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Pete Carroll Show Takeaways: Why Seahawks’ Russell Wilson isn’t running as much

Dec 22, 2021, 1:16 PM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks leaves the field after failing to convert a first down during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Seahawks entered Tuesday with a two-game winning streak, but they couldn’t get their third win in a row as they fell to the Los Angeles Rams 20-10 to drop to 5-9 on the season.

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The game was closer than the score would indicate as the Seahawks and Rams were tied 3-3 at halftime and then again at 10-10 after each team scored to start the second half. The Rams took a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter and didn’t make it a two-possession game until there was less than 2 minutes to go.

With the Seahawks being that close the entire contest, you can imagine head coach Pete Carroll was upset about not coming away with the divisional victory.

“We had a chance to win that game,” Carroll told Mike Salk and former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on Wednesday during the latest Pete Carroll Show on 710 ESPN Seattle. “We were playing good enough to win the football game, keeping the score down, and there were a lot of things that we needed to have happen in playing those guys.”

The Seahawks’ defense, yet again, stepped up big against a tough offense, even coming up with a takeaway in the red zone to prevent the Rams from scoring at one point. But the offense was inconsistent, which has been an issue all season long.

As is the case after many losses, Carroll said he wishes the team had ran the ball more on offense.

“We were effective running the ball throughout the night,” he said. “We ran it 19 times, which in a game like that, you’d want to run 30 times. It was a tight game. We didn’t get to the numbers.”

The Seahawks ran the ball especially well on their opening drive in the second half, which resulted in a long touchdown drive. Rashaad Penny had two carries to start the drive and get Seattle a first down, and DeeJay Dallas ha a combined 25 yards on four runs late in the drive, including a four-yard touchdown.

“Man, that game should have flipped right there,” Carroll said of that drive. “And we really had the chance.”

But as for why the Seahawks got away from the running game late even with the game close, Carroll said that the team was trying to take advantage of all the things that come from an effective running game.

“We were (play-action passing) for the most part in there, trying to take advantage, and what happened on the play-action passes, (the Rams) did a better job of making that muddy, which is what they tried to do with their secondary play,” he said. “And (quarterback Russell Wilson) wouldn’t feel that he could get the ball in there enough to go for it. They did some nice jobs.”

The Seahawks had 80 yards on 19 rushing attempts, but none came from Wilson, who is one of the best rushing QBs in NFL history.

Carroll was asked why Wilson, who has 141 yards on 31 carries in 11 games, hasn’t run the ball as much this season.

First, Carroll said that when the Seahawks run the read-option, teams hone in on Wilson because they don’t want him to be a runner, which means that it essentially just turns into a handoff play.

“They take account for Russ and don’t let him run the football,” he said.

In regards to rushing on other plays, Carroll said Wilson is “looking on a number of plays in the game” to take off and run.

“We don’t do that as much because it isn’t available, so that’s just something that defenses have evolved to,” Carroll said.

Wilson overall had a rather lackluster performance, completing just 17 of 31 passes for 156 yards, one interception and no touchdowns.

Carroll thought that the Seahawks missed a number of big chances in the passing game despite protecting well up front against a vicious Rams pass rush.

“Last night we protected pretty well and that was that’s why I say this was a game that we had a shot, because we really protected well and had a chance to get the time we needed. They did a nice job of covering, which they’ve always done a nice job of,” Carroll said. “Unfortunately couldn’t take advantage of it.”

One play in particular stands out to Carroll in regards to the passing game.

Receiver DK Metcalf ran past All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey to get into prime position for a long touchdown that would have tied the game in the fourth quarter. Wilson underthrew the ball by a good margin and Ramsey broke up the pass.

“We missed DK on the bomb. He just smoked it down the sidelines and we just underthrew the ball and Ramsey gets back and makes a play on it,” Carroll said. “That’s a touchdown play. That would have been an explosive play in that game to change the whole feeling of it.”

The Seahawks also had other shots downfield that didn’t get made, Carroll said.

“I think there were some deep shots that we had a chance to make in the game, and we got behind these guys,” he said. “And we could have exploded on those opportunities.”

The missed pass to Metcalf was one of the biggest plays of the game in Carroll’s eyes. The other big one was when cornerback Bless Austin was called for a questionable defensive holding penalty on star Rams receiver Cooper Kupp on third down. Had the penalty not been called, the Rams would have punted deep in their own territory. Instead, the Rams got a new set of downs and scored the go-ahead touchdown.

“The illegal defensive holding call was a really bad call,” Carroll said. “We’re just in two coverage, the corner just reroutes the wide receiver and knocked Cooper really good and he kind of stumbled a little bit, and the official thought he knocked him down … The penalty, that was a big one. It was third-and-12 and gave them life and they score on that drive.”

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That wasn’t the only questionable decision the umpire crew made. Carroll said that he typically sends a handful of calls or non-calls to the league office after every game and he expects to do the same after this game.

“We always want to know how they’re going to call things because as they talk about the plays that are in question, (the league will) convey that usually to the crews as they move forward because they learn stuff all the time,” Carroll said. “There’s things that happen and they can get better, we can get better and we try to work together to make the game better.”

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

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