Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was pleased with his team’s 30-13 victory over St. Louis on Monday night – Seattle’s 13 win over the Rams in the last 14 games. But he still understands his team has more work to do.
At 6-7 overall, the victory kept alive Seattle’s hopes for an NFL wild-card berth. Detroit and Atlanta currently hold the wild card spots at 8-5. Chicago and Dallas sit a game out at 7-6, and the Seahawks are tied with Arizona at 6-7.
“We haven’t done nothing yet,” Carroll said. “But we’re on track to find ourselves. And where that leaves us at the end of the season, there’s a lot going on and all, so I don’t know the scenarios so I don’t even care. Really, I want us to practice really well on Wednesday. And if we do that, we can step into this next week and have a chance to do this again.”
Carroll lamented the fact that they let the Washington game get away a few weeks ago, or Seattle would be undefeated in the second half of the season.
“Unfortunately that’s a huge game to us,” Carroll said. “Think about that game and how important it was. We had this whole thing rolling – this would be every game in the second half we played with a formula that gets us wins. And that was one that got away from us.”
Seattle rookie receiver Doug Baldwin was the star in Seattle’s victory. Baldwin blocked a punt that teammate Michael Robinson returned for a 17-yard score in the first quarter, downed another punt at St. Louis’ 6-yard line and returned a kickoff 37 yards off a reverse Monday night at CenturyLink Field
Baldwin also scored on a 26-yard touchdown catch later in the game, and finished with a game-high seven catches for 93 yards.
“He just continues to do stuff,” Carroll said. “Every chance you give him he does something. He’s just such a battler. He’s a great competitor and I’ve said it before he’s got a chip on his shoulder that drives him to him to be a tough guy and a playmaker.”
The undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford is now third among rookies with 45 catches for 718 yards and three touchdowns.
‘Beast’ feasts again: The Seahawks continued to run the ball effectively, with Marshawn Lynch rushing for 115 yards on 23 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown to seal the win for Seattle. Lynch now has 969 yards for the year, edging closer to reaching 1,000 yards for the third time in his career.
Lynch has now rushed for 100 yards in five of his last six games. Lynch also tied a team record with his ninth straight games with a touchdown, set by Shaun Alexander in 2005.
Carroll was impressed with his team’s ability to still run the ball with Paul McQuistan playing left tackle for the first time this season, and Lemuel Jeanpierre sliding in at right guard.
“We’re deep in our substitutions now,” Carroll said. “And that’s a really good statement about the system, and the commitment, and these kids answering the call when they get their chance.”
Lynch continues to give credit to the offensive line.
“I see those guys come in every week and they strain,” Lynch said. “They put it upon themselves to make sure they know what they’ve got going on and what they need to be doing.
“They do things like going in on a lifting day when they’ve got to lift and we’ll have a lift at seven o’clock, and they’ll go in extra early to get their lift out of the way so they can go up and watch film. I think it’s just a thing that we’re growing. We’ve got a lot of young guys up front and I just think that we’re coming together.”
As good as he was running the ball, Lynch didn’t exactly set the world on fire throwing the ball, going 0 for 2 on the evening as Seattle twice tried to hit Michael Robinson on halfback passes.
“I’m really disappointed in Marshawn’s accuracy. We worked all week long, you’d think he’d hit one of those,” joked Carroll. “No, we saw some stuff. We knew we were going to click in the running game, so we thought those plays might give us something by them being aggressive and trying to get after our run. So it’s kind of natural to use those things.”
The penalty bug returns: After finishing with just five penalties against Philadelphia in the last game, the Seahawks returned to their care-free ways, finishing with nine penalties for 61 yards.
Seattle now has had at least nine penalties in eight games this season and is second in the league with 119 on the year – nine shy of the team record of 128.
Oakland leads the league with 130 penalties.
Carroll was particularly upset with the pass interference calls on cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman late in the contest with the game in hand, along with a personal foul penalty Sherman earned for taunting.
“I got to get these young guys to quit making these aggressive mistakes for us,” Carroll said. “But they’re battling. And we love the way they’re playing, and we’re just going to keep working it and figuring it out, and not give our opponents the easy play by the little grabs and the things that we’re doing. So we just need to keep working on it.”
Sherman had to be restraint from the officials after the taunting penalty and later received a talking to from Carroll. The Stanford product finished four penalties on the evening.
“It was just that kind of day,” Sherman said. “You bat one down in the end zone, he runs a double move and runs through my chest and they call something so it’s just like you can’t win for losing today. But I’m going to return fire with fire.”
Injury update: Carroll said that linebacker Leroy Hill suffered a stinger late in the game, but appeared to be okay in the locker room afterwards.
Seattle rookie offensive tackle Jarriel King was active for the first time this season, and played a couple plays in Seattle’s last offensive series of the game at left tackle and Paul McQuistan slid down to left guard for Robert Gallery.
Carroll said that Gallery had a hip issue, but could have finished the game. The South Carolina product was inactive for the first three weeks because of an ankle issue, but the Seahawks like his potential and believe he’s a player who could work into the offensive line rotation beginning next season.
* The Seahawks again held running back Steven Jackson to under 100 yards. Jackson finished with 63 yards on 20 carries, and has not run for 100 yards in 15 games against Seattle.
“It’s not so much him,” said Seattle linebacker David Hawthorne, who led his tea in tackles with 10. “Are bullet points go for whoever is in the backfield, and whatever week and whatever guy we’re facing. So I think it’s just us stopping the run, and being gap sound and holding everyone accountable.”
* Rookie linebacker K.J. Wright had a monster game, finishing with eight tackles, including three for a loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries.
* Chris Clemons finished with a sack on the day, and now has nine on the year, good enough for a tie for 11th overall.
* Brandon Browner got his fifth interception of the year and is now tied for fourth overall in the league.
* Tarvaris Jackson completed 21 of 32 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. Jackson was sacked twice, and finished with a 96.4 passer rating.
* The Seahawks finished 8 of 16 on third down conversions offensively, and held St. Louis to 3 of 14 (21 percent) on third downs.