Pete Carroll's day-after assessment of Seahawks' opener
A look at the snap counts from the Seahawks’ opener shows Sunday’s game in Green Bay did not go the way they wanted it to on either side of the ball.
Yet another factor to Seattle’s 17-9 loss.
Glaringly, the Seahawks’ defense played 82 snaps. That’s about 20 too many. Part of that was the unit’s own doing: they allowed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to convert nine of 16 chances on third downs into first downs. That included a third and 17 in the first half. The other part of the defense being on the field too long -- like it was last season for 95 plays in the overtime tie at Arizona last October and 76 plays the following week in the loss at New Orleans -- was that the offense could not sustain drives. Seattle was just 3 for 12 on third downs, resulting in only 48 plays run on offense.
“That’s not good, and that’s not us,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re so much better than that. The third downs are really what haunt you.
“We have to do way better than that. And we will.”
Green Bay has the ball for just under 40 of the game’s 60 minutes. Give Rodgers, the two-time NFL MVP, that much of the game to beat you and he will. He ultimately did.
Rookie third-round cornerback Shaquill Griffin played all but five of the defense’s 82 snaps Sunday. That was not the plan. He was supposed to the right cornerback when the starter there, Jeremy Lane, moved inside in nickel defense. Seattle was going to play a lot of nickel against the Packers, but not the 94 percent of the time Griffin was in there.
Lane got ejected in the first quarter, eight plays into the game, for launching an elbow into Green Bay’s Davante Adams. They went at it away from defensive tackle Nazair Jones intercepting a Rodgers pass and returning it for a would-be Seahawks touchdown. Referee John Parry announced on the field he had ejected Lane for a punch. But Carroll said after the game he watched television replays and didn’t see any punch by Lane, and nothing shown on Fox’s TV broadcast revealed one.
“I didn’t see a punch, at all. I’m disappointed that play would have such magnitude on the game,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks have asked the league for an explanation of Lane’s ejection.
“It puts a lot of strain on us,” Carroll said. “We anticipated playing with that group of guys and it made Shaq jump out there in all situations.
“And I thought he played a great football game for his first time out.”
It caused Justin Hamilton to play far more than the Seahawks wanted him to. Coleman had joined the team only eight days earlier in a trade with New England, for now as a backup nickel back. He played 41 snaps, half the game, over the final three-plus quarters. No, Seattle didn’t have in its game plan Coleman covering big Packers tight end Martellus Bennett and Green Bay running back Ty Montgomery in the open field.
Rodgers repeatedly targeted Griffin and Coleman, though Griffin denied three deep passes and earned All-Pro teammate Earl Thomas’ praise in the locker room afterward.
“He balled out,” Thomas said.
New defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson completed his first week with the Seahawks after his trade from the Jets fulfilling Carroll’s assertion he was an every-down player on Seattle’s front. He 54 snaps, two-thirds of the Seahawks’ plays on defense in their seven-man rotation on the defensive line.
On offense, Eddie Lacy got all the pregame attention for his return to Green Bay, the team that let him leave to Seattle in free agency this offseason. And Lacy was primed for a big role on his reunion day with Thomas Rawls out because of a high-ankle sprain. But Lacy played just seven snaps, and run five times for 3 yards. Rookie Chris Carson can do more: receiving, running and, most important Sunday, pass block. That’s why the seventh-round pick got 26 plays, more than half the offense’s snaps. In fact, he and offset fullback Tre Madden started, not Lacy.
With Tyler Lockett playing his first game since breaking his leg in late December, Paul Richardson got the second-most snaps among wide receivers behind Doug Baldwin. Richardson was in on 41 of the 49 plays. Lockett had 26 snaps on offense and 10 more as the kickoff and punt returner.