Pete Carroll Show: Adams has his best Seahawks game, Metcalf ‘dominant’
Dec 1, 2020, 12:02 PM
The Seahawks took care of business in Philadelphia in Week 12, beating the Eagles 23-17 on Monday Night Football to raise their record to 8-3 with just five games left in the 2020 regular season.
For head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks’ win came at a perfect time as the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals lost over the weekend, giving Seattle first place in the NFC West through 12 weeks after winning what was seen as a rather sloppy and ugly game against the Eagles.
“Forget all the rest of the stuff, we got a good win and other teams in the division had trouble and struggled, so it put us in a good position going forward,” he said Tuesday morning on The Pete Carroll Show with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
DK Metcalf’s big day
Second-year receiver DK Metcalf had 10 catches for 177 yards against the Eagles, and with 1,039 yards through Week 12, he leads the NFL in receivin. While those numbers are obviously incredible, Carroll highlighted how physical Metcalf was even when he wasn’t getting the ball.
During the first quarter, Eagles defenders were called for two personal fouls for pushing and hitting Metcalf late or after a play. Carroll said that Metcalf’s physical nature means he’s often going to get opponents’ best shots.
“He’s got a real factor about him. He’s so physical and he knows it, and he gets after them and he’s unusual in that regard and the guys don’t like it so it’s kind of fun,” Carroll said. “The good part of it is DK knows what’s going on and he’s really poised and he’s not getting himself in any trouble at all, he’s just stirring it up a bit.”
Metcalf set the tone early by catching a slant route and taking a big shot from safety Rodney McLeod, but it was McLeod, not Metcalf, who wound up on the ground. That was the first of Metcalf’s 10 catches and Carroll thinks his young star receiver could have had an even better game.
“He was really close to an extraordinary night,” Carroll said. “He had the ball in the corner of the end zone that he really could have caught … and then he had one on the sidelines he might have been able to pull in. He had a great night (even without catching those two passes) and he was really dominant.”
Also notable was after the game, Metcalf revealed Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz told him he wasn’t quite on former All-Pro receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s level yet, but he was getting there (Schwartz was Johnson’s head coach in Detroit). Metcalf turned that compliment into extra motivation, which Carroll got a kick out of.
— DK Metcalf (@dkm14) December 1, 2020
“Coach Schwartz can say whatever he wants,” Carroll said. “It was kind of unusual that he would bring something like that up.”
Carroll also showed that even though he’s the oldest head coach in the NFL at 69, he’s up to date on pop culture.
“‘Megatron’ is kind of a thing of the past and not many people know about that,” he said. “If he would have called him something or referred to him as ‘Mandalorian,’ I think it’d be a little more appropriate. I wouldn’t mind calling DK ‘Mandalorian’ any time he wants.”
Regardless of what Metcalf will be called or wants to be called, Carroll loved how he played in Philadelphia.
“Coaches can say whatever they want, but that was kind of surprising, but I liked the way DK handled it.”
Jamal Adams healthy and shining
If Metcalf was the Seahawks’ star on offense, the defensive star was safety Jamal Adams.
Adams led all Seattle defenders with nine tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss, and was sound in coverage all night. Adams now has 6.5 sacks to lead the Seahawks despite missing four games due to injury. Carroll said it’s clear Adams is back at full strength after battling groin and shoulder injuries.
“It was his best game and this was the best he’s felt,” he said of the 2019 All-Pro. “He just was able to play with his right shoulder and it just made a difference. He was balanced out in his tackling and he fit into things really well. He was really aggressive in the backfield on a number of runs and he was just really having fun playing football. He had a blast tonight.”
Carroll said Adams had multiple “big rushes” and was constantly in the Eagles’ backfield, which bodes well going forward.
“This is just an indication of where it’s going and he’s going to continue to get better, too, and that’s really exciting,” he said.
Defense as a whole was sharp
Adams was the standout on defense, but that unit put together a solid performance, holding the Eagles to 17 points and 250 total yards. The Seahawks also recorded six sacks and limited the Eagles to 70 rushing yards. That’s now back-to-back great performances by the defense and really, since the second half of a Week 10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, that group has been playing great football.
“It was a really good night for the defense. The defense played great football tonight,” Carroll said. “It was the best we’ve played and it fit right together with last week’s game too, which is really important so we can start to build some momentum here and really start improving on our scheme. We’re playing the defense better and it’s because of the familiarity and guys are really getting comfortable with it.”
Where it’s really all been starting is the pass rush, which has produced 19 sacks in the last four games. Before that stretch, the pass rush was seen as arguably the weakest link on the team. Now, Seattle is tied for seventh in the NFL with 31 sacks. This comes a year after the Seahawks tallied just 28 in the entire season.
It’s been a group effort, which Carroll has enjoyed watching. Seven players chipped in for the six sacks of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
“It was really good to see so many different guys contribute and factor in,” Carroll said. “Everyone was rushing the passer well. They’ve had problems and they’ve been working through it and we took advantage of it.”
Along with Adams, the biggest contributor in this four-game stretch has been defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who made his Seahawks debut in Week 9 and has 3.5 sacks since joining the team via trade from the Cincinnati Bengals
“I think really, Carlos continues to be kind of the fire starter,” Carroll said. “He got this thing going a little bit and we’ve been improving since he arrived.”
Dunlap has come up big, which is why it’s especially concerning that he came out of Monday’s game late due to injury. Carroll said he has “something going on with his foot” and had an MRI Tuesday morning. It was unclear at the time of Carroll’s interview what the severity of that injury is and whether he will miss any time.
Two big returns
The Seahawks lost three of four games before beating Arizona in Week 11, and injuries were a big reason why.
Both starting running back Chris Carson and starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin were knocked out of a Week 7 loss and didn’t return to action until Monday. Carroll was thrilled to have both of them back against the Eagles and said he was excited about their performances.
“He was really aggressive in coverage and was very consistent, too,” Carroll said of Griffin, who missed time with a hamstring injury. “He was jumping back right into the fray after being back a couple of weeks.”
Carroll was worried about Griffin after watching him in practice, but “he really cleaned things up and played really sharp football” once the game started.
“He had a really good first game back and that’s a really good boost for us,” Carroll said.
Carlos Hyde got more snaps for Seattle at running back but Carson was more effective in his return from a foot injury, totaling 59 total yards on 10 touches, including an impressive 16-yard touchdown run.
“His style of play, we just love it so much. It seemed like (he had more yards than he really did),” Carroll said. “… He just looked terrific and I’m hoping he comes out of the game feeling alright and he didn’t get banged up much and can keep doing it next week. Carlos played good too, but it was really Chris (who) had the bigger plays on this night, and that touchdown run was really just a fantastic play.”
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