SEATTLE — Another disappointing loss has left Seahawks coach Pete Carroll more frustrated than he has ever been in 11-and-a-half seasons in Seattle. He admitted as much Sunday after cutting his news conference short before returning later to answer more questions.
The odd postgame scene followed Seattle’s 23-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Lumen Field. The defeat dropped the Seahawks to 3-7, marking the first time since 2011 and only the second time in Carroll’s tenure that they’ve been four games under .500.
“I’m just not any good at this,” Carroll said of handling this level of losing. “I’m not prepared for this. I’m struggling to do a good job of coaching when you’re getting your butt kicked week in and week out. It’s new territory, and I’m competing in every way I can think of. But I’m just unfamiliar with it. So if I leave early or if I make a mistake, I’m not on my best game right here … I’m not making any excuses. And I don’t want to get good at this.”
Facing an NFC West-leading Cardinals team without injured quarterback Kyler Murray or receiver DeAndre Hopkins represented a golden opportunity for the Seahawks to breathe some life into their dwindling hopes of making the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 seasons. Instead, they allowed 328 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns to backup Colt McCoy, while Russell Wilson and their offense struggled for the second week in a row since his return from finger surgery.
Carroll began his postgame news conference without his usual opening statement, saying, “I don’t have a lot to tell you” before inviting questions. He then left about eight minutes in, saying, “I’m really done. I’m done,” and continued to walk off as a reporter was beginning to ask another question.
Carroll later returned wearing street clothes and apologized for his early exit. But he was just as mystified in his second trip to the podium as his first one as to why Seattle’s offense has been so ineffective, especially on third down.
“It’s really surprising now that we’re back a couple weeks with Russ back in there that we had such a hard time scoring and moving the football,” he said. “The running game was pretty efficient. But it came down to we were 1-for-5 in the first half [on third down]. The hard part of it is that this is what it’s been like and it hasn’t gotten better. We have to improve and find our ways.”
After suffering their first shutout loss of the Wilson era last week in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Seahawks managed only 266 yards of offense and went 2-of-10 on third down against Arizona. Wilson was 0-for-6 on third and fourth downs Sunday. He had previously never finished worse than 0-for-4 on third or fourth down, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Wilson has now gone without a touchdown pass in consecutive games for just the third time in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Seahawks’ only touchdown Sunday came on a 2-yard DeeJay Dallas run midway through the fourth, snapping a streak of seven straight quarters without finding the end zone. Seattle rushed for 86 yards on 19 attempts.
Entering Sunday, Seattle had the NFL’s third-worst conversion rate on third down at 33.7%.
“We had a few third-and-longs,” Wilson said. “They made a couple of good plays. … I think the biggest thing for us is that we just have to find ways. Third down is always about making plays and finding a way. I think that’s what it really is. We’ve got to figure out what that is and figure out how to do it.”
Wilson said his surgically repaired right middle finger wasn’t an issue in his first game since Oct. 8 surgery and that it continued to feel fine last week. On Sunday, he shot down the idea that he’s rusty after his rehab kept him out of practice for a month. He pointed to his deep ball — Wilson hit Tyler Lockett for a 48-yard gain to set up Seattle’s lone touchdown — as evidence.
“The ball is coming out of my hand just fine,” he said. “… I’m not going to make any excuses. I’m not an excuse kind of guy.”
The Seahawks lost to McCoy last season when he quarterbacked the New York Giants to a 17-12 win in Seattle while filling in for Daniel Jones. McCoy managed his way to that victory while completing 13 passes for 105 yards. On Sunday, he carried much more of the offensive load while completing 35 of 44 attempts and did most of his damage on underneath throws.
Arizona went 7-of-14 on third down, a bugaboo for Seattle’s defense earlier this season before it improved in that regard during its recent resurgence.
“When 10 guys do their job and one doesn’t, bad plays can happen,” said safety Jamal Adams.
The Seahawks play the Washington Football Team at FedExField next Monday.
“I feel like we’re going to win next week and we’re going to play a great game on the East Coast and come on back here and get ready for the next one,” Carroll said. “I don’t have any other thought in my mind. I’m just disappointed that I’ve got to keep coming back in here and talk about the same stuff and don’t feel like I have good answers for you. Because our answers so far have not turned it. … It starts with me. I’ve got to get this done, and I’ve got to help my guys get it done.”
Wilson was asked how the Seahawks’ 3-7 start will impact his future given the way he voiced his frustration this past offseason, a public airing of grievances that led both the quarterback and the organization to flirt with the idea of moving on from each other.
“It doesn’t impact any of my thoughts at all,” he said. “All I think about is right now what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. I love this team. I love this organization. I love being here. Like I said, I like the challenge. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great story.”