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Pete Carroll wants balance, playoffs reveal what that means

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In the Seattle Seahawks playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Russell Wilson had 27 passing attempts. Two more than the opposing Jared Goff and John Wolford combined.

En route, the Rams had 43 rushing attempts. One possible takeaway would be “Hey the Rams just did what apparently Pete Carroll wants to do, and it worked against the Seahawks. Let’s try that!” Carroll seemed to say as much immediately after the game.

However.

Teams that ran the ball more than passed have won three total games in this year’s playoffs. They are:

Here’s how the rest of this year’s playoffs have fared.

Passing Attempts

The Rams ran 16 more plays than Seattle, and a pick-six contributed to some points and lack of needing to pass. Besides them, only one time did a team throw the ball less than the Seahawks (Ravens beating the Titans).

Carroll says he wants to run the ball better, but also more. I do believe he means what he says. I also believe (hope) what he means by that is more consistent and honest attention given to a balanced running attack, not simply higher volume of rushes for the team.

For example, the Seahawks had 25 rushing attempts on paper in the playoffs. Four of those were from Wilson, and one was a David Moore...something. It gained four yards. Four from Carlos Hyde for a total of five yards. Meanwhile Chris Carson, two-time 1,000 yard back, had 16 carries even though he was the highest non-QB yards per carry player on the field.

Let me say this slowly: Christopher Dewayne Carson did not have a single game this season with 18 or more carries.

Truly, this season will answer which direction Carroll meant by his comments. If he truly wants to just “run more,” it’s an uphill battle. Teams are not winning playoff-caliber games by running equal to or more than passing in today’s NFL. 12 games have been played, and teams only won 25% of them by an overloaded rush game.

If, however, Carroll identified that play-action simply did not work for his offense in the second half of the season, this could be good. If Carroll hopes to recreate a respectable run game in order to utilize vintage Wilson, there are plenty of options and lots of hope with newly arriving coordinator Shane Waldron.