Pete Carroll Preview: Seahawks building off win, Collins’ importance in 2021
The Seahawks wrap up what has been a rather disappointing 2021 season on Sunday against the Cardinals, but the team is coming off arguably its best performance of the year.
Last week, the Seahawks won their final home game of the season 51-29 over the Detroit Lions, rushing for 265 yards while recording no turnovers and punting just once on offense.
That kind of complete effort on that side of the ball, as you might expect, has head coach Pete Carroll pretty fired up heading into Seattle’s season finale.
“We’re so fortunate that we played like we played last weekend,” Carroll told Steve Raible during The Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO 97.3 FM’s Seattle’s Morning News on Friday. “And I haven’t let these guys forget it. I haven’t let them come off of that. Not that we’re celebrating that, but it’s about this opportunity to finish in a way that we can take some pride in.”
Carroll said the team has been having a “great week” of practice, preparing like “it’s a championship week.”
“We’ve been talking that way, we’ve been studying that way, we’ve been trying to get it done on the practice field that way, and the guys have just gone with it,” Carroll said.
It’s been a rather rocky season for the Seahawks not just in terms of wins and losses, but on the offensive side of the ball.
After setting numerous franchise records in 2020, the Seahawks have been inconsistent on that side of the ball in 2021 due to injuries and other factors.
But everything clicked on Sunday against the Lions.
“That game showed anybody who wants to know what we’re supposed to look like exactly what we want to look like,” Carroll said. ” … That’s the epitome of what we look like. And that’s why we scored 50 points and we got a 20-point win and all that … For those who want to know what the ideal is and what it’s supposed to look like, then that’s it. And there’s a lot of guys inside of that storyline that did great.”
Carroll immediately pointed to DK Metcalf’s three touchdown receptions, Russell Wilson throwing for four scores, Rashaad Penny running for 170 yards and the offensive line dominating both in the run game and pass protection.
“It gives us a step and we have to come back and play like that again. That’s the great challenge,” Carroll said. “That’s what the challenge is every week all the time anyway. You don’t want to stop the season because you had a good game, you want to go do it again because then you’re really reinforcing what the accomplishment is.”
Speaking of Penny, the fourth-year running back won NFC Player of the Week honors for his big game against the Lions, which was the third time in four weeks he’s rushed for over 130 yards.
Carroll said Penny appeared to be on track to break out when the Seahawks faced the Cardinals at home a few weeks ago, but he suffered an injury after a very nice run to start the game.
But Penny is now healthy and running better than any back in the league over the last month.
“He’s been fantastic for us, and it’s been great for him,” Carroll said. “It’s been great for our fans to see what he’s capable of doing. We’re thrilled to just give him the ball again and hopefully we can get it to him 20 times and see what happens.”
Before Penny’s breakout game in Houston, Alex Collins had been the team’s leading rusher with Chris Carson’s season done after just four games.
But Collins battled groin and abdominal injuries that limited his effectiveness and ultimately ended his season. In 2021, Collins rushed 108 times for 411 yards and two touchdowns.
Collins’ role on the team with Carson going down can’t be overstated, Carroll said.
“He really did spark and showed us that we can find our way and we can still run the football, we can still have an explosive team and all that when expectations maybe weren’t in that direction for him,” Carroll told Raible. ” … Unfortunately when you get that that abdomen thing going, you get the sports hernia thing going, it just drags you down, particularly for the skilled athletes. He just can’t accelerate. He went as long as he could and stuck it out as best he could until we had to get him fixed up.”
Listen to the full Pete Carroll Preview at this link or in the player below.