BROCK AND SALK

Carroll: Seahawks face big playoff challenge with ‘on fire’ 49ers

Jan 9, 2023, 12:45 PM | Updated: 12:45 pm

Seahawks 49ers...

George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball for a touchdown against Quandre Diggs of the Seattle Seahawks on December 15, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks beat the LA Rams 19-16 in overtime on Sunday and got the help they needed from the Detroit Lions in order to end the regular season at 9-8 and make the playoffs.

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

Now in Seattle’s return to the postseason, it faces a very familiar foe in the NFC West-champion San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

The 49ers beat the Seahawks twice this season by a combined score of 48-20 and are arguably the hottest team in the NFL right now, having won their last 10 games heading into the playoffs.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll discussed the upcoming matchup during Monday’s Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

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

“Shoot, they’ve won 10 in a row, man. They’re freaking on fire,” Carroll said.

What makes the 49ers’ season even more impressive is that they’re on their third starting quarterback in Brock Purdy, who was the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft last April.

San Francisco initially started the season with 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance at QB, but he got hurt in Week 2 against the Seahawks and missed the rest of the season. Then former starter Jimmy Garoppolo took over again and played well before getting hurt in Week 13 and missing the rest of the year.

Purdy, though, is 5-0 in his starts for the 49ers and has completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns to just one interception.

“Purdy’s done a great job coming in there. (Head coach Kyle Shanahan has) done an incredible job with his QBs this season,” Carroll said. “A 10-game run is big time. That’s big time in his league. And you’ve got to give them all the credit. They’re as healthy maybe as they’ve been all year long. It’s a freaking juggernaut we’re going into.”

So what makes the 49ers so challenging? For starters, they have the No. 1 total and scoring defense in the league.

Offensively, Purdy is leading a potent offense with dangerous playmakers like running back Christian McCaffrey and tight end George Kittle.

“They’re so well equipped with so many guys at positions that can make things happen. Who do you stop?” Carroll said of San Francisco’s offense. ” … They’re just so loaded, so much so that the quarterback – a young dude – has come in there and taken it over and done great … It’s as hard as it could possibly get.”

What will the Seahawks need to do in order to go down to Santa Clara and pull off the upset?

“It’s going to take a lot of trust,” Carroll said. “We’ll just learn from all of the things we’ve been through and take them with us with a great deal of trust in ourselves and in the guys next to them, that’ll give us a chance. I would bet that not many people think we have a shot in this one, but we’ll see if we can manage a way to make it competitive.”

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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Carroll: Seahawks face big playoff challenge with ‘on fire’ 49ers