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Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks show ‘championship poise’ to rebound from poor 1st half

Chris Carson scored the Seahawks' third TD in less than 2 minutes in the third quarter. (Getty)

The Seahawks are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history after a thrilling 27-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football.

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As the score would indicate, it wasn’t easy for Seattle, who needed a fourth-down stop, a fourth-down conversion and fourth-down touchdown in order to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spoke at length about that key fourth-down stop on defense and much more when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant for The Pete Carroll Show Monday morning.

Let’s take a look at what stood out in the conversation.

Fourth-down stop a ‘great moment’

For the second time this year, the Seahawks’ defense came up with a big fourth-down stop en route to a close win.

The first was in Week 2, when Seattle stopped Patriots quarterback Cam Newton short of the goal line on the game’s final play. In Week 5, Seattle stuffed Vikings running back Alexander Mattison, who ran for over 100 yards in place of the injured Dalvin Cook.

On fourth-and-1 with less than two minutes remaining, Minnesota opted to attempt to get the first down and seal the win rather than kicking the field goal, which would have given the team a 29-21 lead. Instead, the Seahawks’ defense came up big, stopping Mattison short of the line to gain possession.

That play gave Seattle’s offense a chance to travel 94 yards down the field and win the game, which, as we know, is exactly what happened.

“It was awesome. A freaking great moment in the game and a great moment in football when you can stop somebody,” Carroll said Monday. “And the whole game relies on that foot and a half that they’ve got to make, so we’re going crazy because we know we have a chance to win the game right there.”

So what exactly made that play work? Carroll pointed to three players.

“Our guys kicked down in there and were ready for the sneak and both linebackers – Cody (Barton) made a great scrape to turn the ball to Bobby (Wagner) – and a phenomenal job by (defensive end) Benson Mayowa when you really dig in to what he had to do and throw his body at that play and made it happen,” he said.

Flipping the switch

The Seahawks scored no points in the first half of Week 5. They also struggled to stop the Vikings on defense and were dominated in time of possession to enter halftime down 13-0. So what was the message to get Carroll’s team right?

“I made a big deal at halftime that we’ve got to be patient and it’s going to take a while to get back in this game and they just said ‘No, that’s not it,’ we’re going to do it in 1:50 or whatever and we’ll get roaring back in it,” he said. “It was just thrilling.”

The Seahawks scored their first touchdown on a Russell Wilson pass to Will Dissly. A few plays later, Damontre Moore forced a fumble of Kirk Cousins, and Wilson then found Metcalf for Seattle’s second score in roughly 90 seconds.

Then, on the first play of Minnesota’s next drive, K.J. Wright picked off Cousins (more on that later), and on the next play, Chris Carson scored, giving Seattle 21 points in less than two minutes.

That burst, plus the Seahawks’ ability to make the stop late and drive down the field to score with 15 seconds left, had Carroll extra fired up.

“That was championship poise, that really was,” he said. “It was a championship illustration of coming out of halftime and turning the (switch). And then we lose the lead and we’ve got to come back and do it again. Really both sides of the ball had to find a way, and they did.”

Carroll said that the intent coming out of halftime was very clear and that his team executed.

“Certainly we want to take advantage of the opportunities, but we don’t want to let that score affect the way you operate. If anything, we want that to kick us back into the fundamentals and back into the textbook way of playing football so that we can give ourselves a chance,” he said. “Worrying about 13 points is a waste of time. There’s nothing you can do about it. We’ve got to go score and then score again and then score again. It takes a long time usually, and unusually in that game, it happened so fast and in a flurry.”

Reed has his best game

The Seahawks signed defensive tackle Jarran Reed to a lucrative two-year deal this offseason with the hope that he’d return to his 2018 form, when he had a career-high 10.5 sacks. Against the Vikings, Reed looked like the disruptive force he was two seasons ago, recording four tackles, a tackle for loss and making life very difficult for the Vikings’ offensive line.

Carroll said that Reed’s actions leading up to the game made a breakout performance seem likely.

“Sometimes you call yourself out. He spoke to the defense on Saturday night and (defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.) had called him up to talk to him, and he had a little video that he wanted to show and he had a lot to challenge those guys with,” Carroll said. “When you do that, really good guys know that they’re always challenging themselves with ‘I’ve got to live up to this.'”

Reed doing that reminded Carroll of Wagner, the Seahawks’ defensive captain, who regularly challenges himself and other members of the defense.

“I think it was a unique part of this weekend that Jarran did some talking and said some stuff that he wanted to be and he wanted our guys to be, a ‘Why not us?’ type of thing,” Carroll said. “That’s really when you set the stage for yourself. He had to live up to it and he did. He did a great job. He was a terror all night long.”

Wright gets his pick

Last week, Wright had three potential interceptions that he dropped. This time, however, he recorded the interception, and only needed one hand to do it.

Carroll joked that he had been working hard with the veteran linebacker to catch the football during practices. After getting that out of the way, Carroll offered a lot of praise for the longest-tenured Seahawks player.

“Shoot, he’s got great hands, he really does. He’s got great catching ability and it was hard for him (after last week),” he said. “It was such a cool statement he makes because everyone was on his butt all week long making fun (of him) and I told the coaches, ‘Shoot, maybe we shouldn’t even talk about it or we’ll give him a complex about it or something.’ So to make that catch and that statement just let everyone know that Spiderman is back and it was pretty cool.”

12s back at CenturyLink?

Like most NFL teams, the Seahawks haven’t had fans in attendance for home games due to COVID-19. Some teams are already allowing a handful of fans, and others are planning for fans to return later in the 2020 season. Will that be the case for the Seahawks?

“Nothing officially or specifically (has been discussed), but there’s been little conversations that maybe there’s hope that by the end (of the season) there will be some opportunities,” Carroll said. “I hope we can do something like that, but we just have to wait and see how it goes. We have to do the right thing, obviously.”

Listen to The Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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