Packers – the Seahawks are in the playoffs at 9-8, giving Smith and Seattle a record over .500.

“It’s good to be above .500. You want to be above .500,” he said. “I wish we could have done a lot better earlier so we can get 10-plus wins. But to give ourselves a shot at the playoffs, to be above .500 with a young team, who I believe pretty much everybody wrote us off, right? It speaks volumes to our head coach. It starts with our head coach and our GM (John Schneider), it starts with our front office, our ownership, and then you talk about the players in the locker room.”

Seattle’s locker room has strong leadership, and the team as a whole has the right character and talent, Smith said.

“It just speaks volumes to our leadership. We’ve got the right guys and we’ve just got to keep going,” he said.

One of those leaders is Lockett, Seattle’s offensive captain, who was really thrilled with Smith battling through adversity on Sunday to give the Seahawks a chance to win the game.

“Even when it’s all on the line, he’s still going to go out there, is still going to be poised,” Lockett said. “… Just to show the fight in how you respond, that’s what you want in a player, that’s what you want in a teammate, just someone who’s going to be able to keep on fighting.”

Quandre Diggs

If Smith’s touchdown pass to Lockett wasn’t the play of the game, then Diggs’ overtime interception certainly was.

Diggs, who now has 23 career interceptions, said after the game that his pick on Sunday was his favorite of his football career.

“That’s probably my favorite interception ever just because of the atmosphere, everything that went along with this game and that interception, it was dope,” he said. “… Had to get that one.”

Diggs, one of Seattle’s two defensive captains, said he was preaching to his teammates over the last few weeks to “just do your part” and not worry about the other games that the Seahawks needed to go their way.

“We just do our part and let the rest handle itself,” he said. “… I think we can hold our head up high and understand that we put in some great work and we did what a lot of people didn’t expect us to do.”

Later he added: “If we make the playoffs, we just keep going and building off these last few weeks that we had.”

Watch: Seahawks’ wild OT finish to beat Rams 19-16, keep season alive

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