Over the 11 seasons that Pete Carroll has been the coach of the Seahawks, his teams clearly have strived for a certain identity. That is playing a ferocious defense mixed with an efficient offensive attack led by the run game.
Up to this point in 2020, this current Seahawks squad has looked nothing like Carroll's identity, like the Legion of Boom era that brought Seattle its first and only Lombardi Trophy in 2013. It has been the Russell Wilson Show, for better or for worse, with little defense or run game to speak of.
Thursday night, the Seahawks were finally singing a different tune, a tune familiar to Carroll. But after the losing streak and the defense being shaky at best, Carroll and the defensive staff took the blows, as the record definitely shows.
When the chips were down on Thursday against the Cardinals with first place in the NFC West on the line, Carroll wrote his most beautiful song of the 2020 season to date. He had enough of losing, especially with defensive miscues and a lack of running game.
The gameplan was clear. Establish the run, which teams have been able to do all season against Arizona, be efficient with Wilson throwing the ball, and actually play good defense. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Chris Carson was out yet again but the Seahawks got some much needed juice with the return of veteran Carlos Hyde. The 1,000-yard rusher from last season looked every bit the part of a viable starting running back. He toted the rock 14 times for 79 yards, at 5.6 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 16 yards.
Wilson was the second-leading rusher of the game with 42 yards on 10 carries himself. This allowed for him to have an efficient game through the air, going 23 for 28 (82.1 percent) for 197 yards, two touchdowns and a 119.8 rating.
The biggest story was the play of the defense. Kyler Murray had made just about every defense this season look like they were out on a nice winter, leisurely ice skating excursion. No team had held Murray to less than 29 yards rushing all season. Plus, he is in Kliff Kingsbury's touted, high-flying Air Raid offense. This seemed like a recipe for disaster for Seattle's 32nd ranked defense.
They answered the call. Carroll has preached patience and accountability and it has paid off. Carroll has earned the right to be trusted to get things right when the going gets tough for the Seahawks. His brand of football is conducive to steady, prolonged success. A good defense and a good running game "travels" as they say.
If this was not a blip on the radar, but a sign of things to come, Carroll's brand of Seahawks football has returned. It's back at the perfect time, when Seattle faces, on paper, the easiest portion of their schedule where they can make some hay and solidify themselves as one of the top dogs in the NFC.
Now Carroll, building a resume as one of the all-time greats in football, can kick his feet up and watch the film of this satisfying, throwback victory against the Cardinals and sing a tune from another all-time great artist...
"For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say all the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows
But I did it my way..."