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Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney
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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s hope for 2nd half of season: More QB pressure

DE Jadeveon Clowney had one of the Seahawks' two sacks on Sunday. (Getty)

The Seahawks picked up a pair of sacks in Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons, which was actually a bit of an improvement from what they had been producing in their pass rush.

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Seattle entered the game with 11 sacks in seven games this year, and five of them came in Week 1. That means that their total for the previous six games was just six sacks, an average of one per game.

The performance of Seattle’s pass rush was on the mind of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Monday morning for the weekly Pete Carroll Show. When asked by Danny O’Neil what his hope for the defense is now that the team is entering the second half of its 16-game schedule, Carroll pointed to the Seahawks’ struggles in that area.

“We need to continue to work to develop our pressure on the quarterback,” Carroll said. “We pressured quite a bit yesterday when we didn’t get home and the ball came out really quick on us.”

You could say that again.

Matt Schaub, Atlanta’s backup QB who was filling in for the injured Matt Ryan, threw for a whopping 460 yards on Sunday. Schaub joined an interesting list as the seventh QB to throw for over 400 yards in a game against a Carroll-coached Seahawks team – and Seattle is 7-0 in those games, as O’Neil pointed out in his most recent column.

While the Seahawks have a number of players on their defensive line with reputations as pass rushers, most notably Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and Jarran Reed, Carroll said it’s just as important for the other members of Seattle’s defense to do their jobs to help increase its ability to rush opposing QBs.

“There’s some complimentary parts of that – we need to cover tighter when we’re pressuring and be a little more aggressive and take a few more chances in that regard,” he said. “We need the effect on the quarterback. That’s what going to be crucial down the stretch for us to cause problems. You can do that in coverage and you can do it in your four-man rushes and you can do it in your pressures. We have to do a little bit of everything and just bring that part of our game up.”

Seahawks’ 1-2 rushing attack

A week after Rashaad Penny was a complete non-factor in Seattle’s run game, he was back in the mix on Sunday. He proved to be a solid second option behind starting running back Chris Carson, too.

While Carson led all rushers with 90 yards on 20 carries, Penny chipped in 55 yards on eight carries for a team-best average of 6.9 yards per attempt.

“I think he looked really good yesterday,” Carroll said of Penny, noting that he didn’t play much the week before due to a hamstring injury he had been nursing. “He burst really well on a number of runs. He just needed to get healthy and get back out (there). He’s shown us those explosive plays and all, glad to see him contribute in that way.

“It was a really good 1-2 punch with those two guys yesterday. I thought we ran the ball really well and was really excited about just feeling the space that we were getting at the line of scrimmage and they were making the most of it.”

Griffin’s best game

Third-year cornerback Shaquill Griffin has been the standout for Seattle’s secondary, and he had another strong performance in Atlanta, making four tackles (including one tackle for loss) and two passes defensed.

Carroll called it Griffin’s “best game” of the year.

“I thought he clearly challenged every chance that he got. We backed him off on a couple things late in the game, (but) other than that he was on everything. It’s just a continuation really of what he’s been doing – he continues to make plays. He’s been very, very aggressive and really accurate with his hand placement knocking balls down and also really doing a nice job with his body to not get into penalty situations. He even drew a foul yesterday, which was great.”

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

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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Danny and Gallant Show