Pete Carroll has Seattle sports fans smiling in The Emerald City after a huge blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals, 58-0. The Seahawks head coach has his team playing inspired football after embarrassing the Cardinals, handing them their ninth loss in a row. Seattle looks like a playoff lock at this point.
As for how the Seahawks handled the blowout win? Carroll claims he knows what it feels like to be on the other sideline. Here’s his explanation in the following interview.
Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN in Seattle with Brock and Salk to discuss his overall excitement for the 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals, turnovers coming in bunches for the Seahawks defense, respecting the Cardinals defense going into the game, the offensive line of the Seahawks making the difference in the second matchup against the Cardinals and feeling empathy for Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt once the game got out of hand.
What’s your take on Sunday’s 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals?
“Well this was a really big day. Obviously there’s so many different ways that we could find the football. It was great. It just kills me, because how come this didn’t happen on the road? … Right off the bat, the ball is tipped around and off we go on the sidelines, and then the kicking game and all those opportunities came our way. Our guys played great; they played really hard. They continue to play fantastic in front of the 12th man and all that. It was a huge day that kept coming our way.”
Do turnovers really come in bunches like the old adage?
“Well, if you listen to Gus Bradley [Seahawks defensive coordinator] all the time, you would think that. He’s right; it does kind of go like that. Part of the advantage you gain when you get ahead is the other team has to take more chances now. They have to try to catch up. We’ve been in so many close football games. Everybody is playing it close to the vest, as we have been for the most part as well, until you get that kind of scoring advantage. You don’t get the same opportunities, so when the opportunities came we were all over it. It was great.”
Did you have any idea that the game against the Cardinals would shake out in this fashion?
“Well, we didn’t know how it would go because their defense has been so strong. They have the third- or fourth-ranked defense or whatever the heck it is. They got numbers all over the board of high achievement and we respect their players and their attack and we didn’t handle it very well the first time, either, so we didn’t know. We did talk about — quietly, behind the scenes — that if we can handle their pressure … we thought we could have a good day against them, but the other side of it was they could kick your butt, too. That’s what they have been doing all year. It was a big accomplishment for us, and we did identify stuff really well because the guys up front did a fantastic job and it gave all of the guys a chance to work. That’s what was different. Did we know what was going to happen? No. I’ve coached just like you guys were talking about, with that same thought. It could be tough; it could be very difficult. We can’t let it happen, and by executing we were able to get it done.”
Who are the guys that have made the difference since the first matchup in Week 1 against the Cardinals?
“Well it’s the guys up front; it starts there. They were able to seal the pressures. Now, when they saw them, this time it was like, ‘OK, we know what’s coming.’ Before it was like, ‘I think something is coming and it may be bad.’ It was a totally different attitude. We’re just so much further along. Of course Russell Wilson is so much further along. He helps identify and plays fast with it. That was all part of it. Across the board we played well, but it starts in the middle with Max Unger. He’s gotta make all those calls and then we have to respond to them. We made a huge error. The first sack, we called out the protection and then somebody checked it and then we didn’t block it properly and we got nailed in the backfield, but that was really the only time it happened.”
The game was becoming a blowout after a while. At what point do you start thinking of the other coach on the other side of the field and how Ken Whisenhunt was feeling?
“The whole time, the whole time. I talked with him … I told him, I have been there so many times that I know what you do. I know what it’s like on the other side, and also know what the reaction is going to be. There’s a way to do it. We had two things going on. One, we wanted to finish the game and not give them the football. You try to make first downs. That’s all you try to do is make first downs — whatever you gotta do to make first downs with a very conservation approach. So we did that. The other element is that Matt Flynn got to play finally, and I was thrilled, as was our whole football team, to see him play in a game. He needed to throw the ball a little bit. Ideally we would have thrown it a little bit more just to get him the reps in case we needed him coming next week. We don’t know. But we kept it very trimmed down. We threw, basically, on third down and we had some terrible penalty situations. We had 1st-and-30 one time, 2nd-and-23. There was a couple of throws in there, but it was really to just keep trying to advance the ball. If we could make first downs then we are OK with that in that style. People understand that. I understand why people are sensitive about it.”
Listen to Pete Carroll on 710 ESPN in Seattle here [Interview begins at the 19:00 mark of the podcast]