It had been a while since Seahawks players had sat in coach on a flight home to Seattle – not since last year's playoff loss to the Cowboys, to be exact. They'd been so good at taking advantage of the carrot dangling before them on road trips.
A few years ago, a rule was instituted that allowed players to enjoy the accommodations of first class following road victories. The coaches are relegated to the back of the plane in such instances. That had been the case for Seattle's first six road games in 2019. That perfect 6-0 is unblemished no more following an ugly, 28-12, loss to the Rams in Week 14.
"That was an old fashioned, you got your butt outplayed," K.J. Wright said matter-of-factly.
Pete Carroll refuted the notion that his team took the Rams lightly, however, Shaquill Griffin noted that Seattle entered the game on a "high horse." K.J. Wright agreed that there were some players who assumed Seattle's five-game winning streak would be never-ending.
"I saw a lot of confidence," Wright said, pivoting from the word "cockiness" that was used in the question asked to him. "I saw a lot of guys like, ‘We're about to go 14-2! Let's do it!' So I guess you could say that. Sometimes when you're on a high horse you do need to get knocked down. It was a bad day here on Monday. We hadn't felt that way in a while. You do everything in your power to not get that feeling again."
Wright wouldn't go as far as to say that the Seahawks needed a loss like that to bring them back to earth, but Seattle was in a perfect situation to be humbled. It's easy to find silver linings in such a loss given that it really didn't change the Seahawks outlook a whole lot. Seattle was always going to have to beat the 49ers at home in Week 17 in order to win the NFC West. That remains true despite getting spanked by the Rams.
"We got hit in the mouth," Wright said. "Sometimes when you're in the boxing match, when you get hit in the mouth, you see how you respond. I believe that this is going to be a time where we can really show how we can respond as a team. That loss wasn't necessarily a really bad thing."
"Respond" is Seattle's word of the week, and there's plenty to get fixed ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Panthers. The Seahawks defense allowed 455 total yards of offense and gave up touchdowns on three of the Rams first four possessions. They looked out of sorts for the entire first half, unable to handle the tempo the Rams threw at them. Seattle's communication was poor, and players were scrambling to get aligned correctly as the ball was being snapped on several occasions.
The Seahawks did make some necessary adjustments at halftime, allowing just seven points over the final two quarters, but the damage was already done. Quandre Diggs had a pair of interceptions, including a 55-yard pick-six, that served as Seattle's only highlights of the evening.
It was Diggs' first loss as a member of the Seahawks. He, too, is eager to see how his team responds.
"I think on Sunday you'll find out," Diggs said. "Sunday you'll see. We can't let one loss hand us two. We've turned the page on the practice week, so let's see how we perform on Sunday."
Week 15 is potentially the Seahawks final road trip of 2019, playoffs included. In order for that scenario to remain a possibility, players will have to make sure they're sitting in first class on their way home from Charlotte.