Although Seattle laid an egg today in the NFC divisional battle against Chicago, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was pleased overall with how his team came together at the end of the season, and believes the Seahawks have set a solid foundation to build upon for next season.
“It took a long time,” Carroll said. “It took a whole season and an offseason of work to get to this point, where these guys are this strongly committed to what we’re doing. And they fight, and they compete, and they do the things that we want this team to do.
“To me, it’s most disappointing because it’s so hard to get here. And it’s not automatic that we’re going to get here again to get this far along. But we’ve learned a lot. We’ve grown a lot.”
“I think the finish of this season is a statement about where we’ve come and how we can move forward,” Carroll went on. “And we’ll look very positively ahead as we go into this offseason coming up.”
Carroll said both tight end John Carlson and cornerback Marcus Trufant are in the hospital with concussions and will stay at a local hospital in Chicago overnight, but indications are that both guys are okay.
“It was a serious concussion on the field for both of those guys,” Carroll said. “And the crews out there handled it really well and did all of the right stuff with safety and all. Both are okay, and it didn’t look to be any injury past just the fact they had a concussion.”
Carroll said the plays, which both happened right in front of the Seahawks’ bench, had an affect on the players, but they understand that you still have to continue on and keep playing.
“It impacts you because you care so much,” Carroll said. “But everybody is a professional and they know they have to go back to work.”
Carroll said the fact that both tight ends were injured (Cameron Morrah was limited because of turf toe), shrunk his team’s playbook, forcing Seattle to run more 4 and 5-wide sets.
That left Seattle at a disadvantage because they did not take linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher off the field, so Seattle could never get its run game going.
Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), Justin Forsett (ankle) and Michael Robinson (ribs) also suffered injuries that limited their performance or kept them off the field.
The Seahawks did not blitz nearly as much as they did in the first game, when they finished with six sacks and held Chicago to 0 of 12 on third down.
Carroll said because of Chicago’s more balanced approach offensively, Seattle did not have as many opportunities to use its blitz package.
“All the down and distances were much shorter,” Carroll said. “We had a lot of third and eights and more the last time out. This time it was third and 3,4,5 all the time.
Despite the fact Seattle did not play well, Seattle did have some opportunities to make plays. They dropped at least five passes on offense. Jordan Babineaux dropped an interception that would have saved a Chicago touchdown. Earl Thomas missed on a possible interception that turned into a Kellen Davis touchdown, and Seattle tipped balls on three different occasions defensively but couldn’t come up with the pick.
“We really had chances today,” Carroll said. “And we were going to have to get all of those, I think, the way things were going to keep us in the ball game. But they were available.”
* Seattle finished with just 34 yards on the ground, with Lynch held to two yards on four carries. It was Seattle’s worst rushing performance since rushing for just 20 yards against Kansas City earlier this season, and Lynch’s worst rushing performance of the season.
* Chicago’s Jay Cutler finished 15 of 28 for 274 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two scores, and finished with a 111.3 passer rating. Seattle sacked him three times for a total loss of 13 yards. But most important, Cutler did not throw an interception
* Cutler’s favorite target was tight end Greg Olsen, who finished with three catches for 113 yards, including a 58-yard reception for a score..
* The Bears scored touchdowns on three of their four first drives of the game.
* Matt Hasselbeck finished 26 of 46 for 258 yards and three touchdowns, but a lot of that came in garbage time with the Bears trying a bunch of stuff in anticipation for next weeks’ game against Green Bay.
* Chicago running back Matt Forte was as good as advertised, rushing 25 times for 80 yards and finishing with three catches for 54 yards.
* Seattle finished 3 of 14 on third down offensively, while Chicago was 10 of 18 on third down.
* Seattle’s defense gave up six plays of 20-plus yards to Chicago’s offense.
* Linebacker David Hawthorne once again led Seattle in tackles with nine combined, eight solo.
* Seattle’s offense was forced into four three-and-outs, including three on their first four possessions.