Fresh off his team's most impressive performance of the season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll met with the media Monday. In addition to providing several important injury updates, Carroll covered several other interesting topics following a "really all-around, tough effort" from his team.
Here are six things we learned from Carroll's Monday press conference:
1. Seahawks "just fed off each other" in all phases of the game.
When the Seahawks are playing well, you'll often hear Carroll mention complementary football, meaning the play of the offense complements what the defense is doing, and vice versa, and that special teams can complement both of those units by affecting field position. On Sunday, whether it was the defense getting three-and-outs or turnovers, or the offense sustaining four long touchdown drives, keeping the defense off the field, the Seahawks built a huge lead not just because both the offense and defense played well, but because they helped each other play better.
"Well you can see it just built on each other," Carroll said. "The energy was so high as we got going, and they just fed off each other. Everything started to click and go, and the pass rush was on fire. You could see the problems that were occurring—they couldn't get the ball off and all that. The third down wins really added to it, really on both sides, but when the defense came running right back off the field and sends the offense back out there, there is just really good momentum about that and tempo about it in the game. That was really fun to see."
2. The running game was a "huge factor."
A big part of Seattle's offense doing its part Sunday was the way the Seahawks ran the ball, giving the Seahawks the type of balance Carroll likes to see from his offense.
"Being able to run the football—huge factor." Carroll said. "It let us be able to play football the way we would like to."
Against the Colts, the Seahawks rushed for a season-high 194 yards on 33 carries, including 158 yards on 22 carries in the second half. The Seahawks also got explosive runs (12-plus yards) from four different players: J.D. McKissic, who had a 30-yard score, Russell Wilson, who had a 23-yard score, Eddie Lacy, who had a 19-yard run, and Tyler Lockett, who gained 22 yards on one of his two runs.
Carroll talked Monday about what it means for his team to "feel" the running game: "The factor of it; there's a whole sense that when you're running the football, there's kind of an energy about it that you can play off of, but there's also the fact that you're running the football and it allows you to work all the passing game stuff that comes off of it, which we love to do. When it's working, there's a sense that you have of it, and it plays right to our style.
"You can see the differences when it's part of the game. We rushed for almost 160 yards in the second half, so it's just kind of what we're accustom to, it's how we're kind of geared, and it just compliments the rest of the style of play."
3. Russell Wilson was "in the best frame of mind going into the game."
Russell Wilson didn't just have his most accurate game of the season in Sunday's win, it was also one of the most accurate games of his career. In fact, Wilson, who was 21 of 26, has only had a higher completion percentage once in his career, going 24 for 29 in a 2015 win over San Francisco. And one of Wilson's "misses" Sunday, a ball that was intercepted, bounced off of Jimmy Graham's hands, so his numbers could have been even better.
One reason Wilson was so dialed in, Carroll said, was his mindset heading into the game.
"I think that Russ just was really in the best frame of mind going into the game," Carroll said. "He has played great in every game at some portion of it, basically after the game got started—we didn't get started the way we would like—but I think he is just trying so darn hard to do so well, he was trying to do perfect. He just got really comfortable, he was really comfortable in pregame and how he was going in. He prepared during the week to be clear and not try to do too much with the first series, second series and all that, and he did great. When we needed it to happen, he was there for us and he was on it. He made some huge plays, some great scrambles, good runs, good decisions, saw a couple things just beautifully and fixed calls to get us in good positions to make plays. He played a terrific football game."
4. The offensive line continues "getting better."
The offense had one of its best days in part because Wilson was accurate and the runners did their thing, but another big reason for Sunday's offensive output was the continued growth of the offensive line.
"They are just getting better," Carroll said. "They've continued to do better. We projected that they would. You can see it happening. To rush for almost 200 yards in a game in the NFL is pretty big. We did some good stuff up there in pass protection as well, so we are just improving. They are just fitting together better and hopefully we can keep that group together and keep them growing."
Asked what he liked out of Sunday's performance from the line, Carroll said, "I thought we protected Russell well, and he was moving when he needed to and making things happen. I thought the first couple of runs weren't great, but after we got going, I think things were fine. It's really the consistency right now is what we're looking for, and in that sense that we can count on the guys to make their blocks and make their calls, and give us a chance, and make the same adjustments in the passing game. They're just doing better just because they've played together longer; it's taken us a month really to get to this point, and we have improvement ahead of us too. We have a chance to get better."
5. The Seahawks saw "really good play up front" from their defensive line.
The Seahawks recorded three sacks and had Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett under pressure throughout the night, and especially in the second half, but it wasn't just the pass rush that was working for Seattle. After giving up huge runs in each of their past two games, the Seahawks were much better against the run this week, allowing 98 yards on 25 carries, and while that 3.9 yard-per-carry average would be very respectable for any defense, it could have been even better if not for a 25-yard scramble by Brissett, who was able to avoid pressure from Frank Clark to get loose.
"The front group played terrific technique in this game," Carroll said. "They've been doing it, but with a couple of busts that got us over the last couple of weeks. But you can see it coming. In the meeting, I was talking about the defensive tackles; I thought that Sheldon [Richardson] and Jarran [Reed] played really, really good technique up front and were really consistent when the running game was coming back to them all day long. They really had to be stout, and they were there throughout it, and when Nazair [Jones] jumped in, he did a nice job too, and Garrison [Smith] did well. There was really good play up front that led to the consistency in the running game… That was a really good job by the guys."
6. Seahawks players' "very deep, heartfelt connection" has shown when players sustain serious injuries.
When Chris Carson was being placed onto a cart with an air cast on his injured leg, he didn't just receive well-wishes from his offensive teammates who were on the field or from coaches. Seattle's entire bench, offense, defense and special teams, jogged onto the field and surrounded Carson before he was driven back to the locker room. It was at least the third time this season the Seahawks have demonstrated that level of compassion for an injured teammate, reacting in similar fashion when left tackle George Fant and safety Jordan Simone sustained season-ending knee injuries in preseason games. Those reactions haven't been planned, but Carroll likes what is shows about his team.
"There have been a number of demonstrations of that," Carroll said. "When Jordan got hurt in preseason, guys just responded. There's a very deep, heartfelt connection and the willingness to demonstrate that to each other. It hasn't been something that we've talked about doing, it's not like we're trying to demonstrate that, that's just what's naturally coming out of these guys in response to their teammates. It's a good part of our team."
Head to the Seahawks' sideline for an up-close-and-personal look at players and coaches during Seattle's game against the Indianapolis Colts.