Seahawk head coach Pete Carroll was not pleased with the way his defense played against Minnesota in the first half, giving up 197 rushing yards to the Minnesota Vikings, including a 74-yard romp by Adrian Peterson on the opening drive of the game.
The Seahawks knew that Peterson would be the driving force of Minnesota’s offense, yet still allowed him to routinely get to the second level of the defense.
“He ran crazy,” Carroll said. “He’s a great player, but we didn’t have to give him that much. But we came out and missed a few tackles right off the bat, but it’s just miscues and we didn’t handle some adjustments that they did well.
“It was kind of a nightmare, to tell you the truth, in the first half. But the cool thing is the guys settled down and put it to work, and Gus (Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley) made his adjustments and we stopped them.”
In the second half, Seattle held the Vikings to 59 total yards and three points. So what changed for the Seahawks on defense?
“We were more disciplined in our run gaps,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. “Throughout the game, Adrian Peterson would press the line of scrimmage and then jump cut to the backside of the play. So we made a big emphasis in the second half on just maintaining our gap responsibility and just wait on him. We were patient and it paid off for us.
Peterson finished 182 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. The Vikings ran for 243 yards, the most Seattle has given up all season.
The Seahawks were the No. 5 run defense in the league heading into today’s contest, giving up 85 rushing yards a contest.
Peterson’s 182 yards is the most a Seattle defense has allowed since Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards in Week 2 of the 2009 season in a 23-10 loss on Sept. 20 at San Francisco.
Peterson was asked about a play in the first half when a fired-up Thomas got in his face after stopping him for a 15-yard gain.
“Yeah, I was surprised,” Peterson said. “I got up and he was celebrating like he just won the lottery or something. I was just looking at him like, ‘What are you celebrating for? Maybe cause you made the tackle and got me down?’ But, that was funny. He’s a good guy, though.”
John Moffitt to the rescue
Carroll explained James Carpenter’s mysterious injury situation after the game. Seattle’s head coach said that Carpenter took a big hit during Wednesday’s practice and was taken out for further evaluation, but came back Thursday and was okay.
However, Carroll said on Friday Carpenter didn’t feel right. Carpenter also told trainers that he got hit to the head in last week’s game at Detroit. Complicating matters was Carpenter got a flu shot this week, so the training staff thought he could have been experiencing flu-like symptoms from the shot.
“We were treating him for being sick to his stomach and stuff, so we weren’t quite sure,” Carroll said. “At the end of the week we just ruled him out with the concussion symptoms. We had to play it safe.”
Carroll said that he decided to start John Moffitt at left guard because he played there in college, and they didn’t want to make two moves along the offensive line. If Moffitt didn’t hold up, then the plan was to move Paul McQuistan to left guard and play rookie J.R. Sweezy at right guard.
Seattle started its fifth different offensive line combination this season against Minnesota.
“I think it was good, not great,” Moffitt said about his performance. “To me, there’s stuff to work on. I think I was knocking the rust off on a lot of things. And I know I’ll see it on the film.”
Moffitt said he’s been working at all three interior positions in practice, and feels more comfortable at left guard because of his time playing there at Wisconsin.
Offense more efficient in the red zone
The last two games Seattle’s offense has done a much better job of getting touchdowns in the red zone.
After finishing 2 of 3 in the red zone last week, the Seahawks finished 4 of 6 inside the 20-yard line against the Vikings.
“Guys made plays, the offensive line did a great job of protecting, giving me enough time to make some decisions,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Golden Tate made some plays, and also Sidney Rice. It’s pretty awesome to see.”
Carroll once again said he liked the offensive balance his team achieved for a second straight week.
Seattle ran the ball 45 times for 195 yards, averaging 4.3 yards a contest. And Russell Wilson finished 16 of 24 for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson did not throw an interception, and finished with a 127.3 passer rating.
“I loved the way we mixed it,” Carroll said. “We got to run the ball a lot today, and with a lot of energy, a lot of toughness. Marshawn was fantastic, and I thought the line of scrimmage was really good for us.”
“I thought it was the kind of day we needed here to start the second half,” Carroll said. “We put a lot of pressure on our guys to play well today, and to get things done to get this thing going.”
Carroll said that linebacker K.J. Wright suffered a concussion in the first quarter and never returned. He will be evaluated further on Monday.
Mike Morgan took Wright’s place at outside linebacker, and finished with three tackles, including one for a loss.
“He had some problems,” Carroll said about Morgan. “He got in trouble on a reverse, which we should play. But I don’t know until I see the film.”
Max Unger suffered a dislocated finger and had to leave the game for a couple series. Unger was replaced by Lemuel Jeanpierre, but later returned to the game.