The day after a 25-17 defeat to the Chargers, Pete Carroll talked about the last play and others that got away from Seattle in a frustrating loss that dropped the Seahawks to 4-4.
A game that came down to a final play to potentially force overtime was a far-too-fitting way to end the first half of the Seahawks’ season for coach Pete Carroll.
Seattle ends the first half at 4-4, having won three games by 11 or more points but with all four defeats by eight or less.
“So close to getting it done,’’ Carroll said of Sunday’s 25-17 loss to the Chargers during his Monday news conference. “I’m hoping the second half of the season will allow us to finish those games and give us the wins that we want and turn the season into a really positive year for us.’’
It won’t be easy to do that this Sunday as Seattle travels to play the 8-1 Rams, who are sure to be smarting from their first loss of the season Sunday at New Orleans and were listed as an early 10-point favorite — the biggest spread against the Seahawks since 2011.
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But before Carroll turned his attention to the Rams he reviewed what happened against the Chargers. Here are highlights of what he said:
CHRIS CARSON, BRADLEY MCDOUGALD MAY BE GAMETIME DECISIONS, D.J. FLUKER IS OK
Carson did not play in the second half due to a lingering hip injury that had him listed as questionable heading into the game while McDougald sat out most of the second half with an equally lingering knee injury that also had him listed as questionable heading into the game.
Carroll said he’s unsure of the status of either player for the Rams game, saying both were both pretty sore Monday and indicating both will likely practice little this week.
Carroll said the Seahawks “will have to wait and see, go day-to-day’’ with Carson “and see how he comes out later in the week.’’
As for McDougald, he said “pretty sore again.’’ Carroll noted McDougald didn’t practice much last week and said “I wouldn’t think it would be much different this week and we’ll see how he is on gameday.’’
Delano Hill would start for McDougald if necessary and Mike Davis would start in place of Carson if needed.
Hill saw his most significant playing time of his career against the Chargers with 25 snaps after also taking almost all of the first-team reps in practice last week.
“In case we have to go with him this week he hopefully will build on this past week and keep moving,” Carroll said. “He took a step forward that I thought was really obvious and he played like it.”
Fluker left late with a calf injury but Carroll said he was OK on Monday.
Carroll also said linebacker K.J. Wright, who was limited all week in practice as he continues to come back from knee surgery, made it through the game without any incident and should be able to play against the Rams.
J.D. MCKISSIC WILL WAIT ANOTHER WEEK
Carroll said McKissic, a running back who has been on injured reserve all season, won’t return until next week at the earliest. McKissic is eligible to return to practice now but Carroll said “he needs a little bit more time to make sure he’s right.’’
McKissic suffered a fractured foot in the preseason.
RUSSELL WILSON NEEDED TO AVOID SACKS
Wilson was sacked four times Sunday and Carroll said Wilson could likely have prevented all of them.
“Yeah, he could have a couple times and he’ll tell you that he needed to step up and escape and try to avoid the rush a little bit a couple of times,” Carroll said. “A couple of times, he was ready to go (and) ready to unload the football, and a guy got in trouble on a route downfield and so he had to take off. We really had enough protection to avoid the sacks yesterday, but some of those plays were Russ moving around, doing some great stuff at always. But yeah, he would tell you that he needed to step up a couple of times and get the ball out.”
Wilson hadn’t been sacked more than twice in any of the last five games.
Wilson also had a few uncommon misfires on some throws, notably on a deep pass down the middle to a wide open Jaron Brown.
“We missed some big plays,’’ Carroll said. “Fifty-yard plays. That happens sometimes.’’
ON THOSE PENALTIES
Seattle was flagged 10 times for 83 yards on a day when the Chargers were flagged 12 times for 105 yards. But a few of Seattle’s penalties came at really critical times, such as an offensive pass interference on David Moore on a pick play that negated a third-down conversion on a pass to Doug Baldwin to the 16 and instead made it third-and-13, with the Seahawks then forced to settle for a 51-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski that was no good in the second quarter when it was still a 12-7 game.
Carroll didn’t question the call, noting that Moore put his shoulder into the defender as if to protect himself.
“I see why they called it,’’ Carroll said. “He was in pretty good position but I see why they called it.”
Carroll said it will be a good lesson for Moore, a second-year receiver, on how to avoid such flags in the future.
“He has to be stationary and be a receiver,” Carroll said.
Also a killer was a false start on J.R. Sweezy that moved Seattle back from the 1 to the 6 prior to the final play.
Sweezy moved after Charger defensive lineman Corey Liuget rocked in his stance a few times as if to mimic the snap.
But Carroll said “he wasn’t in the neural zone’’ and that it would be “really hard for them to call it’’ on Liuget.
EARLY BIG PLAYS WERE JUST MISTAKES
The Chargers’ five biggest gains of the day — all of 23 yards or longer — all came in the first half, including a 28-yard run on an end around by Keenan Allen on Los Angeles’ first play and a 34-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon a little later.
Carroll said the runs were all the result of Seattle defenders just not being in the right gaps.
“Four really big runs where we made errors,’’ Carroll said. “Just made mistakes on plays …. Gave away some fits we are not supposed to. The toss for the touchdown was a big mistake. Just had to be cleaner. … it’s always about discipline and we mis-fit some stuff in anticipation of some things and we needed to clean it up.’’
Carroll said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was among those who was out of position a couple of times, saying “there’s a couple plays that Bobby had that he thought he saw something, got a little behind the blocking scheme a little bit.’’
But Carroll said Wagner made the needed adjustments at halftime and “went back out and on the same plays made the tackles for no gains. I thought it was the best half of football I’ve seen him play — I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him play better. He was everywhere.’’
LAST PLAY WAS ‘MOST DIFFICULT’ CATCH TO MAKE
Carroll said the last play — a tipped pass that Moore just couldn’t quite bring in, letting the ball bounce off his chest — was an especially tough catch to make.
“Tipped the ball just two yards in front of him and he (Wilson) threw it as hard as he could probably to get the ball through he hole,’’ Carroll said, calling it “almost an impossible catch. Just depends how it comes off the tip but the ball got moved. And Davis has got fantastic hands — he’d have caught it if he had half-a-chance you know. I don’t think he knew it was tipped at the time, he just thought the ball got away from him and he took it really hard. But I wouldn’t put it past David to figure out how to catch that ball sometime, too. But it was most difficult under the circumstances.’’
PENNY STILL LEARNING HOW TO RETURN KICKOFFS
The Seahawks made a change on their final kickoff return of the game, going back to Tyler Lockett in place of Penny. Lockett had a 34-yard return to the 36 that set up Seattle’s final touchdown.
Penny has averaged 17.5 yards on eight returns with a long of 23 while Lockett is averaging 24 yards on nine attempts with a long of 42.
Carroll said Penny needs to get better at timing up his catches of kicks so he is getting them on the dead run instead of settling under them and then beginning to run.
“If you want to compare, look at the difference between he and Tyler yesterday in the starts,” Carroll said. “Start the catch, how you time up the catch and you’re running as fast as you can – when the time you make the catch as opposed to being stationary and being punched up and get going, it’s a big characteristic of good returners, that they hit the ball on the run so that they’re really flying. That’s something he can improve at and we’ve been talking to him about that quite a bit.”
The Seahawks touted Penny’s kickoff return ability when taking him in the first round last April — he returned seven for touchdowns while at San Diego State.