Pete Carroll Show: Too many fixable miscues sink Seahawks vs Titans
It appeared that the Seahawks were set to cruise Sunday to a second straight victory to start the 2021 season, but things fell apart in the second half as Seattle went from leading 24-9 at halftime to falling 33-30 in overtime to the Tennessee Titans.
Head coach Pete Carroll joined Mike Salk on Monday for The Pete Carroll Show, which airs every morning after a Seahawks game on 710 ESPN Seattle. As you might imagine, Carroll wasn’t thrilled with how the game unfolded in the second half.
“Bad day, man. We screwed that up, it’s too bad,” he said. “Really good opportunity to get a great win at home and we didn’t finish it right and they get away with it.”
Carroll dove into what went wrong on both sides of the ball and also gave some injury updates during his conversation with Salk. Here’s a look at what he had to say.
Rough day on defense
The Seahawks allowed over 500 yards of offense to the Titans, with over 200 of those yards coming on the ground. That was because All-Pro running back Derrick Henry, after being bottled up in the first three quarters by Seattle’s defensive front, finally broke loose on a 60-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter on his way to a 182-yard, three touchdown day.
Carroll said that long run was the Titans’ “big boost” that got them back in the game.
“Up until then, we were staying out ahead of it and I think them closing so quickly gave them a chance,” he said. “They just needed one more chance and they were able to get it.”
For the most part, Carroll thought the Seahawks’ defense “slugged it out” well against the Titans’ run game and were hitting Henry early and often, but on Henry’s first touchdown as well as the long run, the Seahawks were out-executed and “could have played it cleaner.”
“There were breakdowns in the discipline of it where it didn’t quite fit just right and he just made a play on it,” Carroll said. “But play after play after play, we had to play well. It’s more about playing right and being in the right spots so you’re relative to one another in the spacing that’s necessary.”
The Titans also threw the ball well, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill throwing for 347 yards and receiver Julio Jones totaling 128 yards on six catches.
Salk asked Carroll if cornerback Sidney Jones, who was acquired in a trade after the preseason and has NFL starting experience, could see the field soon. Carroll provided an update on him and fellow cornerback Bless Austin, another recent addition with starting experience.
“Those guys are battling in practice to show how they fit and where they fit. It’s kind of hard to just break them in in the games so they’ve got to earn it through the practice reps,” Carroll said. ” … We’re developing our depth and developing the competitiveness of the situation for if an opportunity arises. (Jones) is ready to play. He’s been around long enough and he’s ready to go. He probably was ready a week ago but we still wanted to just make sure. We’ll see how it goes but I’m really pulling for those guys to figure in.”
Salk also asked Carroll if the Seahawks were in talks with free agent cornerback Richard Sherman, who starred for the Seahawks in the early- and mid-2010s.
“Nothing right now,” Carroll said.
Offense lacks rhythm
The Seahawks put up 30 points, but they only had the ball for 22:42 of clock time compared to Tennessee’s 42:33 and ran 52 plays to the Titans’ 83.
Carroll said that the way the Seahawks scored played a part in the offense struggling to put points on the board in the second half.
“You look back and we scored on a huge play … then we scored on the 5-yard line (after a turnover), so we didn’t have the ball very long, and then we scored again from 60-something, so we never established our ability to drive the football in the game,” he said. “It was just kind of unusual that we were out ahead like that and had yet to establish a rhythm to the offense.”
In the second half, Carroll said Seattle’s offense had issues with penalties and miscues, which added up to “no rhythm to the finish of the game when we needed it.”
“We needed one more drive,” he said. “We needed one more drive to finish the game.”
Carroll said that both sides of the ball had chances to clinch a win, and that neither the offense or the defense “complemented our play” as well as they did in Week 1.
“It hurt us at the end,” he said.
Star quarterback Russell Wilson was 18 for 22 passing at one point, but after that he went 4 for 9 and didn’t find the end zone. Carroll said Wilson played well and “took advantage of the game” until Seattle’s lone drive in overtime.
“We had a play-action pass and I wish we could have controlled the ball and checked the ball down there, but he took a shot to Tyler (Lockett that was incomplete) and then we went to DK (Metcalf) on second down (that was incomplete), and then our opportunity escapes us there and they get the ball inside the 40,” Carroll said. “That sequence was the one I wish Russ could have helped us there and made completions. We just needed to move the ball there and change the field position at least in overtime because you’re playing for a field goal right there.”
The running game also struggled, with lead back Chris Carson tallying just 31 yards on 13 carries. Carroll was asked how the Seahawks can get the run game going again.
“Just gotta keep going. Gotta keep doing it. Gotta stick with it,” he said. “We needed it in the fourth quarter … We threw the ball quite a bit at the end of the game and (by doing that) we missed out on our chance to run the football there where we could have run out the clock and maybe controlled that game a little easier.”
In addition to the defense allowing too many yards and the offense struggling in the second half and overtime, penalties were a huge issue for the Seahawks as they were flagged 10 times for 100 yards. Carroll was upset about that because he felt they were costly penalties that easily could have been avoided.
“It was clearly stuff that we can fix. It’s so obvious,” he said. “We had so many penalties that were after the play was completed. It was because guys were trying so hard to make something happen and not making the clear decision to hold off when they have to.”
The Seahawks were called for roughing the passer twice, and Carroll said those could be cleaned up by the defenders putting their hands up to avoid hitting the quarterback in the helmet.
Cornerback D.J. Reed was called for a taunting penalty when he turned and talked to an opposing receiver after an incompletion. Carroll said it’s a penalty by the NFL’s new definition of the rule but did stress that he felt the league has “opened a can of worms” by making that a point of emphasis.
One penalty that Carroll was especially displeased with was linebacker Jordyn Brooks getting flagged for a late hit out of bounds. Brooks was pulled after that and spent the next drive on the bench.
“The bench is a great ally for you as a coach when you have to use it and make a point,” Carroll said. “I thought that the one for Jordyn was so clearly out of bounds that that was one where I needed to make sure that we’re going to keep going and this needs to stop. So we made a little statement and he went back in and played good after that. It just added up and caught up to us. It’s just something I take responsibility for. I’ve got to keep these guys with their heads on straight so we’re playing the game within the guidelines. So many of those situations were ones we could control.”
Overall, the Seahawks are healthy as a team, but Carroll had some quick updates on guys who are banged up.
Rookie cornerback Tre Brown is on injured reserve with a knee injury, but it appears he’ll be back after the minimum three-week window.
“Tre Brown will come back in another week too to get back in the competition of it too, which will be good,” Carroll said of the cornerback spot.
Right tackle Brandon Shell left Sunday’s game with an injury, but Carroll seemed optimistic that he will not miss any time.
“He sprained his ankle,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how he responds. The MRIs and stuff were pretty positive for hopes that we’ll be OK.”
Rookie receiver Dee Eskridge missed the game with a concussion suffered in Week 1, but it sounds like he’ll play in Week 3.
“The reports are really good coming out of the weekend that he feels back to normal,” Carroll said. “He’ll be worked back in and if he can maintain the workload then he’ll be fine to go. He has a really good chance to play.”
Lastly, defensive tackle Bryan Mone missed Week 2 with an arm injury. His status is more unclear.
“We’ll have to wait and see on Bryan. It all depends on how he responds,” Carroll said. “He had a pretty good injury to his triceps, so we just need to see how it comes back and responds to the work and the pushing and the heavy duty stuff he has to do. He would have been a very valuable part of this game and we really missed him this week.”
Listen to the full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.