There will be no shocking Seattle Seahawks playoff victory this year. And the team coming from the NFC West certainly won’t be considered a joke this time around. One year after an astonishing victory over the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, the Seahawks failed to make it back to the postseason, as their hopes came to an end with a 19-17 loss to San Francisco on Saturday.
In the 49ers, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll saw what he believes will be an effective playoff team that can establish the run and make some hay defensively.
Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle with Brock and Salk to discuss how they were able to run the ball on San Francisco, a game-changing situation, struggles in the red zone, Tarvaris Jackson taking sacks, how good the 49ers are and the motivation at this point.
How were you guys able to run the ball when other teams have struggled so much against San Francisco?:
“I think it’s a combination of things that happened. We went after them scheme-wise with a really good plan. We were knocking the big guys off the football and making their linebackers have to make tackles. And we put a lot of pressure on Mike Robinson to have to seek out their backer and it worked. … We took care of the line of scrimmage. … It was enough to give us an advantage that most teams haven’t had on those guys. … It was a great setting for a fantastic win and we just missed our shot.”
On the play that changed the game:
“The play of the game, there’s a play where Breno Giacomini is blocking his guy and they get a little bit of an up-in-the-face thing. The guy hauls off and hits him right in the face, right in the mug, with two hands, knocks his head, jacks his head back, right in front of the referee. He sees it and goes in and tries to stop the fight instead of throwing the flag. They made a big error; that was a mistake … that would have been a 15-yard penalty and put us across the 50-yard line and we could’ve run the ball from there to kick the field goal. … We weren’t able to capitalize because they didn’t see it that way.”
What’s the been the reason for your team’s struggle in the red zone?:
“I don’t think we’re as sharp as we’d like to be at just taking what they’re giving us. You look at this one, too. Justin had a chance to run out of bounds and that one changed the complexion a little bit. We had to hustle up and we would’ve probably picked up eight or nine seconds. … We didn’t execute that properly. The emphasis of the clock wasn’t the most important thing and that hurt us. … [Tarvaris Jackson] had a shot that he threw a deep in route … that the dump-off would’ve been about 15 yards. He read it clearly, the guy was open enough, but he could’ve been a little more conservative there. It’s those kind of things. It’s taking advantage of the opportunities as they present.”
Why has Jackson taken some of the sacks that he’s taken this year?:
“I think we’re probably pretty clear. … He competes to try and finish the play and see if he can get something done. He believes in himself in a manner that there’s been a few times where he’s held it too long. … He could’ve avoided maybe another two sacks by throwing it away again, but he’s a battler and he’s a competitor that, in those situations, I think he’s going to grow to learn that I’ve got to take the other choice in the matter and not get hit.”
Just how good is San Francisco?:
“They’re very good. They’re very committed to the running game. They have a different, unique, kind of old-school style of running. … They’ve been very fortunate that they’re extremely healthy. They’ve had the same kickoff coverage team and the same punt team from the first game of the season. … I think this is a very, very good playoff team. We played that game like it was a world championship game and played it as tight as we could and try to keep it going as long as we could. That’s the way they like to play, also. … I think that’s going to be very effective for them in the playoffs.”
Where’s the motivation lie now that the playoffs are out of the picture?:
“We have a lot to be grateful for in what we’ve created. I’m not going to kill these guys about this game. They deserve to understand the truth of it. They played really well and really tough. … We’re going to try to finish on a big note. This is going to be a very difficult game.”
Listen to Pete Carroll on 710 ESPN Seattle here (Interview begins at 27:00)