Pete Carroll: Seahawks’ defense in ‘recovery mode’ after marathon tie
RENTON – Between defense and special teams, Seahawks strong safety Kelcie McCray had been on the field for almost two games’ worth of plays Sunday night when he chased down Cardinals receiver J.J. Nelson in overtime, making a shoe-string tackle to prevent what would have been the winning touchdown.
That effort and the circumstances it came under weren’t lost on coach Pete Carroll. Same for that of several other Seahawks defenders during a marathon of a 6-6 tie with Arizona.
“It’s amazing,” Carroll said when asked about the play by McCray. “There was a bunch of guys that did a lot. It was a game of heroics. I don’t know if they see it that way. I see the stuff on their side too that you admire. But we had a bunch of guys that did some great things and played a ton of plays and were able to survive it. Some of our guys, their bodies took it a little differently than others, but Kelcie was just an iron man.”
Thanks to the Seahawks’ offensive ineptitude for most of Sunday night’s game and the fact that it went five full quarters, Seattle’s defense was on the field for a whopping 95 snaps. By comparison, Seattle averaged about 62 defensive plays per game last year and the same number over the first five games of this season. That means the Seahawks’ defense played about an extra half’s worth of football Sunday night compared to what it’s accustomed to.
McCray played all 95 defensive snaps as did fellow defensive backs Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and DeShawn Shead. Bobby Wagner missed one snap while getting an intravenous fluid while fellow linebacker K.J. Wright missed two. Carroll said it took longer than usual for the team to leave the locker room after the game because so many players needed to be rehydrated, mentioning those three specifically.
“The biggest issue last night was make sure they were safe,” Carroll said. “They were unbelievably tough. Those guys were unbelievably tough handling it because your body goes into some other realms when it gets that dehydrated, and those guys had to make it through it and they did.”
Asked if he’s ever seen a locker room as exhausted as Seattle’s was Sunday night, Carroll mentioned there were a couple of similarly taxing games during his USC days down the road at Arizona State’s outdoor stadium.
“But that was particularly obvious that our guys just gave everything that they possibly had until they couldn’t go any further,” he said of Sunday night’s game. “It’s kind of something the coaches talk about, ‘Give us everything you’ve got and we’ll drag you off the field at the end of it.’ Well, that’s kind of what happened. We had to just about drag those guys off.”
And so the Seahawks will lighten the workload of some defensive players this week in order to ensure they’re fresh for Sunday’s game at New Orleans. Carroll said it’s something the team always considers based on how the previous game went.
“You’ll see some names and things for different reasons to make sure our guys are bouncing back because right now it’s about recovering,” he said. “We didn’t get banged up much, but there will be a recovery mode here that we have to be in and make sure we get out of it and come out strong and fast and ready to play next weekend.”
Here are a few more notes on Seattle’s snap counts from Sunday night’s game:
• McCray’s 108 combined snaps were the most on the team. Wagner and Wright were next at 102.
• Tight end Jimmy Graham played 61 of 63 offensive snaps, handling more of the workload than usual in Seattle’s first game without Luke Willson. Brandon Williams got eight snaps on offense while rookie Nick Vannett got two.
• Cornerback Jeremy Lane played 82 of Seattle’s 95 defensive snaps, so it was another nickel-heavy game for the Seahawks.
• Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga played 23 snaps. It was his first game of the season after re-signing with the team last week.