BY Art Thiel 06:43PM 12/16/2013

Carroll gushes over Seahawks’ upgrade on ‘D’

Carroll could barely contain his exuberance about the Seahawks defense as it leaped to the top of the NFL stats with the soul-crushing of the Giants.

It's been five games sincre Lynch had a 100-yard game.

Pete Carroll thinks open space for Marshawn Lynch is coming. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Ever the coach of the defense, Pete Carroll still had his figurative tail wagging Monday over shutting out the Giants in New York, one of two cities where he lost NFL jobs. He would never claim that was any part of his excitement. When he’s coaching a Seahawks team with the NFL’s best record (12-2), he can say anything he wants.

But there was no hiding his exuberance, especially on his weekly radio gig on ESPN 710.

“All across the the board, we played really hard,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for: All in.

“They didn’t have a chance against us yesterday.”

That’s about as blunt as a victorious NFL coach will get. Speaking of blunt, New York coach Tom Coughlin called his offense “pathetic.”

Both were true: The Giants, with nothing to play for, collapsed under Seahawks’ relentlessness.

Later at his Monday press briefing, Carroll was pleased to elaborate on what is going on with the defense, particularly after the previous Sunday in San Francisco when the 49ers were let off the hook in their final possession for a game-winning field goal.

“There was just no phase of what we were doing that wasn’t on it,” he said. “The pressure was great, the run defense was there, the coverage was excellent, and the play-making was there too.

“Guys were disappointed in that last drive (against the Niners), is basically what happened. They responded to make sure that they sent a different message. They didn’t want to feel that anymore, and they did a great job.”

Dropping the hammer on the Giants put the Seahawks at the top of the main statistical measures: Fewest average points (14.6), fewest average total yards (279.5) and fewest average passing yards (174.2). They are 10th in average rushing defense (105.3). They also lead in turnover differential with 16, five ahead of the next-best teams.

After a strong defensive output in 2012, Carroll was pleased the defense has come back stronger.

“That’s better than most teams (that) do it (one year), then they don’t,” he said. “To come back and play real well again, to keep the points down like we have this consistent, that’s really good. And we did that transitioning to a new coordinator as well (from Gus Bradley to Dan Quinn). Dan has done a fantastic job. The fundamental aspects — playing the deep ball real well, playing the running game real well and getting after the football — have been there again. I think that we’ve improved our pass rush this season.”

Missing three starters — LB K.J. Wright, CB Brandon Browner and nickel CB Walter Thurmond — the defense missed nothing in the game.

“We made a challenge to players, the players challenge each other, and they took after it to play really hard-nosed, tough football and it showed up,” he said. “We really have improved a lot.

“Our tackling is the best it’s been; team pursuit has been the most consistent. The overall attitude about playing fundamental football is really what’s improved. (Sunday) was really, really tight coverage, very aggressive. We met the challenge of a really good receiving crew too.”

For Seahawks fans, the disappointing part of the game was weak production in the red zone that led to three field goals, largely the result of not getting RB Marshawn Lynch (47 yards, 16 carries) to shake free — although he did have 73 yards on six receptions.

Carroll said it was due to a good rush defense by the Giants — they led the NFL in fewest average rush yards per carry (3.7) —  missed chances and, a week ago, penalties. The matter comes to the fore Sunday against Arizona because the Cardinals are No. 1 against the rush at 84 yards a game.

“I think we’re okay,” he said. “We’re still going to pound away at it, keep getting our numbers and attempts up there. It’s just a matter of breaking one — that means the difference in those stats sometimes.

“Our attitude about it is right, and we’re on it and consistent with it. So I’m fine about it. We would like to get more production, and I would think that it would happen.”

Running the ball against Arizona while maintaining the edge shown in New York in every other phase would go a way toward two things around the NFL: Dropping jaws or closing them. The Seahawks will accept either.


  • jafabian

    If the offense could get that one WR who’s production could be at the level that Lynch’s is at they’d be a juggernaut. Harvin was to be that as well as Rice before him and Tate has the ability. Granted its hard to stand out when Wilson spreads the ball around but I’d love to have a WR who gets over 1000 yards regularly.

    I’m almost glad SF won yesterday. It keeps the team playing hard. Keeps them focused. The 2001 Mariners lost that when they wrapped up their division early. I hope the Hawks can get some solid defense the next two games and keep that #1 ranking.

    • art thiel

      The Mariners’ momentum, not to mention that of the world’s, was ended by 9/11.

      The Seahawks knew of the same need on offense, which is why they invested in Harvin. It’s amazing they haven’t needed him yet.

      • jafabian

        Good point on 9/11. I’ve heard Lou say if 9/11 didn’t happen he thinks the M’s would have at least gone to the World Series that season.

        • RadioGuy

          Just wondering: How were the Mariners more affected by 9/11 than any other team?

          • jafabian

            Because 9/11 galvanized the Yankees and the Yankees eliminated the M’s in the playoffs.

  • 1coolguy

    I think as much as anything the game exposed just how average a QB Manning is. I compare him to Dilfer, who also won a Super Bowl, mostly due to a remarkable team that he managed for that SB run. Eli just got lucky that he was on 2 SB winning teams.

    I WILL give Eli his due for the perfect sideline pass he completed in his second SB (46)from the end zone with time running out. Given the situation it was probably the best completion I have ever seen.

    The Mara family must be crying the blues having given this middling QB his latest contract.
    Now if we can spank the Rams and Cardinals we’ll be in great shape!

    • jafabian

      I was wondering if the Giants ended up with the worst record would they draft Johnny Manziel? Fortunately for them and Eli, they won’t be put in that position.

      • art thiel

        I have given up forecasting the pro fb success of great college quarterbacks. So much can be gotten away with in college that doesn’t happen in the pros.

    • art thiel

      Manning is better than the NFL average, but not a top 10 guy. And without a running game thanks mostly to injuries, the Giants are easy pickin’s. The shutout was good for the Seahawks, but this isn’t the the other Manning’s offense.

  • Gerald Turner

    I think the reason J Lane did not get a penalty for slamming Cruz into the ground is that JL is so little. Not the size of the dog in the fight…

    • art thiel

      It wasn’t a slam as much as airborne bump that sent him head-first. And 6-0, 190 is not the NFL’s definition of little.

  • RadioGuy

    Hard to really call what the Hawks defense is doing an “upgrade.” They’re a bit better than last year but over both seasons, they’ve been the key for the team’s success. Nobody wants to play these guys because they come right at you all game long, they hit the hell out of you and they’ll tell you about it just in case you forget.

    The offense is better than average, for sure, but it’s the D that’s the straw that stirs Seattle’s latte.

    • art thiel

      Carroll thinks they’re better, and I don’t think he’s exaggerating: 229 yards allowed in last 3g. And they did it Sunday minus 3 regulars, 4 if you’re counting an ill McDonald.