RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Coach Pete Carroll was taking responsibility Wednesday for decisions that contributed to Seattle's loss against Atlanta that left the Seahawks having to play catch up in the NFC playoff race.

"I hold myself highly accountable and I take it very seriously that I help us and I wish I would have helped us," Carroll said.

The 34-31 loss on Monday left the Seahawks at 6-4 heading into this week's game at San Francisco. The Seahawks are one game behind the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West race, but are also now chasing the Falcons and others in the wild card hunt.

While facing the one-win 49ers might be seen as a break, Seattle's schedule gets significantly tougher after this week with home games against NFC-leading Philadelphia and the Rams sandwiching a difficult road trip to surprising Jacksonville. It's those upcoming challenges that only magnify the mistakes Seattle made in its loss to Atlanta, which included a failed fake field goal attempt, losing a replay challenge in the fourth quarter and poor timeout management.

"I had a couple of chances there and I wish I would have helped us more effectively than I did," Carroll said. "The timeout. The fake (field goal) that didn't go. I loved the chance but we didn't execute so that weighs in on me."

While Carroll's decision to call a fake field goal in the final seconds of the first half was perhaps the most obvious failed choice, the most damaging moves were Seattle's use of a timeout early in the second half and a poor replay challenge decision that cost the Seahawks a second timeout in the fourth quarter.

Seattle spent a timeout early in the third quarter before a third-and-12 play. Their second timeout of the half was lost when Carroll challenged the ruling of an incomplete pass to Doug Baldwin with just over nine minutes remaining. Baldwin was adamant he made the catch, but replays clearly showed the ball hitting the ground.

Carroll said he's come to trust Baldwin when he believes a call is incorrect and he wasn't receiving information from the coaches in the press box to tell him otherwise.

"I declared a while back that if he's really committed and he knows he's got it — I'm going to look because I would never go against our guys in the box — I'm going to trust him again," Carroll said. "I'm not going to not trust him. It's just depends on the situation. I have to feel it. Time on the clock and all those things. Unfortunately it didn't work out. That happens sometimes."

Carroll was also answering for the decision to waive veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney on Tuesday. Freeney had recorded three sacks in his first two games with Seattle but had little production the past two weeks. Seattle had been carrying extra defensive linemen on the roster and Carroll indicated there were some salary cap considerations in the decision.

"We hated to do it but we had to do something," Carroll said.

There was also concern about losing wide receiver David Moore, who was signed from the practice squad to take Freeney's roster spot. Carroll indicated there was the chance Seattle was going to lose Moore to another team.

NOTES: CB Shaquill Griffin is unlikely to be cleared through the concussion protocol and be ready to play Sunday, Carroll said. Griffin was hurt on the second play of Monday's game. ... OL Luke Joeckel may have a chance to return this week. Joeckel is expected to practice after missing a month due to knee surgery. ... RB Mike Davis is hopeful of being ready for this week after leaving Monday's game early due to a groin strain.

___

For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL