Pete Carroll joined the team's flagship radio station 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday morning to talk with "Brock and Salk" about the Seahawks' 34-31 season-opening overtime loss to the Rams in St. Louis. The full audio file is embedded for you below, as are three key takeaways from the Seattle head coach.
1. What Happened on the Final Play?
Trailing 34-31 in overtime, Seattle faced fourth-and-1 from the St. Louis 42-yard-line and elected to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch out of a shotgun formation. The Seahawks running back was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on the play by Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald, sealing the win for the Rams.
"It's our base play where it gives Marshawn a chance and it gives Russell a chance depending on what the look is and they hit it pretty good," Carroll said of the play. "Marshawn tried to bring it back. Sometimes that play comes all the way backside and sometimes it goes frontside - he broke one out the frontside earlier in the game. In that situation we just didn't get it. They hit the line of scrimmage pretty hard. There's a lot of things happening for them, too. We were going quick there to keep the pressure on them to see if we could just get a base look and they hit it hard and they were fortunate and they made the play."
2. What Went Wrong with the Overtime Kickoff?
What looked like an onside kick by the Seahawks to open overtime play was actually a mis-hit ball by kicker Steven Hauschka. Carroll said the plan was to have Hauschka boot the ball at a "big ol' tackle" of the Rams who was stationed about 20 yards out of the St. Louis end zone.
"I wanted to see if he can handle it, and that kick just didn't happen," Carroll said. "Hausch hit the tee and the ball went nowhere. That ball is supposed to go down to the 20, 25-yard-line and it didn't happen."
Carroll said it was a play the Seahawks special teams unit practiced last week.
"We were all ready for it," Carroll said. "We wanted to see if that big guy could catch the ball. Once we were sure that they were going to leave him there we said, 'OK, here's our time. Let's go.' It would have been a cool thing to see what happened. It just didn't."
The Rams recovered Seattle's mishap and took advantage of a short field, going 30 yards in six plays to convert the eventual game-winning field goal from 37 yards out.
3. Where is Improvement Needed Defensively?
The Seahawks won the turnover battle (3 to 1) and scored touchdowns on defense and special teams, any one of which has usually been enough to win games for Seattle in the past, Carroll said.
"The fact that it didn't go that way is a credit to them and there's a lot of stuff we can improve on," Carroll said. "We would have liked to have won that game and then still have these same things to improve on. It just didn't happen."
Seattle gave up eight pass plays of 20-plus yards against the Rams after giving up just 32 for the entire season a year ago. The most obvious explosive play the Seahawks gave up was a 37-yard touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Nick Foles to tight end Lance Kendricks, a score that tied the game at 31 and sent the contest to overtime. The play came against the Seahawks' Dion Bailey, who started in place of Kam Chancellor. Carroll said Bailey challenged Kendricks too much on the play and the tight end got behind him as a result.
"You've just got to stay on top," Carroll said ."Everybody's coached to stay on top on our team. We eliminate big plays. We're great at it. We've always been. In that situation he just hung right there and challenged the guy and let the guy run right into him and through him. It's just a matchup that happened. They weren't going out there to feature it. They took a look at it and saw him, he stumbled, and had an easy play for them."
Defending third down plays and the play-action pass were also on Carroll's mind when asked where he would like to see his team improve. Carroll also said his team didn't tackle the way they're capable of, calling it a "big area of focus" moving forward.
- On strong safety Kam Chancellor, who has yet to report, Carroll said, "There's not much going on right now. It's pretty quiet." Carroll said he hasn't seen Seahawks players talk about Chancellor's absence. "He's a terrific football player and a big part of our team. But it's the facts, we don't have him so we just have to go with it."
- Cornerback Tharold Simon (toe) and linebacker Mike Morgan (hamstring), Seattle's only two players held out of the season-opener due to injury, should have a chance to play this Sunday against the Packers in Green Bay.
- On the return of cornerback Jeremy Lane (arm, knee), who must sit out for at least the first six weeks of the season after starting the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Carroll said, "Everything's going well. He's a really good worker, a diligent worker. I would think that if it's possible, yeah, which it is, probably eight weeks is where it would hit and we look forward to him coming back."
- According to Salk, 77 percent of the televisions in the Seattle-area were tuned into Sunday's season-opener against the Rams. "The 12s were good at the stadium, too, now," Carroll said. "They showed up. They were good pregame, almost circled the entire stadium on the first row. ... It's exciting to see the following. We've got to play up for them."
The Seahawks opened up the 2015 regular season on the road at the St. Louis Rams, falling in overtime 34-31.