Pete Carroll reacts to Seahawks making playoffs, breaks down win over Rams

Jan 9, 2023, 11:39 AM | Updated: 11:40 am

Seahawks Pete Carroll...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in overtime on Jan. 8, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks needed a win and some help on Sunday to get to the playoffs.

Seattle got the first half done with a 19-16 overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Hawks then left Lumen Field and waited to see if the Detroit Lions could knock off Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Thanks to some aggressive play-calling, the Lions got the upset win, vaulting the Seahawks into the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC, setting up a third clash with the San Francisco 49ers this Saturday.

“What a day, man. What a day and what a night,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said during Monday’s Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM to Brock and Salk. “… And man, the Lions just did it. What a terrific football game … How about them Lions?”

Rost: What makes Seahawks’ surprising return to playoffs so sweet

Carroll said he watched the Lions-Packers game at home with his wife.

Was it difficult watching a game he had no control over that had such high stakes for his Seahawks?

“It wasn’t hard. It was a freaking blast. I was just like anybody else,” he said. “… I was yelling and stuff, I was hooting and hollering on the turnovers going crazy and stuff. I was just hoping and anticipating that was just gonna be one great night, and it was.”

The Rams may have won the Super Bowl in 2021, but 2022 has been a struggle for LA, which ended the season at 5-12 after losing to the Seahawks. Even so, they played the Hawks hard twice and Seattle needed overtime for the win.

How did the Seahawks come away with a much-needed Week 18 victory?

“Hanging tough, man. We just stayed with it and kept on believing and doing things right and we would be in a finish kind of mode and we would outdo them,” Carroll said. ” … When it came down to it, we executed so well to get it done.”

A big part of Seattle’s defensive success on Sunday was the pass rush, which sacked Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield five times a week after recording four sacks against the New York Jets.

“Oh, yeah, we did it again,” Carroll said of the Seahawks’ pass rush.

So what made it so effective against the Rams?

“We made a really good jump in some things that we did tactically and schematically to offset what they wanted to do in that game, and it worked out,” Carroll said. “We covered the heck out of the perimeter and did a nice job of picking a lot of stuff up, made the quarterback have to run, a guy who’s not a runner, and that was part of the game … We got better yesterday.”

On offense, rookie running back Kenneth Walker III had 29 carries for 114 yards, his third-straight 100-yard game. That got the second-rounder to over 1,000 rushing yards on the season.

“I thought he was really, really aggressive, man. I thought he was attacking everything,” Carroll said. “He looks so explosive. I was thrilled to see when I was looking at the film to see how explosive he looked this late in the season after run like this where he has had the ball a lot. He’s just getting warmed up.”

Carroll said that part of Walker’s recent hot streak has to do with a slight change in his running style.

“I think in the last three weeks you’ve seen style-wise a shift a little bit,” he said. “He made the adjustment we asked him to about hitting stuff and it’s just helping him, and that consistency brings out the best in our offensive line, too.”

Huard: Why Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker III is exploding down stretch

Before kicker Jason Myers’ game-winning field goal in overtime, Pro Bowl safety Quandre Diggs came down with an interception on a deep passing attempt by Mayfield. The interception was Diggs’ fourth of the season.

Carroll, who started his coaching career teaching defensive backs, was extremely impressed by the play.

“That’s a ball hawk. That’s a guy that can manage all of that space,” Carroll said of his free safety. “Think of all of that space and the angles and things he has to figure out, and he just did it perfectly and timed it up exactly right, caught the ball over his back shoulder… just a fantastic play. That’s just knowing the game there.”

Carroll said Diggs and receiver Tyler Lockett share some similarities on the field.

“He and Tyler, they’re out there in the same way (in) the way they see the game, their understanding of it, their timing, their feel, their imagination that comes to life in those playmaker moments,” Carroll said. “That was one of them. That was a great one. I’m glad he had so much fun with that because that was really a game-changer.”

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

More on the Seahawks making the playoffs

• Playoff-bound: What Seahawks said after dramatic OT win in Week 18
• They’re in: Seahawks make playoffs — and get a top 5 pick

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