These numbers show an increase in snaps for Kevin Norwood, and indeed the rookie wide receiver had a home-run ball thrown by Russell Wilson to him. Arizona's Patrick Peterson showed why he is one of the top cornerbacks in the league when he raced back while the ball was in flight and got his arm between Norwood's as the ball arrived inside the 10-yard line to break up the play.
I expect Will Tukuafu's snaps to increase at San Francisco. The 285-pound fullback and former 49er until a couple a weeks ago knows San Francisco's defense better than any other Seahawk. He can be a new asset in front of tailback Marshawn Lynch Thursday night.
On defense, Bobby Wagner played far more than coach Pete Carroll expected in his first game in six weeks. Wagner said Monday the foot in which he had a torn ligament and a broken bone in a tendon felt fine and he had normal soreness for the day after playing so much.
Wagner's return to middle linebacker moved his fill-in K.J. Wright back to outside the linebacker with Bruce Irvin. The odd man out: Malcolm Smith. Nine months after he was the most valuable player of the Super Bowl, Smith didn't play a snap on defense in a key division game.
--Here is a transcript of what Carroll said this afternoon. Missing is the final, odd questions from the TV cameraman, which I had at the end of the earlier post. That's the lead of my story in tomorrow's News Tribune, an example of how highly the Seahawks speak of Lynch -- contrary to what has been portrayed nationally.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
November 24, 2014
(Opening) It was a really good game yesterday for us. It was a real complete effort and we had a great time at the stadium. The fans were great. It was so cool to see us play together so well. The 12s were on their game and the Seahawks did a nice job too. It’s one game and that’s it and on we go but we’re real proud of the way we played yesterday. We kind of looked at these last six games as, it’s got to get started somewhere and here it is with the Cardinals coming in. So we felt good about getting off to a good jump start here for the finish of this year.
(On if Marshawn Lynch’s status is any more difficult this week with only five days between games) No, we’re just going to go through the process and see how he does and see if he’s okay – that’s how we do it. We will take good care of him and he’s real smart about how he handles it and so we will expect that he will be ready to go and I know he won’t want to miss this thing and he will be ready to play.
(On if Bobby Wagner surprised him at all yesterday) Yeah, he looked normal. He didn’t show any rust. He didn’t have any issues at all. He came out of the game feeling good. I told you that he went in in really good condition. He did a great job during his rehab to not just rehab the injury but also to stay in good condition and shape and it showed up. He played very, very well and it was great to have them back.
(On Earl Thomas, Doug Baldwin and several other players referencing an attitude adjustment and when he became involved in that) It started right at the beginning of the week, the topics that we’re on, and we worked our way through it, did a nice job. The players really contributed well to what we needed to get to and they had a huge role in getting the messaging right. We were just fine tuning. All throughout the season, you always have these opportunities to go one way or the other and to grow hopefully in the right direction and we made a real nice shift and took a nice step forward to getting to where we want to get. The kind of play yesterday was really a team effort of guys totally giving themselves to one and another and they played for each other and it showed up. It was something that was most powerful in a team setting and everybody felt it yesterday. That’s that step. We have to get back to business again this week and each week brings new challenges and we have to make sure that we bring our game again and if we do that, we will give ourselves a chance to finish this thing well.
(On how last year the team had to refocus after the St. Louis and Tampa Bay games and how was this different than that was) This was different just in the direction of it but the impact of it was basically the same. These guys really took charge of their approach, their mentality – so focused and so determined to play really well and to play really hard and everybody could see it. It was obvious so we were really excited about that.
(On how the refocus came about and if the players approached him) No, not really. It didn’t really happen like that. It was a topic that I was on and it generated some questions with some guys and we got together to try to bring the truth out of what was important and then I was able to step back and let them take charge of passing the message along and they did a great job. We’re just getting going. We have be trying to find our best play all throughout the year and so we have been working at it. This week some things became clear and we made sense of it. That’s about as much as we’re going into it. I’m not going to go a whole lot more in depth about it. It was a wonderful week of team and a great celebration on game day but that was last week already so we have to get back to business.
(On if he thought this was something that needed to happen for a while now) Yeah, something I’m looking for. I’m looking for the moment that we could take a great step forward and it was great to see the guys take a hold of it.
(On the problems with protection and if it is something that has been consistent) Oh gosh, this was different. This was a different game. We got sacked seven times in this game. We had all kinds of problems. We got beat one-on-one, we had some scheme issues, and we held the ball too long. To have that kind of an onslaught it took a lot of stuff. This was a really, really difficult defense and they played really good football. They caused a lot of problems but it didn’t break us. We hung in there. The coaches stayed with the plan, kept working and tweaking and saw what we were able to do. Russell [Wilson] stayed true, did a great job of maintaining his poise and staying with the adjustments as we went through the game and we found our way. We found out ways to move the ball and start to convert and get him some time and play off the running game – all of the things worked together really well and got us a good win against a very difficult team.
(On considering the opponent coming up, how important it is to fix the pass protection) It’s a totally different team that we’re playing. It’s a whole new week. We have to keep working to fix everything. We have to fix everything. It’s hugely important. We can’t survive those kinds of games, game in and game out, we have to find a way to get the ball out and make sure that we’re not getting hit. We need to run it better. It really goes back to the other side of it, you think it’s the passing game; it’s really the running game. We have to run the ball more effectively to get that done.
(On if Patrick Lewis has the same responsibilities during the game as Max Unger or if those have been divided up) It’s the same job. He’s in the middle. He has to make his calls and all. The guys work together a little bit more so I think they help each other a little bit more because it’s necessary. When Max is in there, he has total command of it and Patrick is still working at it. He did a nice job. He played through it and got through this game and blocked well. By no means did he have to take responsibility for anything on this one, he did a good job on his own.
(On if Patrick Lewis will be the starting center this week) We will find out. We will let these guys battle again this week. Lemuel [Jeanpierre] will be a week older with us this time around. We will see how it goes.
(On how close James Carpenter was to being able to play yesterday) As close as you can get. We labored over whether to go with him or not. I don’t know if you saw us out there, working him out. He was really politicking to get out there and play but we thought if we did, with the short week coming up, we probably wouldn’t get him to respond. He was that close. He still would have some results from this game so we decided to hold him out and give him the best chance to be ready for this game and then the ones after that. It was a hard decision because we went with seven linemen in the roster and so that’s always a big challenge.
(On Cooper Helfet’s injury) He’s the one guy that came out banged up. He sprained his ankle and so Cooper handles stuff really well. We will see what that means but right now, he won’t be able to run around until the end of the week. We will see what happens.
(On some saying Seahawks vs. the 49ers is the biggest rivalry in football and how he would characterize it) I think every game we play in this division is enormous. It’s an enormous matchup and the style of play was so evident yesterday of two teams, battling it out, slugging it out and it’s going to be the same thing. It’s not going to get any different this week so I think it’s a great matchup. I understand why everybody would want me to tell them that but every one of these are championship matchups. This is a great one. We’re just getting started. This season is just beginning with all of the games that we will be playing here in the next month and a half so it’s really exciting. I think we should feel very humbled that we’re playing in this setting. It’s a great setting. The country gets to watch you play football, such a great tradition to play on Thanksgiving, and we’re fortunate that we’re part of that and so we’re going to get ready to make sure that we do our part to make it a good one so it should be a great matchup.
(On when Kam Chancellor gets involved and is physical what is the impact that has on the defense) Well, guys feed off of one another. That’s exactly what you saw yesterday. You saw a team that was really feeding off of one another’s play and effort and love for the game and all. Kam really brings that. He really stands for that on this team. He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s smart, and he cares so much, he’s such a good leader – that when he’s right and playing, other guys can feel him. It uplifts them; great players have that ability to uplift those around them. He’s one of those guys. He does it with the physical side of it. He really had a ball playing football yesterday. It was the best he’s felt. You could tell he was really in it. I think Bobby [Wagner] coming back had an impact in a similar fashion. Guys could feel the return. I think both those guys were a big part of yesterday.
(On when it comes to players who take his messages on and off the field, if Earl Thomas is a special case) Earl is a special case, I like the way you said that. He is a special case. He’s having the time of his life. He is so full of this experience in this portion of his career. He knows he continues to learn and grow. He loves everything that’s going on about playing football – the meetings, the learning, the studying, the challenge, the actual game day. He is really maxing out in all areas. I heard him say last night, ‘I’m a young man, I want to run.’ He wanted to get out and go play some more. He’s really totally living in the moment. He affects us. He plays with an infectious manner and way and he studies and prepares. Everyday he’s like that. What a great demonstration it is of leadership and love for the game – that’s Earl. He’s special.
(On how he had to go get Earl Thomas off the field when he was celebrating) He was being a little bit too special. I had to reel him back in. I was hollering at the sideline guys for not getting him before I had to get him but he was just having fun.
(On Marcus Burley and Kevin Pierre-Louis injury status) Marcus has a chance to get back. Kevin doesn’t look like that—he’s banged up pretty good and we’ll take a good look at him here, he won’t be able to make it for this week in more news to come, but I think Burley is going to get back out there and get ready to go.
(On Kevin Pierre-Louis going on Injury Reserve) I don’t know yet—working on it.
(On DeShawn Shead’s blocked punt) When the opportunity presents itself, we want everybody in every position we have to go for it and I think that was a great illustration of that—his assignment told him otherwise, he saw the block for the return—he seized the moment, and captured it and took advantage of a great opportunity and took advantage of it perfectly—that’s savvy, confidence, and understanding our style—that was a great illustration of all of that. He made a beautiful play.
(On Russell Wilson hanging in the pocket too much in the game) No—I think under the circumstances and the dynamic of their rush, he hung in there when he could have been skittish when he wanted to get out—he didn’t succumb to that at all. He played every play as an individual play and played them out and I thought he did a really good job of that.
(On similarities of the games in San Francisco) Yes—they’ve all been really close. They’ve been really tight games and they’re tough down there and I’m sure they’re playing great at their stadium too, but they’re just great matchups. They’ve all been very tight games.
(On if there’s a tougher two-game stretch than playing Arizona and San Francisco back to back) Doesn’t matter because it’s going to be that way all the way through the end of the season—back to back to back to back all the way through it and that’s fine for us, that’s the way we like to play.
(On importance of taking care of the football) To me, it’s the most important thing in the game. It’s the number one thing that I emphasize from the moment I meet with these guys until forever. We’ve had seven of the 11 games where the offense hasn’t given up the ball—that’s fantastic discipline to do that and I’m thrilled it’s given us the chance. We’ve played against one of the top turnover teams in the NFL, particularly in the fourth quarter, and enormous point differential in the fourth quarter because they’ve had so many big plays and we took great care of the football in great fashion—that’s everybody’s concern: the quarterback, the snapper, the left tackle, everybody is involved in that and if we can be so fortunate to keep that rolling it will give us a chance to have a really good finish.
(On 49ers ILB Chris Borland as a draft prospect) Oh John [Schneider] really liked him—he knew he was a great football player. He really thought he was instinctive, highly productive, tough, and savvy. He’s having a great year—that’s no surprise to our guys that have evaluated him.
(On Ricardo Lockette) Yes—I loved the way “Rocket” played yesterday. He seized every opportunity. He took very play and went for it—covered really well, was a big part of a great field position day, made a big play for us, and just played his tail off—I thought he had a really good day.
(On Tony Moeaki) Yes—we’ve been talking about how Tony would fit in more as we grew with him if we could give him a couple weeks kind of thing—it took him a couple and he did a nice job and there’s a lot of ways for him to continue to get better too. So we’ll see a lot of him again this week.
(On officiating) No, I’m never griping about what they’re calling on us.
(On disparity by the officials) Disparity?
(On there being a gap between penalties called vs. Seahawks and opponents) There is quite a gap, yes—there’s quite a gap between what they’re calling numbers-wise on one team than the other. Yes—I’m really glad you brought it up.
(On Byron Maxwell penalty) Yes I can see why they called it—his hands were on the guy. He did not control the guy, if I was calling it, but I thought it was a marvelous play by “Maxie” in that situation—to be poised and to reach over and knock the ball away without contact—his left hand was placed. The ruling is if you control the guy with your off hand—I knew the side judges had questioned it too and that’s why they went running in there to go find out if they really were sure if they had a penalty right there and so they worked it out that way. It is such a big play— 47-yard play on a penalty that’s really questionable, what a big call—so just trying to compete.
(On officiating having tendencies to call more penalties for the losing team in a game) I think it’s interesting—fascinating. When we won the national championship [USC] the first year, the next year our opponents were penalized the least—for the next four years—that’s all I’m going to say about that.
(On Demarcus Dobbs) He’s battling to get back—we won’t know until later in the week. He’s got a chance to make it—we’ll watch that very closely.
(On Marshawn Lynch having a lot of wear and tear) No—it’s just a lot more attention paid to it, but this is how he’s endured the season basically through all of that. I don’t know—you’ll have to ask him and wait for the answer about how he feels. He’s played great—he’s just played great football and he’s been able to respond every week. For any player, this is a challenge to be able to get back Thursday. This is a huge physical challenge for these guys across the league to come back on a Thursday night—there’s a benefit on the other end of it too that we’ll try to cash in on, but he should be ok.
(On Marshawn Lynch’s back injury being difficult for his style of play) No—he just has on-going back issues that he’s always had so it’s just managing it well. Other than that, you get normal bangs and bruises.
(On Russell Wilson) I thought it was a really difficult game for a quarterback—enormously difficult, challenging game for a quarterback in that position and I think under the circumstances, he played really well and was even able to play even better during the later part of the game after all the stuff that happened. So I was really proud of that effort by him.
(On Kevin Norwood) He played well. Kevin has done everything—he had a great chance on the big ball down the field, but Patrick Peterson made a great play on the ball. He went up for it the best he could, but he had a good solid game and we continue to count on him.
(On Carlos Hyde and Frank Gore) Carlos Hyde is really good—he’s a good football player. We loved him in the draft and we’re not surprised at all that he’s got a lot of explosive plays in him. He runs big and strong and he’s got good speed and he’s got good knack. He’s a good football player and it doesn’t get any better than Frank Gore so that’s a great one-two punch for them.