Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll – Postgame Press Conference – January 9, 2021

“I told these guys I have no place in my brain for this outcome. We were planning on winning and moving on and getting going and playing really good football and doing the stuff we need to do to win. Their defense was really effective today. The two turnovers were really costly. That’s how it goes. You can look at our whole season and when we take care of the football and we don’t give it up, we win. Today, being down two, it’s really hard to overcome it. You can do it. We just haven’t. This season has been such an extraordinary year in so many ways and so much around us, and just all that has to do with life. I’m really proud of these guys for hanging tough throughout the whole process of it, being so strict and regimented. To make it through this time as healthy as we did. We’ve learned a lot, and they’ve grown a lot in all that we had to come to understand. This football season, it was supposed to just keep going for us and that’s the way we were planning. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it done today. So, a nice job by the Rams. Really good by their defense, and they found enough in their running game to keep it going for their offense. So, it’s really frustrating to be done. The suddenness of this, there’s nothing like it. You just have to deal with it. So that’s what we’re going to do. We have meetings tomorrow, and we’ll come back and try to figure it out a little bit more and put it in perspective. But, really disappointed in this outcome.”

(On what happened on when Seattle considered going for the Fourth Down, and a penalty ensued…)
“Yes, we were talking it over and we discussed some plays and I kind of got in the middle of it. Then, we just got late. That’s why we wound up jumping; we screwed it up. It just wasn’t clear enough. That’s one play. We didn’t function the way we needed to right there and so we had to punt the football. Punting the football wasn’t a bad idea, either. Just to get them on down, and take them to the next couple sequences. But I would have really liked to have made that, and so that’s why we went ahead and tried to get the chance and then we just didn’t function cleanly like we needed to.”

(On whether he felt like the Rams coached better today…)
“This defense has been playing terrific all year. That’s no surprise. They were hard. It was hard to get enough time. Hard to find the stuff we wanted to find downfield in the throwing game. We ran the ball some. We ran the ball okay. That didn’t change. They’ve been like that all year long. I thought they did a really good job.”

(On the play of Russell Wilson today…)
“I thought it was really hard. I thought it was really hard. They make the fantastic interception for a touchdown, which is a great play by the kid. He took a shot and got it, and that was a big play in this game as it kind of loomed the whole time, that seven point. That’s no mistake on Russ’s part at all, that’s just a great play by them. But, it was hard. When you get rushed like that, get sacked five times, against that group, it’s just tough. This is no surprise; this is how they’ve played against other people. We needed to keep this game like we played them last time, where we kept it down, where they scored 9 points and we found a way to score 20. Like I’m saying, and maybe I’m not saying it very clearly, but Russ, it was really hard on him. The pressure was hard, the coverage is good, and we weren’t able to function clean enough. A couple of times we had penalties and situations and we got backed up, we had First and 25 a couple times, it seemed like. Those are, like, impossible situations against this defense. He was up against it all day.”

(On whether they considered calling time out before the Fourth Down play…)
“We thought we were going to get it off. Honestly, right there, I could have called time out. I realized, I could see it was going, and then I didn’t mind that we were going to have to kick the football, because that was not a bad choice there. We just had to take it.”

(On why the Rams rushing game was more effective than it was two weeks ago…)
“Akers did a really nice job running the football. I thought they were really consistent in how they did it. They’ve played us enough, and they found out where they wanted to go. We just didn’t stop it. There were a lot of similar plays that they ran, and we were doing our things to get them stopped, but they just were able to keep pecking away. It was a game that they were in control of, score-wise, I felt like, once the game got going. I think after that touchdown. Both teams knew it was going to be a tight game, and it was going to be a defensive led game, and they just stayed real close to the vest with it, and just kept hammering away. They did not throw the ball on us much, effectively, but they difference probably was the two 44 yard plays. They were kind of really fortunate plays by them. It was a scramble to Akers up the sideline, and there was the one to Cooper that they get that he makes a great catch on. Those were two really big plays. When you look at the game, that’s 80, 90 yards of offense and those were significant plays in a really close game that changed the field position.”

(On what were they trying to do with the passing game that didn’t work…)
“Some things I don’t want to speak to. But what we wanted to do was we wanted to continue to play-pass and find our chunk opportunities. That doesn’t mean we throw the ball over their head all of the time and going for just bombs. But there’s a lot of space we create in the play-passing game, and it seemed like during the course of the season, after the half-way point, we had hit so much early, we had been so effective that people found a way to stay back and just try to bleed us and make us have to throw the ball underneath and we were maybe really going for it more than we needed to and didn’t take advantage of switching gears a bit there, as effectively as we would like. We like chunking them and like going after them. As I look back now, I have a lot of work to do to figure it out, but I would think that we might think that way a little differently. At one part of the year, it was available, and we took it, and then in the second part of the year, against the really good defenses that we played, they were able to keep us out of that kind of a mode. I wish we would have adapted better under those circumstances.”

(On the Rams getting 16 sacks in 3 games against Seattle…)
“It starts up front with their rush and the way that they’re playing. They did a nice job, scheme-wise. The 5 man rush was difficult. That’s how you stop the passing game; you rush the passer and make it really hard on them. If you can’t find ways to get the ball out, if you can’t find ways to slow them down, then you’re up against it, and that’s when bad things happen. That’s where the turnovers happen and the sacks happen, that’s how it goes. We weren’t able to do it effectively enough. We did it in the last game against these guys, enough, but they had some success then, too, even though we won the game.”

(On the message to the team heading into the offseason…)
“We’re going to try to find a little bit better place to put it, tomorrow. I didn’t have any answers for them today; just frustrated about this. But, like I said, we didn’t plan on getting knocked out. We were trying to find a way to win this football game, all the way up to; you know how we are; all the way down the stretch, too. We weren’t able to do it, and they had their game. So, we have to find a place to put that. Eventually, we will get back to the mentality of getting ready for the next go-round. There’s a lot of stuff that everybody has to deal with. I can’t even imagine all the stuff our guys are going to have to adapt to once they leave and get out of here, because we’ve been in a very controlled setting. The world’s going crazy out there with all of the COVID and all that. I’m concerned for our guys in that regard, we have to figure out how to get our minds right so that we can stay disciplined, stay safe and all of that and protect our families, too.”

(On the difficulties encountered by the first-string offensive line…)
“I wish we would have found the way to run the ball more, to slow them down, and keep them from rushing us. I think we had run it, 12 or 14 something in the first half; we were about even. So, we were attempting. When Donald went out we wanted to try to throw the ball, without him in the pass rush and we weren’t able to get enough out of it.”

(On whether some issues seem to be recurring…)
“Yeah, I think that’s a way you can look at it. We have so many clock opportunities that you don’t even mention, because they work out fine. But, there are times when you don’t quite hit it as clean as you want. And we always want to do all of those perfectly. What has been part of our makeup has been a lot of sacks. We haven’t been able to keep Russ as clean as we’d like to, and that’s been a problem for us over the years and that causes other issues and it also causes problem for the opponent, too, because once Russ starts moving around like he almost knocked them dead today, just missed DK on the one on the scramble, but he was really effective when he got out and moved around. It does cause a problem, we do get sacked a lot, and that’s something that has recurred.”

(On why it seems like Seattle hasn’t been able to find holes in the Rams defense, despite familiarity…)
“There is one factor in this whole thing, the whole thing, since we’ve been here playing these guys, and that’s number 99. He hasn’t just torn us up, he’s torn everybody up. He continues to be a significant factor. He tilts it, somewhat. That’s why I had hoped, when he got banged up, we could take advantage of him not being out there. I don’t know if it’s going to look like that, numbers-wise and all that. That’s the factor. I wish we could find a way to stop him. I don’t know who has. But, we haven’t found enough ways, and what happens is when you pay as much attention to him as you have to, other guys can factor in, as their guys have over the years. They’ve had fantastic pass rushers and that’s a huge part of being a good football team. So many things feed off of that. So, they have a really good nucleus of what it takes to have a good defense. And their coaches have done a good job of utilizing over the years, and that factor has not gone away.”

(On how much does this loss mar what was accomplished in the 2020 season…)
“Today it does, tomorrow it does, and as we run through the playoffs and watch everybody else still be playing, it makes you sick to your stomach. Seriously. It feels like almost life ends, in a sense, for this season. It’s very difficult to deal with. Right now, this is not the day to talk about all of the stuff that we accomplished. It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like today to acknowledge what we did together and how we have relationships that we have built and relationships that will last in moving find. We’ll find time to look back and reflect and find the good things to take away from it, but that’s not today. Today you feel like crap, that’s what it is. And anything you ask me, it makes it more like that. That’s just what it is. I’m up here knowing it. That’s how we have to live with it. There will be time. We’ll heal. But, it’s unfortunate, because these years are hard to come by. It’s hard to get to 12 wins. It’s hard to get yourself situated with a playoff game at home. We’ve won a lot of playoff games at home, and it is tough to give one away. We have won every one of those playoff games with a raucous, wild, crazy fan base, and not today, we needed you. I wish we could have had you. That’s not an excuse, that’s just unfortunate. I wish we could have shared it with you.”

(On what happened with Rashaad Penny…)
“He stumbled in practice on Thursday, maybe Friday. I’m all screwed up in my days. I think it was Thursday’s practice on a normal week, and he hit the ground pretty hard, and it just kind of rocked his knee a little bit. It was actually the other knee, I think. But he just couldn’t quite get back. So, we had Alex ready to go, and jumped him into it.”