LOS ANGELES Either Pete Carroll doesn’t see what we all believe -- or he’s protecting his blockers better than they are protecting Russell Wilson.
Carroll talked after Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams here at the Memorial Coliseum that the problem with his offense that has scored one touchdown in eight quarters this season is not with the blockers along his remade offensive line.
You know, the line you may have heard has new starters at four of the five positions, including a fill-in (J’Marcus Webb) at right guard starting while top rookie Germain Ifedi remains out with a high-ankle sprain.
“No. I don’t think that it’s the offensive line,” Carroll said after Sunday’s game. “I just think we have to do better. We have to come out and just be more complete.”
The Seahawks (1-1) scored their fewest points since Oct. 23, 2011, a 6-3 loss at Cleveland. That was in Carroll’s second season leading Seattle, his only one in which the Seahawks didn’t reach the playoffs.
To put the offense’s struggle right now a different way: The Seahawks just lost to a team that has yet to score a touchdown this season.
My News Tribune colleague Dave Boling apparently disagrees with Carroll, judging by the 53-second mark of our postgame-analysis video we took at the Coliseum this evening. He sees the reason for Russell Wilson getting hit eight times and sacked twice while with a sprained ankle as being clear.
Again, the defense did its job. Los Angeles gained 283 yards and managed just three field goals, yet won for the fourth time in five meetings in this division series.
The Seahawks had won their last 19 games when holding opponents to that many yards or fewer. The last such loss: Oct. 19, 2014 — to the Rams.
Carroll singled out third-down conversions as the big issue. The Seahawks were four for 13 on third downs against the Rams. They were 5 for 16 against Miami. They were 46.5 percent turning third downs into first downs last season. They are 31 percent so far this season.
“We’ve got to convert on third down like we want to, like we did in the second half of the season, last year,” Carroll said. “We’re a little behind schedule there.
“I’m surprised at that, because we worked really hard at it and we’re going to show that we’re good at that. I think that’s been the difference in both of these games, really.”
A more-sweeping issue is the running game right now. Seattle had 2.8 yards per rush Sunday. The Seahawks have gone from 141.8 yards rushing per game last season to 84.5 yards per game so far this season.
Thomas Rawls made his first start since he broke his ankle Dec. 13. The NFL’s leader with 5.8 yards per carry last season as a wondrous rookie had seven carries for minus-7 yards. He often had a Rams defensive tackle in his face as he was getting the handoff from Wilson.
That lack of a running game is as prime a reason as any the Seahawks have 15 points including one touchdown through two games.
“I’m real surprised about that. We never have anticipated that would happen starting off the season,” Carroll said. “I thought we would be ahead of that.”
Justin Britt has been steady in his first two NFL games at center. Mark Glowinski has been mostly solid at left guard, though he’s committed a couple penalties. Sowell had three penalties in his first five quarters this season. He and right tackle Garry Gilliam have had issues with multiple rushers swarming off their edges, often with backs behind them missing helping blocks in pass protection.
Webb? Well, when does Ifedi get back again?
(Carroll says the rookie, impressive in the preseason, will give it try this coming week before Sunday’s home game against San Francisco).
Some of those new linemen are also surprised.
“It’s very surprising, especially considering all the players that we have,” left tackle Bradley Sowell said in Seattle’s crammed, sweltering locker room after the game. “It’s not like we’re not making plays. I mean, there’s plays to be made out there. There’s plays that aren’t being made. We’ve just got to put the ball in the end zone.”
Through all the angst and ugliness Sunday, the Seahawks have the same record as every other team in the NFC West.
“We have the talent to get a lot of points here,” Sowell said. “There are going to be games that we explode.”