The Seahawks’ 20-10 loss to the Rams on Tuesday night assured their first losing season since 2011 and quashed any last-ditch hopes of a playoff run.
It also kicked into high gear the constant discussion about some of the major decisions the franchise faces in the offseason. No topic is hotter than the fate of coach Pete Carroll, who is finishing his 12th season with the team and just the third that won’t end in the playoffs.
But asked about his commitment to the franchise Wednesday afternoon, Carroll said all he’s thinking about is the present and the task of preparing the team to play the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Lumen Field.
“I’m in good shape and feeling fine about what where we are,” said Carroll, who a year ago signed an extension through the 2025 season. “We’re just battling for these games right now; that’s all we’re doing. There’s no conversation about anything. And there’s really no concern about anything past getting through this thing right here and getting back to the game plan that’s hurried this week. That’s it. Really, there’s no time spent on it. There’s no conversations. We’re just digging in every day and doing the work that we do.”
Here is more of what Carroll had to say as he reviewed the Rams game and looked ahead to a contest with the Bears just four days away.
QB Russell Wilson still finding way; now battling ankle injury
Quarterback Russell Wilson received the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his career for Tuesday’s game after going 17-for-31 for 168 yards, no touchdowns and an interception and several times misfiring to wide open receivers, notably on a deep shot to DK Metcalf in the fourth quarter.
That led to the seemingly weekly question about what’s wrong with Wilson, who hasn’t seemed quite the same since his return from a middle finger injury at midseason that caused him to miss three games. The Seahawks have gone 2-4 since his return.
Carroll said again the finger and the time off can’t be discounted: “I think it’s been a challenge in that regard physically.” But Carroll also said that Wilson reports no issues during the week.
“He’s still got a finger in his throwing hand that is on the rebound,” Carroll said. “I’m not trying to give him an excuse, and he would never want that. He feels like he’s fine. But the fact remains he’s still got to deal with that.”
What Wilson has to deal with now is an ankle injury suffered at some point in Tuesday’s game when a Rams player fell on him at the end of a passing play.
Wilson was listed on the injury report Wednesday but as a full participant (the Seahawks did not actually practice, so the report was an estimation of how it would have looked if they had).
“He’s sore today,” Carroll said. “It’s a short week, so it could be a factor, but it’s not gonna keep Russ from playing. I don’t think that’s the case at all. So he should be all right.”
Carroll says he didn’t see penalty in call on Bless Austin
Of the few critical calls — or non-calls — went against the Seahawks on Tuesday, the one that seemed to bother Carroll the most was a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Bless Austin on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Rams appeared to be stopped at their own 18. But the penalty for a hold on Cooper Kupp gave the Rams a first down and they scored six plays later to take the lead for good.
Carroll said Austin was merely trying to bump Kupp off his route at the line of scrimmage
“That was a routine play,” Carroll said. “That was a routine jam. He’s rolled up in that coverage, so he’s really trying to get a hit on the receiver and trying to knock him inside. He did it exactly the way we try to do it.
“I know that the official thought that he got knocked down on the play, and felt like there was something extra there that wasn’t legal, but we didn’t see that.”
Also going against the Seahawks was a noncall of pass interference on the Rams on a fourth-down pass to DeeJay Dallas from the 50 with 3:21 to play. Dallas was flagged for kicking the football in protest of the noncall on Rams linebacker Ernest Jones, helping set the Rams up for a field goal that clinched the game.
“There was a couple calls that were really untimely for us in really critical situations. That you’re looking at them, you could see that they could have been called a different way,” Carroll said. “But that’s the way it went. And you’ve heard me say this probably a ton of times that we can’t leave the margin that slight that a call like that can make a difference.”
After every game the Seahawks fill out a report to the NFL of calls they contest. Undoubtedly those two will be on it.
WR DK Metcalf’s foot could be impacting his play
The Seahawks’ issues getting the ball consistently to Metcalf have led to constant questions.
One factor, Carroll said Wednesday, is that Metcalf has had limited practice since injuring his foot the week after the third game of the season against Minnesota (the Vikings game is the last time he topped the 100-yard mark this year, with 107).
“He’s not able to practice on a normal regimen and there’s no question that for any player it upsets your process, your learning process and all that,” Carroll said. “You’ve just got to try to overcome it.”
Metcalf’s practice schedule, often either sitting out or listed as limited at least two days a week, as well as Wilson missing a month could have taken a toll on the duo’s timing and on-field chemistry.
Wilson targeted Metcalf a season-high 12 times against the Rams (though four came on the final six plays of the game) but connected just six times for 52 yards. Wilson revealed that he was trying to get it deep to Metcalf on a pass late in the first half when his wrist was hit and the ball floated and was caught by tight end Gerald Everett for a 34-yard-gain, the team’s longest of the night.
Carroll said the number of targets Metcalf got shows “that we know he’s worthwhile going to and we’re trying to get the ball to him. … the intent is there. We’ve just got to execute and get it done.”
Jon Rhattigan has ACL injury
The Seahawks suffered one significant injury Tuesday night as undrafted rookie free agent Jon Rhattigan suffered an ACL injury on kickoff coverage in the third quarter.
Carroll said he didn’t know the full extent of the injury.
Carroll said there were no other significant injuries. Running back Rashaad Penny missed a series due to cramps but was not on the injury report Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Al Woods, who left for a play in the second quarter, was listed as not practicing Wednesday with a shoulder injury.
And Austin, who also left for a while in the second quarter but returned, was listed as limited with a hip injury.
Also listed as DNP Wednesday was OL Gabe Jackson (knee). Metcalf was listed as limited.