The Seahawks beat the Panthers Sunday behind some big performances on offense, defense and special teams—with a big assist from the fans as well—and a day later, Pete Carroll met with the media to talk about the game, as well as provide a few injury updates.
Here are five takeaways from Monday's press conference:
1. Jarran Reed had his best game as a Seahawk.
Jarran Reed spent his first five seasons in Seattle and enjoyed a lot of success, including a 2018 season in which he became just the third interior lineman to record 10 or more sacks. But for all Reed has accomplished so far in a career that dates back to 2016, Sunday's game in which Reed had eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and a pass defensed was, in Carroll's estimate, his best performance yet. Making Reed's big game all the more impressive is the fact that he did it after missing two days of practice with a groin injury that had him listed as questionable on the injury report.
"Oh man, that's the best game he's played since he's been with us, at any time," Carroll said. "I don't remember any games when he was away from us that were any better. It was a complete football game—run, pass, effort, his pursuit out of the pile, chasing screens on the perimeter. He came through in big situations with big plays, and he practiced one day last week, that's all he got."
2. Rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon is off to a great start.
After missing the season opener with a hamstring injury, Devon Witherspoon has started the past two games at left cornerback, and the first-round pick has made a very good first impression. On Sunday, Witherspoon was sticky in coverage and active in run defense, recording a team-high 11 tackles and two passes defensed, and according to Pro Football Focus, allowed just one first down and a 46.6 passer rating on 13 targets.
"(He has played) two really good games, active, aggressive style," Carroll said. "He's working hard to make his plays and to cover his guys up, and every time you throw the ball near him, he's close. He's done a really nice job, and had a really good game yesterday."
3. The offensive line is showing its depth.
The Seahawks were without both starting tackles in Week 2, then on Sunday they were also missing starting right guard Phil Haynes. And if that wasn't enough, left guard Damien Lewis came out of the game with a wrist injury. Lewis was able to return, but for part of the first half, center Evan Brown was the only Week 1 starting lineman on the field.
Yet despite all of those injuries, the Seahawks still had another big game offensively, putting up 37 points and scoring on eight possessions while punting only twice.
"They were really poised and composed about handling the situation, nobody lost their minds and got crazy or nervous or out of whack and all," Carroll said. "They were just really chill about the way they handled it. They played against really good players, marquee rushers and handled those guys. (Carolina) threw a lot of stuff at them, scheme wise, and they adjusted well, communicated really well. In essence, what they did that was probably the most remarkable is that they played with a lot of confidence. You've got to give a lot of credit to (offensive line coach Andy Dickerson) and (assistant offensive line coach Keli'I Kekuewa) for what they've done with those guys to get them to this point. That was a really big accomplishment, and it just gives us such confidence in our depth."
4. Geno Smith had a great second half.
While Geno Smith, like the rest of the Seahawks offense, didn't have a big first half—Seattle moved the ball well but had only four field goals to show for it—he had a big hand in the offense taking off in the second half, scoring three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion, with Jason Myers adding his fifth field goal of the game in as many tries to give Seattle 25 second-half points. In the second half, Smith went 12 for 13 for 143 yards and a touchdown pass to Jake Bobo for the rookie's first NFL score.
"It was a fantastic second half for him, a fantastic finish," Carroll said. "It was all part of the finish. Everybody played really well and kept moving forward. We were behind at halftime, and the halftime approach was very directed at coming out and making sure we were on fire with our effort and our energy in the third quarter. We did that last week as well, and wanted to see if we could do it at home and just be different than we were the last time we were there. It was a big deal. Guys played really well, and Geno was right in the middle of all of that."
5. Jordyn Brooks is playing his best football eight months after ACL surgery.
The fact that Jordyn Brooks is even on the field to start this season is impressive enough considering he tore his ACL in Seattle's Week 17 win over the Jets on New Year's Day, then had surgery on January 19. But Brooks isn't just playing eight months after that surgery, he is thriving, and according to Carroll, playing the best football of his career.
"He's playing the best he has played," Carroll said. "He seems like he's really putting it together. I think sometimes when you sit out and you watch, you see things more clearly, I think this is the best he is seeing the game. He's really aggressive, he's really taking his shots, and he has been a factor. You can feel him on the field because of his burst and his toughness and strength and all. He has been really accurate with his reads and his coverage stuff and assignments and all of that. This is the best he's been, and it's great to see."