BY Art Thiel 01:49PM 01/13/2014

Carroll on Seahawks-49ers for title: ‘It’s a blast’

The Seahawks coach is not bashful about his own excitement for round three this season against the 49ers in pursuit of a Super Bowl ticket.

Pete Carroll won’t minimize it — the NFC championship game “is a thrill.” / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Jacked as is the community — and to some extent, the football nation — over the NFC championship game, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll will see your adrenal-gland wager and raise it.

“Hours of sleep are short,” he said on his weekly radio show on ESPN 710. “But we’re kicking into it. It is a blast – in the playoffs, playing at home and having 60 minutes between now and the Super Bowl. It’s a thrill to be in this setting.”

Give credit to Carroll for avoiding the usual coach-mumble about just another game. He knows the last 12 months in Renton and Santa Clara, CA., the 49ers’ headquarters, have been a power grind to get to Sunday’s moment between the two best teams in the NFC, which pack in all the passion/contempt/fear/joy that two ultra-competitive brothers bring to a backyard fistfight.

“The fact that we have this familiarity makes it a really cool match-up,”he said. “We’ll all be deep into it. It’s one everyone likes to see, (the 49ers) don’t mind it, we don’t mind it one bit, either. From early in the year, these were the teams people were talking about. There’s no better match-up you could find in the NFC.

“Geez, they played well though the end of the season. They were consistent with their running and throwing games. The quarterbacks and receivers, with their playmaking, have always been really good. It’s a really well-equipped football team coming in against a really well-equipped football team. Could be a great match.”

Each rematch prompts a more intense focus. The teams split the regular-season games, each winning at home, Seattle 29-3 and San Francisco 19-17.

“The variables are different,” he said. “We know what we’ve done well against them, and what hasn’t worked. It’s a chess match, how to emphasize certain things we’ve done, and how to take advantage of what they do.”

Given the pre-eminence on both teams of the defenses, another low-scoring game is foreseen, which suits Carroll just fine. As it did against the Saints Saturday. The Seahawks won 23-15 with only 277 yards of offense and quarterback Russell Wilson completing only 9 of 18 passes for a career low 103 yards.

He reminded that in the Week 2 win over the Niners, the Seahawks had only 290 yards of offense and Wilson was 8 for 19 for 118 yards, yet they won by 26.

“We’ve had games where we put up a lot of points, but sometimes that’s not really needed,” he said. “This is a one-game thing. You play the game to get the thing won. You’ve got to play the clock and use all of your opportunities.”

Given the wet, blustery conditions Saturday, Carroll was happy that the script he wrote played out.

“It was a really good football game for us because we played it like we imagined it,” he said. “We were ready for the conditions, and didn’t let conditions affect us. We were going to the running game, defense and special teams. It turned out like we thought.

“We could have played better. We didn’t stop the run like we wanted to. But we shut them out in the first half. (Saints QB Drew) Brees wasn’t throwing it because of the wind, and he threw for 5,000 yards this year. When they the run the ball, they’re not playing in the manner you’d think. It worked out OK.”

No update on Harvin

The status of WR Percy Harvin won’t be known until Wednesday or Thursday as he works through the NFL protocol for concussions.

“It was fun to have him out there,” Carroll said of Harvin’s second game this season, in which he had five passes sent his way, catching three for 21 yards. “We’re fortunate to have the extra day, which helps in these situations.”

Carroll said he was having no part of the Seattle fan sentiment that the Saints were deliberately targeting Harvin’s head to get him out of the game.

“No,” he said. “The plays that happened, just happened. I don’t feel like that was an issue at all.”


YourThoughts

  • Diamond Mask

    Carroll is a bigger man than I am as far as Harvin is concerned. I think he was targeted.

    That said I hope he’s back on Sunday.
    Go Hawks!

    • Skymaster T

      Carroll wouldn’t admit it if he thought Harvin was targeted. It would cause a firestorm of issues with the league and the Saints and potentially just be a huge distraction to the team, and there’s no way to prove it anyways.

      • art thiel

        Exactly.

    • BigDoogie

      Perhaps Hugh Millen, on KJR this morning, explained it best, saying that RW should have looked off the the safety (Bush) before throwing the ball to Harvin.

      Millen said that Russel locked onto Harvin, telecasting his intentions to the hungry Bush, who was looking to make a statement early in the game for his team. The not in game shape Harvin took the vicious hit — wrong place, wrong time. If it had been Baldwin going up for the ball, the same collision would probably have occurred.

      Wilson may have been trying a little too hard to get Percy involved early — there were 2 other open receivers on the that play — according to Millen.

      • art thiel

        Hugh knows his stuff, and I haven’t watched the replay. But the Saints knew Harvin’s potential for a game-breaking play. So they broke him first.

    • art thiel

      If the Seahawks have an issue, it’s likely going through a back channel instead of through media.

      • Obi-jonKenobi

        Seems like a fine would should be forthcoming, huh?

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Envision the Hawks pushing their 4th quarter adrenaline ,drawing from their fan base and registering a critical drive to score(for the win) like the 49ers had done to hold serve and come from behind to snatch victory from the Beak of their most hated rival at home this season.
    Home teams are expected to do that if you are good and 16~1 over the last 2 seasons at home surely qualifies you as good…perhaps great.

    Imagine the shell shocked look on the boys in red… and QB Colin looking up at the scoreboard desperately wishing the SEA~D had afforded him an opportunity to smooch on his body but was afforded nary a chance. See points are hard to come by in the sizzle pot known as the clink.

    His sad face tells you that he realizes its more kiss it….kiss it goodbye to the chance to push his annoying trademark in the big stage.
    Bye Bye chance for a second straight Superbowl.Time to book your vacation to Jamaica or some warm Destination ,Colin.

    Now THAT thought is a blast!
    God bless Paul Allen for HIS Vision the day he hired Pete and John!
    Lets take it to ,em! Beat the 49ers!

    Go Hawks!

    • art thiel

      Kaepernick will invite you to kiss more than his bicep.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Yah…he ain’t pulling me into his next DRE commercial Art.. he can keep his Kaepernicking to himself. Although I could see that as a SF style DRE theme…Seahawk fans turn a new leaf ~commence to Kaepernickling Kaepernick~gets the 12th man love. I’m sticking to the sea gals.

  • jafabian

    The Saints may no longer have bounties but it wouldn’t surprise me if Payton said that Harvin needed to be taken out. It’s just too suspicious that he got hit 2x by hits that were called illegal. And twice I saw him getting up and was pushed back down by a Saints player. I was surprised an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was never called. Evidently the refs are letting players play in the playoffs. Maybe it’s all a coincidence but it’s a bit weird and after Bountygate I’m not sure if an old dog can learn new tricks that quickly.

    I think too much is being made of Russell Wilson’s stats. The ground game was having too good of a day. Plus if Harvin’s two hits were catches he would have had much more yardage.

    • art thiel

      The passing numbers weren’t much bigger when the Seahawks won 29-3. You’re right, the numbers are not decisive. Turnovers are.

      • oldfan

        It’s not the stats that worry me as much as the misses on short passes, especially on third down.
        (A little arm chair quarterbacking) I get the sense he’s not anticipating his receivers being open the way he did earlier in the season, but waiting to “see” it and then rushing his throw to try to fit it into the window.

        • jafabian

          I think he’s being too patient, too trusting in his WR’s to get open. He revisits his checkpoints thinking they’ll eventually get open. If it isn’t there I think he needs to run for the 1st down more. He got away from that at mid-season.

          • oldfan

            Could be the case. I definitely agree he needs to commit to running a beat earlier, especially when he steps up in the pocket. That hesitation is getting him caught from behind.

  • Obi-jonKenobi

    Sorry, Pete, that hit on Harvin looked like the same-old-same-old bounty hunting by the Saints. Did you see the Saints sideline after that hit?