Seahawks are 2-0 because Pete Carroll is coaching the team he has instead of the one he wants
Pete Carroll is coaching the team he has as opposed to the team he wants.
That’s the biggest reason that the Seattle Seahawks are 2-0 for the third time in his tenure. Well, the biggest reason other than Russell Wilson’s outright lethal start to this season. He has thrown nine scoring passes this season, the most of any two-game stretch in his nine-year career. He’s only the fourth quarterback in league history to throw four or more touchdown passes in each of his first two games.
Wilson has been absolutely astounding by just about every measure, and just as importantly: the Seahawks are making the most of it. For years Carroll coached this team to keep it close, especially when the Seahawks were on the road. It’s not like he would have turned down a big lead, but his offense wasn’t going out of its way to generate one, either. The fourth quarter is where games are won, Carroll said, and that’s when he’d trust his quarterback to make a play and his defense to make a stop.
That was a sound strategy back when Seattle had one of the best defenses in NFL history. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league for four successive seasons so it made sense to play to that side of the ball. If you gave that defense a lead, it wasn’t going to let go. And honestly, that’s how Carroll would prefer to play it. He’s a defensive guy at heart. That’s what he played and the side of the ball he coached when he started out in college and into the pros.
The defense Seattle has now, however, appears to be another story entirely. I’m not going to say that the Seahawks are 2-0 in spite of this defense, but they’re certainly not undefeated because of it. Seattle won easily in Atlanta in spite of giving up two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes, and the Patriots came 1 yard away from reaching the end zone for a second time in the final 5 minutes of Sunday’s game. As far as closing arguments go, those are pretty flimsy.
Seattle has survived on the cushion its offense had built, and this is a decidedly new phenomenon. The Seahawks were the king of the nailbiter last season. A team that made you sweat out even games that appeared to be blowouts and made a habit of digging themselves out of a hole. Seattle trailed at halftime in 10 of its 16 games last season. The fact that the Seahawks came back to win six of those games explains how they got to the playoffs, but that also wasn’t all that sustainable. Only one team in NFL history had ever won more games that it had trailed at halftime.
Well, Seattle has yet to trail at halftime this season in spite of having an interception returned for a touchdown on its first possession last Sunday.
The Seahawks have scored 73 points so far, second-most in team history after two games. That’s a great sign not just because it speaks to how well Seattle’s offense is playing but gives an idea about the room that group is being given to perform.
Seattle may never have a defense as good as the one in 2013, but with the way the Seahawks’ quarterback is now playing, they might not need one quite so dominant given the leads he is building.