Tuesday, September 18, 2012
SEATTLE — The Seahawks’ victory over Dallas on Sunday was the most complete demonstration of how coach Pete Carroll wants his team to play: physical, unflinching and very deliberate.
Their next opponent will test that approach.
While the Seahawks are built to win slugfests with a big-bodied defense and steel-toed rushing attack, the Green Bay Packers can turn any game into a shootout.
Green Bay led the NFL in scoring last season at 35 points a game and has scored 20 or fewer only once in its past 18 regular-season games. This season the Packers are averaging 23.5 points.
The Seahawks are 1-15 under Carroll when the opponent scores more than 20.
“If you get behind and they’re scoring faster than you are, then you’re in trouble,” Carroll said. “But we’re trying not to let that happen.”
Carroll’s Seahawks are swimming upstream against the trend of NFL teams throwing first and scoring faster.
Ten quarterbacks passed for more than 4,000 yards last season, including Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who had 4,643. Three players passed for more than 5,000 yards in 2011, a mark that had been reached only once in NFL history.
It’s a manifestation of an airborne trend that is becoming evident in all levels of the game.
“In kids leagues all the way up, it’s more attuned to the throwing game,” Carroll said. “That’s fine.”
That’s just not how these Seahawks are built, with a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson and a run-first offense. Over two games, Seattle has averaged 136 yards passing, fewest in the league.
“We certainly want to throw the football,” Carroll said. “We’ll throw it more as we go. We’ll be able to throw more as we grow with this team.”
But right now, Seattle’s emphasis is avoiding mistakes and taking advantage of opportunities created by the defense and special teams.
The Seahawks have started five drives in the opponent’s half of the field because of a turnover or special-teams return, and they are one of only five teams in the league that hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points in a game this season.
The Packers could test Seattle’s makeup, though. If the Seahawks can’t dictate their style of play, they’ll find it difficult to match Green Bay point for point.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how it goes. That was a pretty high-flying (Dallas) offense this last week, and fortunately we could find a way.”
The Cowboys’ Tony Romo was one of those 10 quarterbacks to surpass 4,000 yards passing last season, and Dallas has ranked among the league’s top 10 in passing yardage each of the past six seasons. Against the Seahawks, the Cowboys failed to score in the second half for only the third time since the start of the 2007 season.
Dallas won’t be the last team with a dynamic passing game to test Seattle. The Seahawks’ schedule includes Detroit, New England and — Monday night at CenturyLink Field — Green Bay.
“We get to start all over again,” Carroll said. “We’ll find out. Right now, this is the best way for us to play.”