RENTON, WA - JANUARY 12: Pete Carroll answers questions at a press conference announcing his hiring as the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks on January 12, 2010 at the Seahawks training facility in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Pete Carroll found himself in a position of either taking his foot off the pedal or go full throttle. Carroll decided to go full throttle on a wilting Arizona Cardinals team that was utterly defenseless.
If this was a boxing match, the referee would have jumped in waving his arms. The Seahawks beat down the Cardinal 58-0 and while Carroll is the toast of the town in Seattle, Ken Whisenhunt is barely on life support.
Sunday could have been the final tug at the cord keeping Whisenhunt alive and Carroll not only tugged, he yanked the plug from the wall.
Carroll channeled his inner Bill Belichick, said screw the other team, and did what was best for his. Carroll spoke to 710 ESPN in Seattle with Brock and Salk about playing 60 minutes of football, even when the other team is already raised the white flag.
“Well, we didn’t know how it would go because their defense has been so strong. They have the third- or fourth-ranked defense or whatever the heck it is.
They got numbers all over the board of high achievement and we respect their players and their attack and we didn’t handle it very well the first time, either, so we didn’t know. We did talk about — quietly, behind the scenes — that if we can handle their pressure … we thought we could have a good day against them, but the other side of it was they could kick your butt, too.
That’s what they have been doing all year. It was a big accomplishment for us, and we did identify stuff really well because the guys up front did a fantastic job and it gave all of the guys a chance to work. That’s what was different.
Did we know what was going to happen? No. I’ve coached just like you guys were talking about, with that same thought. It could be tough; it could be very difficult. We can’t let it happen, and by executing we were able to get it done.”
“The whole time, the whole time. I talked with him … I told him, I have been there so many times that I know what you do. I know what it’s like on the other side, and also know what the reaction is going to be. There’s a way to do it. We had two things going on. One, we wanted to finish the game and not give them the football.
You try to make first downs. That’s all you try to do is make first downs — whatever you gotta do to make first downs with a very conservation approach. So we did that. The other element is that Matt Flynn got to play finally, and I was thrilled, as was our whole football team, to see him play in a game.
He needed to throw the ball a little bit. Ideally we would have thrown it a little bit more just to get him the reps in case we needed him coming next week. We don’t know. But we kept it very trimmed down. We threw, basically, on third down and we had some terrible penalty situations.
We had 1st-and-30 one time, 2nd-and-23. There was a couple of throws in there, but it was really to just keep trying to advance the ball. If we could make first downs then we are OK with that in that style. People understand that. I understand why people are sensitive about it.”