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Pete Carroll Show takeaways: Seahawks injury updates, run game’s recent success

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is excited as Seattle is 10-2 after a win Monday night. (Getty)

The Seahawks are fresh off their 10th win of the season after a 37-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Monday night.

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The win puts Seattle at 10-2 and in first place in the NFC West. As it stands, the Seahawks are in second place in the NFC and would host at least one home playoff game after a first-round bye if the current standings hold at the end of the season.

The Seahawks ran all over the Vikings to the tune of 218 rushing yards and dominated time of possession 39:45 to 20:15, both of which are music to head coach Pete Carroll’s ears.

Carroll joined 710 ESPN’s Danny and Gallant on Tuesday morning for his weekly Pete Carroll Show to talk about what went right against the Vikings while also offering some updates as far as injuries and the Seahawks’ next opponent, the 7-5 Los Angeles Rams.

Injury updates

The Seahawks were fairly healthy going into Monday’s game, and that much was still true afterwards.

A few players left the game temporarily, such as running back Chris Carson and offensive lineman Mike Iupati, but they should be fine going forward.

“It seems like everyone made it out OK of the game and should be OK for next week,” Carroll said. “Nothing was real serious it seems.”

Additionally, a flu bug was going around the team last week, which took a toll on roughly eight players, including receiver Tyler Lockett and cornerback Tre Flowers. Carroll said the sickness should be in the rearview mirror.

Speaking of Lockett, he played again despite still recovering from a shin injury that caused him to leave the Week 10 matchup against the 49ers, but he didn’t record a catch and didn’t return kicks or punts.

“He’s just had a couple rough weeks in here,” Carroll said of his No. 1 receiver. “What’s really great is he’s going to come flying at us. I think he’s going to be back and I think he’s going to be a much bigger factor than he’s been able to be and he’s trying his tail off to get it done but he just hasn’t been the same so he’s been burdened. I think we should only be excited about that once he comes back (to full health).”

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah has battled a shoulder injury dating back to last season when he played for the Detroit Lions, and left the game after making a tackle as the shoulder was bugging him again.

“Ziggy’s shoulder is a problem,” Carroll said. “But he bounced back from it and he did recover from the stinger, so we’ll see. He’s been nursing the shoulder all along from last year and we’ll have to see how it goes going forward.”

Seahawks’ running game steals the show

It’s no secret that Carroll wants his team to run the football. Typically, the Seahawks are one of the better running teams in the NFL each season.

On Monday, the Seahawks had 218 yards on the ground on 43 carries and had two rushing scores. Carson and fellow running back Rashaad Penny combined for 176 of those rushing yards – Carson had 102 on 23 carries and Penny had 74 on 15 carries – and the Seahawks appear to have a legit one-two punch in the backfield. Each had a rushing score and Penny added a receiving score on a screen pass.

While Carson and Penny shined, a lot of the credit goes to the Seahawks’ coaching staff.

“What impressed me was the offensive staff saw what was going on and seized what was happening in this game,” Carroll said. “The whole ‘take what they give you’ thing sometimes is more important than you realize. This was that night.

“They were playing us in a way that really allowed us to go after the running game and whereas we ran it 43 times, we could have ran it 50 times and we could have just kept doing it.”

Additionally, the big guys on the offensive line stood out to Carroll.

“The running backs looked really good and that was really exciting but the guys up front were great. They did a great job last night,” he said. “It was no one guy, but the whole group all had their moments of terrific execution.”

Penny was a first-round pick in 2018, and aside from a 100-yard game against the Rams last year, he had yet to show that he was worth that type of draft pick, especially as Carson, a seventh-rounder, excelled and gave little reason to have the Seahawks give touches to Penny.

Now, Carson has over 900 yards this year but has also fumbled at an alarming rate. And when the Seahawks needed Penny to step up against the Eagles, he did, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown. He followed that performance up with 107 yards of total offense on Monday.

Carroll is excited about what he’s seeing out of his second-year player. Part of Penny’s success is that he’s in great shape.

“He is capturing it right now and he’s doing it in all ways,” Carroll said. “He’s really concentrating on being physically fit and as fast as he can be. I think he’s demonstrating more of an attack mode because he’s knows it’s coming and knows there’s a big play waiting to happen. I think he’s at his best, it just took him a while to get going and I think all of the competitive situations he’s been in having to wait has brought about an urgency that’s really brought him to his best … He’s competing with Chris. He wants to play the game and he’s got to get right.

“He weighed 231 (pounds) this week, which is an indication of how focused he is. He’s just trimming (weight) and trying to keep (his body) strong and as together as he can be, and it shows beautifully on the field.”

Defense continues surge

While you may look at the score and think the Seahawks’ defense played poorly because the Vikings scored 30 points, that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Vikings returned a batted Russell Wilson pass for a touchdown, scored a TD on the first drive thanks to two big plays with multiple missed tackles and later got a 58-yard touchdown pass because of a miscommunication in coverage. That equates to 21 of Minnesota’s 30 points.

Overall, Carroll was pleased with his defense’s third consecutive good performance.

“That’s weeks on weeks on weeks where we’re playing the way we need to play,” Carroll said. “Whenever we’re taking the football off of people, that’s how we want to play.”

Carroll described the progress on defense as a “long haul,” but the Seahawks are now getting the results they want to see.

Safety Quandre Diggs played his third game for the Seahawks after being traded from the Lions, and he has continued to stand out. He had an interception in his team debut in Week 10 and a forced fumble in Week 12, but he has also laid some big hits. He made another one early against the Vikings where he blew up tight end Irv Smith Jr. The play got praise from former hard-hitting Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.

“That was my favorite play of the night. The place exploded,” Carroll said. “That’s real safety play. That’s the stuff that I love about the position and the style that we were hoping he’d be able to show because he’s had those plays in the past. … There’s only a few guys who play like that and have that sense of really going for it, and they’ve always been the guys that I’ve loved to coach and put them in positions and hope that they’ll show it because it’s such a big impact. And not just on us, but them too – they saw that play also and there’s some balls that got away from guys and some guys that might have gone down a little easier to avoid getting hammered like that, so hopefully we’ll see more of that.”

The hit took place right in front of Carroll on the sideline.

“It was right there…it was perfect and what was really good about it was it was clean too,” Carroll said. “He used his shoulder the way we’re supposed to, hit the guy right in the strike zone exactly like we want to.”

A lot of young players are getting extended playing time, such as second-year defensive tackle Poona Ford. Rookie linebacker Cody Barton also played a bit for Mychal Kendricks ,who is battling a hamstring injury.

One young player on the rise is second-year cornerback Tre Flowers, who had an interception in his second-straight game.

“Tre is really coming around and really playing aggressively,” Carroll said. “His confidence is flying and that’s really an important boost for us as well.”

Carroll, a defensive backs coach by trade, loved the technique Flowers displayed on the interception when he snatched the ball away from Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs.

“This technique these guys play you have to step and we go step and kick, which means they have to really be patient in front of the receiver to wind up in front and on top of the receiver as he leaves the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said. “On that play in particular, it was a perfectly executed step kick, locked out jam with his inside hand. He was in total control of the route therefore he was in a tempo where he could challenge the out route that happened. It was a perfect play and I’m so thrilled to see that … to turn it into a big play out of extraordinarily, perfectly-executed technique, it was really fun to see Tre do it and his confidence is just soaring. And that’s a terrific player he’s going against too.

“Those surges are really fun. You can just feel the shift in the momentum and stuff just happens and it’s kind of like we’re just let out of the chutes and everybody is coming at you from every direction. The turnaround happened and it was the flurry and it was enough to hold off and get a good win.”

Something new

While a lot of the game was the expected Seahawks’ style of play, two things jump off the stat sheet.

One was that the Seahawks had just one penalty. This comes a week after they were penalized 12 times.

“I think it was one of my best jobs of the year coaching and taking all those penalties out,” Carroll said, jokingly. “I really put some focus on it this week and I think I did a couple great things there and it’s all coaching.”

Carroll went on to say that that having just one penalty was a difference maker against a good Vikings team.

“It’s so unfamiliar but it was a great factor in a close game and that’s a championship performance from our guys to play within the guidelines and all that,” he said. “It was really a benefit in that game.”

The other play that stood out was when rookie running back Travis Homer had a 29-yard rush on a fake punt at a key moment in the fourth quarter. Carroll said he knew the play would work if it was called.

“We were looking for it. We had practiced it so well and the coaches had it nailed…had to wait for the right opportunity and there it came,” Carroll said. “We didn’t have any question it was going to go if we could just get our chance to get it called, and (the Vikings) had to look the right way for us and they did.”

What’s next for the Seahawks?

Seattle has another primetime showdown on Sunday with the Rams.

The defending NFC champions haven’t been as good this season, and the Seahawks won a 30-28 thriller the last time the teams squared off in Week 5.

Having familiarity with an opponent, especially with the Seahawks having a shorter week because of the Monday night game, will come in handy for Seattle.

“It’s good we know them. We’ve been watching them all year and we’re very familiar with what’s been going on there and they’re in an interesting transition right now and we’re learning their team and how they’re going forward,” Carroll said. “This is a huge opportunity. We’re going down to the Colosseum and let’s go get ready for another championship matchup against a team that played great football just last week and they’re very capable. They’re loaded and their talent is coming back and it should be a great matchup against the Rams.”

Carroll also talked about the team’s consistency over the five-game winning streak, the Seahawks’ touchdown celebration and more.

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

Follow 710Sports.com’s Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

After Seahawks’ latest win, how does the NFC playoff picture look?