Pete Carroll: Penalty discrepancy in Seahawks’ loss was ‘unfortunate’
Oct 31, 2016, 2:16 PM | Updated: 2:30 pm
Penalty discrepancy. Carroll did not criticize any particular officiating decision or the officiating in general, but he noted the discrepancy in penalties and how the Seahawks were on the wrong end of some calls that could have gone either way. Seattle was penalized 11 times. The Saints were penalized twice, both times for false starts, which aren’t subject to an official’s discretion like, say, pass interference. And Carroll noted that one of those false-start penalties against New Orleans was fairly inconsequential as it came on a field-goal attempt that was converted after being pushed back to 41 yards from 36. “When you go through and it’s seven penalties to zero in the first half, I’m concerned,” he said. “I’m going right after the officials, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ This is a team that’s been penalized more than we have. They’re 26th or something like that in the league. So they’re not like a really clean-playing football team necessarily but in this game, it turned out that way. They had two false starts in the game, so that means a lot of calls in that game that could go one way or the other that didn’t go our way, but we were getting penalties called on us fairly freely. So I was just trying to get the attention of the officials, trying to get to their brains a little bit to see if they maybe they were overlooking something. There’s always some calls in the game. I’m not going to put it on that, but there was some situations.” Carroll added: “I ain’t going there. There was a lot of calls that could have gone one way or the other and there were some situations that were called that were very significant calls in this game that we see differently, and that’s just the way it is. It is that way every week. It was just unfortunate there was such a huge discrepancy in what was called and even the significance of the calls that were called.”
Final play. Carroll indicated that Seattle would have ideally audibled to a different play at the end of the game based on the defensive look that New Orleans was showing. He said Russell Wilson changed the protection at the line of scrimmage when he read that the Saints were bringing what’s called a zero blitz but that he felt there wasn’t time to change the routes. The Seahawks didn’t have a timeout, having used their last one on their previous defensive series. That forced them to spike the ball on third down to stop the clock with 2 seconds left, setting up fourth-down play from the 10-yard line to decide the game. The play clock was running down when Seattle snapped the ball. Wilson’s fade to Jermaine Kearse was overthrown, carrying him out of the back of the end zone. “It was a full blitz and we fixed the protection. Russ did a nice job to fix the protection,” Carroll said. “We kind of ran out of time to fix the routes and had to go with what the route was called and had to make the most of that, and that’s kind of how that happened, and we missed by inches.” Asked if that wasn’t the route Wilson wanted in that situation, Carroll said he could have changed it “when he sees it’s a blitz and it’s zero coverage, meaning it’s one-on-ones across the board, but he felt like he ran out of time to go ahead and get that done, so he just went with the routes and decided to go to Kearse and gave him a shot at it. Given more time, if it didn’t happen quite so late, he would done a couple things differently.” Carroll said it wasn’t a matter of the play-call coming in late. “No, I think it was because … it was a really well-disguised blitz,” he said. “You couldn’t tell all the way until the final movement of the free safety that it was zero. Russ had to sense that, which he did, but it took a while to detect what was going on because they didn’t show it right away.”
Fatigue a factor? Asked how much fatigue was a factor for Seattle on Sunday coming off last week’s overtime game against Arizona, Carroll said he didn’t think it was much of one but acknowledged that it may have been. The Seahawks’ defense was on the field for a whopping 95 snaps against Arizona and then 76 against New Orleans, including 43 in the first half. From the start of last season up until Week 7 vs. Arizona, Seattle averaged 62 defensive snaps per game. “I don’t know and I really don’t care,” Carroll said. “That’s the last thing I would attend to as a concern after the fact. We did everything we could do to help our guys get ready, they did a really good job of adjusting and adapting during the week to prepare, and I don’t feel like that was the issue at all. I don’t know. Look at the Cardinals, they got off to a pretty hard start in their game. They went through the same thing. So I don’t know. I didn’t feel like that was. It’s always nice to be fresher, you know. But I think we did a pretty darn good job and the guys responded. We played well early in the game. We got off the field on defense and we were doing OK. It was harder later. But I don’t know that.”
Assessment of Fant. Carroll gave a favorable review of the way rookie left tackle George Fant played in what was his first start since junior high. Fant, who played only one season of college football – as a tight end – was starting at left tackle in place of Bradley Sowell, who was out with a sprained MCL. He was penalized twice in the first quarter, for clipping and a false start. He also appeared to be the guilty party on an illegal block in the back in the third quarter that was attributed by officials to center Justin Britt. “George Fant, other than first-quarter miscues where he jumped offsides and he had a couple penalties, really a couple first-time situations that he kind of fell prey to, he played really well and he looked really good and he was very physical and he looked the part,” Carroll said. “That’s a remarkable thing that he’s doing and to play that far ahead of his experience is pretty good.” Asked if Fant played well enough to supplant Sowell at left tackle, Carroll said: “We’ll see how that goes. We don’t know. Let us get through this week and see what the options are and all of that. But he did a very good job for his first time playing and he showed why we’ve been talking about him so much. He’s very, very well equipped physically and got a good brain about it, got a good competitive mindset. There’s just so much to learn. He’s trying to take it all in.”
Carroll also shared some injury updates, which you can read about here.