SEATTLE – The paint-by-numbers picture isn’t pretty for Seattle, but coach Pete Carroll has a way to change that: He turns a blind eye to the league’s statistics.
“I’m not looking at those very much these days,” Carroll said. “I want you to know that.”
Only four teams have gained fewer yards than Seattle this season, only two teams have allowed more and yet the Seahawks are at .500 and tied for first place in their division. Before you go chalk that up to the NFC West, consider that this week’s opponent, San Francisco, has gained more yards than Seattle and allowed fewer points and yet the 49ers are 4-8.
So how has Seattle overcome the statistical deficiencies?
“Overall play,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks have won games by forcing turnovers. They have won games with their special teams. And they have lost games when they’ve lost the ball, allowing opponents to do everything but run laps around the field.
“The games that we’ve won, we’ve taken care of the football basically very well,” Carroll said. “When we don’t, the numbers go the other way and all the results follow that.”
The disparities show up in the statistics, not that Carroll is looking.
“I keep letting those papers slide under my desk and fall in the garbage can,” Carroll said.
It’s not entirely ugly. Seattle ranks in the top 10 in punt returns and kickoff returns. The schedule has helped, too. Of the 12 games Seattle has played, only four were against teams that currently have a winning record.
But the inconsistency that has plagued Seattle’s season has underwritten the team’s statistical deficiencies.
The run defense that was Seattle’s strength for the first six games has eroded while the offense has been like a car that’s always in the shop because it runs only intermittently. There’s not one thing on offense or defense that is an unambiguous strength for Seattle.
The Seahawks are one of four teams in the league that ranks in the NFL’s bottom 10 in yards gained and yards allowed. They are the only one of those four that doesn’t have a losing record.
Defensive tackle Colin Cole and tight end John Carlson returned to practice, participating without limitation. Cole missed the past five games with a high ankle sprain, Carlson was out last week because of a hip flexor. Both appear on track to play this week. … Wide receivers Mike Williams (foot, ankle) and Ben Obomanu (hand) did not practice and aren’t expected to practice today, but haven’t been ruled out of Sunday’s game.
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