The Seahawks are back from Los Angeles, where they lost 9-3 to the Rams in a game that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll noted felt a lot like his team's Week 1 win over the Miami Dolphins. In both games, the Seahawks played very well on defense, this time limiting the Rams to three field goals and 283 yards, but in both games, the Seahawks also struggled to score points.
"We saw more of the same," Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. "They were very similar games, the last two games. We weren't able to get going. We need to score some points."
Here are five takeaways from Carroll's appearance on the "Brock and Salk" show:
1. The offense is "a little bit different since Russell (Wilson) got banged up."
While Russell Wilson's ability to play through an ankle injury has been impressive, Carroll admitted that the offense isn't quite the same with Wilson limited in his mobility.
"We're a little different since Russell got banged up," Carroll said. "We have not been able to do all the things we like to do. We tried to adjust, because he was capable of playing—he did a nice job under the circumstances. But it changes us a little bit. Other things have to elevate.
Limited or not, Wilson still threw the ball well for the most part and even ran effectively a couple of times, but until he is back to full strength, Carroll wants to see the rest of the offense, and the running game in particular, pick things up a little bit.
"We have to run the ball better, and we didn't," Carroll said. "We struggled early in the game. We got going a little bit in the second half, but not enough to change it. That has to come to life. Our focus on the run game has to be turned up. We've got to get that right. Otherwise that makes you too restricted."
As for Wilson's health, Carroll said, "He was OK coming out of the game. He was a little sore, but he's OK. He did a marvelous job to get ready and playing the game. He was fine, but he's the same guy who's going to run all over the field… He didn't look bad running, he looked OK. But he didn't have the same spring and pop that he usually has."
2. The offensive line is making progress, but there's still room to grow.
Carroll's concerns with the offense cover the entire group, not just the offensive line, but that unit has been under more scrutiny considering it's still a relatively new group learning to play together. Carroll wouldn't pin the offense's struggles on that position group after the game Sunday, and a day later he again made it clear the entire offense needs to improve, not just the line.
As for the line, specifically, Carroll said, "We're still a new group, and we've made pretty good progress. We probably protected better than we've protected against (the Rams) than we have in the last couple of years, so that's a bit of an improvement, but we didn't run the ball quite as well as we had. We just need to keep fitting it together. Those guys are going to get better. We did practice with (Germain) Ifedi the whole time, then he drops out two weeks ago, so we had to make that adjustment. We're just going to get better. There's some mistakes we make, as always, we had a couple of missed calls and stuff like that. The whole (offense) just has to fit together better than it has. It's just unfortunate it has looked so much the same for two weeks. I'm really disappointed in that."
3. The Seahawks are "fortunate to be where we are having not done well."
Despite the disappointment in the way things have gone thus far, the reality is that the Seahawks are 1-1, as is everyone else in the NFC West. And in the entire NFC, only two teams got off to 2-0 starts, the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings. So while things may not be going exactly according to plan for the Seahawks, they haven't exactly dug themselves an early hole either.
"The other side of this is, everybody in our division is 1-1, there's two teams in the NFC that are 2-0," Carroll said. "So it's really, who's going to start over well? We need to restart here and see if we can take advantage and get going and find our way a little bit. We'll see how we do that, it's a big challenge for us.
"It's not to dismiss what has happened, it's just we're fortunate we are where we are having not done well. Let's see if we can get going a little bit."
4. The new kickoff touchback rule "is a big deal already."
The NFL moved the spot for touchbacks on kickoffs from the 20-yard line to the 25 this season, which to Carroll is "a big deal. It is a big deal already… The 25 is attractive, it's an attractive spot to start right now. It's hard to run a kickoff out to the 25 yard line. I think we averaged 26 yards a return last year, but that's coming out of the end zone. It's hard to get to the 25, so now that they give it to you, you need to take it a lot."
Carroll mentioned that Paul Richardson, who was filling in for an injured Tyler Lockett, made a mistake bringing a kick out of the end zone late in the first half.
"First chance, he's anxious, he makes not a great decision for us," Carroll said.
5. Injury updates.
Carroll said "there's a chance" Germain Ifedi could make it back this week after missing the first two games with an ankle injury, but the rookie guard's status is still up in the air. Carroll said Ifedi will run Monday "for real today, so we'll see what that means and how he handles it."
Rookie tight end Nick Vannett, who also missed the first two games with an ankle injury, "is ahead of (Ifedi), he ran pretty hard last week, so we'll see where he is."
The Seahawks will also have to monitor the health of receivers Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin: "We've got to see how those guys come out of the weekend."
Running back Thomas Rawls is dealing with a leg contusion having gotten kicked in the shin, Carroll said. The injury is not related to the ankle injury that ended his 2015 season, Carroll said. "Same leg, but not in the same area at all. We need to see how that responds."
Carroll said tight end Jimmy Graham is "doing well" after taking on a bigger work load in Week 2, and that "we should expect to see more of him" going forward.
The Seahawks fall 9-3 in their first road game of the 2016 season against the Los Angeles Rams.