A win that was as satisfying as it looked

Posted Sep 17, 2012

Pete Carroll’s day-after recap of Sunday’s 20-point win over the Cowboys was punctuated by a series of smiles as the Seahawks’ coach is seeing his vision for the team come to fruition.

Pete Carroll was upbeat and smiling a lot on Monday.

That’s because the Seahawks’ coach was beyond pleased with the way his team bounced back from a disappointing loss in its season opener to dominate the Dallas Cowboys in their home opener on Sunday.

The smiles that punctuated Carroll’s comment during his weekly day-after news conference were not just because the Seahawks had won 27-7, but how they won – by beating the Cowboys with an aggressive, physical style that Carroll has been preaching since he was hired in 2010.

“We’ve been able to put the look and the feel of it out on the field, across the board,” he said when asked if this was the most satisfying of the 16 victories (including playoffs) he has had with the Seahawks. “We’ve had some really fun wins and great games and stuff, but because we’ve been so specific – we’ve laid it out there, we’ve told you what we were shooting for and how we want it to go.

“That is satisfying because we know now what we are really working toward, and what we want to achieve with our effort and the style of play.”

For example:

DeMarco Murray ran for 139 yards against the Seahawks in Texas last season, but had 44 yards on 12 carries on Sunday at CenturyLink Field – and the Cowboys had just 49 rushing yards. After two games, the Seahawks are allowing an average of 46 rushing yards to rank second in the league to the San Diego Chargers (41.5).

In his past three games against the Seahawks, all in Texas, Tony Romo had strutted his stuff by completing 62-of-101 passes for 866 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. Sunday, he was a much more pedestrian 23-of-40 for 251 yards with one TD and one pick.

“We played a really physical style,” Carroll said, standing on the stage in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “It’s really what we want to capture. There’s not a guy that sits in this room (during the daily team meeting) that doesn’t want to play on a team like that.”

On the other side of the ball, Marshawn Lynch ran for 100 of his 122 yards in the second half as rookie QB Russell Wilson looked poised and efficient in directing 90- and 88-yard TD drives. Last season, the Seahawks’ longest TD drive was 88 yards (twice).

The Seahawks did not turn the ball over against the Cowboys, while forcing three – a forced fumble (Michael Robinson) and recovery (Earl Thomas) on the opening kickoff to setup a field goal; a blocked punt by Malcolm Smith that was returned by Jeron Johnson for a touchdown; and an interception by cornerback Brandon Browner after the Cowboys had reached the Seahawks’ 24-yard line in the first quarter.

“All of that stuff is really what we want to do,” Carroll said. “The quarterback played really smart. All of those things are emblematic of what we’re shooting for.”

Key words: “shooting for.” Carroll was not about to proclaim that the Seahawks have arrived, especially with the Green Bay Packers coming to town for a “Monday Night Football” game next week.

Still, forward progress is what it’s all about when you’re building a team and relying so heavily on the contributions of young players.

“We definitely have grown,” Carroll said. “So many guys are more aware and communicating so much better, and adding to the overall effort. We have a chance to really improve.

“It’s encouraging.”

Not to mention satisfying, and smile provoking.