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Carrol: Offensive line struggles make Wilson’s debut a rough one

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll shows frustration during Seahawks’ loss Sunday. (Associated Press)
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll shows frustration during Seahawks’ loss Sunday. (Associated Press)

RENTON, Wash. – Forget all the hand-wringing surrounding the Seattle Seahawks’ final drive against Arizona, the botched timeout situation and ultimately Russell Wilson’s last pass attempt that eluded the hands of Braylon Edwards at the goal line.

For all the focus on that one drive, there were plenty of other opportunities the Seahawks missed earlier in the 20-16 loss to the Cardinals.

“We were very disappointed because we came roaring back, made a great comeback in the game, took over the game momentum-wise,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “… We finished with the ball ready to win the game. They know the truth of that and are very disappointed we let this one get away because this is a game we could have won. It was right there.”

Of the 70 offensive plays the Seahawks ran on Sunday, 39 – including three successful field goals and one blocked kick – were run in Arizona’s half of the field. Four times, Seattle started drives on Arizona’s side, either the result of forced turnovers or stellar special teams play from returner Leon Washington.

And yet all Seattle could do with that field position advantage was get three successful kicks from Steven Hauschka, one touchdown toss by Wilson and plenty of grumbling about the missed opportunities.

Carroll was extremely disappointed in the play of the Seahawks offensive line and the lack of time his rookie quarterback was given in the pocket. Wilson was sacked three times but was under constant siege by Arizona’s barrage of blitzes and pressures. Carroll noted the Cardinals didn’t just bring pressure against Wilson occasionally; it was a non-stop attack on the quarterback making his first NFL start.

Having a full year now with the team, assistant head coach Tom Cable was supposed to remedy the offensive line problems. Instead, they couldn’t give Wilson enough time to take advantage of his receiver’s one-on-one matchups.

“Their rush was really effective and (caused) enough issues that we weren’t really able to get in sync throughout the game,” Carroll said. “We have to work harder that we are on point and communicate really well and do a good job. Things that we did in the preseason didn’t show up in this game up front.”

Seattle may have avoided a serious reshuffling of the offensive line with the news that left tackle Russell Okung suffered just a bone bruise in his left knee. Carroll said Okung has a chance of playing this week against Dallas. They are also likely to get guard John Moffitt back this week.

Wilson finished 18 of 34 for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but missed his final five throws of the game. Carroll said there were plays Wilson could have made. But considering the pressure Wilson was under, Carroll was impressed with his performance.

“It was a very difficult game for the quarterback because of that and he saved us,” Carroll said. “There were things he could have done cleaner, a couple of times he missed on some throws that an inch here or there might have been a better catchable ball. … He’ll do better and there are things he can do better but we need to help him more by playing cleaner up front.”

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