Key takeaways from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's Monday morning appearance on the Brock and Salk Show on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Back from Tampa Bay following a loss to the Buccaneers, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning to talk about the game, in which the Seahawks "did not play the way we play" on the way to a 14-5 loss.
Here are five things that stood out from Carroll's weekly appearance on the Brock and Salk Show:
1. The Seahawks were "just off" at the start of the game.
If you thought the Seahawks didn't look right while quickly falling behind by two touchdowns, you weren't alone. Whether it was the Buccaneers defensive front giving Seattle trouble or Tampa's offense driving the field on its first two drives, things just weren't going well for the Seahawks early in Sunday's game.
"We didn't get started at all," Carroll said. "We came out just off. I feel totally responsible for it. I've got to get everybody right and ready to go, and for whatever reason, we didn't have it at the start of the game. Look at the difference between the first couple of drives and the rest of it for the defense. They played terrific after that. We weren't quite right, and it was across the board. We had trouble with their pass rush, and we had been doing pretty good in that area. This was a solid group of guys, and (Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy) is an awesome player, and he just got off the mark better than we did right from the start, and we couldn't catch up from it. They rushed us hard, we got scored on, we got in trouble, they scored again, and we never got going right. It was an off game for us, where there were plenty of opportunities and times to get back in it. Even at halftime, it was 14-5, that doesn't feel like anything you can't overcome, but it just couldn't get started offensively. It just turned into a bad day in Tampa. We've had one of those before, let's get out of there, get back home and get to work.
"That was a day we just didn't start it well—I didn't do well, we didn't adjust well, we didn't manage the game the way we needed to get it done."
And there weren't any obvious signs to Carroll during the week that this performance was coming.
"It didn't feel like we were as ready," Carroll said. "It felt during the week like we did fine, but when it showed up at game time… You never know. I told somebody before the game started, 'I've been doing this for 40 years and I don't have a freakin' idea what's going to happen today.' I feel like that every game, every week I feel like that. You don't know until you start playing. You think you've got a feel for it, but until the guys go out and start hitting it and doing it, then you've got to wait and find out sometimes. That was a bad one."
All of that being said, Carroll isn't overly concerned about what happened Sunday.
2. Carroll is confident "we can get back on track."
Obviously that wasn't the Seahawks' best performance, but the team's performance throughout the season has Carroll optimistic about what is to come.
"I'm not worried about it a bit," he said. "Not one bit. Let's go back to work and get right. I couldn't wait to get in the locker room and let's turn the page and let's get going.
"We've got a pretty good team, and we've done a lot of good things, and I really believe we can get back on track. It doesn't have anything to do with who's playing or any of that kind of stuff, I just think that we just missed an opportunity… Now if happens next week and the next week, we're in trouble. I don't think that's what's going to happen, and we'll show you that. There's nothing we can do about it but get to work."
3. Russell Wilson "looked great" running the ball.
One of the few bright spots for the offense in Sunday's performance was the way quarterback Russell Wilson again was a big part of the running game. Thanks to ankle and knee injuries earlier in the season, Wilson has been a non-factor as a runner for most of the year, but after rushing for 79 yards in his first 10 games, Wilson rushed for 80 yards on eight carries against the Buccaneers.
"He looked great," Carroll said. "I think he'll continue to get better, I think he's still getting better, but he took full advantage of the opportunities. We missed one. He tried to read one and pull one out, and Thomas (Rawls) wouldn't let go of the ball—he had another 20, 30-yard run coming up. So that was really nice and that will help us down the road."
It will help Seattle not just because Wilson will pick up yards with his legs, but also because it's one more factor defenses have to account for, which can mean one fewer defender keying on a running back if Wilson hands the ball off, or one fewer defender in pass coverage if opponents dedicate a player to spy on Wilson.
"It makes them have to game plan for it first of all," Carroll said. "These guys weren't concerned about it, and that's why it was available to us. They thought that the ends could just take the quarterback, and they couldn't quite get it done. So teams will do their thing, and that just changes stuff, and we try to take advantage of it."
As for Wilson the passer, Carroll said the pressure applied by the Buccaneers pass rush affected the quarterback's accuracy on the way to season-worst 38.8 passer rating, but the issues went beyond just Wilson and the offensive line.
"He calmed down, but it still wasn't a sharp enough game for us," Carroll said. "And it wasn't just Russell and it wasn't just the pass rush, we need to run our routes better, we need to clean some stuff up, we weren't as sharp as we needed to be. (The Buccaneers) did a very nice job. Let's not forget that this was a team that went into Kansas City and beat Kansas City a week ago… They're pretty good. Nobody wants to give them any credit, but they're pretty good and they played darn good on this day, and they got us."
4. Steven Terrell "played terrific" filling in for Earl Thomas.
The Seahawks were missing one of the most important defensive players for the first time, with Earl Thomas missing the first game of his career, but Carroll liked what he saw out of Steven Terrell, who made his first career start in Thomas' place.
"I thought Steven Terrell played terrific yesterday," Carroll said. "He had three deep ball shots, and he was on all of them. He made a great play on the fade route. Unfortunately he takes away a possible interception for Jeremy, but it's a great break to come out of deep middle and make a fade route play. Rare that that happens—Earl has done that for us. So he filled in great.
Carroll noted that Neiko Thorpe also played well, filling in as Seattle's third cornerback with starter DeShawn Shead out with a hamstring injury (usual nickel corner Jeremy Lane took over the starting role).
"Neiko filled in very well too," Carroll said. "He had no issues in the game to speak of."
5. Defensive reinforcements are coming.
Speaking of injuries to Shead and Thomas, those are just two of several defensive players the Seahawks could get back this week.
"This should be a pretty good week in that regard," Carroll said.
Linebacker Mike Morgan, who has been on injured reserve, is eligible to return this week now that he has been on IR for eight weeks and is "ready to go," Carroll said. "He'll play this week. He has been ready for a couple of weeks, but he had to wait the sitting out period."
Defensive end Michael Bennett, who has missed five games following knee surgery could also be back this week.
"I think Michael Bennett has a chance to play," Carroll said. "We'll see, he should. We were anticipating he had a chance last week—it was close enough we thought about it—but this is the week he should come back, and if all goes well we'll see that happens."
On Shead and Thomas, Carroll said, "Both Shead and Earl could come back. Shead looked very good in Friday's workout. He was close to playing in this game. So that's four guys on defense, that's a pretty good boost."
Also expected back is linebacker Brock Coyle, who missed Sunday's game with a foot injury. Defensive end Damontre Moore "has a chance too" after also being out with a foot injury.
"He had a foot that got badly bruised—he got kicked or stepped on or something last week—so he has a chance," Carroll said. "So we have all kinds of guys who have a chance to come back, which would be great."
Check out some actions photos from Week 12 vs Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.