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What The Seahawks Said Following Their 30-23 Loss To The Steelers

Interviews, transcripts, and press conferences from the Seahawks' Week 17 30-23 loss to the Steelers at Lumen Field. 


Featuring postgame quotes from the following:


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Head Coach Pete Carroll

PETE CARROLL: Really disappointing missing this opportunity right here, at home. Everybody was ready. This was a great one, and we missed it. We weren't right on defense, in the running game again, so it's been repetitive. I see it. We played better in the second half, got 40 something yards in the second half but in the first half they had their way with it. There's some stuff we've got to get right for our last opportunity next week, but on the other side of the ball, we moved the ball, but we didn't get the ball enough. We couldn't get the ball back to the offense. Minimal amount of drives. It was just the clock was just running in their favor. I'm surprised we didn't play better. We did the things we needed in the game plan and we called everything that we had, and we didn't stop them consistently. Both the running backs did a really nice job against us, and it was just more than we could handle on this day. A couple guys got banged up. You saw Kenny couldn't play, got his shoulder banged again, so that was tough. Abe banged his knee again, too. Evan got hit in the head and needed a break. Had some guys we'll have to figure out what's going on with them next week.

Q. With the run defense, is it as simple as just tackling or is there more to it?

PETE CARROLL: The tackling just seemed like it was really off. Seemed like we just did not make the tackles that we had to, didn't knock the piles back like we'd like to. I really want to see the film and see where it was happening to guys other than scheme and make sure that I understand that issue well. Tackling wasn't good enough and we weren't efficient enough. We had shots. We had shots in the line of scrimmage, we had opportunities, and they won the battles better than we did.

Q. What can you do about the tackling you haven't already tried or done?

PETE CARROLL: At this point of the season I need to see really what again happened this time that might have been unique. But there's all kinds of fundamental stuff. It's about wrapping up, bringing your feet, and doing those things. It can't be more obvious from watching the film. So the principles that we stand for and teach and all that, we're going to come back to them again and see if we can pull it together.

Q. Did they throw anything at you offensively that you weren't expecting?

PETE CARROLL: The first play of the final sequence, I was surprised they called a slant route and then hit it. That's a rare thing a team would do, and they executed it really well and changed kind of that sequence for us. I was surprised they did that.

Q. Nothing with the way they were running the ball?


Q. Is there a mindset that has to change in tackling? Is there a mindset there?

PETE CARROLL: That's part of it. That's certainly part of it. We felt like we were jacked and ready to go, and we felt like we really hammered the principles and the scheme this week so that we could play really efficient at the line of scrimmage, and it didn't work for us. Didn't work out. They continued to fall forward and make their yards. But mindset, it's a good question because it needs to be different than it was. Look what just happened. We gave them too much.

Q. What's the message coming out of this game with one left to go?

PETE CARROLL: There's one game to go, and we don't know what the scenario is going to bring us. We've been here before. I think it was last year, pretty much the same thing. We've got to go to Arizona and go play really well and get a win and see where that leaves us. I know there's stuff tonight and all that, but the particulars right now I don't care. We've got to go win the game and see what happens.

Q. Pete, you get the ball back with a chance to drive for a touchdown there late in the first half; you get the fumble. What did you see on that play with Geno on the strip sack?

PETE CARROLL: Guy made a nice pass rush moving and hit us on the fumble that we lost. Yeah, we got beat. Ball got knocked out, and we couldn't come up with it. All in all, the pass protection held up during the day. The concept and the approach, different things that we did gave us a chance. We were not harassed by the pass rush today. Abe did a good job and Stone went in there and did a good job using the different things that we did, and it was efficient. There was just one time they got us and they got the ball. So nice job by the defense going out there and making them kick a field goal right there as deep as that was. We've done that all year, but we needed it at the time.

Q. Was there much discussion with the onside kick of kicking it deep and trying to do it that way.

PETE CARROLL: If we kick the ball out of the end zone, we would've done that, but we weren't hitting the ball well enough to do that. That was the first thought. So we have to kick it and they're going to return it, bring it back out. Can't just stop the clock there automatically. To me, the onside kick thing, it's a chance to get the football and not a very good chance, but we have to stop them no matter what. Got to stop them in three plays right there whether it's back here or here. So we had an opportunity to get the football, and so that's why we went for it.

Q. The challenge, did you think the spot should have been before the line --

PETE CARROLL: I thought it was, yeah. We saw it upstairs first that he went out of bounds on the 7 or 8, right in there. Then we looked at it again and we thought, you know, in the quick little flash we get on the screen that we might have something there, and it would have been short -- I think it would have been short of the 1st down, so that was the reason to take a shot at it. At that point I'm not saving time-outs or saving the flag.

Q. You mentioned pass protection and their pass rush. The job Geno did to help with that...

PETE CARROLL: I thought Geno maneuvered really well. His runs were efficient. He was really resourceful when he was moving, found DK, found Colby, found some really nice plays. Noah, I think too. I thought he played really well to get that accomplished for us. We needed it.

Q. Did Walker hurt his shoulder in practice again this week?

PETE CARROLL: No. It was from last week.

Q. With Abe, do you have any early indication as to how bad the knee injury is?

PETE CARROLL: No. It sounded like he kind of wrenched it a little bit. I don't think he reinjured it as much as he didn't have enough power in it to come back.

Q. So it's the same one, though?


Q. What did you think of how Kenny played before he had to --

PETE CARROLL: I thought he played really well. I thought he was doing all kinds of good stuff. We felt like we were coming, we averaged a pretty good average running the football today. We just didn't get enough of them. But I thought he looked pretty good. I thought he looked sharp.

Q. Witherspoon what did you think of him being able to come back?

PETE CARROLL: I know early in the game he made a nice tackle and then I saw him miss one. He's been out for a couple weeks and I don't think he was as sharp as he's been and he had to kind of get going again. It was good to have him back.

Q. Obviously having to go with Devin instead of Jordyn there, how do you think that impacted things?

PETE CARROLL: Yeah, Jordyn's ankle has just continued to bother him and he banged it pretty good last week and didn't feel like he could get all the way back, and we thought it would give us a chance to give him an opportunity. If he played this one he would be really hobbling next week. We thought this was the best choice to try to give him an opportunity to get back and get right.

Q. The decision to put Jamal on IR --

PETE CARROLL: It's a heartbreaker. He did everything he could. I've said this to you a number of times. He tried so hard to get right, to get back, and he just couldn't make it all the way back. There wasn't enough time. He's going to need the time in the offseason to get a couple more months behind him. The weeks that we took, we tried a couple different times to experiment with some breaks to see if that would help him, but it really didn't. We came to the conclusion

together that he couldn't get right, couldn't get full speed, couldn't get where he could put his foot in the ground. I admire the heck out of him. He did everything he could. He busted his tail throughout the whole time with the right attitude and all, and it was really hard to have to get to the point where you go, yeah, I'm not able to get back. But we did it together, and I think we handled that well.

Q. Is the hope he can start rehabbing and get ready for next year?

PETE CARROLL: Yeah, and he'll make it back. This is an injury that takes more than the time we had.

Q. If you guys were to stay alive long enough, is there a thought he could come back this season in the playoffs or are you shutting him down for good?

PETE CARROLL: Well, there's the four-week window here we can see, but I don't think that's what's going to happen. We've had enough breaks to see him recover, and there's not enough time. Anything could happen, and hopefully we'd have that choice.

Q. Frank Clark, what sort of happened there?

PETE CARROLL: Just got down in numbers, and Frankie did a nice job for us coming in early and all that, and he knows he's still available if we need him. We're really competing for roster spots to get the right guys on the field and all that. I really appreciate all of the play that Frankie gave us over the years. He'd been a great Seahawk. He could see what was going on, and so he helped us out with this one.

Q. What's the challenge for the team's leaders now this week coming up?

PETE CARROLL: Now we've just got to stay right. If you heard Geno in the locker room right there, he said, ain't no time to be feeling sorry for yourself, and he couldn't be more right. We've got to come back tomorrow and get the week started and go after it again. Just like when you have the big wins, you've got to deal with that. When you have the losses, you've got to deal with that. Hopefully the discipline that we've established will allow us to come back and get ready. Arizona, didn't they win against Philly today? Obviously they're capable of playing great football. It ain't going to be easy, there's no easy games. It's all really hard, and it's a championship opportunity for us. We'll see what the other circumstances allow. We'll see. I don't know. We lost our control of it. We had control of it, and we gave that up today.

QB Geno Smith

Q. How much does this one hurt, that you kind of lost control of the playoff situation?

GENO SMITH: Yeah, that hurts. You know, it hurts whenever you lose. It hurts whenever you lose. We wanted to control our own destiny, obviously, like you said. We can't do that anymore. But there's no time for us to kind of feel sorry for ourselves. We've got another game to play. Still got a chance, still got an opportunity, so next week is going to be big for us. I think the message is to keep going, as always, to keep going and keep fighting.

Q. Did you have any sense of the blindside hit there? Obviously you lost the ball but were still trying to throw.

GENO SMITH: Yeah, guy made a good play. It's a game full of plays. I don't know how many snaps we had today. I felt like we were clean for the most part, and that one they got us. But again, those things happen in football games, and I don't think one play per se can be the difference in the game. I think we had more opportunities to make it happen, and we just didn't get it done.

Q. You said there's no time to feel sorry for yourselves. What's going to be the process the next couple days?

GENO SMITH: Yeah, I think the process is to go back to work. That's the main thing for me. Shoot, I'm going to keep working hard. I'm going to work my butt off, get back to the weight room in the morning, get back to the film room, figure out a way to be better next week. That's all I can do is continue to work my tail off, continue to help the guys get better, continue to lead this team. Like I said, we got a chance, we got opportunities still in front of us, so nobody is going to feel sorry around here. We're going to pick it up and keep going.

Q. Outside of the fumble, what were the biggest issues in your mind on offense today?

GENO SMITH: I think just overall, if you're going to be honest, teams are playing keep away. You've got teams running the ball, milking the clock in the first quarter. That's been the past two weeks. I think that's the ultimate sign of respect when teams are doing that. I think when they're playing a bunch of zones they're not going to play us in man coverage, they're going to try their best to keep us on the sideline because they know how explosive we are. I think, again, not turning the ball over, that's a big factor in the game, and then overall being better on 3rd downs. I think we were 3 for 9. That's not up to our standard. Then finishing in the red zone. That's some things that we talk about every week, but it's got to be better, and that's all we can do is continue to fight and get better.

Q. You had emotional comeback wins the last couple weeks. Do you think that took anything out of you for this week?

GENO SMITH: No, I think we were prepared. I think guys came out and were ready. I know I was. I felt like I was ready for the game and really excited for this one. Like I said, it's a tough football game. The Steelers are playing for their season, as well. It came down to a couple plays here and there. It was a really close game, really hard-fought game between two good teams. Today it was their day. We got things that we've got to clean up on our side of the ball. We've

got things that we've got to clean up as a team. That's all we need to focus on is getting better. Nothing else besides getting better.

Q. You got a front row seat to some of the plays that Ken (Walker III) made today. What did you see on some of those big runs he had?

GENO SMITH: Shoot, man, that's Ken Walker. We've seen that all year. We've seen that since he's gotten here. He continues to show up, get the ball in his hands and watch the magic happen. As a matter of fact, go get a block. Don't watch the magic happen, get a block because that guy is going to make something happen. We're blessed to have a guy like that on our team. I tell him every single day he's one of the best, one of the best I've seen with the ball in his hands, and we've got to keep getting it to him because he's that special.

Q. (On the depth of the offensive line and guys stepping up).

GENO SMITH: Yeah, Stone (Forsythe) and Olu (Oluwatimi), always, all season, they've stepped up when their opportunities have arised. Today was another example of that. I thought both Olu and Stone stepped in and got to it and things kept rolling. I thought those guys played a great game. I thought they helped us get down the field. I know it's not easy anytime you've got to step in coming in cold off the sideline, but their mentality I thought made it happen, and those guys are ready. They understood their assignments, and they came out and they did what they had to do.

Q. You mentioned that -- you kind of talked to us about 3rd down and red zone stuff all year long. What do you make of those things being an issue in a game that you had to have?

GENO SMITH: Man, it's football. Shoot, they're going to stop us sometime. That's one of the best red zone defenses in football. They've got great players on their side. You're not going to score every single time you touch the ball, although that's the goal. The reality is that sometimes they stop you. I think one of those trips down there we had two chances to score, we had the ball in the right place, and just the play didn't happen. We always say it's a game of inches, and sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way, and you can't feel sorry about it. You've got to keep going.

Q. This time last year you guys needed some help to get in the playoffs. You're in the same position this year.

GENO SMITH: Yeah, again, I never imagined we'd be in this situation again, but here we are. What we can do is continue to fight, get ready for next week. Arizona played a great game today, came up with a win, and we know they're going to fight all the way to the end. Next week is not going to be an easy game. We've got to go out there in their place and make it happen. We're the type of team that's going to always bounce back. We've got the right leadership. We've got the right coaches, right players, and we're going to make it happen. We're going to find a way to make it happen.

S Julian Love

(On the challenge for the defense today) "You know it seemed like we just couldn't get a foot in today. It seemed like we couldn't catch our groove, catch our stride. In the run game, they were just beating us off the ball. We weren't tackling the best. That was the make up for what you saw."

(On the tackling being inconsistent week to week) "Yeah, it's frustrating. We hold each other accountable, and obviously try to put our best foot forward. This late in the season, that's what wins games, honestly. Close games against a tough team like this, we have to tackle better. I wish I had an answer for it. We rep it, we drill it, it just wasn't our day, and it seemed like things weren't going our way."

(On whether Pittsburgh was doing something unexpected with the running game) "No, they honestly just had a good one-two punch with the running backs. They have some big bodies up front, they knew kind of what we are, our style for the run game, and they just got into a groove in that 13 personnel and big bodies and just tried to run the game. As the game goes on, guys get more aggressive trying to push to make plays, to make stops, and that's when gaps start to open up a little more, when you just not staying within yourself. So, yeah, that was the make up of what happened."

(On the challenge of the two backs, Harris and Warren) "Harris is more well known, since his college days, he's a tough runner, strong runner. And then 30 [Warren] just added a one-two punch for them this year, I thought. That kid's a strong running back, with great balance, and he's a shorter guy, so he was just kind of weaving through our defense, it seemed like. They're two talented backs, we knew that going into the game, and we just didn't execute well enough to stop them."

(On how the tackling can be improved at this stage of the season) "We do drill it, we rep it, and that's just a part of football. I feel like you got to get your body and your mind ready to tackle before a game, and we obviously, and I can speak for our secondary, we pride ourselves and focus on stopping the pass, playing top down, all that type of stuff. Sometimes, you can let the little things like tackling go. That's a fundamental of football, and when you don't do that well, and if you're not doing the simple things very intentional and well, bad results happen. I wish I had an answer for how we could do that better."

(On the mood of the team after the loss) "It was frustrating to be in the locker room, of course. Everybody has a one-off here or there and you see the result that happens. We just got to play cleaner as a whole, and we know that. Everybody holds each other pretty accountable in there. That was kind of the vibe in there, honestly."

(On the impact of no longer having control of making the playoffs) "Obviously, we want to make a push right here, play our best ball going forward and we've been doing that, we've been closing games out well, obviously, these past two weeks. So, yeah, it stinks. We don't want to sit

here and be dealing with a loss. But, we have to pick our heads up and go out and execute and win this next game. And after the game, after that final whistle, we'll see how things stack up. We're going to finish the season as strong as we can."

WR Tyler Lockett

(On how much this hurts given that they controlled their own playoff destiny) "I mean, it hurts. We were in control of our own destiny and the Steelers came in and did a great job with their gameplan. They ran the ball really well, had great time of possession and they ended up leaving here with a win."

(On what they do now to get back on track) "Just have to finish. We're in the same position as we were last year. We don't control our own destiny so we kind of need a little bit of help and luck to be able to help us out again. But all you can do is try to take care of business."

(On what lessons they can pull from last year since they were in the same spot at this time of year) "The game that matters after our game doesn't matter if we don't take care of business."

(On if they felt like they had to keep matching Pittsburgh on offense) "I think that offensively, I don't know how many times we actually had the ball the whole game. We can't shot ourselves in the foot with penalties. We can't be second and long. I think we were getting some completions, we were moving the sticks at times. Better to take a touchdown than field goals. That would've kept us in the game a lot more. We just have to continue to be efficient. Continue to just make sure we're in the right spots and just being able to make sure we keep the sticks moving so that we can be able to keep playing at a high level.

LB Devin Bush

(On playing against Pittsburgh) "It wasn't anything that I hadn't seen before. They just beat us on the line of scrimmage. They beat us physically. That's it."

(On if it felt like they blew an opportunity this week) "Yeah we blew an opportunity. We should've won this game."

(On what the mindset will be going into next week) "Win. Give ourselves the best chance to win. Give us the best chance to slide in there. If you don't, everything is on us. It's up to us."

LB Boye Mafe

(On needing a win and help to get into the postseason) "We got to control what we can control. The game is behind us now, looking towards the future, take what the next opportunity is, go get a road game in Arizona. Got to focus on that, watch this game and figure out what we need to fix and where the holes are, understand that we have to be better next week."

(On what made the Steelers tough) "We just got to get back to fundamental ball. We know our assignments, how to play football and we understand we just got to make our tackles when we have the opportunity. To be in a better position, we have to be fundamentally right."

LB Bobby Wagner

(On what the biggest issue on defense was today) "We didn't make tackles. We didn't fit up their run and we didn't make enough plays to win this game."

(On if it feels like they let one slip today now that they don't control their own destiny for the playoffs) "For sure. This is a game that we should've played better and won, but we didn't."

(On the message for the defense going into next week) "We got to be disciplined. We have to find a way to get off the field and we have to make tackles."

T Stone Forsythe

(On coming into the game because of an injury to Abe Lucas and the physicality of Pittsburgh) "It's always going to be a challenge because it's the NFL. You're going against some of the best guys in the world every week. I think it's just how I prepare at the end of the week and just my mindset of going in there and getting ready before I got to get ready. Just taking that mindset and applying it to the game."

(On the key to stopping T.J. Watt) "I knew his go to move and I knew if I'm on top of my stuff and if I'm where I'm supposed to be, I feel like it's kind of hard to get around me. I was just focusing on myself and playing off how he was going."

(On the difficulty of finding run yards and finishing drives in the third and fourth quarter) "We just need to execute. They were doing a lot of moving so we just need to do our part and watch film and get back and correct it."

CB Devon Witherspoon

(On the challenges of stopping the Steelers today) "We needed to stop the run, and we didn't do that, and then they were able to get into their game plan and execute better than we did."

(On Najee Harris' running style) "He's a downhill guy, tough, keeps his legs turning, so it was just tough to bring him down. They had a great change up with number 30 (Jaylen Warren). He was a little smaller guy, but he came in and had the same effect. He won't go down easy; it's a tough game. They came out there and executed."

(On the way Pittsburgh prepared for this game) "We just knew they were going to come out running the football. We knew that was the game plan to stop the run, but we didn't do it. They came out and they ran the football down our throat. They were able to get into their play-action game right after that. It was just a tough day for us."

CB Riq Woolen

(On Pittsburgh's run game) "We knew we were going against a running team, and we knew that at the same time, if they get stuff to work, then they're going to keep trying to run it. That's like every other team, if something isn't broke, don't fix it. We knew they were going to run, and they just ran the ball today."

(On how to fix the missed tackles) "Just practice. Every team misses tackles, every team wins and loses. Even behind those wins and losses, there's stuff you can clean up regardless of tackling and coverages, you can still win and lose with errors in both. Honestly, just go out there and practice next week and clean up the stuff that we messed up on."

(On how the team approaches next week) "Just approach it like we have, be urgent. We know what's at stake and we just have to keep fighting and keep practicing and keep giving a great effort and playing as a team. Sometimes stuff doesn't happen overnight, it just happens with time. In this situation, we don't have that much time, we have one more game left. We just have to go out there and handle business."

RB Kenneth Walker

(On what was Pete Carroll's message in the locker room after the game) "Just get ready for next week."

(On what was working well up front) "The O-line was doing a great job and we were executing. That was it."

(On how the toughness of the Steelers affected the offensive gameplan) "I think it was just us going away from the run game."

(On what changed from the first half to the second half in the way the Steelers were playing) "I don't think it was them, I think it was us. We just didn't execute well in the second half and that's what caused that."

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

(On his touchdown reception) "I had a 'far through' which is a run through the safety, the safety got up out of there. Usually, I'm there to open it up for DK (Metcalf), we got two posts going on the safety. Safety chose the run out of there, Geno (Smith) hit me on the spot in the back of the endzone."

Check out some of the best action shots from Week 17 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lumen Field on December 31, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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