Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's assessment of Thursday's night's preseason loss to the Bears was probably the same as that of most fans watching at home or in attendance at Lumen Field.
"It was not a great game for us at all, in any way," Carroll said after his team's 27-11 loss. "… All in all, we've got to get better in a lot of areas."
Of course, as a coach whose job it is to get his team ready for the regular season, and an optimistic one at that, Carroll isn't going to look at this loss as a sign of impending doom, but rather as an evening full of lessons his team can use over the next couple of weeks as Seattle prepares for its September 12 opener.
First and foremost, the Seahawks hurt themselves with penalties, finishing with 13 of them, many of them drive-killers on offense. Missed tackles were a problem for a second straight week, and also carrying over from the preseason opener were special teams miscues that are uncharacteristic for a team that for much of the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era has been one of the best special teams performers in the NFL.
"There just seems to be so many lessons for us right here," Carroll said. "We have a big list. And there's some really obvious things, just trying to win a football game, the penalties and the special teams, the gimmes—the 100 yards in returns, something like that, setting up scores and all. It's really hard to win when you play like that. It's hard enough anyway. So there's big lessons."
Whether it was rookie Charles Cross committing multiple penalties or defensive players missing tackles or special teams players getting out of their lanes on coverage, Carroll made it clear that it's the job of him and his coaching staff to get those mistakes fixed.
"I have to really zero in on the guys that are having the problems, like Charles had problems on the line of scrimmage in this game, four penalties on procedure penalties and stuff that you can obviously clean up, little different situations," he said. "But you have to get that out of your football. You can't play football like that. It's bad. And so we'll learn a lot here… We'll learn from this."
Perhaps one reason Carroll can avoid getting too down about this result is he's aware of how many key players weren't involved in the loss. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett made only brief cameos on the first series of the game, while Marquise Goodwin, who has arguably been the teams third best receiver in camp, was out with a hamstring injury. The Seahawks also held top running back Rashaad Penny out of the game, while standout rookie back Kenneth Walker III was out after having a procedure performed earlier in the week. On defense, the Seahawks were without several of their top players, including safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, linebacker Jordyn Brooks and cornerbacks Sidney Jones IV and Artie Burns.
"You saw that a lot of guys didn't play again tonight, and we're still working our way through that," Carroll said. "We'll figure out what happens for us this week coming up. So one of the things I have to evaluate is where the errors are coming from and how meaningful it is. Our leverage on the return game was really bad on special teams for two weeks in a row. I don't remember us ever looking like that. So there's some things and some people, there will be some changes, and we'll make those decisions as we go… The thing I have to stay up on is, where are we going? And I know that a lot of the guys that are not playing would be making some really nice plays for us. They'll be making some tackles and some hits and some catches. And we're counting on those guys."
If there was a silver lining to take out of the performance, Carroll saw it in the play of a defense that, even without all of those aforementioned starters, limited the Bears to 277 yards and 3.9 yards per play, and that held Chicago to a 4 for 16 conversion rate on third down. The defense also had an impressive goal-line stand that ended with a Joel Iyiegbuniwe run stuff on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
"The defense did a nice job," Carroll said. "They hung in there pretty tough, didn't give up a lot of yards, did pretty good on third down. Three explosives for the night. Nice little stand down there on the 1-foot line, which is great. But all in all, we've got to get better in a lot of areas."
That goal-line stand and some other late-game moments demonstrated the attitude Carroll wants to see from his team regardless of how things are going on the scoreboard.
"These guys, their attitude is to come back and make the plays," Carroll said. "They're believing. That's why they make stuff like that happen. That's why we had a shot to get an onside kick, and here we go. We were a flash away from a J.J. (Arcega-Whiteside) catch down there and Aaron (Fuller) down there. Beautiful attempts, and so it's close. That's because they're giving themselves a chance with the way they think. And that's really encouraging."
The Seahawks are now 0-2 this preseason and have made a lot of mistakes they know they can't keep making in the regular season if they're going to have a successful season, but Carroll isn't worried about his team. Rather, he's trying to stay patient, knowing there's a lot of time left to get better, and that a lot of players who will help them win games haven't yet been involved this preseason.
"Am I worried? No. What I am, I want to maintain my patience knowing who's playing and the guys that are going to play on game day when we open up," Carroll said. "I'm more concerned about, are they ready based on the amount of work that they've been able to get? This week just did not help us in that regard. So we can't do anything about it. But these next two weeks are enormous for the other -- the guys who haven't been playing in the games and to make sure they're ready. They feel like they are. They can't wait to get out there. They have a sense that the pups are out there playing for them. We've got some really good players that aren't out there right now, and we know that. So that's why preseason is good. We're learning a lot."
The Seahawks take to Lumen Field for preseason week two against the Chicago Bears. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.