A Seahawks-blue blueprint

Posted Dec 2, 2011

The Seahawks have been improving by the game after their 2-6 start, but the effort against the Eagles on Thursday night was a true indication of how coach Pete Carroll wants his team to play every game.

Thirty-three rushing attempts for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Only 16 pass attempts, but 13 completions and another touchdown. Four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown and two others that setup touchdowns. A solid game from the special teams. Five penalties for 30 yards.

Pete Carroll the coach morphed into Pete Carroll the architect on Friday, and even allowed himself a moment to appreciate just how closely the Seahawks’ 31-14 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night followed his plan for how he wants his team to play.

“We’ve been trying to throw this game for some time now,” Carroll said. “We’ve thrown it out there for a month now. It’s been a month solid of playing in the same style. This was cleaner than the other games, and maybe that’s a step forward for us.”

This game, on national TV, was just better – in almost every phase – than the others in this stretch where the Seahawks won three of four.

The rushing yardage was a season high, and the per-carry average (5.3) was close. There also were ample style points because of Marshawn Lynch’s how-did-he-do-that 15-yard touchdown and another for 40 yards.

“The defensive lineman was on Marshawn’s back, and he really had a wrap-up tackle from behind like he had him,” Carroll said of the 15-yarder where Lynch disappeared into a pile only to pop out and score.

“As Marshawn has shown so many times, he just does not let that stop him. He’s just going to keep going, and digging and scratching and clawing.”

In the passing game, Tarvaris Jackson did not throw an interception for only the third this season and had third-down completions of 26, 21 and 11 yards, as well as a 25-yarder on fourth down – to four different receivers.

“Tarvaris did a helluva job managing the game,” Lynch said after Jackson has fashioned a passer rating of 137.0 – a career-best for games in which he has thrown at least 15 passes.

On defense, the Seahawks yielded 330 yards, including 80 on a 17-play, 10-minute drive by the Eagles that started in the third quarter and didn’t end until LeSean McCoy scored on a 2-yard run. But the defense offset that, and more, with a season-high four interceptions. Middle linebacker David Hawthorne returned the fourth 77 yards for a touchdown, while strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner had picks that setup Lynch’s 15-yard TD and Jackson’s 11-yard TD pass to Golden Tate.

After averaging 11 penalties for 92 wrong-way yards in their previous five games, the Seahawks trimmed those averages in half and by a third against the Eagles.

“The fact that we cut our penalties down, to me, doesn’t mean anything. Unless we do it again next week,” Carroll said. “But to get through the football game without turning the ball over is huge. That’s huge, and we need to keep that going.”

The Seahawks are now plus-4 in turnover ratio, after languishing in minus territory for most of the season.

“That will allow us to win,” Carroll said of the four-to-none turnover situation against the Eagles. “Those determine the wins and the losses.”