In Pete Carroll’s first year with Seattle, the Seahawks finished the season 8-10, losing in the NFC Divisional Round against the Chicago Bears 35-24. Although they won their division, Seattle entered the playoffs with the worst regular season record of any qualifier in NFL history. The doubters were abundant and no one gave them a chance in the playoffs, but Carroll somehow was able to rally his team and urge them to believe in themselves that they could win on any given Sunday. His plea came to fruition when they were able to beat the heavily-favored Saints 41-36 in the Wild Card round. Their dream is now over, but it was a heck of a ride. Even though they lost to the Bears on Sunday, Carroll should be proud of the way his team played and excited for their bright future ahead.
Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN in Seattle to talk about what went wrong in the game against the Bears, if there was a moment on Sunday against Seattle that he was upset, and if the weather had anything to do with the way the team played on Sunday.
What went wrong in the game against the Bears:
“Guys, we just didn’t get started right. We gave up the big play early on third down. It was third and short and they go up top on us and they got a big play. We didn’t get anything going offensively. We couldn’t get enough movement going to kind of get any kind of feeling of momentum. They come back again, we punt them in the short field and they knock it in, so we go down big. We got racked in the first goings with John going down and the fall right with Cameron Morrah. That really threw us out of whack because we didn’t have a tight end available and we had to use Will Robinson, a backup tackle for a couple plays. So that got us out of the mode that we wanted, the mix in this game, so we were reeling a little bit in the first half. After all the snow and all of the kind of the highlight of the weather was going, we come out and it was clear and the field was clear and it just felt different, and I thought maybe we could, and we talked about it, maybe do something really unique here and get back in this ball game and give it a run, and we came out it just felt like something could happen. We got a stop but then they get a drive together and get it to 28 and it was just a long ways back from there.”
If there was a moment on Sunday against Seattle that he was upset:
“I was really disappointed with the first third down touchdown play. That was really something that didn’t have to happen. They made a call, which didn’t fit the situation, we were playing real aggressive in the call, and they got us and that was the start of giving them a freebie. That is what it felt like. There were more frustrating moments after that but that was the first one that kicked in.”
Whether he felt Sunday’s game was similar frustration to the 49ers game feeling like they had plenty of opportunities to make plays in the game had they not gotten down by so much so quickly:
“We refer to them as ‘missed opps’. The opportunities were there. Jordan (Babineaux) had one, the ball was tipped up that Lofa (Tatupu) was laying out for. There was a ball on the ground, we really did have some chances, and unfortunately, when you go back, on the road this year our turnovers just didn’t happen. We couldn’t get the football for whatever reason, and there was a lot of games like this. If you remember the first Chicago game, Earl had the ball in his hands three times and didn’t have a pick in that game, as well as a couple of other guys. For whatever reason, I don’t know why that happens. Nobody knows why that would occur, but it wasn’t there for us. We needed a couple of shots here, a couple of shots in the arms, and we didn’t get it done, and they were able to function well. They maintained a good approach to this game. They ran it well, the quarterback played pretty clean for the most part. A lot of their third downs were shorter third down situations. They were able to get into third and threes, and fours and fives, it’s not as easy to pressure because the ball is coming out fast and last time we came around we have longer situations so it just kind of fit into the style they wanted to play and they got out with that one turnover and managed to escape any problems.”
An update on the status of John Carlson and Marcus Trufant:
“Both guys are fine now. I just talked to them this morning. They are in the car heading to the airport. They are coming back. They had serious concussions in that they were out on the field for a while, so that is always devastating at the moments. Those guys made it through and everything was OK. They cared for them beautifully and they took care of those guys…”
Whether a 10:00am local time affects the game:
“Well statistically it does. If you look at the stats, it sure does. We did everything to prepare to get there early and the guys were good about it. We woke up ready to roll and all of that, but statistically there are numbers that really stack up against that time frame. There isn’t that much we can do about it. We are a west coast team but that is how it is. I don’t even know those stats but they are weighted very heavily.”
Whether the weather had anything to do with the way the team played on Sunday:
“Well I think that one of the assets we have is that Matt (Hasselbeck) has been through a lot of stuff throughout the years so I thought that would weigh out because it is usually the quarterback and all so we did not catch the football well. I have not seen the film yet, but there was a number of balls that we didn’t come up with we normally would and would expect to, so that factored in. Why did that happen? The footing was not secure and so you are a little bit tentative on your footing. You could tell on the stop routes outside with the cornerbacks, everybody is tippy-toeing and turning around and stuff to stay out on his feet, so that affected us some but there was catches out there that we left out there. There was a time that the snow was really thick, it was hitting you in the face. Imagine if you were running, you are getting hit with those things. That could affect somebody. I was brushing stuff away just watching the game but that had to happen on both sides. They caught the ball and we didn’t. I don’t know if they practiced in the snow, we didn’t…”