Seattle Seahawks Win: Carroll on what’s good, what still needs work

Sep 24, 2023, 6:12 PM | Updated: 6:34 pm

Seattle Seahawks...

Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and DK Metcalf celebrate on Sept. 24, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The last time the Seattle Seahawks were home at Lumen Field, they got embarrassed by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. This time was much different as the Hawks controlled their Week 3 matchup with the Carolina Panthers, coming away with a 37-27 win to get to 2-1 on the young season.

Seattle Seahawks 37, Panthers 27: Reaction | Big Plays | Recap | Stats

So what worked well for Seattle? And what do the Hawks still need to get right?

Here’s what head coach Pete Carroll said about where the Seahawks are and aren’t feeling good after Sunday’s win over Carolina.

Feelin’ Good

• The crowd made a statement

The first thing Carroll pointed to after the game was the impact of the Seahawks’ fanbase, which was extremely loud all game long and contributed to the Panthers committing eight false starts, three of which came almost consecutively in the fourth quarter.

“What a great impact they had on this game. These guys had eight false starts … What a great factor,” Carroll said. … “That was a thrill.”

The Seahawks have a very young team with a number of rookies, and Carroll was excited they got to see how electric Lumen Field can be.

“It was a thrill for our young guys who hadn’t felt that,” he said.

• Finish the fight

Despite losing 30-13 in Week 1, the Seahawks actually had the lead at halftime against the Rams.

Carroll wasn’t happy with how his team finished that game. This week, though, he was signing a very different tune after back-to-back wins.

“To go finish 60-plus minutes last week and to come back again this week, that’s a big statement for us to build on,” Carroll said.

Carroll then again pointed to how young the Seahawks are.

“It’s a young team that’s coming together and finding themselves, and we can really make something of that,” he said.

The Seahawls were down 13-12 at halftime, settling for four Jason Myers field goals in the first two quarters (more on that later).

Seattle did kick another field goal early in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks scored 25 points in the second half as the offense really got going.

“To play all the way through the end on both sides of the ball and playing football, the offense scored 25 points in the second half. That’s huge. That’s execution,” Carroll said.

Carroll added that quarterback Geno Smith was “on fire” in the second half. Smith completed 11 of 23 passes for 153 yards in the first half compared to 12 of 13 for 143 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

• The run games on both sides

The Seahawks struggled mightily to defend the run last year. So far, so good this year, especially against the Panthers. Seattle held Carolina to just 44 rushing yards on 14 carries.

“We’re getting this running game in order on the defensive side. To give them 44 yards today, that’s a team that likes to run the football and they were determined and want to do it, and after a while they couldn’t. That’s a great job by our guys,” Carroll said. “That’s something we have to hang onto and be part of our team.”

On offense, Seattle’s run game was very apparent as the Hawks finished with 33 carries for 146 yards and two Kenneth Walker III touchdowns.

“Those are the kinds of things that we have to make staples of our team,” Carroll said.

• Three rookies stand out

Undrafted rookie receiver Jake Bobo became an offseason sensation for the Seahawks after starring in training camp and the preseason. He came up big in this game, too, catching his first career touchdown with a nice toe drag in the back of the end zone.

“Loved it. I was so fired up that Jake got that,” Carroll said. “We missed some opportunities to him today, but he’s going to be a big factor. He did some really good things in this game today.”

Another rookie standout on offense was running back Zach Charbonnet, the team’s second-round pick. He had nine rushes for 46 yards, and lowered the boom late in the action.

“I loved Zach showing himself today and showing how tough he is and how explosive he can be. It’s a great asset for us,” Carroll said.

And then there’s cornerback Devon Witherspoon, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft.

Witherspoon got his second start in a row at outside corner, and in his first game at Lumen Field, he led the team in tackles with 11 and was credited with two pass breakups.

“I thought Spoon had a terrific game today. You can see him – he’s all over the place,” Carroll said. “He factors into the game by being around the football to make the wins. He’s not going to stop them all, but he stopped a bunch today … He’s big-time, yeah.”

• Injured Seahawks stepping up

The Seahawks had a very lengthy injury report this week as many key veterans had to miss practice.

While Seattle was without a few contributors on offense and defense, four banged-up veterans played for the Seahawks this week, and two of them in particular shined.

Safeties Quandre Diggs and Julian Love were both questionable with hamstring injuries and wound up starting for Seattle.

Star receiver DK Metcalf was also questionable with a rib injury he suffered last week, and all he did was catch six passes for 112 yards.

On the defensive line, Jarran Reed had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits after being questionable with a groin injury.

“Those guys didn’t get much work in at all (in practice this week) and they just wouldn’t not play and they sucked it up and made it through their injuries and all had really solid games for us. It’s a great visual for our young guys to show them what it takes,” Carroll said.

Reed being such a presence in the middle of Seattle’s defense has been huge this season, Carroll said.

“He is such a marvelous return for us to get him to come back to us. He’s such a marvelous factor,” he said. “… He’s unbelievably important to us and he had a great game.”

Carroll said postgame that he expects safety Jamal Adams to make his 2023 debut next week against the New York Giants, and that cornerback Riq Woolen and left tackle Charles Cross both have good chances to return to action for that Monday night matchup.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see these guys come back to us,” he said.

What needs work for Seattle Seahawks?

The Seahawks overall are happy with how things went against the Panthers, but there are still things to clean up.

Carroll thinks his team has work to do offensively.

“We were lousy on third down and we were lousy in the red zone scoring,” Carroll said.

The Hawks settled for five Myers field goals, all of which were 43 yards or shorter, with four 39 yards or shorter. Seattle finished 3 of 13 (23.1%) on third down on offense.

“We have to convert on third down down there and we’ve got to capture the opportunity of the drive. It can’t get any more obvious than that,” Carroll said.

“That’s where we’re focusing,” Carroll added. “It’s carrying over a little bit. We’ve seen this for a couple weeks. It’s not good enough. We’re gonna need that to really get better. We already have ideas and we can’t wait to get back to work on it.”

Defensively, Carroll didn’t offer too many critiques, but he did share that Seattle messed up on a long 47-yard D.J. Chark touchdown reception, one of Carolina’s few explosive plays on offense.

“We screwed it up. We busted it. We busted the coverage,” he said.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

A weak spot last year, Seahawks’ run D much improved so far
Pete Carroll reflects on Seahawks’ ‘marvelous’ Super Bowl 48 team
Salk: 4 ways Wagner’s Seahawks return is an unmitigated success
Bump’s Breakdown: How Fant and Lockett came up big
Huard: ‘So curious’ to see where Seattle Seahawks play Jamal Adams

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