One of the more remarkable aspects of the Seahawks’ 34-22 road triumph Thursday night at University of Phoenix Stadium was the presence of so many Seahawks fans that the noise nearly equaled that of Arizona’s home crowd.
“They were so good, it was confusing,” Carroll said on his weekly post-game radio segment on ESPN 710 Friday morning, referring to the audio reactions to good or bad plays in which sideline observers such as Carroll have no clear view of outcomes. “The crowd response was unusual for another team’s place.
“They were there early, around the (lower) rim of stadium — I’m talking about early pre-game,” he said. “Our guys had fun with them. Then I saw the pictures of the post-game show (at the NFL Network’s external set-up). That was amazing.”
Hard to know how many were visiting from Seattle and how many were transplants to the desert (“rain birds”) who retained hometown loyalties. But near the end, Cardinals fans had vacated, leaving the stadium to the 12th Man, among whom were Huskies fans eager to attend Washington’s game Saturday afternoon at Arizona State in Tempe, one hour east.
As far as the game, Carroll said the Seahawks’ biggest problem, the three strip-sacks of Russell Wilson that led to two fumbles and two short-field scores for Arizona, were problems of the injury-pickled offensive line and not the quarterback’s decision-making.
“They were protection issues, not Russell,” he said. “We gotta work on that. It has to be better. He did hold the ball (too long) on one sack, for just an instant. We need to keep him cleaner. He got pounded quite a bit again in the pocket.”
Overall, Carroll was again thrilled with Wilson’s play.
“He’s a highlight film waiting to happen,” he said. “The first message we sent out (for the short week of practice) was, ‘take care of the quarterback.’ . . . He’s just a constant factor. We’re lucky to have him and watch him every week.
“He has the broadest spectrum (of playmaking) of all the (quarterbacks) I’ve had. He’s a pretty fun guy to have.”
Ahead 14-0 and with the ball in Arizona territory on fourth-and-one in the second quarter, Carroll made a call to sneak Wilson that failed, turning the ball over to the Cardinals, which set off a chain of events that allowed Arizona 10 quick points to get back in the game.
“We planned the sneak to hopefully spread out the defense, but we got beat at the line,” he said, principally by a missed block from rookie tight end Luke Willson. “We got knocked off the ball. That was a shift of momentum. We need to make those plays; it wasn’t even fourth and one, it was fourth and inches.
“We didn’t come off the ball. We’ll have to look at that to see if it’s a good tool for us.”
Regarding health, WR Golden Tate (foot) and LG James Carpenter (ankle) both came out of the game temporarily, then returned to play. SS Jeron Johnson and FB Derrick Coleman each had hamstring problems. Carroll wasn’t sure yet about the seriousness of any of the injuries. He did say that Tate was excused for the next couple of days to attend a funeral.
Carroll said that WR Percy Harvin, out since July to rehab a surgically repaired hip, has scheduled workouts this weekend in hopes of returning to full practice Tuesday. Carroll hinted there’s an outside chance he could return for the next game Oct. 28 in St. Louis.
“We’re pushing him really hard; I’m anxious to see if that works out,” he said. “It will be miraculous if he returns. We’ve been very conservative regarding returns” of injured players.