It's December which means it's time for the Seattle Seahawks to get on a roll.
That's been the formula for most of Pete Carroll's tenure with the Seahawks, always building toward the conclusion of the regular season.
And it's a feeling that was rekindled after Seattle's convincing 24-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. What was deemed to be a challenging beginning to the final month of the season could in turn become a catalyst for yet another final push by the Seahawks that's become so common.
"I contemplated in my head whether I wanted to say that out loud, whether I wanted to jinx it, but I do. I believe that this is the start of something that we've seen in the past," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said after the victory.
"Again, like I said I told Russell (Wilson), whatever this is we need to capture it, we need to hold onto it and continue to push forward to get better because the truth of the matter is we still have so much left in the tank."
Seattle's impressive win over the Eagles was a boost the Seahawks needed. They had lost two straight at home. They were on the fringe of the NFC playoff race. The long list of key injuries suffered by the Seahawks had led some observers to no longer consider them legit contenders.
Yet those concerns were muted seeing Russell Wilson put in another memorable performance and Seattle's defense holding the No. 1 offense in the NFL to just 10 points.
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Seattle is 25-10 in December and January regular-season games under Pete Carroll going back to 2010. They are 20-5 in those games with Wilson at quarterback.
"It's the fourth quarter and we have the opportunity to control everything," Carroll said on Monday. "That's all we could hope for. Every game we have is a championship match and we've got to play them all the way out and figure that you've got to win every one of them the week you play them.
"This was a really good test this week, this was a great test for us at home just because of the level of the play of these guys. ... Our guys know now we can deal with whatever is coming down and just have to do it one week at a time."
Wilson's performance against the Eagles was not his best statistically, but may be one of the best in his career.
He stood in the pocket and took punishment from Philadelphia's defensive front, yet did not commit a turnover, threw three touchdowns and when the opportunity arose used his legs to extend plays or continue his role as Seattle's leading rusher.
Wilson has 432 yards rushing, to go along with 3,256 yards passing and 26 TD passes.
"This year? Yeah, I'll give him this year but I've seen better from him in the past. I don't want to pump him up too much," Baldwin said of Wilson.
"I know you guys can do that, will do that. I just want him to continue to keep going because we need him at his best to continue this."
There was the matter still of whether Wilson got away with an illegal forward pass in the fourth quarter with Seattle trying to protect a 17-10 lead.
Facing third-and-8 at the 42, Wilson scrambled from the pocket for 6 yards. As he was about to be hit, Wilson lateralled to Mike Davis, who ran another 17 yards for the first down. Four plays later, Wilson hit J.D. McKissic on a 15-yard touchdown for the decisive score.
In real time, Wilson's lateral appeared backward. But on replay it appeared to be clearly going forward due to momentum of the players and Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson didn't challenge the ruling.
Carroll joked he'd reached out to scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson to help explain the physics of Wilson's play.
"It looked like guys running really fast and he pitched the ball backward just like he is supposed to and as the speed of the ball that was traveling with the ball carrier at the time was passed along the football, so it all just happened. Everything moved," Carroll said. "I just want to see what Dr. Neil has to say about that."