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Pete Carroll: ‘We’re 5-1 here and we’re still improving’

A field-goal attempt that ended in disaster was part of the Seahawks’ ugly win over Tennessee on Sunday. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks are making a habit out of winning games that aren’t all that aesthetically pleasing.

Sunday’s 20-13 win over Tennessee was the latest example of an ugly game ending with a beautiful result for the Seahawks, who started slow on offense yet again, lost two of their five fumbles and allowed a touchdown on their own field-goal attempt for the second consecutive week.

Despite their imperfection, the Seahawks have the best record in the NFC, a one-game lead in their division and some
reinforcements on the way.

“Fortunately, we’re 5-1 here and we’re still improving,” coach Pete Carroll told “Brock and Danny” on Monday.

Here are some more highlights from “The Pete Carroll Show” on 710 ESPN Seattle:

Improvement from O-line. Pass protection was tenuous against Houston and Indianapolis as the Seahawks were missing their starting center and both tackles, but that was an area in which Carroll said he noticed improvement on Sunday as Seattle’s offensive line allowed two sacks and gave quarterback Russell Wilson ample time to operate.

“We actually protected way better than we have,” he said.”The pocket was really solid.”

Carroll said the return of All-Pro center Max Unger was evident, and he singled out rookie right tackle Michael Bowie for the progress he’s made over the last three games.

“He is improving as the experience starts to mount up for him,” Carroll said of Bowie, a seventh-round pick. “That’s a really positive thing that’s going to help him.”

‘It just backfired in extraordinary fashion.’ Safe to say Carroll regrets the ill-fated field-goal attempt that resulted in seven points for the Titans at the end of the first half.

With kicker Steven Hauschka in the locker room being evaluated for a possible concussion, Seattle sent out the field-goal unit for a 29-yard attempt that could not have gone much worse. Backup safety Chris Maragos – handling the holding duties for punter Jon Ryan, who was attempting the kick – botched the snap and then fumbled the ball, which was picked up by Titans cornerback Jason McCourty and returned 77 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Tennessee lead.

“I couldn’t have made a more egregious error by putting those poor guys out there on the field-goal situation,” Carroll said. “I got the optimistic thinking, ‘Hey, it’d be cool to see them go out and pull it off.’ These guys work hard at this kinda stuff, and then it just backfired in extraordinary fashion.”

Carroll said the backup specialists don’t get many reps practicing those situations.

[Maragos] will tell you that he took 20 snaps over there on the sideline and every one of them was perfect until the one he had to have,” Carroll said. “… He caught it fine, he just didn’t place it well.”

Wright in the middle. Bobby Wagner’s sprained ankle forced K.J. Wright to slide inside from his weakside spot, and according to Carroll, he handled himself well while playing middle linebacker for the first time since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2011.

“He did a good job, he did a great job of running the whole thing,” Carroll said. “He’s such a poised kid and he understands our system as well as anybody we have. He did a great job of just being in there the whole time for the first time in a long time, so we’re real proud of him for that.”

Wright led Seattle in tackles with seven.

ESP on Sherman’s INT. Sounds like defensive backs coach Kris Richard deserves an assist for Richard Sherman’s fourth-quarter interception. Seattle was waiting for the Titans to throw deep, and when they took over on their own 20 trailing 13-10 with 11:23 left in the game, Richard and the Seahawks figured they would do it on first down.

“It was exactly what we were waiting for,” Carroll said. “… We were looking for them to take a shot and we wanted to be in position for it. Kris talked to them, and as they lined up Kris could tell it was coming. He was yelling it from the sidelines to Richard, ‘They’re going up! They’re going up!’ And Richard is really bright and he gets it and he was well aware of it and he was waiting for the deep ball.”

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.