Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks’ defense yet to show ‘best of us,’ but it’s coming
The Seahawks dropped a close one in overtime 37-34 to Arizona for their first loss of the season, and a big takeaway was the amount of missed opportunities that Seattle had to close out a game it was in control of until the very end of regulation.
“Both sides (of the ball) had the opportunity to stop (the Cardinals) or make the first down or just clear it up in how we handle the football,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on The Pete Carroll Show Monday morning. “It’s just a classic explanation of when you turn it over, it’s really hard to win
“.. We made some big mistakes and couldn’t get off (the field on defense) when we needed to and it turns out they get the opportunity to win. They outlasted us and we weren’t finishing the way we needed to.”
Carroll broke down the issues both the offense and defense had against the Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. Let’s take a look at what the head coach had to say.
Defense has yet to be at full strength
It was another poor showing by Seattle’s defense in the desert.
In addition to Arizona’s 37 points, the Seahawks allowed over 500 yards of offense to the Cardinals and didn’t record a single quarterback hit or sack on Kyler Murray, who had 48 passing attempts and over 50 dropbacks.
When discussing Murray, the mobile quarterback who was the No. 1 pick in 2019, Carroll said Seattle didn’t defend him “very well” but that the defense was successful in the sense of forcing Murray to pass the ball on them.
“We were defending to keep him having to throw the ball in a controlled fashion and he did it,” Carroll said. “He came through and was very sharp. … We hoped we could keep him (off his game) by keeping him in the pocket and making him have to throw the ball, and he just had a great night and everyone on his end came through for him.”
Murray finished the night with 360 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Much of Murray’s elite play came in the second half and overtime.
“We really played well through the first half … The play was going fine, the game was going fine so we didn’t think we had to do anything at that point and then just situations arose and they kept pecking away and you’ve got to really give them credit,” Carroll said.
Carroll said one big takeaway regarding his defense is the team needs to improve on third downs after allowing Arizona to convert five of 12 opportunities. He also said he thinks there’s plenty of reason to believe his defense can turn things around.
“All in all, I think we just need to keep finding ourselves as we bring this thing back together. I don’t feel like we’ve been at full strength,” Carroll said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of us. I think it’s going to come here in time and we’re going to have a chance to see us. It’s a long season.”
Carroll said the defense’s fundamentals are “solid” and the players know what they’re doing and are working hard, but that things just haven’t worked out yet. Two returning defenders could add a much-needed spark, though.
“We had a couple mistakes like you do, but (get) those eliminated, get back to full strength and we need to see what (starting safety Jamal Adams) looks like when he gets back in with us and see how that factors because we were really, really excited about what he was bringing. He’ll be back soon,” he said. “I think we just need to keep hanging in there until we find it. I’m looking forward to getting a little bit of a boost from (rookie defensive end) Darrell Taylor when he comes back and things like that and just continuing to grow.”
Wilson’s three-pick day
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had five interceptions in all of 2019. He has six this year after throwing three in the loss to the Cardinals.
Carroll gave a quick synopsis of each of the three interceptions.
On the first one, which safety Budda Baker picked off in the red zone on a pass intended for running back Chris Carson: “(Wilson) laid the ball up … in the flat on a play that we had done all week long. It’s a throw that he lobs it over the top on the edge pressure and he just couldn’t imagine anyone getting in the way of it or he wouldn’t have thrown it.”
The second interception was recorded by Patrick Peterson in the end zone on a long pass that was intended for DK Metcalf.
“The one when Russ is kind of half throwing the ball away to DK, he’s giving him a jump-ball opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t ask Russ if he was trying to put the ball out of bounds. That’s an unfortunate situation and he just didn’t gauge it quite right.”
The last one was the most costly. After the Cardinals missed a game-winning field goal try in overtime, the Seahawks got the ball back with a chance to score and end the game. Instead, Wilson was picked off by rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons as he was getting blitzed. He threw the ball in the direction of Tyler Lockett but no receiver was looking his way.
“On the last one, he saw something and with the pressure coming there was spacing in there that he could stick the football on the route, but the guys weren’t ready for the ball coming right there, so that decision was one where Russ saw something and he wanted to make something happen and it just goes awry,” Carroll said. “Usually when we make big mistakes in our play it’s because we’re trying more than we should and we try to make something happen when we shouldn’t and that’s a little bit of what happened on that one.”
Carroll noted that Wilson has been exceptional throughout his career at taking care of the football and isn’t concerned about his star player going forward.
“It’s not something where we should be worried, ‘Oh gosh, he’s caught this interception bug.’ He’s not going to do that,” Carroll said, later adding, “I thought he had a fantastic night. Think of all the throws to Tyler alone. They’re great plays. I didn’t see it like (Wilson looked confused by what the defense was offering). And I’m not worried about it either.”
Lockett’s great game
Tyler Lockett had perhaps the best game by a Seahawks receiver in franchise history. He tied Steve Largent’s team record for catches in a game with 15 and set a career-high in passing yards with 200. He also recorded three touchdowns for the second time this year.
TWO FEET IN! 🙌
Make it 3️⃣ touchdowns on the day for @TDLockett12!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 26, 2020
Lockett was targeted on 20 of Wilson’s 50 passing attempts. Metcalf had the second-most targets on the team with five. Carroll said they thought Lockett could have a good game and had a game plan of getting him involved, but that what his veteran receiver did was special.
“This was way more than (game planning to get him the ball),” Carroll said. “This is Tyler just playing out of this world football. So many of those plays were remarkable in how he got open, how he got the spacing … Tyler had a really good week (of practice). He looked quick, he looked healthy coming off the bye … I’m not surprised he was at his best and ready for the opportunity and Russ cashed in with some extraordinary plays and throws.”
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