Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks’ offense ‘didn’t handle this game’ as planned
For most of the 2020 season, the question for the Seahawks was whether their porous defense would ever be able to turn a corner and catch up with the offense, which was one of the league’s best and carrying that team to victory. In Seattle’s Week 13 loss to the Giants, that script was flipped, as the Seahawks scored a season-low 12 points in the 17-12 loss.
After starting the game with a field goal, the Seahawks struggled to get much of anything going offensively and didn’t score again until a touchdown near the end of the game in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile the defense played another good game, putting together now three solid performances in a row.
As he does after each game, head coach Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant for The Pete Carroll Show to look at the previous game. Here’s a look at what Carroll had to say about the loss that dropped his team to 8-4 and to second place in the NFC West.
Wilson and the offense didn’t adapt
Quarterback Russell Wilson had his worst and most head-scratching performance of 2020, completing 27 of 43 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown to go along with two turnovers.
Wilson wasn’t nearly as sharp as he’s been for most of the year, and rather than throwing shorter passes or checkdowns, he kept his eyes downfield for deep plays that never materialized. Carroll said they’d planned to attack the Giants deep but the execution and adaptation wasn’t where it needed to be after seeing what New York was doing defensively.
“We didn’t handle this game like we had anticipated, of course, and they were able to kind of stick with their plan and we couldn’t bust them out of it,” Carroll said. “We kept trying and working it and attacking it without much success and we kept feeling like it was going to happen. We felt like we could see what was going on and what we needed to do and we just didn’t make it happen, so it winds up being a real dead game for us on offense.”
Carroll said Wilson’s day was a largely a result of not adapting to what the Giants were presenting.
“Really the way they played us, they just laid off and stayed back and they played their zones, and we just felt like we were going to get our shots at it and we had to keep putting the ball underneath,” he said. “And (Wilson) was waiting on some and we got hit waiting for the opportunities. We just didn’t mix it right.”
The Seahawks clearly thought they’d get their deep shots in like they usually do, but Carroll made it clear he wished the offense had done what it’s done more often throughout Carroll’s tenure in Seattle.
“That’s not the way I wish it would have come out,” he said. “We didn’t run the ball as much as we would like to.”
Asked how the Seahawks can get back to the explosive offense they showcased in the first half of the season, Carroll said it’s not a given that’s even a possibility.
“We know where we came from, but we have to know that it doesn’t always stay the same,” he said. “And because we wish it was that way, we have to make sure that we adapt properly and we have to do a good job of doing that.”
Bad stretch doesn’t undermine defense’s performance
After allowing the most yards in the NFL and far too many points, the Seahawks’ defense has gotten much better of late, holding opponents to 23 points or fewer in each of their last four games. Additionally, Seattle has given up just 17 points in each of the last two weeks. Unfortunately against the Giants, that was too much due to the lackluster play of the offense.
“We played really well,” Carroll said of the defense. “We had a (short) stint in there in the third quarter (that went poorly).”
That stint started with a 60-yard Wayne Gallman Jr. run that set up a touchdown two plays later. On that drive, plays “broke” and defenders missed tackles and were out of position. That carried over on the next drive as well when the Giants scored their only other touchdown.
“The big play kind of threw us out of wack, I hate to say it,” Carroll said.
“We had a span of about eight plays in there where it wasn’t like any of the rest of the game,” Carroll later added. “The rest of the game was really, really well done … It was just a span of time where we didn’t control it and in that game where it’s so close, (a few) plays like that gave them enough points to win the football game and it shouldn’t have been like that. We shouldn’t have been in that game like that.”
With an impressive performance like that, there will obviously be standouts. Two of those players were safety Jamal Adams and rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks, who Carroll offered a bevy of praise for on Monday.
“He played a terrific game. Gosh, he was all over the place,” Carroll said of Adams, who leads the Seahawks with 7.5 sacks despite missing four games this year due to a groin injury.
Adams finished the game with 11 tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack, and he played well both against the run and in coverage. Carroll said Adams impacted that game despite still having a banged-up shoulder.
“He’s probably 85% (healthy) and he’ll be a little better as the shoulder tightens up, but he’s a real weapon for us.”
Brooks, who appeared in his eighth game of the year, also had 11 tackles. Carroll said the 2020 first-round pick had “a couple terrific plays” against the Giants and that it’s clear that Brooks has a bright NFL future after a performance like that.
“He had a few steady plays where he fills his role in the position in the defense and then he had a couple other plays where he just ripped through blockers and made tackles with real great physicality,” Carroll said. “He’s going to be a really good player. He’s already playing well and he’ll just get better. He’s not having any trouble with the situations and the calls and he’s handling things very well.”
Punt over field goal explained
Last week, Carroll kicked himself over the Seahawks going for it on two fourth downs and not converting. This time, however, he felt he made the right call when not going for points.
The Seahawks had a fourth-and-6 at the Giants’ 37-yard line early in the second quarter, and rather than trying a 55-yard field goal with Jason Myers, who is perfect on field goals this year and has made a 61-yarder, Seattle took a delay of game and had Michael Dickson punt. Carroll was asked about that sequence and said that was essentially decided before the game.
“The way we had assessed it during pre-game, we were out of the range to go for it,” he said. “If it was the end of the half or (an) end of the game shot, you take it. But in the middle of it, the percentages aren’t with us. Also, the way we were playing (played a role) and the fact that Michael can punt it and put them on the 8-yard line or whatever it was.”
Dickson did pin the Giants deep and the Seahawks’ defense, which was playing well, got another stop, but Seattle clearly could have used the points. The weather, though clear, was also a factor.
“It was a 55-yarder with some unpredictability about the way the wind was going in that direction, so that’s why,” Carroll said.
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