Seattle left seeking answers after opening loss to St. Louis
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Pete Carroll tried to provide answers Monday to all the questions that arose from Seattle's surprise season-opening loss.
They weren't easy to come by.
Despite an incorrectly executed kickoff to start overtime, giving up eight pass plays of 20 yards or more, blowing coverage in the final minute of regulation that allowed St. Louis to pull even, or the inability to get 1-yard on their final offensive play yet again, Carroll said the Seahawks ''never should have lost that game.''
''We had plenty of chances and opportunities to take the game in command and we didn't seize those opportunities,'' Carroll said.
The 34-31, overtime setback to St. Louis was the third time in Carroll's tenure the Seahawks dropped their season opener, but those losses lacked many of the questions that arose from this one.
Standing out were the two major special teams mistakes and the run call on fourth-and-1 in overtime, where Marshawn Lynch was stopped.
Seattle's special teams allowed Tavon Austin's punt return touchdown in the third quarter - the third special teams touchdown by the Rams against the Seahawks in the past four seasons - followed by Steven Hauschka misplayed kickoff to begin overtime, giving St. Louis great field position for what proved to be the winning field goal.
But Carroll believed one of the deciding factors was Seattle's pass defense allowing eight pass plays of 20 yards or more, the most of any team in Week 1, as St. Louis took advantage of gaps in the middle of the field between the dropping linebackers and the secondary.
Last season, Seattle allowed 32 pass plays of 20 or more yards the entire regular season.
''It was a little bit of everything,'' Carroll said. ''They didn't get after us outside and deep on deep balls. They didn't get behind (free safety) Earl (Thomas). They just got in-between us and around us and did a nice job with it. It's just how it happens.''
Carroll was quick to say the absence of holdout strong safety Kam Chancellor was not the reason for St. Louis having so much pass success across the middle. Carroll said Chancellor's replacement, Dion Bailey, played well with the exception of stumbling and falling on Lance Kendricks' 37-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of regulation.
Carroll later added, there's been no movement on Chancellor's holdout.
''I wish I could tell you more, there's nothing new,'' he said.
Carroll took heat for Hauschka's kickoff to begin overtime, with many believing he had called for an onside kick. Hauschka's kickoff was supposed to travel about 40 yards and land near the St. Louis 20 where one of the Rams' blockers was an offensive tackle. Seattle's hope was it would be mishandled or bounce around and more importantly stay away from Austin.
But the kick was mishit - similar to a golfer chunking a chip shot - and traveled only 15 yards into the arms of St. Louis' Bradley Marquez.
''The ball was supposed to go all the way down to the 25-yard line and that didn't happen,'' Carroll said.
As for Lynch getting stopped on the final play, that was simply the Rams' defensive line dominating.
''It's a good play for us, a good concept for us and all that,'' Carroll said. ''It's been really successful for us for a long time, so we went with it with a real base thought and they played it better than we did.''
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