After looking at the game film, Pete Carroll says Seahawks should have won Sunday. Here’s a look at some of what went wrong and what Carroll said about it.
RENTON — A day later, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the film made one thing perfectly clear about their 34-31 overtime defeat at St. Louis to open the season.
“The way we look at it is we never should have lost that game,’’ Carroll said. “We had plenty of chances and opportunities to really take the game in command, and we didn’t seize those opportunities as we came down to the end of the game and the fourth quarter and in overtime. … We didn’t finish the way we needed to.’’
Here’s a look at some of what went wrong and what Carroll said about it:
SEAHAWKS AT RAMS »
Lax pass defense: The Rams hit eight pass plays of 20 yards or longer and had an average yards per reception of 16.5. The highest average per reception Seattle allowed in 2014 was 14.3 in a victory at Carolina.
Though Carroll said there was no one thing to blame, several plays came when the Seahawks were in zone coverages and too much space was left for Rams receivers to find openings. A specific issue was the linebackers dropping deep enough to close those openings.
“Just reading the action of the pass and dropping and getting in our areas,’’ Carroll said. “Stuff kind of snuck in on us that usually doesn’t happen. … There were just more of those plays that got away from us than normal for various reasons.’’
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Though an obvious thought is that the absence of holdout strong safety Kam Chancellor was a significant factor, Carroll noted that many of the plays went to other areas of the field.
“There’s no one (reason),’’ Carroll said. “It’s not that easy, ever.’’
Special-teams breakdowns: Seattle had two notable special-teams mishaps that were costly. First was a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown by Tavon Austin in the third quarter, the other a misfire by Steven Hauschka on the kickoff to start overtime that gave the Rams the ball at the Seattle 49-yard line.
Of Austin’s return, Carroll said the Rams were able to set up a wall along the right side to create room for Austin. He noted the Rams sent three blockers to take out Ricardo Lockette, one of Seattle’s best players on punt coverage.
“We got out of our lanes and got blocked a little bit at the line of scrimmage,’’ Carroll said.
Of the kickoff, Carroll elaborated on what he said after the game that the plan was to kick it downfield, but that Hauschka simply didn’t strike the ball correctly.
Specifically, Carroll said, the Seahawks were targeting a lineman positioned at the 15-yard line (Garrett Reynolds), hoping to force him to catch the ball.
“We wanted him to return it and see what he could do with it,’’ Carroll said. “It was just something we had in the game plan. … We just missed the kick.
“It’s been a kick we’ve worked on for a long time and that’s always part of our process to have those kicks, the shorter kicks, available for all the different situations that call for that, and this was one of those unique ones.’’
The offensive line and the failed fourth-and-one to end the game: The matchup of Seattle’s rebuilt offensive line against a St. Louis defensive front that some think could be among the best in the NFL largely proved as advertised.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked six times, and the Seahawks were held to 4.3 yards per play, tying the lowest average of 2014 (in a defeat against Dallas).
Carroll said not all the sacks were the fault of the line, noting that Wilson “mentioned that there were a couple of times had he gone a different direction he might have been able to avoid the sack. … He’s the first to admit that he could help the rush in that regard in the pass (protection) up front.”
Carroll also said the Seahawks didn’t get much out of Wilson’s running in zone-read plays. Wilson had 31 yards on eight rushing attempts, but most were scrambles.
Asked if Wilson needed to keep the ball more on zone reads or if the Rams took it away, Carroll said “a little bit of both.’’
On what turned out to be the final play of the game, though, the Seahawks went back to the zone read, needing a yard on fourth down to keep a final drive alive. On such plays, Wilson reads the defensive end and can either keep the ball and run or hand off to Lynch.
Lynch got it but had nowhere to go, sending the Rams onto the field in celebration and the Seahawks to an 0-1 start.
“They won the line of scrimmage on that play and did a nice job attacking us,’’ Carroll said. “We just weren’t able to get the crease that we needed. It’s a good play for us, a good concept for us that has been really successful for us for a long time, so we went with a real base thought and they just played it better than we did.’’