SEATTLE – Pete Carroll kicked his players out of Seattle’s practice facility Monday with a simple message for their week off.
Get some rest.
“Hopefully we can cash in on it. What we will gain is rest and the rehab part of it and then we’ve got to go back to work and really hit it in earnest (next) Monday,” Carroll said.
“I do feel good about where we are going and the guys have worked really hard and performed very consistently. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do in terms of the prep and focus and bringing it week in and week out and I trust they understand that.”
Rather than starting to look ahead for their next game Nov. 25 at Miami, Carroll decided after 10 weeks it was best for the Seahawks – winners of two straight – to get an extended break. So following a short team meeting Monday, the Seahawks were sent on their way after Sunday’s 28-7 rout of the New York Jets.
The Seahawks (6-4) are 5-0 at home for the first time since 2005 when they won the NFC championship and played in their only Super Bowl. Their final three home games are all against division foes – San Francisco, Arizona and St. Louis – but sweeping those still might not get them into the playoffs in the highly competitive NFC.
Still, the 6-4 start is the best for the franchise since 2007, the last time Seattle won 10 games.
“Disappointed in the way we’ve played on the road that we didn’t find a way to get a couple more of those wins. We’ve been in every one of them. We understand all of that,” Carroll said. “I think we’ve been very consistent. I think we understand what we’re trying to do. … I think we’re getting harder to beat.”
Seattle easily dispatched the Jets with another impressive defensive effort and subtle halftime adjustments that finally got the Seahawks’ run game started. The highlights were stolen by two touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and by Golden Tate’s shot put TD pass to Sidney Rice on a fourth-quarter reverse that capped the victory.
But Seattle rushed for 122 yards in the second half, the fourth time this season they have topped 100 yards rushing in the final 30 minutes. Marshawn Lynch had 85 of his 124 yards after halftime and for the second straight week Seattle held possession for more than 12 minutes of the final quarter.
The Seahawks had it for 12:10 in the fourth against Minnesota in Week 9. On Sunday, they held the ball for 12:05 against the Jets.
Carroll said Seattle was caught “overtargeting” its blocking targets in the first half with the Jets showing some different defensive looks. Adjustments were made by assistant head coach Tom Cable at halftime and the results were obvious in the second half.
“We just adjusted to that and I thought that was a really good sign of communication and really we’re growing together,” Carroll said.
Wilson now has 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions at home. While it’s not the ultimate determinant of a quarterback’s play, Wilson’s 122.0 passer rating in home games is the best in the league. According to the NFL, Wilson is the first rookie quarterback since the merger to win his first five starts at home.
“I think the biggest thing is to relax the mind and relaxing the body more than anything,” Wilson said of the break. “It’s been a long season so far.”
Defensively, the 185 total yards the Jets had were the fewest allowed by the Seahawks this season. They’ve now held eight of 10 opponents under 100 yards rushing and, after a third-down disaster in Detroit on Oct. 28, have drastically improved getting off the field. The Lions were 12 of 16 on third down en route to beating the Seahawks 28-24. The last two weeks, Minnesota and New York were a combined 5 of 21 on third downs.
Carroll is hopeful that when the Seahawks return from their week off they will be fully healthy. Guard James Carpenter and linebacker K.J. Wright both missed Sunday’s game with lingering concussions. Carroll expects both will be cleared. Reserve defensive tackles Greg Scruggs (oblique) and Clinton McDonald (groin) were both inactive and are expected to be back.
But there are a number of other nicks and bumps that could use healing. Seattle had nine players listed as probable on its final injury report last Friday.
“We set a lot into motion right now and we want to make sure that when we come back, we’re better than when we left,” Carroll said. “Hopefully our guys can do that.”