Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks’ offense executed ‘an awesome way to win’
The Seahawks are 10-4 after beating the Washington Football Team 20-15 on Sunday, and they can win the NFC West with a win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16.
Beating Washington, which sits atop the NFC East and came into the game on a four-game win streak, is a big victory for the Seahawks as they enter the last two games of the 2020 season.
Head coach Pete Carroll reflected on the win and broke down how his team performed on The Pete Carroll Show with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning. Let’s look at what Carroll had to say.
Wilson and offense close to “near-perfect” game
On the surface, 20 points and just 121 passing yards may not seem that impressive, but Carroll was adamant that the Seahawks’ offense played well and that Wilson was a big part of it.
“His numbers weren’t up in the throwing game, but his effect on the game was huge,” Carroll said of Wilson, who had 52 rushing yards, including one scramble that went for 38 yards. “And those carries, the couple of times he snuck out of there and got the space, that helps us neutralize the (pass) rush. Those are hugely important.”
The game plan was clearly to run the ball against a tough Washington pass rush, and it worked as Seattle ended the day with 181 rushing yards. A big reason for that was the play of the offensive line, which was without starting right tackle Brandon Shell and lost starting left guard Mike Iupati during the game. Cedric Ogbuehi, who filled in at right tackle, was a bright spot in Carroll’s eyes.
“Guys, I was really, really fired up about what we did up front. This was a game plan that was designed to neutralize their strength and they did it, they totally did it,” Carroll said. “We ran the ball well, we kept them from hitting the quarterback – Russ got banged three times, no sacks – against a really formidable group that was on fire coming in. Cedric Ogbuehi did a great job yesterday … He was confident and poised and consistent.”
The Seahawks aren’t the high-flying attack we saw early on in the season, and that’s largely because opposing defenses have found ways to minimize Seattle’s explosive passing plays. Carroll said his team has been great in recent weeks at countering defensive adjustments.
“Look at the running yards. It really couldn’t be more obvious,” he said. “We averaged 7 yards a carry yesterday and Russ’ play was a big deal and so was (Carlos Hyde’s long touchdown run). And that’s how you do it.”
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 20, 2020
Carroll said if the run game is available “we’re going to take it” rather than forcing passes, even if it’s not what people may want to see.
“That’s what balance is all about and that’s what the approach that everybody is so bored by in running the football, that’s freaking awesome,” he said. “And it’s an awesome way to win football games and it’s just how this game works.”
The offense and running game in particular were rolling up until their lead was pushed to 20-3 with Hyde’s score in the third quarter. But then they hit a wall, and Washington scored two touchdowns in a row in the fourth quarter to cut Seattle’s advantage to just five points. Carroll would have liked to see one more successful drive to keep the game from being decided on Washington’s final offensive possession.
“The game was really ready to be totally taken over because after that touchdown run, the defense came right back (and got a stop) … That was the opportunity to close the game out and unfortunately we couldn’t convert and take the ball down the field,” he said.
The Seahawks had three three-and-outs and a “fluke” interception after Hyde’s touchdown run, and Carroll thinks if Seattle scored even just one field goal after that, there would be no talks about his offense struggling late in the game.
“But it wound up being a game where we just didn’t get anything accomplished on offense after the touchdown,” he said. “One more touchdown and the game is out of reach and one more score and the game is out of reach … (But it) was a really well-executed game for us in that we did all the things we needed to do. We just needed to finish it with another drive on offense and it would have been a near-perfect game for us.”
Reed and defense stand out
The Seahawks have held opponents to 17 points or fewer in four straight games after holding Washington to just 15 on Sunday.
While Seattle had four sacks, three were on Washington’s final possession. Carroll wasn’t worried about the pass rush, though, based on how Washington attacked the Seahawks offensively and how the rest of his defense played.
“We hadn’t pressured because of all of their quick game stuff,” he said. “… And we just wanted to keep dropping off and making our tackles and we made a ton of plays.”
One player who recorded a sack was defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who had the first of two Seattle sacks on back-to-back plays that spelled the end of Washington’s final drive.
“He’s kind of clutch,” Carroll said of Seattle’s midseason trade acquisition, who you may remember also ended a big win over Arizona with a sack.
Dunlap played sparingly due to a sore foot that kept him sidelined the previous week against the Jets, and Carroll said his veteran savvy was on full display on his sack.
“He mentioned after the game to me that he knew (an injured Washington offensive linemen came back in) so he was going to see if he was really back. So he went right after him and just tried to power rush him … and he just killed him on that play,” Carroll said. “… He’s been a real positive for us.”
Cornerback D.J. Reed, appearing in another game as an outside corner due to injuries, was perhaps the defensive MVP of the game, recording six tackles, breaking up three passes and picking off another. Carroll said Reed made a great play on the interception and “stole it” from Washington.
The 2️⃣nd interception of the day belongs to @D7_Reed!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) December 20, 2020
“He has tremendous instincts and he continues to show us all of the things he can do,” Carroll said. “He had a really, really good game yesterday, and I’m really fired up about him.”
The Seahawks may get cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Tre Flowers back, but it’ll be hard for them to push Reed off the field.
“This was as good of a game a corner has played in a while for us and he deserves to keep playing, and that’s all,” Carroll said.
Team is healthy and getting healthier, unlike 2020
Last year the Seahawks entered the last few games of the season beat up, with running backs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin brought back due to injuries to Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise, while members of the offensive and defensive lines as well as safety Quandre Diggs either played hurt or missed games.
That’s not the case going into the last two games this season.
“The fact that we have so many guys coming back to us healthy (is big),” Carroll said. ” … We’ve got all three running backs ready to go going into the stretch and we’ve got a number of guys who are just on the verge of stepping back on the field, so this is a real opportunity.”
Speaking of Penny, he played his first game Sunday since tearing his ACL in Week 14 of last year, getting two carries.
“Just to break him in was really all we hoped to do and get him prepared to help us to finish the schedule,” Carroll said. “We got that done, he did fine, he felt good.”
As noted, Shell was out with an ankle injury, but Carroll seemed optimistic about getting him back for Week 16.
“We’re going to try and get him back this week,” he said.
Iupati suffered a stinger, which he has suffered in the past. His status going forward is unclear.
“We don’t know right now how serious it is. He has a history, so we’ve just got to take care of him,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks also appeared to have dodged two bullets when it comes to players on offense.
Star receiver DK Metcalf had an awkward landing with his leg on a deep pass but returned the next drive.
“I haven’t seen DK this morning but that was ugly,” Carroll said. “It was an ugly situation and it just shows you if he pulled out of that thing and he’s OK, that’s incredible … I think he survived it, just in terms of the game.”
Rookie running back DeeJay Dallas left the game on a cart with an air cast on his leg, but Carroll said the injury isn’t as bad as they thought initially.
“He did not break his leg yesterday. He has a sprained ankle, so we’re really happy about that and pleased that he could be a lot better off than we had thought originally,” he said.
Dunbar has practiced the last two weeks and will do that again and Flowers is set to practice this week, which could mean one or both will be available against the Rams.
Listen to The Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.