I am profiling Aaron Curry this week, but between Curry posts, I want to talk a bit about the Seahawks in general. Seattle allowed a touchdown on the first play of the game. The Texans quick-snapped Seattle and Andre Johnson burned Marcus Trufant up the right sideline for an easy score. The quick snap made the play. Johnson was able to get around and past Trufant off the snap, and though Trufant didn't lose ground chasing Johnson, it didn't matter because he was already beat. Jordan Babineaux should have adjusted his angle to intercept Johnson, but even if he could have, the damage was mostly done. The Texans out game planned Seattle and left the Seahawks defensive brain trust looking like a big bag of DeHaven.
Seattle, continuing a season long trend, played awful football in the first set of possessions. Before he burned Trufant, Johnson pointed up and out, indicating "streak" to Matt Schaub. The Texans exploited a simple wrinkle to storm out to an early and pivotal lead*.
The Seahawks countered with no plan at all. Sean Locklear stood, protecting uncontested space as two defenders streaked off left end. Brian Cushing smashed Matt Hasselbeck before he could set. Moments like this inspire a "what the fuck?" reaction from fans. Beyond play calling, challenges and clock management, we most tangibly perceive the impact of coaches in the precision or sloppiness of the team. Seattle was playing rec football against a professional team. Whether Locklear was standing clueless because of poor discipline, poor coaching, zone blocking or a basic inability by the Seahawks to read and adjust to blitzes, the coaches, and especially Greg Knapp, own this failure.
Ray Willis jumped on second and pushed Seattle back five yards.
The next snap reached Hasselbeck cleanly, but he couldn't control the football, and, attempting to swing his body and hand off from his fingertips, he dropped the precariously held football. I watched that snap several times, and nothing looked abnormal until it reached Hasselbeck. That play set Seattle back another two yards. Seattle was lucky to recover it at all.
Seattle punted on third down. Excuse me, it ran a draw to Justin Forsett for seven. Seattle punted on fourth down. It gave up on third down.
If you are curious what that looks like in terms of win probability, behold:
Seattle's coaches, through the sheer force of their lack of preparation, schemes (like zone blocking), lack of discipline and conservative play calling on third down, had reduced Seattle's chances of winning to 23%. If someone wants to tell you that Seattle is not talented and couldn't have hoped to compete with Houston, go ahead and show them this graph. Seattle's talent must of been in the John when God was handing out coaches. This wasn't Curry being dirty, or Spencer being a simp, this was a team with a plan exploiting a team without a clue.
Jim Mora promised to take the next two days to scrutinize the offensive line. Well, Mr. Mora, I will take the next five days to scrutinize you. We might need to make some changes.
*Johnson said this about the touchdown: "Coming into the game we knew that their cornerbacks like to sit on routes," Johnson said. "So we were hoping that they would give us the coverage we were looking for, and they did."
Given Seattle's quarterback situation and that the Texans were playing at home, the impact of falling behind by a touchdown is actually underestimated by win probability. After two minutes of elapsed game clock, Seattle had almost already lost the game.