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  • July 13, 2019

    Seattle coach Pete Carroll had every reason to be frustrated
    after his Seahawks dropped a second straight game in the final
    minute.However Cory
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    , Carroll wasn't sounding the alarm on his team's season
    after a 36-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday."We aren't slowing down.
    We're going to keep running the football, keep setting the tempo," Carroll said.
    "I love the way we're playing. We just have to stay alive and keep going."The
    success of the Seahawks' running game is what has Carroll confident about his
    team's hopes of contending for a playoff spot. Seattle (5-6) ran for 273 yards
    鈥?the eighth most in a single game in franchise history 鈥?despite Chris Carson
    missing the game due to a hip injury. Rashaad Penny, who was selected in the
    first round of last April's draft, had his first 100-yard game as a pro with 108
    yards on 12 carries.Penny missed most of training camp due to a broken finger
    before slowly working his way back into the rotation once he improved in the
    pass game and on pass blocking."I feel like I've grown up the last two to three
    weeks," Penny said. "I told myself the whole game that I can do this and the
    coaches trust me."Russell Wilson, who was 17 of 26 for 176 yards and three
    touchdowns, had just 11 pass attempts going into the fourth quarter. That was
    the lowest number of pass attempts through three quarters in his seven-year
    career.A turnover by Wilson has loomed large in both of Seattle's recent losses.
    Last Sunday against the Chargers, he threw an interception in the fourth quarter
    that was returned for a touchdown. This week, he fumbled the ball on a strip
    sack by Rams linebacker Dante Fowler that was recovered at the Seahawks' nine
    yard line with less than six minutes remaining. One play
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    , Brandon Cooks scored on a nine-yard run to give
    Los Angeles a 36-24 lead.Seattle scored on its ensuing possession and got the
    ball back after holding the Rams to a three-and-out. Wilson got Seattle to the
    Rams 36 yard line with 39 seconds remaining, but three straight incompletions
    ended any hopes of a comeback.The Seahawks haven't been able to force a turnover
    in either loss, which has frustrated the defense."We just needed one tip ball or
    on the ground to flip the script and we didn't come up with it," defensive end
    Dion Jordan said. "We played these good teams hard twice and didn't come up with
    the win. Pete doesn't want us to get down on ourselves. This has to be turning
    point for us going into these last couple games."Seattle's decision to call a
    surprise onside kick down 26-24 with under 10 minutes remaining ended up costing
    them. Carroll said Sebastian Janikowski hit the ball wrong, which led to an easy
    recovery by Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds. The short field ended up leading
    to a 20-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein."Before that play, actually, I see them
    talking to the ref and kind of pointing in that area. Something's a little up.
    And then I saw his approach," Reynolds said. "I used to be a kicker in high
    school, so I saw his approach change right when he was about to kick the ball,
    so I knew what it was."The Seahawks have five of their final seven games at
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    , but it is not an easy stretch drive. It starts on Thursday
    night against Green Bay and also includes a game at Carolina (Nov. 25) and home
    games against Minnesota (Dec. 10) and Kansas City (Dec. 23)."We feel like we are
    a lot better than our record shows," linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "We had some
    plays get away from us and we lost some games. There's still a lot of football
    left. We're confident that we'll pull it out." To be a productive member of the
    New England Patriots, it's usually best to approach the game plan each week with
    adaptive eyes.No one has learned that lesson more this season than receiver
    Cordarrelle Patterson.When he was traded by Oakland to the Patriots in March,
    Patterson arrived in New England hoping to land a place on Tom Brady's receiving
    corps following an offseason shake-up that saw the departures of both Brandin
    Cooks and Danny Amendola.But after a Week 3 neck injury sent veteran running
    back Rex Burkhead to injured reserve and rookie Sony Michel's knee injury in
    Week 7 stunted his strong start, it created a void at another position that
    itself was recovering from the free agency loss of Dion Lewis.The natural
    solution seemed to be an increased role for veteran James White. Instead the
    coaching staff chose creativity over predictability.Two productive games at
    running back later, Patterson has become the latest Patriots player to excel in
    an unconventional role in New England.Patterson led the Patriots with 61 rushing
    yards, including a 5-yard touchdown in their 31-17 victory over the Green Bay
    Packers Sunday night . It was the second straight week he led the team in
    rushing and came two weeks after he had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
    against the Bears.That's just about right for a player called "Flash" early in
    his career."I said I wanted 25 carries this week," Patterson said. "Whenever my
    number's called I'm being ready for whatever I need to do on the football
    field."Using Patterson out of the backfield isn't as much of a stretch as it
    might seem.Coach Bill Belichick said he noted the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder's
    ability to make plays from there when studying his 2017 film with the Raider. He
    rushed 13 times for 121 yards and two scores with Oakland last season, an
    average of 9.3 yards per carry.Patterson was used by the Patriots on some
    reverses early in the
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    , again impressing his new coaches with his speed and power
    attacking holes."He's worked really hard with the ball handling, the reads, but
    boy, he runs hard. He runs fast and he's a hard guy to tackle," Belichick said.
    "Like a lot of our guys have, they just step in, fill the role that we need for
    them and help the team win, and that's really what it's all about."That's become
    the theme for role players under Belichick.Fullback James Develin was an
    undrafted defensive end out of Brown before finding a home as the Patriots'
    fullback. Matt Slater arrived in New England as a receiver but became its
    special teams captain and a seven-time Pro Bowler.White said Patterson's natural
    skillset and willingness to accept coaching have been his biggest attributes in
    acclimating to the Patriots' culture."He's a strong, fast, explosive
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    ," White said. "He can score any time he touches the
    football and he's been trying to get better and better at it each week. The more
    he does it, the better he gets."Michel was questionable heading into Sunday's
    game with Green Bay and could return to action when the Patriots travel to
    Tennessee this week.For now, Patterson said he's trying to stay humble and
    hungry in the role he's been given — however long it lasts."I mean it's the next
    man up. It's the NFL. If you can play, you can play," He said. "We didn't like
    that the guys weren't ready, but every guy is going to step up because this is
    our job. This is our life."