Admittedly I had to sit on this article, cause I was angry, fumming mad. Not at the Seahawks losing, or even losing to the Browns, a game we should have won, but mad because we had every opportunity to win and failed from the top down. It's frustrating,infuriating even, as an optimist to lose close ones like that and still justify a play off run in your brain.
Here is the thing, Mike Williams (BMW) is right we ARE better, but on sunday we gave the game away in so many ways. We had some really possitive play too, it wasn't all bad. But Darrell Bevell, you are on notice, more on that later.
First, and formost, our defense looked pretty damn good. Any time you keep an NFL team to six or less points, you did a hell of a job on defense. We did that, and along the way held cleveland to under 300 yards total offense. Normally that wouldnt be considered a great outcome, but when you stop and think that Cleveland had the ball for almost fourty-three minutes, thats amazing, about 6.9 yards a minute. If we had split time of possesion and kept that ratio Cleveland would have had about 208 yards total.
Our biggest flaw on defense was we gave up first downs on 50% of them. thats bad. An offense who runs three plays and gets a first down, then runs three more plays and gets a first down wears on a defense way more than a team that picks up firsts on first down twice and then three and outs. Nine plays to five plays. almost twice as many plays twice as much time. If we cut that down to say 30%, just stop them on maybe four of those third downs, and our chances to win would have gone up exponentially.
Frustrating, but other than that, our defense looked like elite status. They of course are not elite, we have a great run defense as shown by keeping Hardesty to 2.87 yards per carry. Any time a run defense can keep their opposing backs to under three yards per carry, you can call it a good days work. Our pass defense wasnt bad either. Keeping Colt McCoy under 60% completions and a paltry 5.1 Y/A.
Most of that came from the Browns ineptitude, after all Colt McCoy has been hovering around mid 5 Y/A average all year, and the Browns didnt have their big bruising back Peyton Hillis, but some credit goes to the Seahawks defense. They were continually fighting into the back field the whole game, even after over fourty gruelling minutes. Our corners, a position, honestly I thought we were soft at, was pretty strong in this game. Marcus Trufant was out, and Walter Thurmond left with a broken leg, but of all the wide recievers, only Greg Little had more than one catch and he didnt get over 31 yards good for tops for all Browns recievers.
Brandon Browner really stepped up this game, or should I say he was physical all day. To top that off he wasnt flagged a multitude of times, like he has been. Richard Sherman looked pretty good too, it was nice to see the Seahawks corners pressing all game, and Sherman was physical at the line as well. Physical to the point that Colt McCoy checked down to his RB's early and often. Kennard Cox didnt disappoint either.
Our special teams was, well, special. Two blocked kicks in a game, by the same guy? how often does that happen? It was amazing, I loved every second of it. Red Bryant was in the Zone, most of the day. Rag dolling his opponents, be they tight ends or tackles. He even got some much needed pressure on Colt McCoy. Well up until his bone headed play at the end of the game. Its inexcusable to do something like that with the game on the line. I can kinda understand the frustration he must have felt, having what I would say was one of his best games, and still feeling like the game was out of reach.
We also had Leon Washington take a punt to the house. It was called back on a really ticky tack play. It was a momentum breaker, and in a game where there is no momentum, that says alot. For once in my life I agree with Jim Mora, JR., the refs played too big a part of this game.
Then, there was the offense. So much to say. So little accomplished.
First let me say that the browns have a really good defense and deserve a lot of credit here, we just made it really easy on them.
Charlie Whitehurst came into the season with what many thought was a legitimate chance to prove he could be a starter. Many pundits thought that after the bye he would be starting at QB, and he was! Coming out of the Bye, Charlie could have made a statement. He could have shown us all that he was better than Matt Hasslebeck and Tarvaris Jackson, and that Pete Carroll was just holding him back. All he had to do was put together a great game, hell maybe even just a good game.
Instead of proving to the world he was starting QB material, he may have just moved himself down the depth charts to third string. I was never high on trading for someone elses third string QB, after all arnt there a lot better QB's on the street? But I gave Charlie credit and I liked that the front office was moving towards a QBotF. Its time for the experiment to end. He has had three starts, not a lot I know, but had two really terrible games. And isnt very good in coming in for relief. last year he was under 60% completions, 5.1 Y/A, more int than TD. Last year, charlie looked like Colt McCoy. This year he looks worse, 46.9 % completions and 5.0 Y/A. Wonder if we will hear those Charlie chants now?
Marshawn Lynch went down in pre game warm ups. Both funny and epicly sad, that a big brusier gets hurt more form stretching than from 300+ people landing on him. The good from that was that Leon was starting and he was getting over five yards a carry. The bad he saw the ball only 7 times.
In games like this you gotta use your running game. If you ever want people to consider you a good running team you gotta run the ball in games like this. For one, Our normal starting center was injured. I've always heard that running is a lot easier, read wise, than pass protection. Also Lemuel JeanPierre is a rookie guard, playing back up center. Make it easier on the guy.
has had a terrible run defense. They had been giving up almost 130 yards rushing a game, at 3.9 per attempt. Top that off, one of their really good run def LB ( Scott Fujita )was out of the game. The browns strength, a seventhsecond ranked pass defense. Attack their weaknesses for crying out loud!
Third, the time of possesion was seconds over seventeen minutes, are you fricking serious? If our defense had given up 3 TD's in the fourth quarter, I would probably have understood, cause you can not leave your defense out on the field for over fourty minutes.
Fourth, Charlie played like crap. What offensive Coordinator says to themselves, well our QB is playing like crap, lets throw 66+% of the time! IMO we have had three really good backs for a few years. This year Justin Forsett isnt looking so sharp, but Leon Washington is looking phenominal. Take some pressure off your inexperienced QB and run the ball!
Fifth, Anthony McCoy has hands of stone. Lets throw him the ball....a lot! I just dont get it. We go out and sign a phenominal TE in Zach Miller and dont even look at him in the throwing game. He goes out injured and we decide to throw it to the TE all the time? Even when he is dropping them all?
Sixth, Penalties. This team has discapline issues, more over those issues on offense seem to be on...wait for it...passing plays. False starts are killers. Any penalty is a killer, but atleast when you have a play with a penalty there is a chance the defense will have one too and they can offset. False starts are the worst because there is no chance for redemption.
If you have a young offensive line and they are going after it and you get a holding call, you at least see they are going after it, but when you got a young line and they false start...thats a sign of weakness. Mental weakness. That being said, we have an issue with it, so our genius OC says...lets pass more!
If anything out of this whole game I can honestly say, the person who is most accountable should be Darrell Bevell. Pete Carroll is obviously in charge of the whole team, but he is admittedly more of a defensive guy. He is smart enough to go out and get people like Tom Cable, knowing he is gonna have a young line, and it need improvement. So far I think Cable has done a pretty damn good job, and showing toughness too!
Maybe Bevell has a pretty good system, after all Rice/Jackson seem to work pretty well in it, but its his play calling i have concerns with. Last year, we had a rookie OC, calling fades on third and 2. I could almost see his reasoning. The defense would probably be cheating up, safties probably looking to help with the run, take a shot occasionally. This year, I wonder if Bevell actually understands basic concepts.
I know you can not hide a QB in this league, you simply have to have a QB who can make plays, especially on third down. You have to use the talent you have available to you. Leon may not be a 30 carry back, but he can handle 15 carries in a game, occasionally.
Over all on offense I think we have major issues, not in personel, but in play calling. Bevell likes to gamble even more than Bates ever did, and it seems like his gambles make even less sense. Or maybe he isnt gambling, maybe he just doesnt understand that for an offense to be successful you have to actually hold the ball for a lot more than seventeen minutes.
I really think the seahawks have a good team, that is going to get way better, we are young. We have some massive talent on the roster at wide reciever, and running back. Our offensive line has talent, but they are young. we have a pro bowl at TE. TJ is not as bad as people like to believe. We have a damn good run defense, and some holes in the secondary. a LB corps that is capable but no longer elite. We can win a lot of games, but only if we are not out coached