From the Sidelines: Seahawks at Broncos

It’s all about the ball. The Seahawks first loss of 2010 proved this philosophy of the Seahawks to be absolutely, 100 percent true. Give up the football and you’re facing long odds to win.

Not all was lost on Sunday against the Broncos.

The guiding philosophy of Seahawks football won out, even if it didn’t tilt in Seattle’s favor.

“It’s all about the ball” — and it couldn’t be more obvious after Sunday’s 31-14 defeat.

The Seahawks first loss of 2010 proved the philosophy of the Seahawks to be absolutely, 100 percent true. Give up the football — and give it up four more times than the opponent — and you’re facing long odds to win.

So while the Seahawks were introduced to the loss column on Sunday, the defeat could reap significant benefits for the remainder of the season. The coaches now have a teachable moment and a glaring lesson to point to, and the players now know from experience the masochism suffered from turnovers.

Sometimes it takes a loss to learn a lesson that will produce many wins down the road.

“Let’s go on from here,” Coach Pete Carroll said in the Invesco Field visitors’ locker room following the game. “We can do this — we can take our football anywhere and play how we’re capable of playing. We just didn’t do that today..”

What a difference a week makes. Seven days after a good-feeling, nice-looking 31-6 win at home over the 49ers, the Seahawks produced a performance Sunday that was completely opposite from the previous game. Four turnovers and seven penalties surely do not fit under Carroll’s “all about the ball” or “play smart” mantras.

“We had a clear idea of how we wanted to play,” Carroll said in the locker room after the game. “But when we turn the ball over, we get away from our football.”

The backbreakers were clearly the turnovers and the poorly timed penalties. The last few plays of the Seahawks’ first drive of the game summed up a disappointing day — a false start on first-and-goal from the 1, a holding penalty that wiped out a six-yard touchdown run by Justin Forsett and then an interception two plays later. It was a sequence that foreshadowed the rest of the game for the Seahawks, who next turned a punt return opportunity into another turnover, which was recovered by the Broncos on the 13.

Thanks to two turnovers in the span of less than four minutes, the Seahawks went from holding a 7-0 lead and all the momentum to facing a 7-0 deficit and a brutal uphill climb.

“It always goes back to the ball,” Carroll told his players. “We’ve got to protect it with our lives. When we don’t, it makes it so much harder to win.”

Indeed it does. The three first-half turnovers paved the way for a 17-0 halftime lead for the Broncos, turning a 14-14 second-half stalemate into moot points. The turnover lesson screamed deafeningly, and Carroll’s counting on his students to learn from Sunday, no matter how difficult the classroom setting was.

Four turnovers and a minus-4 turnover margin on Sunday equated to a 17-point loss. Last week, one turnover and a plus-1 turnover margin generated a 25-point win. It truly is all about the ball. Need Carroll say more?

“I don’t want to be normal,” the head coach said to his players. “I want to be uncommon with this stuff. This isn’t about the other team; it’s about us. It’s so clear that it’s that way.”

Another teachable moment Carroll wanted his crew to learn on Sunday was that playing away from home isn’t an insurmountable challenge. If the Seahawks didn’t dig themselves into a monstrous hole with their turnovers, the game would’ve been a different story, the result could’ve been opposite and the plane ride home would’ve been much more joyous.

“I don’t want you thinking it’s harder on the road,” Carroll said to his players. “If that’s your mindset, we need to get it out of here. We just need to play how we know how to play.”

A bigger-picture mentality was at work all over the place Sunday. A season isn’t won or lost in one game, and Carroll, calm as ever, made sure his players knew that. It’s why he took a timeout with three minutes left in the game and the team down 17 points, and it’s why he turned the 17-0 halftime deficit into a glowing positive.

“This is a great challenge,” Carroll said during his halftime speech. “We need this. It’s going to make us stronger.”

So the Seahawks move forward from Sunday with a glaring example of the importance of turnovers on a game’s result. The lesson is one that will surely stick with them, even if it did take a brutal loss to learn that.

“Let’s keep moving forward,” Carroll told his players just before they came together for a “Seahawks” chant. “Stay tight, keep going, keep competing.

“We will go up from here.”