- Associated Press - Monday, October 31, 2016

RENTON, Wash. (AP) - To little surprise, Pete Carroll is giving the Seattle Seahawks an extra day of rest this week with a Monday night game coming up.

Seattle’s defense has certainly earned the bonus day off. The same can’t be said of the Seahawks‘ offense.

Over the past two weeks, Seattle’s been pushed to the limits defensively. After being on the field for 95 plays and more than 46 minutes a week ago against Arizona, the Seahawks defense was on the field for another 76 plays and more than 36 minutes in Sunday’s 25-20 loss to New Orleans.

While the opponents are doing their part in exhausting Seattle’s defense, one of the major culprits is a struggling Seahawks offense that has one offensive touchdown in the past nine quarters.

“We need to get out of what we’ve been in here the last two weeks. This is not the way we’re going to play football. We’re going to fix this,” Carroll said Monday. “It just happened back to back to us in very similar fashion and I can’t wait to get back on the practice field. We all feel the same. There will be some things that will look different.”

Seattle’s lackluster offensive performance against the Saints came on the heels of last week’s overtime tie with Arizona where the Seahawks failed to find the end zone for the second time this season.

The struggles against the Cardinals were chalked up to a divisional opponent that knows Seattle well and has given the Seahawks trouble in the past. But that was expected to be solved by a New Orleans defense that entered the week ranked 29th in the NFL.

Instead, the Seahawks ran just 19 plays and had 3 yards rushing in the first half; finished with 74 yards rushing; and for the second straight week left their defense on the field for far too long.

The core of Seattle’s problem continues to be inconsistency in the run game. There were flashes against New Orleans, including a strong drive to start the second half where Christine Michael had runs of nine, seven and eight yards. But the drive eventually stalled and Seattle had to settle for a field goal. It was the only drive of the game where Seattle had at least three running plays of more than five yards.

There continues to be little threat of quarterback Russell Wilson running even as his health improves. Wilson ran three times for 11 yards against the Saints.

“We still feel like the potential is there to run. We feel like we’re more equipped than we were a year ago,” Carroll said. “We feel like we can be better. We feel like we can be more aggressive but there are some elements that are different in the run game this year than last year at this time. Part of it is we have not allowed Russell to take off and run very much and he has been very effective for us over the years. We’ve had to take care of him and that’s just part of the way this season has been.”

The Saints noticed Seattle’s lack of possession and were more than willing to stay patient with their run game in trying to wear down the Seahawks defense. The Saints had a season-high 35 carries for 123 yards rushing.

“We knew, coming into this game, that they had played a long game last week,” said Saints running back Tim Hightower, who had 26 carries for 102 yards. “They played a lot of plays in that overtime game, and they still were tired from that game and making that trip all the way across the country. All those things factor into a win like this.”

NOTES: Carroll said DE Michael Bennett’s right knee surgery was postponed from Monday to Wednesday and will take place in Los Angeles. Carroll said the timetable remains two to three weeks that Bennett will be out. … Wilson played Sunday without an ankle brace for the first time since the season opener when he sprained his right ankle. Carroll added that Wilson’s pectoral injury that limited him in practice last week should not linger into this week. … RB Thomas Rawls (shin) won’t play against Buffalo but has started running and should be back in the next few weeks.

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AP NFL website: https://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL coverage on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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