Focus on: The running game

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Coach Pete Carroll was happy with the way the Seahawks’ running game responded against the Buccaneers in Sunday’s overtime victory, but he still has concerns about his run defense.

When it came to the running games, the Seahawks’ matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday was a study in contrasts.

First, the good news. After rushing for only 44 yards against the Rams in St. Louis last Monday night, the Seahawks went for 198 against a Buccaneers’ defense that entered the game at CenturyLink Field allowing an average of 94.6 rushing yards to rank No. 7 in the league.

“We basically ran the same plays, we just really executed better much better,” Carroll said on Monday during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media.

The most obvious improvement was Marshawn Lynch, who got the ball eight times against the Rams and gained 23 yards. Sunday, he went for 125 on 21 carries, including 44 yards in the overtime drive to Steve Hauschka’s game-winning field goal.

But there was more to it than Lynch going Beast Mode. Robert Turbin, Lynch’s backup, had 37 yards on eight carries for a 4.6-yard average; while quarterback Russell Wilson carried six times for 60 yards to match Lynch’s 6-yard average. And then there was the line play.

“Our guys really did a great job of blocking,” Carroll said after the game.

Monday, he expanded on that, offering, “We played really well and handled their movement and stuff. This was a team that really slanted and blitzed and pressured a lot. But really, you could see it in Wednesday’s practice last week – the sense of urgency. We were really disappointed with what happened in St. Louis.

“So we can see that there’s levels to improve and trying to make it really clear to the players that we all need to take accounting of that. That we can still get a lot better in a lot of areas. We need to believe that first, and then we need to act on it. And they did it beautifully this week.”

The cause-for-concern news, however, is that the Seahawks have allowed 405 rushing yards in their past two games after allowing an average of 91.6 in their first six games.

“We were sloppy in our run fits, again,” Carroll said. “Unfortunately we missed some reads on a couple of new plays that they ran, did a nice job in changing up. And we weren’t as sharp. … We’re just off a little bit and we have not fixed it in these two weeks, obviously, with that many yards being run. We’ve got to keep working hard at it.

“Big, dedicated effort, because we don’t want to go that way. We’ve had 38 runs (against the Bucs) and 37 runs (against the Rams) the last two weeks. That’s because it’s available. They wouldn’t run it that many times if we were playing it better. So we’ve got work to do.”