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Frustrations Boil Over For Pete Carroll, Seahawks Following Inexcusable Loss to Cardinals

As is often the case for losing football teams, Seattle continued to struggle with the same issues that have haunted the team all season long in its latest loss to an undermanned Arizona squad, leaving Carroll and his players reaching aimlessly for answers.

SEATTLE, WA - Only moments after the Seahawks left the field following a devastating 23-13 loss to the Cardinals, an annoyed Pete Carroll couldn't take it anymore.

In a move way out of character for the normally mild-mannered coach, in the middle of fielding a question from a reporter, Carroll exited stage left and abruptly brought his post-game press conference to an end. This came on the heels of choosing not to share any of his takeaways from the game prior to questioning, something he has done every game since he became Seattle's head coach in 2010.

"I'm really done. Thank you," Carroll said as he began departing the podium.

Up to that point, Carroll did his best to answer questions about the same issues that have continued to hinder Seattle throughout a disappointing season, including the inability to convert on third down offensively and get third down stops defensively. He took the blame for those lingering struggles impacting time of possession and not being able to coax the improvement out of his players necessary to turn things around.

Much to his vexation, Carroll couldn't provide the answers everyone in the media room sought, which shouldn't come as a shocker. He's been fielding the same questions week after week and despite saying the Seahawks have tried different things behind the scenes on the practice field and in the film room to fix these problems, the results have stayed the same on the field and unfortunately on the scoreboard during what he called the biggest challenge of his coaching tenure in the Pacific Northwest.

En route to handing Seattle its fifth loss in six games, the fifth-ranked Arizona defense held Russell Wilson and his counterparts to just two conversions on 10 third down opportunities. Meanwhile, replacing starter Kyler Murray under center, Colt McCoy and the visitors held the football for nearly 20 minutes longer by converting seven out of 14 third downs in the game, excelling at playing keep away while also being efficient moving the ball up and down the field.

"They got 40 minutes. We got 20 minutes. It really comes down to them being able to convert and us not. I'm sorry. It's not a different story," Carroll stated. "Been the same story in and out of this whole season, and we've got to see if we can turn it."

These third down and time of possession frustrations clearly boiled over on Sunday and in the process, Carroll's actions spoke far louder than any words he had to offer reporters. At least during his tenure in Seattle, he's in uncharted territory staring a 3-7 record in the face despite having talents such as Wilson, Bobby Wagner, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jamal Adams on his roster.

Just how far have the once-mighty Seahawks fallen? After making the playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons, including winning the NFC West with a 12-4 record only one year ago, Carroll's team inexplicably got outplayed by a Cardinals squad missing Murray and All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

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But even with those two players out, when the final second ticked off the clock on Sunday, it didn't seem like an upset. That by itself illustrates the organization's fall from grace better than any dreadful third down stat could and there's few positives to could be gleaned from a game they simply couldn't afford to lose as they did.

From the outset, Carroll's team didn't look prepared and borderline disinterested, surrendering a 16-play touchdown drive that lasted almost 10 minutes. In total, they gave up three scoring drives of 10 or more plays and could have had four if not for a gifted missed field goal by Matt Prater.

McCoy emulated Aaron Rodgers extending plays inside and outside of the pocket while throwing for 328 yards, his first 300-plus yard performance since way back in 2014. Even without Hopkins, veteran A.J. Green found the fountain of youth with four receptions for 78 yards, rookie Rondale Moore put would-be tacklers in pretzels with 51 yards, and tight end Zach Ertz torched Seattle with eight receptions for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns, ensuring McCoy had plenty of weapons to spread the ball around to.

"He had a heck of a game. He had a heck of a game," Carroll reiterated, saying the Seahawks didn't know McCoy would start until inactives g He ran the ball a little bit, and threw a lot of balls and made a lot of completions. He had a good game.

While the Cardinals were stockpiling plays, picking up third downs, and most importantly, finding ways to score points, the Seahawks continued to flop in the grandest of fashions on offense. Whether hindered by giving up back-to-back sacks as they did on their opening drive, coughing up a possible field goal with a botched toss play to Alex Collins as they did in the second quarter, or whiffing on their first two red zone attempts after making it inside the 10-yard line, little went right for a unit that has been scuffling for well over a month regardless of who plays quarterback.

When Wilson came back from finger surgery two weeks ago, Carroll believed the third down woes that have plagued the Seahawks all season long - they entered Sunday's game ranked 30th in the NFL - would instantly improve and other issues plaguing the offense would get better as a consequence. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case at all, as the team has continued to fail at sustaining drives even with their star signal caller back at the helm.

"It's really surprising now that we're back with Russ [Wilson] and we're having such a hard time scoring and moving the football," a baffled Carroll stated. "The running game was pretty efficient, and it came down 1 for 5 [on third downs] in the first half. The hard part of it, this is kind of - it's what it's been like, and it hasn't gotten better, and we have to improve. We have to find our ways."

Provided with the opportunity to collect his thoughts and cool down, to his credit, Carroll came back to answer additional questions after Adams and linebacker Jordyn Brooks took their turns at the podium. Reverting back to his usual character, he pointed out a couple of positives, including Seattle's offense not turning the ball over and only committing two penalties.

Moving towards next week's road game against the Washington Football Team, Carroll remains upbeat about the Seahawks chances of still turning things around despite this latest disaster dropping them into a tie for the second-worst record in the NFC. Many of his players, including Wilson, Adams, and Brooks, were in agreement following the game, staying steadfast in their optimism with seven games left to play. Anyone expecting something different hasn't followed the franchise over the past decade.

But the reality is that whatever message Carroll and his staff have tried to sell over the past weeks and months to cajole better performance out of his players simply hasn't worked out on the field. With his back against the wall, if he's not able to quickly find solutions to the problems that have evaded him to this point to help Seattle start winning games, his voice may soon be received by the locker room as it was by reporters on Sunday: fading and eventually tuned out.