The Seattle Seahawks find themselves in an unfamiliar position entering December, as an also-ran with little to play for over the season's final six weeks.
The stretch run starts Sunday when the Seahawks (3-8) play host to the San Francisco 49ers (6-5).
In the 10 seasons since the Seattle Seahawks drafted linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson in the second and third rounds, respectively, in the 2012 draft, the franchise has been a regular contender.
Not this year, though, as Seattle limps into the San Francisco matchup on a three-game losing streak.
The 49ers (6-5) have won three consecutive games, and another win this week would all but end the Seahawks' flickering playoff hopes.
"It's frustrating. We're frustrated," Wagner said. "Obviously, this is not how we wanted things to go. We've just got to figure out how to get some wins."
It might help if Seattle's offense could stay on the field. The Seahawks' past three opponents have averaged more than 40 minutes of possession. The Washington Football Team held the ball for 41:40 on Monday night in a 17-15 victory against the visiting Seahawks.
With starting running back Chris Carson out for the season due to a neck injury and Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer both missing the last game, the Seahawks signed veteran Adrian Peterson to the practice squad on Wednesday.
"I gotta wait and see how he does out here," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I've watched the film and seen him play. He plays just as aggressive and tough as he ever has, so I'm anxious to see what he adds to the club, and he's fired up about it, too."
Carroll said the Seahawks are hopeful Penny (hamstring) and starting left guard Damien Lewis (elbow) can return Sunday.
The 49ers' winning streak has come with a renewed commitment to run the ball.
San Francisco has averaged 41.7 rushing attempts over the past three games to amass 178.3 yards per game. Rookie Elijah Mitchell gained 133 of San Francisco's season-high 208 yards on the ground last week in a 34-26 victory against the visiting Minnesota Vikings.
"You always have it in the back of your head, the position where you're at and everything and the other teams around you," San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "But I think we've been taking a week-by-week mentality and just trying to get one win at a time and it's done well for us the last three weeks."
The 49ers will be without leading receiver Deebo Samuel (groin), who has also rushed for five touchdowns and caught five TD passes this season, and linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring) on Sunday after both were hurt last week.
"(Samuel has) been a big part of our offense, but I think we're in a spot right now that we can overcome that," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.
The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 28-21 on Oct. 3 in Santa Clara, Calif., as Wilson threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another score. Garoppolo left at halftime of that game due to a calf injury.
--Field Level Media