By John Boyle
The Seahawks on on the road Sunday, beating Carolina 16-12. And that’s no small accomplishment for a team that is 0-2 on the road this season, and has historically struggled when traveling east.
“It didn’t affect us at all in terms of preparation and mindset or any of that,” Carroll said. “That’s a good accomplishment. We have some trips we’ve got to deal with, and it’s always good to know that you can handle it, and I thought the guys did a good job of that.”
But despite a road victory that improved Seattle’s record to 3-2, Carroll saw plenty his team needs to do better.
“It was a very frustrating game for the most part, because we could not get on top of it,” Carroll said. “We were playing well and doing some really good things. You could feel us executing in different areas that spelled that we could be ahead and taking command of the football game, but we weren’t able to because we got in our own way.”
The Seahawks got in their way in the first half with penalties, most notably two in the first quarter on Breno Giacomini that earned the right tackle a temporary seat on the bench. A hold on Giacomini negated a 56-yard completion to Golden Tate, then a personal foul backed Seattle up after a first-down run by Ben Obomanu on a reverse. In the second half, the Seahawks opened up the third quarter with a fumble, then turned it over twice more in short order. Those mistakes, combined with the offense’s continued struggle in the red zone, mean Seattle found itself trailing despite dominating the first half statistically.
The good news for the Seahawks, of course, is that they were able to overcome all of those errors and win thanks to another very impressive outing by the defense.
“The positive side of that is that we played over the top of all of that and played well enough to get a win under those circumstance, when most days you lose,” Carroll said. “Most days you just lose that game. I thought it was particularly interesting to see our guys handle the momentum shift that could have occurred in that game… Most teams after three turnovers back-to-back-to-back, something would go wrong, but our defense held on, fought hard, and we stayed true to what we were there to do and finished the game very well.”
Carroll pointed out that the offense needs to be better in the red zone, though he was encouraged that his team got better on third down on both sides of the ball after making that a focus last week. In their loss to the Rams, the Seahawks were 2 for 9 on third down offensively, and on defense they struggled in third-and-long situations, allowing the Rams to convert five times on third-and-10 or longer. In Carolina, Seattle converted on half of its third downs (7 of 14) and the defense held Carolina to a 2 for 11 rate.
“We do need to score more in the red zone; we’re not getting that done,” Carroll said. “But the area we targeted last week of third downs improved enormously for us on both sides of the football, so we’re pleased with that.”