On his radio show, Pete Carroll addressed the Wagner field goal block controversy, Mychal Kendricks' injury, the standout play of the secondary and the struggles in the passing game.
Bobby Wagner’s leap over the line to block a field goal was one of the highlights of the Seahawks’ Monday’s night win over the Vikings, and he was not flagged for the move. The non-call has ignited some controversy in the aftermath of the Seahawks’ victory.
But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on his ESPN 710 Seattle radio show Tuesday that a review of the film of Wagner’s leap showed it was close enough to within the rules to be “a judgment call.’’
Here’s more on what Carroll said on the controversial field goal block, and other key topics following a 21-7 win over Minnesota Monday night:
WAGNER LEAP AND BLOCK ‘A JUDGMENT CALL’
A growing consensus of former NFL officials and others around the league on Tuesday was that Wagner probably should have been called for a penalty on the play for using teammates as leverage to propel him over the line. That would have been a 15-yard penalty and given the Vikings a first down at the 15-yard line with about five-and-a-half minutes left, down 6-0.
Carroll, though, said he thought that was not conclusive after watching the film.
“It’s a real judgment call,’’ Carroll said. “They have to judge. You can place your hands on players, you can’t use it for leverage. That’s where the judgment comes in.’’
Carroll said the Seahawks practiced it several times during the week – Wagner said four — and that only once did Wagner come close to using his hands to kind of “guide his way’’ over the line.
Carroll said he thought Wagner did it appropriately against the Vikings.
“The timing was great,’’ he said. “Everything was beautiful.’’
Carroll said special teams coaches Brian Schneider and Larry Izzo approached him during the week with the idea of having Wagner try that after seeing that the Vikings offensive line stayed low in its stance on field goals.
Carroll said he had no problem being talked into it.
“They know I’m pretty open to that stuff,’’ Carroll said.
KENDRICKS PLAYED THROUGH KNEE INJURY, MIGHT MISS 49ERS GAME
The Seahawks revolving door at weakside linebacker might swing open again this week with Carroll saying Mychal Kendricks suffered a knee injury in the game but played through it.
“I don’t know how he is today,’’ Carroll said. “… he did not want to come out. He fought it the whole way and he was not full speed but he was going and he battle through it. He’s a really good ball player. I don’t know if he’s going to be well or not. It’s unfortunate it happened, but in the heat of the battle he was not going to be taken out.’’
Kendricks played 44 of 58 snaps in what was his first game back after an eight-game suspension. It appears likely that K.J. Wright will be out another week, so that could mean Seattle going back to Austin Calitro at WLB against the 49ers.
Calitro started and played all of last Sunday’s win against San Francisco.
SEATTLE CORNERBACKS ‘REALLY GOT AFTER IT’
A key to the win for Seattle was the improved play of its secondary, which allowed a season-high 386 yards the previous week but held the Vikings to just 56 passing yards through the first three quarters, and a net of 199 overall.
Cornerbacks Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin were particularly good in both man coverage and open field tackling.
Griffin, for instance, had pass breakups on two consecutive plays that set up the Wagner-blocked field goal.
“They played aggressive and really got after it,’’ Carroll said. “It was just that one play (a 48-yard completion to Stefon Diggs on Flower) that got away from us on the deep ball … They just played really good football.’’
Seattle also used an alignment with six defensive backs on 14 snaps, and had seven DBs on three plays. Seattle has used the six-DB formula in increasing numbers in recent weeks (in that formation Delano Hill comes on the field as the sixth DB joining the usual nickel grouping. Akeem King then came on in the seven-DB look).
Carroll said using the more varied personnel groupings “depends on the opponent and the game and all that kind of stuff.’’
RECEIVERS ‘GOT COVERED A LITTLE BIT’
Russell Wilson was held to a career-low 72 passing yards, completing just 10-20 attempts with an interception and no touchdowns — only the second time this year he hasn’t thrown a TD in a game, the other coming in the win at Arizona.
But Carroll said the fault was not all Wilson’s because the receivers often had trouble getting open.
“We got covered a little bit last night,’’ Carroll said. “. … Just one thing or another, we weren’t able to get our guys in the right positions (to be open at the right time to get passes thrown their way).’’
But Carroll noted the Seahawks did get a couple of pass interference penalties — including a 31-yarder drawn by Tyler Lockett that set up a fourth quarter field goal — and that Seattle just missed on two long passes to David Moore.
“Those were the plays where the game might have swung differently,’’ Carroll said.
The Seahawks played without veteran receiver Doug Baldwin, out with a hip/groin injury. Carroll was not asked about Baldwin’s status for Sunday’s game against the 49ers but he said Monday night he was hopeful Baldwin will make it back.
SEAHAWKS WANTED TO CHANGE FANT’S NUMBER BUT COULDN’T
George Fant officially became a receiver Monday night when he caught the first pass of his career, a 9-yarder from Wilson in the third quarter.
Fant has been used as an eligible tackle much of the season, and in increasing numbers in recent weeks, but before Monday, a pass had not been thrown his way.
“The great thing is George thought if he doesn’t slip he would have scored,’’ Carroll said of Fant, who fell down after turning toward the sidelines. “Gonna cut him loose now and make him a primary target.’’
Interestingly, Carroll said the team wanted to change Fant’s jersey number to that of an eligible receiver so he wouldn’t have to report and be announced on every play but were told they could not. Carroll implied that’s because players cannot change numbers during the season.
That rule is explained here.