Seahawks' Pete Carroll on Playoff Berth: 'Unfortunately, We're Playing the Niners'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 10, 2023

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll answers questions after an NFL football game Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
AP Photo/Abbie Parr

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll recognized the tough task at hand for his team as it begins the postseason with an NFC Wild Card Round road matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, who enter the playoffs as winners of 10 straight games.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times relayed the remarks.

Bob Condotta @bcondotta

Pete Carroll's opening statement as he meets media to begin playoff week. <a href="https://t.co/nzAZRjZzVh">pic.twitter.com/nzAZRjZzVh</a>

In his press conference with reporters Tuesday, Carroll acknowledged the work done by head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions in their 20-16 win over the Green Bay Packers, which vaulted the Seahawks into the NFC's seventh and final playoff seed.

"They played a fantastic football game to get the win to give us a chance, so we're going to try to do something with it," Carroll said before adding:

"Unfortunately, we're playing the Niners, and they're loaded and healthy and on a roll and about as hot as you can possibly get and doing it in a really commanding fashion too with a young quarterback who's doing so well."

That quarterback is Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. The 49ers are 5-0 in his starts ever since Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a foot injury in a Dec. 4 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Purdy has been exceptional, and that's been the case for the entire team. The 49ers finished 13-4 with the NFC's No. 2 seed after ending the year No. 6 in scoring and No. 1 in fewest points allowed. They've outscored their opponents 252-114 in their last eight games.

Seattle didn't fare well against San Francisco in either of its two games against the 49ers this year, losing 27-7 on the road in Week 2 and 21-13 at home in Week 15.

Still, the Seahawks have been impressive considering their lowly preseason expectations after they traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.

Some of their stars should give Seattle a chance.

Geno Smith has been fantastic as QB1, completing an NFL-high 69.8 percent of his passes and throwing for 30 touchdowns and 4,282 yards. Top wideouts D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards, and rookie running back Ken Walker III had 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

On defense, a pair of Pro Bowlers in safety Quandre Diggs and rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen lead the way, and the pass rush has fared well thanks to linebackers Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor (9.5 sacks apiece).

Still, this will be an uphill climb versus a 49ers team that has lost just one home game all year and looks unbeatable on offense with midseason addition Christian McCaffrey in top form and jack-of-all-trades wideout Deebo Samuel back from injury (MCL, ankle sprains).

The Seahawks may also have significant trouble stopping a pass rush led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Nick Bosa (18.5 sacks). Seattle allowed 46 sacks this year.

The Seahawks enter the game as 10-point underdogs, per DraftKings Sportsbook.