Seahawks Insider Blog

Carroll pleased with performance of defense

Some key stats from the Seattle Seahawks’ 31-6 win over San Francisco.

San Francisco was 1 of 15 on third down.

The Seahawks’ defense held the Niners to 263 total yards.

Seattle won the turnover battle 2-1.

The Niners basically lost this game on the first three possessions.

-- On San Francisco’s first possession, after Matt Hasselbeck threw a pick to Nate Clements that put the Niners on Seattle’s 29 yard line, San Francisco drove to Seattle’s 5-yard line, but had to settle for a Joe Nedney 23-yard field goal.

Seattle benefited from a reversal of an 8-yard Josh Morgan touchdown in the corner of the end zone that was overturned because Morgan did not get his feet in bounds.

-- On San Francisco’s second possession, the Niners drove 89 yards on 16 plays, but failed to get into the end zone on a 4th and 1 from Seattle’s 1-yard line, with fullback Moran Norris failing to come up with a high pass from Alex Smith in the flat on a play-action fake.

Again, a nice job by the defense of keeping San Francisco out of the end zone.

-- And On San Francisco’s third drive, they started on Seattle’s 37-yard line and marched to the 1-yard line. But a delay of game penalty on 4th and 1 pushed them to the 6-yard line, and the Niners had to settle for another Joe Nedney field goal.

So the Niners were inside Seattle’s 10-yard line three times on their first three possessions and only had six points to show for it, while Seattle could only muster 12 yards on its first three possessions.

“We made a transition here in the way we play up front from how they’ve played in the last, couple of years,” Carroll said about his defense. “Things worked out well against what we think is a very good running team. That’s where it always starts.”

Of course that would change from there, as Seattle scored 31 unanswered points to take control of the game.

Veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said the key for Seattle was scoring touchdowns instead of field goals when they were in the red zone, something the team struggled with last year.

Seattle was 3-of-4 inside the red zone, all touchdowns as they put points on the board, which put pressure on San Francisco’s offense.

Seattle’s red zone performance included a 1-yard run by Hasselbeck on a naked bootleg where he clearly had tight end Chris Baker open in the back of the end zone, but chose to outrun San Francisco linebacker Travis LaBoy to the pylon.

“We were trying to get a throw to the fullback or the tight end coming to the other side, and it’s been a long time since I’ve run one in,” Hasselbeck said. “Deon Butler was teasing me about it this week. He said you could probably run that in, and I said, ‘Nah, I don’t think so. And he said, ‘Nah, I think you can get there.’ Maybe it was the confidence he showed in me. Maybe that helped me decide to do what I did.”

The other key for Seattle was the play of its defense. We figured Seattle would be solid against the run because they were OK last season, and now they have even more beef up front with Red Bryant on the outside.

And so that proved to be true for Seattle, as they held San Francisco running back Frank Gore to 38 yards on 17 carries for a 2.2 yards-per-carry average.

Because the Seahawks stopped the run, they forced San Francisco to be one dimensional, allowing Seattle to get after the quarterback.

The Seahawks only finished with two sacks, but they had 11 quarterback hurries, seven passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

Overall, the defense was very active and helped to give the offense good field positions.

On the injury front, Carroll said offensive guard Mike Gibson had a strained lower back and had to give way to Ben Hamilton. His status is day-to-day. David Hawthorne also has a back issue that needs further evaluation. And Matt McCoy (thigh) and Roy Lewis ( groin) are dinged up but should be fine.

Chris Clemons had an ankle injury during the game but continued to play.

On Golden Tate being inactive, Carroll said he’s the fifth receiver right now and they look to get him in the game later this season when he’s ready.

Carroll also made a joke about calling offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus “Troy” earlier this week.

“I thought he hung in there,” Carroll said about Polumbus. “He had one rush against him that opened up, but other than that he played a great game. And he really wants me to call him Troy now. He came up to me and said that.”

Speaking of the offensive line, the pass protection was overall pretty good for Hasselbeck, who was only sacked once.

“They did a great job, all things considered” Hasselbeck said. “I think they were awesome. Better than probably anybody gave them a chance to do.”