Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the snowy day’s limited activities:

FOCUS ON

Tackling. As in, the Seahawks did not do a good job of it in Sunday’s game against the Saints in New Orleans.

That was one of the aspects of the 34-19 loss that stuck out when coach Pete Carroll and his staff reviewed video of the game on Monday.

“I’m really concerned about what’s going on upfront on defense,” Carroll said. “We’re fighting here. We’re fighting it out right now.”

That’s because end Red Bryant was lost for the season after injuring a knee in the Week 9 loss to the New York Giants and nose tackle Colin Cole has missed the past three games with a sprained ankle. That’s almost 700 pounds of run-stuffing presence that has been missing from the equation. Kentwan Balmer is playing for Bryant, while Junior Siavii has been filling in for Cole.

“The running game situation that happened yesterday wasn’t so much about what happened in terms of fits, it was really about making the plays when you had your hands on guys and getting guys on the ground,” Carroll said. “And the big guys needed to make a couple more tackles.

“We’re a little bit different now, and we can feel that. So we have to fight to get back. You can see the difference in Red Bryant not playing. He was a big factor.”

There also was another factor: Saints rookie running back Chris Ivory, who rushed for 99 yards on 23 carries – much of it after initial contact.

“There’s no question he surprised us a little bit,” Carroll said. “We didn’t realize the strength that he had. He busted though some tackles that normally we had made and really controlled situations.”

Especially on Ivory’s 24-yard run on a third-and-1 play in the first-quarter drive to the Saints’ first touchdown.

“We had him. He was tackled and done. Play’s over,” Carroll said. “And he just did not go down.”

Only one back has rushed for more than 100 yards against the Seahawks – the Raiders’ Darren McFadden (111). But Ivory came oh-so close.

“His finish was really obvious,” Carroll said. “He was really studly.”

PLAYER WATCH

Russell Okung. The team’s first-round draft choice started and finished Sunday’s game at left tackle, only the second time this season he has been able to do that because of high sprains to both ankles.

“Russell played very well,” Carroll said. “He really was effective. It was fun to watch him play. He’s such a good-looking athlete out there. And remember, he’s barely even played. He doesn’t even have a preseason under his belt.”

That’s because Okung missed most of the preseason with the sprained right ankle, and then sprained the left one shortly after he was able to return during the regular season.

“It was very obvious that he was a factor for us,” Carroll said. “We’re thrilled that he made it through the game and he can come back and get better this week and continue to help us.”

Since he has played so sporadically, it’s easy to forget the talents that prompted the Seahawks used the sixth pick in April’s NFL draft to select Okung – unless you’ve been longing to see what his presence can mean to the offense, as Carroll has.

“Every time he’s been on the field he’s played well,” Carroll said. “We can recount when he’s in the game good things have happened for the most part. And it’s changed when he hasn’t been out there. So he’s a big factor. It’s good to see that, but it’s more encouraging about our chance to improve and try to get better as we move ahead here.”

INJURY REPORT

Three players are in the day-to-day category with injuries sustained in Sunday’s game: wide receiver Mike Williams (foot), left guard Chester Pitts (ankle) and cornerback Marcus Trufant (concussion).

Also, Cole could miss a couple more weeks, Carroll said.

STAT DU JOUR

105.7. That’s not a new radio station in town; it’s Matt Hasselbeck’s passer rating the past two games, when he has completed 69.2 percent of his passes (54 of 78) for 699 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s a frustrating loss, in a sense, because it was such a good opportunity against such a good team. And we were feeling right and feeling like we would have a shot at it, and went in with that intention. Things just kind of happened and got away.” – Carroll, on the loss to the Saints


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