Carroll: Al Woods key in Seahawks shutting down 49ers’ run game
The Seahawks were able to pull out a big 30-23 victory on Sunday over a San Francisco 49ers team that entered the week on a three-game winning streak thanks to a strong rushing attack.
In those three wins, the 49ers rushed for at least 156 yards in each game and averaged 178.33 rushing yards per game, including over 200 in their win the previous week over the Minnesota Vikings.
On Sunday, however, the Seahawks shut down that rushing attack, limiting San Francisco to 71 yards on 25 carries.
When asked about the keys to his team’s victory, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll first pointed to the job his defense did in stopping the 49ers’ run game.
“The defense just hung together and stopped the freaking running game, man,” he told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk on Monday’s Pete Carroll Show. “These guys have been killing it on the ground. I think we discouraged them a little bit early and they just didn’t stay with it like they had been. We had an exceptional day against the best running team in football here for the last month.”
Carroll called the performance by his defense a “big accomplishment” while also saying that the defense let jut a handful of plays get away from them in the passing game, which allowed the 49ers to put up 23 points.
But when looking at the running game, Carroll made sure to point to the play of one of the more underappreciated players on the team.
“We did some things in the plan that matched some guys up and really I would give some credit to Al Woods‘ role that he played in this thing,” Carroll said.
Woods, a 34-year-old defensive tackle who has played in every game for Seattle this year, is in his 11th year in the league and third season with the Seahawks, having played in Seattle briefly in 2011 as well as in 2019.
A massive human being at 6 foot 4 and 330 pounds, Woods played a key role in limiting the San Francisco rushing attack.
“He was over there on the tight end side a bunch. They’re a strongside running football team and he had an excellent game,” Carroll said of his big veteran defensive tackle. “He matched up beautifully where we put him and I thought the game went well along with that. I think with Al, the emphasis that we made early in the week with moving him around a little bit worked out for us.”
Woods’ play this year is also impressive as he sat out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has been in tremendous shape all season, playing 53% of the Seahawks’ defensive snaps.
Carroll praised Woods’ work ethic in terms of his body but said what’s more impressive is how respected he is by his teammates.
“He’s got a fantastic attitude. He is a leader in and just a kind of pace setter for us because he’s such a big dude that plays so hard,” Carroll said. “You don’t find guys that will run to the ball and chase it like he does with such great spirit. I mean, he is really one of the favorites in the locker room because he’s such a stud and we’re lucky to have him. And I don’t care how old he is.”
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