Mike Ferreri: How the West was won, Seahawks-style

Mike Ferreri: How the West was won, Seahawks-style
Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor (31) celebrates a hit on St. Louis Rams' Stedman Bailey in the first half of Sunday's game in Seattle.
It was a scenario that certainly gave Seahawks fans, and even players for that matter, indigestion over the holidays.

A Seahawks win over the Rams and they clinch the NFC West, a first-round bye and home field advantage for the playoffs. A loss to St. Louis and the Seahawks get bumped down to a No. 5 seed in the NFC and would end up likely playing all of their playoff games on the road. CenturyLink Field would be done for football until August 2014.

Luckily that didn't happen, the Seahawks hammered the Rams and the 12th Man will get to see another game - or two.

"We know we had a couple shots at it earlier and didn't get that done so it was frustrating," Pete Carroll said in regards to the Seahawks failing to clinch the NFC West earlier because they lost December games to the 49ers and Cardinals.

"But when it came down to the finish we did it. So I'm real proud of that and real excited about what's coming up."

The Seahawks are NFC West champs. It was one of their goals for this season - win the division and get at least one home playoff game. Now there is the potential for two playoff games at home.

"That was our first goal, own the NFC West. It took us 17 weeks to do it, but we finally did it," said Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, "It feels good - feels good to know that we're gonna be hosting playoff games. And to add a bye is to add a bonus."

Three of the final four regular season games for the Seahawks were against divisional opponents. Considered one of the worst divisions in football three years ago when the Seahawks won the West with a 7-9 record, the NFC West is now considered the best division in the NFL.

The Cardinals finished the season 10-6, and they're not even in the playoffs. Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant thinks winning a division as wicked as the West will only help in the postseason.

"We definitely believe that every team in this division pushed us on this journey for what our ultimate goal is - and that's trying to win it all," says Bryant.

Winning it all is now the next major goal for this team. When the Seahawks beat the Rams in 2010 to get into the playoffs as Division Champion there was a great deal of hoopla after the game. Post-game interviews were taking place on the field and there was all sorts of celebrating.

This Sunday the celebration was minimal. The West has been won - now it's on to the rest of the goals.

"I still have something to do," said Earl Thomas, standing with pride in the Seahawks locker room wearing an NFC Western Division Champions hat. "I'm very excited for the opportunity to do that. This is a great start, to own our division. That's what we set out to do."

Now the Seahawks get the opportunity to heal up and watch four other teams in the NFC beat each other up in the Wild Card round. But they won't be sitting back in recliners for the next week. The postseason journey has just begun and everything gets turned up a notch.

Golden Tate sat at his locker after Sunday's game talking about the approach to the playoffs.

"We just want to keep grinding, play smart football, stay healthy and eliminate turnovers. I think the future is really bright for us," he says.

The Seahawks have taken the West now it's on to the rest of the NFC.