Seahawks’ Carroll details gameplan vs Russell Wilson in ‘meaningful’ win

The Seahawks are 1-0 and their first win of the year came in storybook fashion.

True: Seahawks can move on from past to present after beating Wilson

Seattle came away with a 17-16 Week 1 win not only at home in primetime but at the expense of former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who was playing his first game for his new team, the Denver Broncos.

Wilson had a good night statistically with 340 yards and two touchdowns (although Seahawks defenders dropped two would-be interceptions). But with the game on the line late, his new head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, elected to burn over 30 seconds of clock with under a minute remaining and kick a 64-yard field goal on fourth-and-5 rather than let Wilson try and move the chains. The kick missed to the left, and it was the Seahawks who came away with the upset victory.

As he does every morning after Seahawks games, head coach Pete Carroll hit the Seattle Sports 710 airwaves, joining Brock and Salk for the first Pete Carroll Show of the 2022 season.

Carroll agreed when asked if the Week 1 opener against Wilson and the Broncos was emotional.

“Yeah. Everything was really at the end of the spectrum kind of. It was really exciting,” Carroll said. “It was a thrill to be in that moment and to have that opportunity. The more we looked at that matchup, it just looked like it was such a great opportunity to go get something done, and we did.”

The Seahawks, despite being at home and at a stadium that’s had one of the best home field advantages in the NFL for two decades, were underdogs by roughly a full touchdown. Carroll pointed out that no one expected them to win the game.

“After all the talk and all the build up – we’ve been doubted the whole year and we didn’t have a chance and all that. They weren’t right,” he said. “So we get to feel that a little bit, and not that that was a fuel for us, but after the fact, you can tell.”

As noted, Wilson’s overall stat line was a good one, but Carroll thought the Seahawks’ defense did a pretty good job of executing its game plan against the Pro Bowl quarterback.

“We really were focused in on Russ’ play with our pass rush. That’s really the way to play him. You can move him and you can make him go,” Carroll said. “I think he moved 10 times and he completed two passes on the times we moved him out of the pocket and moved him around like we were trying to. It’s a hard dynamic to have. There’s so many factors in there, but we’re trying to push him in directions.”

Yes, the Seahawks’ plan was to get Wilson out of the pocket despite his reputation as being a major threat with his legs and throwing on the run. Mike Salk was surprised by that statement from Carroll and asked more about that idea.

“When he moves to his left, it’s hard for him numbers-wise and all that, so we just were able to do some stuff,” Carroll said. “It wasn’t perfect at all, but it was effective and we felt like we were controlling it. It wasn’t always just getting clean to get the sack, it was to try and make him go where we wanted him to go, and guys did a good job.”

A secondary storyline of Wilson’s return to Seattle was that many of his former teammates were in attendance for the game, such as Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and KJ Wright, the latter of whom is a Seattle Sports contributor who raised the 12 Flag before kickoff. Carroll said Monday’s game was a big deal to those former players.

“Seeing those guys, it was obvious how much they wanted to win the game. We were representing them with everything we were doing and we were playing for them,” he said. “… I felt Doug and Sherm and Marshawn and Sidney Rice and (Walter) Thurmond, there were so many guys all over the place. Everybody was all over the place. And KJ pulling the flag, he was pulling the flag for everybody.”

After Monday’s win, Carroll was asked whether he had a feeling of validation having beaten Wilson. He was asked about that again Tuesday morning.

“I didn’t need the validation. I just wanted it. I just wanted to win,” he said. “I wanted to win for all the reasons that come along with this one. Maybe as much as anything is representing the guys who have played (for the Seahawks) before. It meant a lot to those guys. And I was so thrilled to be able to hug those guys up and see them and look them in the eye.”

Why did that win mean so much to the former Seahawks players who showed up on Monday night?

“You figure it out,” Carroll said, later adding, “It was meaningful and they really wanted it and I knew we were playing for more than just the regular stuff.”

Carroll said his former players feel a connection to the franchise and they “love the fact that they played here and they love seeing us do well.” That was especially evident on Monday.

“And on this night they realized there was a big opportunity and a big statement to be made,” Carroll said. “The game isn’t about an individual player here or there, it’s about a team. This is the ultimate team sport, and it has been stated so many times before. It takes everybody. And sometimes when so much focus goes (on one person), it just rubbed guys wrong I guess or whatever. I’m thrilled that we won that game. Yeah, it was significant for a lot of reasons beyond just it’s the first game of the year and all that. But the fact that it was and it was Monday night, it couldn’t be better. So just really rewarding and on we go.”

Listen to the full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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