Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks playing defense ‘as good as anybody’
For the first time since 2016, the Seahawks are NFC West champions. Seattle clinched the division title with a 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16.
This marks the fifth NFC West crown that the Seahawks have won since Pete Carroll took over as head coach in 2010, and as you’d expect, the ageless coach was fired up about his team’s latest win, which puts Seattle at 11-4 entering Week 17.
Here are some takeaways from Carroll’s Monday morning interview.
No worry entering halftime
The Seahawks and Rams went into halftime tied 6-6 with both teams hitting a pair of field goals. Needless to say, neither offense accomplished much in the first half.
During the TV broadcast on FOX, sideline reporter Erin Andrews noted that Carroll was confident with how his team looked in the first half while Rams head coach Sean McVay was trying to get into the locker room as fast as possible to start making changes.
Carroll said Monday morning that it was easy to be confident at halftime given how his team was playing.
“I thought we were in control. I felt like we were playing such good defense and they challenged us with the stuff that can be difficult and we were matching it play after play, and they weren’t getting anything out of the perimeter game and their counter stuff and the things that have been really special for them,” he said.
Carroll also felt that his offense would eventually make some big plays, which it did, scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the second half as well as a game-clincher late in the fourth quarter.
“We just needed to stay in the pocket, just keep battling and then take advantage of the (opportunities), and (Russell Wilson) makes a couple plays here and there … and finishing (that final) drive off, that just showed you we had control,” Carroll said. “I was very pleased with how the game was going. I wasn’t worried about it at all.”
Who’s playing better D than Seattle?
After the game, star safety Jamal Adams told reporters that he felt the Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL.
After starting the season as the league’s worst, the Seahawks have turned things around in a big way, allowing an average of 13.7 points per game over their last six contests.
Carroll agreed with his safety’s assessment of that unit.
“We’re playing as good as anybody. I don’t know who else is playing better,” he said.
Carroll noted that the Seahawks just faced the No. 1-ranked defense in the league in the Rams and came away on top with their defense outperforming Los Angeles.
“Our guys are really on it and they feel it and … if you want to measure us since Week 8 after we came back from Buffalo and got our butt kicked there, we’ve been as good as you can find in the league, I think,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to keep it going, though.”
Linebackers stand out
Perhaps the biggest sequence of the game came late in the third quarter when the Seahawks stopped the Rams short of the goal line on fourth down.
GOAL LINE STAND
— PFF (@PFF) December 27, 2020
A touchdown and successful extra-point attempt would have tied the game. Instead, Seattle’s stud linebackers came through.
“K.J. (Wright) really set the tone of it by knocking the tight end back,” Carroll said. “He just hammered the guy and that took away the running lane for the running back and it gave space for other guys to get in and penetrate. Jordyn (Brooks) was there and everybody was taking a shot, Bobby (Wagner) finished him off kind of. What a great moment.”
The linebackers played well all game and rookie Brooks tied for the team lead in tackles with eight despite playing just 28 snaps (37%). Wright and Wagner played well as usual, and against the Rams that was especially important.
The Rams love to run bootleg play-action passes and stretch runs. Seattle’s linebackers had key roles in halting that attack, and they were critical in holding Los Angeles to just nine points.
“This was a great job. The best job I’ve seen us do ever in taking away a concept,” Carroll said.
Per Carroll, the Rams ran “11 varieties of boots” and averaged less than 3 yards on those plays, which he called a “phenomenal job.”
“They’re very difficult plays because there’s so much variety of movement and stuff and receivers can slide around … they really tried hard, so it was the factor in the game that gave us the edge,” Carroll said.
Adams with a Metcalf-like effort
In the Seahawks’ Week 7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, a play that went viral was Seattle receiver DK Metcalf chasing down safety Budda Baker, who looked like he had an easy pick-six.
Instead, Metcalf ran Baker down for a tackle, and the Seahawks’ defense kept the Cardinals from scoring any points.
On Sunday, Adams had a great play that likely won’t get the same notoriety as Metcalf’s but was perhaps even more important as he chased down Rams running back Darrell Henderson to save a touchdown. Then, the Seahawks got the aforementioned goal-line stop.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 27, 2020
“He was pressuring on that one, (defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.) had sent him,” Carroll said of Adams’ play. “That was likened to DK’s effort against the Cardinals. Every step was maximum amount of intensity and speed and giving everything you’ve got. It took all of that to keep the guy from getting in. You don’t realize how easily he could have gotten in when you look back at it now. It was just a marvelous moment of effort and going for it.”
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