Pete Carroll is all about finishing, so the fact that the Seahawks' offense still can't get out of first gear in the first half doesn't really bother him as much as it does Jimmy Graham and the rest of Seattle.
The Seahawks sleepwalked through the first half Sunday, managing just six points against the Chicago Bears, and they have yet to score a touchdown in the first two quarters this season. They rank 28th in the league at 6.3 points per first half.
Thankfully, that bugs Graham, who comes from a much more aggressive offensive mentality honed in New Orleans.
"Early in the game, we've got to get our tempo right," Graham said after he scored Seattle's only offensive touchdown in the 26-0 win. "We have a lot to learn from this game. Maybe at the end the score doesn't seem that way, but early we've got to correct all that stuff."
Carroll doesn't seem as concerned.
"Everybody in a game like that has expectations that we're going to jump out (against a struggling team)," he told 710 ESPN, indirectly referencing the 14.5-point spread. "The fast start doesn't always do what you want. We need to see what's going on in the game. We need to figure it out. And then we need to take advantage of it. We ran the ball for a lot of yards in the second half (121) and threw the ball well (11 for 16 for 140 yards and a TD)."
He said the early failure on third downs -- the Hawks started 0 for 7 -- was the biggest reason for the slow start.
"When that happens, it looks like a cruddy first half," Carroll said.
That included two stops of ailing Marshawn Lynch on third-and-1 -- an area where the Seahawks excelled last year.
"Just not converting on third downs was really the problem," Carroll said. "It just didn't happen yesterday. We missed those opportunities. I think the rest of it was fine."
Carroll said they ran the ball well but were limited to just five attempts in the first half because they had problems in the passing game.
The Seahawks gained just 37 yards in their first four drives, and they allowed the Bears to record their first sack of the season and four in all.
The first drive short-circuited when J.R. Sweezy let Jarvis Jenkins get to Russell Wilson. A pass to Fred Jackson on third-and-9 came up short.
After Seattle's trick punt return, Ricardo Lockette dropped a pass for a first down at the 9-yard line. Thomas Rawls ran for six yards on second down; but, on third down, Wilson bailed out of the pocket and was sacked again by Jenkins. The Seahawks wasted a good shot at a touchdown and ended up with a 31-yard field goal.
On the third drive, Lynch ran for 13 yards on two carries, but Rawls dropped a nicely thrown ball in the flat and Graham came up a yard short of the marker (review correctly indicated he was down). On third-and-1, Lynch was caught in the backfield because Graham whiffed on his block on the right side.
On the fourth drive, Justin Britt was called for holding, putting the Seahawks in first-and-16. Jermaine Kearse caught one of Darrell Bevell's pointless bubble screens for three yards and Lynch gained just two yards off left guard. Wilson then tucked and ran on third down, bringing up another fourth down and bringing out some boos from the restless home crowd.
In the final two minutes, the Bears penetrated on third-and-1 and stopped Lynch again. The Hawks went for it, with Lynch juggling a catch for the first down and pulling his hamstring.
On first-and-goal from the 3, Garry Gilliam allowed Pernell McPhee to pressure Wilson into throwing it away. On second down, Wilson's pass to Graham in the end zone was knocked down by Alan Ball. On third down, Wilson's quick pass to Matthews was too high. Another missed touchdown opportunity.
The Bears had allowed eight touchdowns in 10 red zone possessions during the first two games, but the Seahawks couldn't exploit that supposed weakness.
In the third quarter, Bevell called a play he should use more often -- play-action misdirection -- and Wilson hit Lockette for a 23-yard gain. Graham then gave up a sack to McPhee and Gilliam whiffed on McPhee, who sacked Wilson from behind to create a third-and-25.
Wilson finally got time on third-and-3 and converted a third down for the first time with about six minutes left in third quarter. The Hawks had been 0 for 7 on third downs. Wilson converted again on third-and-5 on that drive, hitting Graham for a 30-yard TD.
Wilson also hit Doug Baldwin three times on third down in the second half as the Seahawks finished with three scoring drives.
“Five out of 10 (conversions) is the way we should do it," Carroll said, "and Doug got involved. I thought that was a really big part of it. Doug, I think, had three conversions in there in the second half. He’s really been a go-to guy for us; it was great to see that."
In all, the Seahawks were 5 of 16 on third down after going 3 for 9 at Green Bay and 8 for 19 at St. Louis. They are 24th in the NFL in conversions.
"We just didn’t hit it, you know," Carroll said. "We went very aggressively at it in the first half and didn’t win on them.”
But he always prefers a strong finish to a strong start anyway.
"We don't mind fast starts," he said, "We just don't need them."