SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins at CenturyLink Field on November 27, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Redskins defeated the Seahawks 23-17..(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to validate the win in St. Louis and increase the winning streak to three, Seattle shot themselves in the foot and blew a 10 point fourth quarter lead en route to a 23-17 home loss.
I feel it's relevant to mention I was at the game and most of my thoughts are based on what I saw in person, and therefore my views aren't coming from the perspective revealed through the broadcast. In fact, I haven't watched any of the TV broadcast, so this could be interesting. I don't know exactly what my "bias" means or how it affects this recap. Maybe it matters, maybe not. Just to even things out, I'll be extra honest this week if I come across something that changes my mind on a play/opinion, one way or another. Here we go.
Even before I learned the following tidbit, I thought the pre coin toss tussle was the Redskins' attempt at setting the tone ASAP; Softy Mahler tweeted that Doug Baldwin said the ill feelings started due to the Redskins' pregame warm-up. Losers of six in row, Washington didn't come into this one with anything to lose. Why not try and bully the Seahawks in what's supposed to be a rough road environment to play in as it is?
A fellow who I sat next to for a couple of games this season, though not for this one, previously told me he thought road teams had been trying to land a psychological first blow and get under the Seahawks' skin before the kick or early in the game. Though the fans got fired up after the tussle, his sentiments crossed my mind. Now that Seattle blew this game, in retrospect his comments have me wondering if/ how much the ‘Skins got under Seattle's skin early. (At least enough so that Michael Robinson was apologetic to the team post game...)
Fast forward to when the Hawks were up three early in the third quarter with the Redskins backed up inside their own five; this looked like one of those games for the defense to win. One of those games Pete Carroll hopes his defense can take control of - similar to how it happened last week, against a "lesser" opponent.
To be honest, this point was the first time I personally thought the crowd got loud during this game - the Redskins walked away from this one with zero false starts and two delay of game penalties. The point; Brandon Mebane was standing over the ball during the TV timeout pounding his chest as a Redskins' receiver (I think Santana Moss, not 100% sure) was in the end zone mocking the crowd to get loud. It was time for the Seahawks to put up or shut up.
Almost a quarter later, the Seahawks were in position to win the game after executing a 12 play, 88 yard touchdown drive. For a team that simply wants to be in every game so they have a chance in the fourth quarter, this was a pretty good opportunity and seemingly one Seattle would close.
Instead, the defense came out lacking the intensity and consistency to protect their 10 point lead. The Redskins called five pass plays in a row and then on 3rd and 2, the first running play of the drive; Roy Helu hurdled Roy Lewis, bounced off a botched Kam tackle and trotted into the endzone. On the next defensive possession it looked like they could hold, until a 3rd and 19 Rex Grossman bomb knocked the wind out of the stadium. Unfortunately, Breno Giacomini's penalty started Seattle's next drive, and it kind of felt like the beginning of the nail being hammered into the coffin. The stands were nearly empty when the final kickoff went out of the endzone.
Now Seattle is back to "square one" heading into the short week and Thursday matchup with Philadelphia, game two of the three game home stand. One thing I'm sensing is an upcoming theme of "accountability." Is Carroll optimistic, irked, or somewhere in the middle? Based on Carroll's post game comments, it sounds like anything goes (to an extent) with playing time going forward. Are any changes coming?
This is not how most of us hoped the home stand would start. The hype and hope because of the circumstances now mostly gone, and unfortunately their playoff "chances" may not be far behind. It's up to this coaching staff and team to rebound this week if they don't want to officially drop out of the race.
No more commentary, onto the good, bad, and ugly from this week.
-The Seahawks had fewer penalties than their opponent, by one. I'm pretty sure this is the first time this has happened all season.
-Another strong day by Marshawn Lynch (24 for 111), who appeared to suffer some sort of upper leg/groin injury in the first half and proceeded to play through it (maybe this was clarified on TV). He did appear to miss some holes, but also had a few nice runs. Gotta' love the 20-plus passing play for the touchdown out of the backfield, too.
-Seahawks' corners had two interceptions and four passes defended - an Earl Thomas PD was negated by an accepted penalty, and Kam Chancellor was unable to cash in on an interception opportunity. From afar, Browner looked physically dominant when making his interception. He's tall.
-Speaking of physically dominant; Red Bryant's two blocked kicks were frickin' awesome. Watching the behemoth high-step and celebrate towards the Seattle bench after both plays, priceless. It looked like he almost blocked a third?
-John Ryan put four of the six punts inside the 20 yard line, and had a long of 67. He continues to be a stud.
-Leon Washington averaged 43 per kickoff return, and the return team opened the gigantic hole well before he got to the opening on his 51 yard return.
-Doug Baldwin had five catches (on 10 targets) for 60 yards. He maybe could have made a crucial third down catch in the fourth quarter if the Redskins defender didn't whack him in the helmet, a crucial no call. Seahawks receivers other than Baldwin had 12 targets total for the day. Consider him the bright spot on a dismal day for this receiving corps.
-Seattle won the turnover battle.
-Thomas gave props to the offensive line yesterday in his game recap. Paul McQuistan leading out in front on the Lynch swing is a play that stood out to me in real time. There were a couple of other strong plays that I remember from this group. For a unit that could be in disarray given the recent injuries, this was a solid game in my opinion.
-The Redskins scored 16 unanswered in the 4th quarter to come back and win the game at Seattle. That was painful to type.
-Kam Chancellor missed a tackle on the Fred Davis 31 yard catch and run early in the game and then again on the Roy Helu touchdown run. Both were crucial plays. You have to wonder if the fines and penalties are beginning to affect his play.
-Jackson averaged 4.8 yards per pass attempt, compared to a sliver under 9 for Grossman. Gross on a couple levels; the Seahawks' inability to generate passing offense and inconsistent defense which allowed 416 total yards.
-Drops. The main culprit was Mike Williams, who was not out there towards the end of the game due to a shoulder injury. But, this game will be remembered because of his mishaps. A dropped, on target back shoulder throw on third down early in the game, he was unable to haul in another intermediate/deepish jump-ball when he had inside position, and he dropped a Jackson deep ball (which drew an egregious PI). Not the year we all hoped BMW would have. Baldwin and Miller had one drop each.
-The Seahawks had two plays over 20 yards, none over 25. No, the 44 yard gift of the PI call against Josh Wilson doesn't count.
-Brandon Browner's penalties.
-Jackson looked shell-shocked in the end of that game. The ‘Skins showed their hand when they pressured and that didn't even matter. "Adjustments" made at the line didn't appear to help. I wasn't a huge fan of the play calling, but this is more about the end of game execution as a whole. This was both bad and ugly.
-We may have won the penalty "battle," by nine is still too many.
-Breno Giacomini's unnecessary roughness penalty at the end of the first half (it was declined); I saw him start to run towards the pile and was flummoxed when he jumped into the fray for no reason. To sum up the last three thoughts; C'Mon, Man!
-In my opinion, the Seahawks really missed Alan Branch.
-An observation; it seems when the Seahawks don't run a lot of no huddle, they struggle in hurry-up situations; but when they run the no huddle often, they can score more quickly and run the hurry-up a bit better. Watching the offensive struggles at the end of the halves in this game reminded me of early in the season, and that's not a good thing.
-Sidney Rice and his continued fragility.
-Washington's 14 play, 7:49 drive to start the game was absolutely brutal. They established both the run and play action game right away, attacked the flats and as Thomas noted, seemed to out-scheme and outcall the defense. Even though Seattle scored the next 17 points, this drive showed Washington they could move the ball and I think that helped them in the end.
-Another observation; the Seahawks went two wide with Tate and Miller and ran it, a lot. I started calling this ground and pound mode about midway through the third quarter.
-I received multiple texts during the game that on the broadcast, Jackson looked like he was hurting badly. He didn't look completely right to me from afar either, but maybe my knowing he was in pain influenced me? He had a heavy practice on Friday, his second full Friday this month. Could that have played a role in his discomfort?
-According to Carroll, the tight ends didn't hear the call before Hauschka's missed 51 yard attempt, and they "iced" him by calling a necessary timeout as they had too few on the field.
That's all I've got for now, but we'll have more in the short week ahead. (Danny will be back, too.)