Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks’ offense taking care of the ball at right time
After a 26-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks are 12-4 heading to the playoffs as the conference’s No. 3 seed, and they are set to host the Los Angeles Rams in the wild card round on Saturday.
It took three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come away with the win in Week 17, but Seattle now turns its eyes to the Rams and the postseason.
Before getting his team ready for Saturday, head coach Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning for The Pete Carroll Show to go over the win, look at the season as a whole and preview the playoffs. Here are some takeaways from what Carroll had to say.
Seahawks getting the better of top defenses
Over the second half of the season, the Seahawks have played some of the better defenses in the NFL in the New York Giants, the Washington Football Team, and the Rams and 49ers each twice. Seattle went 4-2 against those teams, and a big reason for that is the team’s ability to limit takeaways.
“Really the simple message and the lesson is you’ve got to take care of the football,” Carroll said. “Because those teams pride themselves on beating the (heck) out of you and getting the ball away from you.”
The Seahawks’ offense hasn’t been as explosive as it was over the first eight games of the year, but Carroll said the way the offense is playing now, coupled with the team’s defense, equates to winning football.
“If you look at it, the guys have done a fantastic job, a great job of handling the football, the running backs and receivers all year long,” he said. “… When we are even or plus (in turnover differential) we’re 12-0 this year, and that’s the most obvious illustration you could have of how valuable it is.”
Deep passes were off, but Wilson was still “dangerous”
Some may be concerned about the offense’s lack of big plays in the passing game after Week 17, as it appeared Russell Wilson and his receivers weren’t on the same page at times or that Wilson just flat out missed a throw.
Carroll said on a few of those plays “stuff wasn’t the same as it always is,” and often Wilson had to throw the ball away, a ball got tipped, someone got held or something else happened along those lines.
“They were just unusual plays that don’t happen to us often, so I think that’s why it stood out,” he said.
Carroll also said he doesn’t see a problem with how the offense ultimately operated, scoring 26 points, including 20 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought Russ did what he did again, like the week before and like he’s done for years,” Carroll said. “He is just as dangerous as can be coming down the stretch. And as soon as Russ starts moving, things happen … It’s easier said than done for how to orchestrate that early in the game, but once the game got going late and we had to have it, man, he just took it over and that’s what we’ve seen him do so regularly.”
OL and LBs stand out
Two groups that have quietly played great football for the Seahawks this year have been the offensive line and the linebackers. Carroll praised both units on Monday.
“It’s been a good group for us this year and I think the guys coming off the bench have been the highlights that they’ve been able to come in and help us and keep it going forward,” he said of the offensive line. ” … There’s a real consistency among the players. … They’re hardworking guys and no has any issues, everyone’s fighting for one another. They’re talented, they’re big, we move well. It’s just a good group.”
Carroll said right tackle Brandon Shell has proven to be a good signing from last offseason and is rock solid, rookie right guard Damien Lewis has been an “amazing draft pick,” center Ethan Pocic has been key at communicating all year long and left tackle Duane Brown is “tough as nails” and a great leader for the Seahawks.
With the linebackers, everyone knows middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is a future Hall of Famer, but the two other linebackers have been playing great this season, especially of late.
Veteran outside linebacker K.J. Wright is playing strongside linebacker for the first time and though he had just three tackles in Week 17, he shined in a big way.
“He had a cool game for us yesterday and made some big plays on some good players,” Carroll said. “He’s had a really, really special season.”
The move to strongside linebacker from the weakside is a big part of that.
“The position shift has really helped, it’s really made him better than ever and I know he’s having a blast playing, he’s really in command of what’s going on,” Carroll said. “… He’s handled it beautifully.”
Wright and Wagner have been in the NFL since 2011 and 2012, respectively, but the other starting linebacker is Jordyn Brooks, the team’s 2020 first-round pick. He led Seattle in tackles for the second week in a row in Week 17.
“Jordyn has really stepped forward. He just continues to be a hammer and when he hits you, you can tell. He’s knocking guys back all the time,” Carroll said, noting Brooks has been great at reading plays, making good decisions and beating blockers. “… He’s just a really good ballplayer. He’s going to have a terrific career.”
“Gracious” Lockett’s record-setting day
DK Metcalf set the franchise record for receiving yards, but Tyler Lockett also set a team record for catches in a season, ending the year with 100. He needed seven to break the record, and Carroll said Lockett handled the situation in a great way.
“We wanted to get his records and break those things. He came up to me and came up to (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer) before the game and said, ‘Don’t worry about my numbers. I’m not worried about it at all, I don’t care, I want to go play, let’s go win,’ which is as gracious as he could possibly be,” Carroll said. “And then as he got (his seventh catch) he threw that ball out of there, so he knew what was going on.”
Lockett didn’t stop there, adding five more catches to get 12 on the day and become Seattle’s first-ever 100 catch receiver in a season. He ended Week 17 with 90 yards and two of the Seahawks’ fourth quarter touchdowns.
“I’m thrilled for him. I’m so happy for him,” Carroll said of Lockett’s big day and his record. “What a great kid he is, what a great player he is and what a great game he had. Gosh, he just came through in a big way.”
Listen to The Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.