A day after his team's 25-17 loss to the Chargers, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was still disappointed in the way his team "didn't play better throughout" Sunday's game.
The Seahawks did some good things in all three phases of the game, but they also made too many critical mistakes, from missed opportunities on offense to giving up big plays on defense to committing too many costly penalties. So while the Seahawks did show some resilience in nearly coming back from a 15-point deficit, they also know they missed a chance to earn a win over a very good opponent.
"I'm still disappointed that we didn't play better throughout," Carroll said Monday. "We missed opportunities in this game and gave away some advantage with some mistakes that we made. The Chargers did a nice job of taking advantage of it and we played a real good, tight game and got down to the end. Had a chance to be in it and weren't able to finish it… The fight in our team at the finish, here we are at the halfway point of the season to see the character and the effort. The way the special teams played and the way we finished on offense the last couple of drives and the way we finished on defense is really encouraging to me. I'm just disappointed that we didn't translate it to a win yesterday. We found ourselves, in most of the games we haven't been able to win, right there at the end and so close to getting it done. I'm hoping that the second half of the season will allow us to finish those games and get the wins that we want and turn the season into a really positive year for us."
Here are five things we learned from Carroll's Monday press conference:
1. Russell Wilson showed his resilience.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson didn't have his best game on Sunday, but after having an interception returned for a touchdown late in the game, he showed one of his best traits with his ability to bounce back from that adversity and nearly lead an unlikely comeback. Following that interception, just his second in the past six games, Wilson led one touchdown drive, then got the Seahawks all the way to the 1-yard line on their final possession before his pass to David Moore on the last play of the game was tipped, causing a game-ending incompletion.
"It is his makeup that allows him to do that," Carroll said. "He just does not allow himself to be wavered by things that have happened before, good or bad. He just goes right back to it. He has a great mechanism in him to believe that he's going to be able to do something really good with the very next shot he gets, and he proved it to you again. Those are two remarkable jobs by the offense under the circumstances of the timeframes and all of that. It took a lot of stuff to get it done, to fourth downs and all of that, and Russ was right in the middle of it. We did a great job there."
Asked about Wilson's sideline demeanor following a bad play, Carroll said, "He goes right into the next play, I mean right to the next situation. We're going to get the ball back—he came off the field, 'the balls coming right back to us, we've got to get down there and score.' I heard him say, 'it's a two-score game, here we go', when he was coming off to the sideline. So, that's how fast—from the time he chased him to the corner to the time he got to me, he was already on what was coming up. It's admirable. He's really, really steady. He's never not been like that. There's never been an instance in all the years we've been together when he hasn't bounced like that."
2. The Seahawks "missed some really big plays" on offense.
In recent weeks the Seahawks have had a very good balance of productive run game and explosive passing game, but while Wilson and his targets came up with a couple of big plays, most notably a 42-yard catch by Doug Baldwin, it was for the most part a tough day for Seattle's passing offense.
"We missed some opportunities," Carroll said. "We missed (Jaron) Brown down the field, and missed Doug coming across on a crossing route when we got in trouble on the rush. We missed some really big plays, I mean, 50-yard plays could've happened and that happen sometimes. Usually, we take advantage of those, and we missed a couple yesterday. Missed opportunities was really a big story in this game, and we needed them. We made it easier on those guys because we made some mistakes. We were easier to beat yesterday and that's different than how we've been playing."
3. Nick Vannett "had his best game."
Nick Vannett established career bests in receptions and yards with six catches for 52 yards, and he also had a 6-yard touchdown catch late in the game, so it's no surprise that Carroll was pleased with the play of the third-year tight end.
"I think Nick had his best game yesterday," Carroll said. "I thought he contributed in the most obvious ways. He was very consistent. Russ was really comfortable going to him and hitting him in the zones, kind of classic tight end type of play—playing inside and catching curls and stuff over the middle. Great touchdown catch. Nick has rounded into a really well-versed football player for us. We can move him around and do a lot of things with him. We have confidence in him running a lot of routes and concepts and things. He's always working on his blocking, so he's been a valuable guy to us."
4. Bobby Wagner had a big second half.
Like the rest of Seattle's defense, Bobby Wagner got better in the second half of Sunday's game, and in the final two quarters, Seattle's All-Pro middle linebacker had a huge role in the Seahawks not allowing an offensive score.
Carroll described Wagner's second half saying he "was all over the place. I thought it was the best half of football I've seen him play. I don't know if he's ever played better than that. He was just everywhere in pass defense, as well as in the running game. He was really a big factor in stopping them in the second half."
5. David Moore wasn't to blame for the final play not going Seattle's way.
At full speed, it looked like David Moore dropped a potential touchdown catch at the end of the game, but if you slow the play down enough, you'll notice that Chargers safety Jahleel Addae barely managed to tip the pass, causing the ball to wobble and slightly change directions just before getting to Moore.
"The guy tipped the ball," Carroll said. "He tipped the ball just two yards in front of him and it was—(Wilson) threw it as hard as he could probably to get the ball through the hole and those are almost an impossible catch at that time. It just depends how it comes off the tip, but the ball got moved. And David's got fantastic hands; he'd have caught it if he had half the chance. I don't think he knew it was tipped at the time. He just felt like the ball got away from him. He took it really hard, but I wouldn't put it past David figuring out how to catch that ball sometime too, but it was most difficult under the circumstances."
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' 25-17 loss to the Chargers in Seattle in Week 9 of the 2018 NFL season.