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Originally published September 27, 2012 at 7:44 PM | Page modified September 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

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Carroll says he's the reason for the Seahawks' low passing numbers

It's Carroll who's responsible for Seattle having fewer passing yards after three games than any Seahawks team since 1992

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The pass has been dubbed everything from "The Inaccurate Reception" to "The Golden Fleece."

The guy who threw it, though? Russell Wilson has been an afterthought for most of this week. So much for the quarterback receiving too much credit following a victory as Wilson went from being the most scrutinized player in town the first two weeks of the season to being virtually ignored.

Of the five rookie quarterbacks starting in the league, Wilson is the only one whose team has a winning record. His team, however, ranks last in the league in passing yardage. So what are we to make of that, coach Pete Carroll?

"This is me holding the lid on it right now," he said. "I'm overseeing all of that."

So he's the one to talk to about the fact Seattle didn't complete a pass in the third quarter Monday night. The Seahawks didn't even attempt a pass that period as Wilson was sacked the only time he dropped back to pass.

And it's Carroll who's responsible for Seattle having fewer passing yards after three games than any Seahawks team since 1992.

On one hand, you can point to how successful Seattle has been without taking the chances that come with passing repeatedly, and the Seahawks are one catch away from being 3-0. But they're also one official's call away from being 1-2 and frittering away a defensive performance for the ages in the first half on Monday.

Seattle sacked the Packers' Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half, and let the Packers cross midfield only once. Even that trip was brief, the Packers running two plays from the Seattle 49 before getting sacked back into their half of the field.

And after all that, Seattle led only 7-0. The Seahawks surrendered the lead when the Packers scored the first three times they had the ball in the second half while the Seahawks had a net offensive output of minus-1 yard in the third quarter.

The Seahawks have a defense capable of contending right now. Their rushing game is both rugged and reliable. Marshawn Lynch has rushed 72 times, second-most of any player in the league, and he is one of three running backs in the league averaging more than 100 yards rushing.

But on Monday night, Seattle's longest gain came on a dubious penalty for defensive pass interference, which gave the Seahawks 32 yards and a first down in the fourth quarter. It was reminiscent of the season opener at Arizona when Seattle's most effective play in the fourth quarter was pass interference, which is how the Seahawks got their final two first downs on a drive that wound up 4 yards short of a game-winning touchdown.

So how does Seattle get things going down the field?

"We've just got to make more explosive plays," Wilson said. "Be great on the third down and be a little bit better in the red zone and we'll be hard to stop."

It is worth remembering that this is the beginning, and not a finished product. Seattle is trying to win games by playing to its strengths while breaking in a rookie quarterback.

Of course, there is another quarterback on the roster. A guy named Matt Flynn, who's making a healthy paycheck and put up gaudy numbers in his only two career starts in his four years in Green Bay before signing in Seattle. Would he be someone who would allow the Seahawks to take the lid off the offense?

"It wouldn't be any different if Matt was playing," Carroll said. "It would feel the same way. I don't know what would happen — production-wise — we're just trying to grow around the style of the football team that gives us a chance to be really physical and really tough and don't give up anything."

That's the primary concern for Carroll: preventing turnovers. Seattle hasn't given the ball away the past two games, winning both games and improving to 2-1 with a formula that isn't fancy so much as effective.

"We have a great defense," said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. "We have great special teams. We can run the football. We can protect the football, and all those have been a great recipe to win the game, and that's really what the bottom line comes down to is winning the game. You can say they're ugly wins, they're beautiful.

"However they are, they're wins."

And Seattle has two of them, with plenty of room for offensive improvement.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Sunday

Seahawks @ St. Louis, 10 a.m.,

Ch. 13

Barely passable
The Seahawks have passed for 383 yards, the lowest total in the league, and the fewest for the franchise after three games since 1992:
Year Games 1-3 pass avg. Final pass avg. Ranking Record
1992 106 111.1 28 of 28 2-14
2012 127.7 ? ? ?
1993 128.7 165.9 25 of 28 6-10
2011 142.3 194 22 of 32 7-9
1983 145.3 185.5 21 of 28 9-7

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