Five games left, sitting at 5-6 on the season, do they give in? Or dig in?

Now more than ever, the Seattle Seahawks have reached a crossroads.

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Five games left, sitting at 5-6 on the season, do they give in? Or dig in?

The answer will come sooner rather than later, beginning Sunday against Carolina at Qwest Field, as the Seahawks look to bounce back from a humbling 42-24 loss to Kansas City and defeats in four of their last five games.

“I can’t believe another team can come in here and do that,” Coach Pete Carroll said in his postgame speech to the team. “That’s never the way we want to play, to get knocked around like that.”

After starting the season 4-2, Seattle is left with a whole lot more questions than answers 11 games into the campaign. Fortunately, though, there’s plenty of time remaining to find answer to those questions.

It all starts this week as the team has reached a season-defining fork in the road. Rebound and get back on track, or cave in to the recent struggles and see a golden opportunity slip away?

Sunday’s performance was anything but the right track. Three turnovers, a 250-yard disadvantage in the rushing category and a porous pass defense were just a few of the negatives from the loss.

“We can’t stand for that,” Carroll told his players in the locker room after the game. “We can’t live like that.”

But thanks to external circumstances, the Seahawks still have a chance to resurrect what has seemed so hopeless lately. They have the same record as the division-leading Rams, and to make things even juicier, they face St. Louis at home to end the season.

“We’re going to keep going after this division,” Carroll said, his big-picture mindset unshaken by the latest loss. “We can do this.”

The theme all week leading up to Sunday’s game was to start the finish on a good note. With four of its final six at home, Seattle had a chance to embark on a strong closing stretch to the 2010 season, beginning with Sunday’s matchup against the Chiefs.

“No more talking about the finish,” Carroll said to his players in the locker room before the game. “We’ve got to be about the finish.”

Instead, the Seahawks puttered to an 18-point defeat at home, marking the second consecutive loss at Qwest Field.

“This was not the start to the finish we wanted,” Carroll said in his postgame speech.

But as they reach the metaphorical crossroads to the 2010 season, the Seahawks get another chance to start the finish off on a better note this upcoming Sunday.

Same time, same place, same goal. Win the game, and get one step closer to winning the NFC West.

Give in? Or dig in? The answer will come Sunday, starting at 1:15 p.m. at Qwest Field.

“This is about us, all of us,” Carroll said to end his postgame speech on Sunday. “We will fight together, and we will get right.”