Not a lot went well in the Seahawks' Week 3 loss to the Vikings, from a defense that allowed Minnesota to score on six of seven possessions, to an offense that was shut out in the second half, there are plenty of things to clean up if the Seahawks are going to get back on track.
And Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sees in his team, and in particular the team's leadership, the right makeup of players for Seattle to right the ship after consecutive losses to Tennessee and Minnesota.
"The guys in the locker room," Carroll said. "We've been through a lot, and the leadership can speak on a lot of different topics and help guys understand how things go, the course of seasons and how many games are left, all that kind of stuff. We have really good voices in there to help—and I'm trying to do my part, the coaches are trying to do their part—just to be realistic and not follow the storylines that come from outside here. We've got to take care of business in here."
As for the specifics of what went wrong on Sunday, Carroll spent most of his Monday press conference fielding questions about a defense that, after playing well through the first six quarters of the season, has struggled over the last six quarters, contributing to a pair of losses.
Carroll credited Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense with doing a good job against Seattle's defense, but also noted his defense needs to do better on third down in particular, and do a better job affecting the quarterback, which will in turn also lead to turnovers.
"They've been playing good football," Carroll said. "We weren't able to get them off the spot rushing the passer enough. Cousins had a really good day. By the time the game was over, they were able to run it too in the game. We didn't change their rhythm enough to offset them and have any bad plays happening. We're in a little bit of a spell here where we haven't gotten the football away from our opponents enough. It shows up. They continue to move the football, and if you don't take it off of them, sometimes it's hard to get out off the field. It was nothing conceptually that they did, or we did was the issue. They executed well. It came down to a third down win, as it so often does."
And on the play of Seattle's cornerbacks in particular, Carroll said, "The game turned out, we kept them in front of us. We a had lot of respect for the receivers, but that's kind of how the game went. It felt like they threw the ball underneath us quite a bit. We didn't do much to disrupt that. I thought they played a solid conservative game, but didn't make any plays that could've changed it for us. We could've used a couple here and there. Unfortunately, we didn't get anything from any of the guys on that side of the ball."
Cornerback play was the focus of a lot of postgame questions, as well as in Carroll's Monday press conference, and D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers both told reporters after the game that they need to be better, but a more productive pass rush would also help out the pass coverage, as Carroll noted.
"We need more," Carroll said of the pass rush. "We need to be more effective. We have not disrupted the quarterback. That shows you in terms of turnovers and us being able to get after that football. It starts there. Our guys are working it. They're busting their tails to get it. We just need to work together. I think the whole thing just needs to work together tighter. We caused some holding on the football at the quarterback's point and sometimes we'd disrupt. It just needs to work together more effectively and we're working for that."
If this all seems a little familiar, that's because the Seahawks also struggled in the first half last season with many of the same issues coming up. The good news is that the Seahawks turned things around in the second half of the season, though less encouraging, of course, is the fact that these issues are coming back up after the defense looked so good in the second half of last season, then started the year off with a strong performance in a Week 1 win over the Colts.
"It feels a little bit the same," Carroll said. "It feels like we're giving up too much, and it feels like we're in similar situations. We've been ahead. We were ahead in a lot of situations last year early on, and we jumped out on this one too. That's similar. Responding to those situations and hold the score down has not been a strength of ours early in the year. I don't know how to explain that to you in relative from one year to the next, but it seems similar."
Whatever changes might be coming, be it with scheme or defensive personnel, Carroll isn't going to offer that up ahead of a pair of big NFC West games, but in both his comments after the game and again on Monday, he made it clear change will have to come so Seattle's defense can turn things around.
"We're working on it," he said. "We have plans, yes. We have plans. I can answer that effectively and clearly that we have plans."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' 30-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 26, 2021. Eye on the Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.