SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks’ run game, improving D, state of season

Oct 18, 2021, 12:02 PM
Seahawks...
Seahawks QB Geno Smith hands off to RB Alex Collins during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Seahawks played their first game without star quarterback Russell Wilson since 2011, and while Geno Smith had his moments at QB, his fumble in overtime resulted in a 23-20 Pittsburgh Steelers win on Sunday Night Football, dropping Seattle to 2-4 to start the year.

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As he does every day after a Seahawks game, head coach Pete Carroll joined Mike Salk for The Pete Carroll Show on 710 ESPN Seattle to break down the game. Here’s a look at what he had to say.

Two halves, two offenses

With Smith under center and facing a tough Steelers defense, the Seahawks struggled mightily to move the football in the first half and fell behind 14-0 by halftime.

Carroll said he was very upset with how the Seahawks started the game offensively, especially considering they needed to run the ball and help their new starting quarterback.

“We didn’t get that accomplished, so we just declared that we’re turning it,” Carroll said of the offense’s adjustment at halftime. “You saw exactly what happened. Our guys up front took the game over.”

Entering the game, Carroll said he knew the Seahawks needed to be balanced and run the football to take the pressure off of Smith, especially because they were facing a top pass rush.

“It didn’t show up,” Carroll said.

But that changed after halftime with the Seahawks running the ball very well, which was key in the team scoring 20 points and forcing overtime.

“That’s how we needed to play. That’s how we need to play for the next few weeks and on into the season and really, that’s how we’ve played when we’re at our best for years,” Carroll said of the offense’s second half performance.

Carroll added that people will not like how the Seahawks played offensively in terms of sticking to the run as much as they did, but “we scored 20 points in the second half … and we did it by controlling the running game.”

Behind an offensive line that Carroll said dominated the game in the second half, Alex Collins led all rushers in the game with 101 yards and a touchdown as Seattle’s lead back, with Carroll saying he was “phenomenal in his effort.” Backups Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas also had their moments, with Homer tallying 54 yards on three touches and Dallas going for 50 yards on nine touches.

Smith, meanwhile, completed 23 of his 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown.

Carroll called Smith poised and “in control” against the Steelers.

“He handled everything very well throughout the whole thing,” Carroll said.

Unfortunately for Smith, his overall performance will be simplified down to one play, which was the fumble in overtime.

After the Seahawks came up with a big defensive stop, Smith dropped back to pass, stepped up in the pocket and star Steelers defender T.J. Watt forced the fumble, which Pittsburgh recovered deep in Seattle territory. A few plays later, Chris Boswell nailed the game-winning field goal.

“He was so upset that it comes down and he loses the football at the end there,” Carroll said. “And really, when you look right at it, Geno had terrible ball security as he ducked up in there. We don’t let anyone run with the football like that, and he’ll see it (in film) … They can knock it out anyway, but we don’t ever want to look like that. Unfortunately that got us.”

Overall, Carroll was happy with Smith’s play,though.

“He gave us a chance. He took us right down there when we had to (get the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter) and gave us a chance to put the game into OT and the whole thing,” he said.

Solid outing on D

After allowing over 450 yards in four straight games, the Seahawks’ defense played pretty well against the Steelers, holding Pittsburgh to 23 points and under 350 total yards.

The passing defense has been a huge issue for the Seahawks this year, especially against some intermediate routes, but Carroll thinks that is all in the past after this last game.

“Totally put it to bed … We defended stuff really well,” Carroll said.

Part of that was due to the play of the Seahawks’ cornerbacks.

“I was really pleased with their play, and in particular, I thought D.J. (Reed) had terrific game,” Carroll said.

Seattle’s other cornerback standout was a bit of a surprise.

After missing the first five games due to a knee injury, rookie Tre Brown stepped up. He played one drive in the first quarter and made a few plays, and then when Sidney Jones got hurt, Brown stepped in again and played well, including a big tackle in overtime to prevent the Steelers from converting on third down.

“He was good. He’s been on it,” Carroll said. “I’ve said this a number of times to everybody, but there are no plays in his background with us in practice and scrimmages … that weren’t really consistently tuned up. He went out and did just that. That’s exactly the way he’s looked in practice, so that’s a big statement for us.”

As for Brown’s future, it appears he’ll be getting more snaps.

“We need him to be competitive be out there,” Carroll said. “He’ll have a chance to play a lot moving forward.”

Sticking with the secondary, safety Jamal Adams has been under a microscope this year after signing a deal making him the NFL’s highest-paid safety, and the scrutiny of his play in pass coverage will continue after a would-be interception late in the fourth quarter hit him in the facemask and fell incomplete. Two plays later, Boswell hit a go-ahead field goal.

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Carroll said Adams was “all over the place” making hits during the game, and that he was used at the line of scrimmage more by design because the team needed him to.

“We’ve got to do it. I thought he played very well. He was active,” Carroll said.

As far as the missed interception, Carroll broke that play down as well.

“He had a chance to make a big pick and he just didn’t play the ball. He was playing the receiver to make the hit and he didn’t see the ball coming, I don’t think. He was zeroed in on the guy,” Carroll said. “That was a really big opportunity. He would give anything to have that chance back. That ball was right to him, and couldn’t (have been) more so. But we missed that opportunity really at a time when we could have iced that game, I think.”

The state of the season

After the loss to the Steelers, the Seahawks sit at 2-4 and are at least two games away from Wilson returning to action.

Carroll called the loss “painful” but said his players “are not beat” and “just showed you what they’re all about” with their effort in Pittsburgh.

As far as where the Seahawks currently stand and what this season is all about?

“This season is going to take a lot longer than we’d like to figure out what it’s about, and the start has just put us behind the 8-ball a little bit,” Carroll said, adding that his players will keep battling and having the right mentality the rest of the way.

Carroll later said he doesn’t think the Seahawks will know what this season is all about probably until 8-10 weeks into the season.

“If we can project and withhold judgement, a lot of stuff is going to happen and scenarios will take shape and we’ll see how great the Cardinals can be,” Carroll said, referencing the undefeated and NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals. “… Meanwhile, we just have to keep digging in, and that’s what we’re going to do. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Listen to the full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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