By Brady Henderson
Highlights from Monday morning’s edition of “The Pete Carroll Show” in which the Seahawks’ coach joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” to discuss Seattle’s 17-10 loss to Arizona:
A frustrating day. Carroll called it a frustrating day for the Seahawks’ offense, which scored a season-low 10 points while gaining 192 yards despite the benefit of four takeaways from Seattle’s defense. The issue wasn’t all the pressure Arizona sent quarterback Russell Wilson’s way, Carroll said, instead pointing to Seattle’s receivers not winning their one-on-one matchups.
“The pressure was handled pretty well. We actually protected very well. He had time to throw the football. We got covered up quite a bit,” Carroll said. “We really tried to get down-field and get on these guys. They played a lot of defense where they didn’t have a middle safety and they took him out of the hole, so we had some shots at them. We took them and they played really well when we had our one-on-one situations.
“They won the one-on-ones. Balls were kind of on time and they were there, and they made a play to knock the ball away. We didn’t drop the passes, they defended them. So they defended better than we thought they would, and we kept looking for our shots. You could see that Russell got caught because he’d look and their guys were running with our guys, and we weren’t as open as we would have liked to have been.”
How will Wilson respond? Carroll sat at an adjacent locker while Wilson got dressed following Sunday’s game, talking with the quarterback after what was arguably his worst day as a pro. When asked how Wilson will respond, Carroll noted that the two exchanged text messages until late Sunday night and then Wilson beat his coach back to the team facility early Monday.
“He was in here about 4:30 this morning, so he’s working at it. He’s doing everything he can,” Carroll said. “He’s frustrated, felt bad about that, just the way it felt. As we looked at the film, we looked at the reasons why – what happened here and what happened there. We kind of put it in a place where we’re still frustrated but understood what the occurrence of each play was. Sometimes it’s a read, sometimes it’s a depth of a route, there was a few times on the throws that were high and things like that. So it adds up to a game that’s really frustrating for him.
“He’ll come back as best as anybody can come back. He’s already on it and he’s working as hard as he can do get that done.”
The Seahawks converted just two of their 13 third-down opportunities Sunday, continuing a trend that has plagued Seattle’s offense over the last three games. (AP)
Third-down issues. “We’re struggling,” Carroll said when asked about the state of Seattle’s offense over the last three games. “We have not been good as we’ve been.”
Carroll pointed to third down as the biggest issue, noting that it’s been particularly problematic over the last three games. The Seahawks converted 54 percent of their third-down opportunities from Weeks 9-13 but only 26 percent in the three games since.
Carroll said it’s not as though the Seahawks are finding themselves in unmanageable third-down situations. They’re staying on schedule, so to speak, just not converting. In other words: it’s the root of Seattle’s offensive struggles and not just a symptom.
“Our third-down play has really come to a point where that’s the problem right now,” Carroll said.
Okung’s status unknown. Carroll said the team won’t know until later in the week the status of left tackle Russell Okung, who left the game briefly because of discomfort in the big toe of his left foot. It’s the same one in which Okung sustained a partially torn ligament back in Week 2, forcing him to miss two months while on injured reserve. But Carroll said that Okung’s ability to return to the game was encouraging.
“He’s got a sore toe, and that’s just what he deals with week-in and week-out now,” Carroll said. “But he did go back in and play; that’s a good sign.”
Carroll said Monday afternoon that Okung is expected to be available for Seattle’s next game.
Questionable calls. Carroll chose his words carefully when asked how he felt about the officiating, which included some calls that didn’t go the Seahawks’ way. One of them was a holding penalty on linebacker Malcolm Smith that converted a third down for the Cardinals on their game-winning drive. Carroll noted that penalty was called well after the play. There were also two close plays that went to review, each time officials upholding a ruling that if overturned would have benefited Seattle.
More coverage of Seattle’s Week-16 loss to Arizona at CenturyLink Field.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O’Neil: What We Learned||• O’Neil: Russell Wilson’s first clunker||• Henderson: Defense can’t finish off Cards||• Henderson: Close calls go Cardinals’ way|
“There’s not a whole lot we can say about the officiating, and I’m not one to go after it,” Carroll said. “I think that again in a close game it makes a difference, and there was a few calls in there that made a difference.”
Carroll was unequivocal in his assessment of the call on Seattle’s final offensive play, which resulted in an interception when officials determined there wasn’t sufficient evidence to overturn their initial ruling that the ball bounced off the arm of receiver Doug Baldwin.
“I think the last interception was really unfortunate,” Carroll said. “That ball really was on the ground.”
Carroll added, though: “Those are part of the game. Again, when we let the game be that close, those calls make the difference. We have to play over and above that.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.