PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 18: Kris Durham #16 of the Seattle Seahawks catches a pass in front of William Gay #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Seahawks looked pretty listless in Pittsburgh on Sunday but as always, there are some good and bad things to take away from this loss. And some ugly things. I'm going to tell you about all three of those things, the good, the bad, and the ugly, thus tying together the body of the post to the title.
Well, this one is probably the hardest to write about right now but let's start out with the top-level, no nonsense stuff. No major injuries. That's nice. The score 24-0 isn't actually as bad as you'd have expected considering the offense's inability to stay on the field. So I guess, at least we weren't blown out 48-3, for instance (COUGHchiefsCOUGH). I don't have anything against the Chiefs... I mean, I kind of thought they were going to be pretty tough this year, but man, they've had a rough first couple of games. It can always be worse, Seahawks fans. Can't it?
Apart from that, the pass protection did seem to improve in this game. That's a small step for a unit that will get better with more game experience together. Eddie Williams, languishing on the Browns practice squad a week ago, played in the game and had a 17-yard reception, the Seahawks longest on the day, so that's exciting. For him.
Kris Durham looked good in garbage time, collecting three passes for 30 yards. I don't care that it was garbage time, I'll take it. He looked good. Doug Baldwin and Kris Durham look to be good, young receivers. That's got to be a good thing.
Jon Ryan seems like he's a pretty good punter. The Seahawks didn't turn the ball over. Bill Leavy didn't screw up any major calls. The Seahawks simply lost, all by themselves.
The run game, again, failed to get any traction. After rushing for 64 yards last week, the Seahawks followed that up by rushing for 31 on Sunday. They're now averaging 47.5 yards per game on the ground. Seattle ranked 31st (that's second to last, to the layperson) on the ground last season with 89 yards per game rushing. Man, I'd love to see them get 89 yards on the ground, that would be amazing. (What I'm saying here is that the run game isn't very good, and will
quite possibly probably be the worst in the NFL).
The Seahawks are averaging 59 total net yards of offense in the first half, after two games. They will need to figure out how to get off to a quicker start in Week Three versus the Cardinals. My suggestion would be to play better.
The Seahawks were penalized 6 times for 66 yards. That 6-66 is pretty apt because penalties are the devil. They're drive killers. They're avoidable. They're annoying. They're momentum negators.
The angles that defenders were taking in this game were pretty maddening to me. The two examples I can think of off the top of my head would be:
--The Seahawks punted to Antonio Brown, who fielded the ball at about the 5, ran towards the sideline, was all bottled up, Richard Sherman tripped and fell down, got up from laying prone on the grass like like he was planking it and still had time to get his hands on Brown, meaning seven or eight more defenders had time to descend on their target, but then inexplicably Brown ran forward down the sideline for 40 yards. I realize that was a horrific sentence, but what the hell happened on that play, it gets me all discombobulated.. !...?
-- The touchdown run by Isaac Redman for 20 yards. Kam Chancellor, you gotta break down there and make that tackle man.
This was the first time Pete Carroll has been shut out as a head coach, at either the college or NFL level. That's 198 games. It happened. That's bad.
The offense, as a whole. It starts with Tarvaris Jackson. I know there are many wrinkles in an offense, and all these wrinkles and factors are like a line of dominoes. If one person (a domino, in this insanely awesome metaphor) fails (falls), most of the time, the rest of the players (the next in the line of dominoes) also fail (fall). The offensive line fails, the quarterback gets sacked, the receivers don't catch the ball, the running backs don't run the ball, the offense fails. The team doesn't score. The team loses 24-0.
Good quarterback play can really throw a wrench in this domino metaphor though. If the quarterback can complete a pass even when the offensive line doesn't do its job, the receivers can catch passes and have success. If that can happen, the defense can have this mythical thing called 'respect' for what the quarterback can do, and then the running game can magically open up because the offensive line isn't trying to block nine people.
Everyone says it starts in the trenches, and that might be true, but the thing is, the trenches did ok in this game. We need to get better quarterback play from Tarvaris Jackson. I'm sure he knows this. I'm not ragging on him here, but it's a simple fact. If he starts throwing the ball better, the rest of the offense will improve exponentially.
Other than the offense, I guess I have to include Brandon Browner in the "ugly" section. He didn't start off well by drawing a pass interference penalty in the endzone. It was an obvious call and he needs to do much better at turning his head and looking for the pass. The rest of the game, Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace just picked on him mercilessly. Wallace had 8 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown and probably 7 of those catches came against Browner. Browner had a tough day.
That being said, as I posted pre-game in my "some things to watch" post, I think the Seahawks should have made some sort of adjustment and recognized a mis-match in the 6'4, 220 pound Browner and the 6'0, 200 pound speedster in Wallace. My suggestion then was to perhaps play another speedster and coverage guy - Walter Thurmond - on Wallace. It seems like I'm smart for suggesting that, considering the outcome.
Thomas is going to talk about this a lot more in a story today, so I'll leave it at that.
Either way, that part of the defense was ugly. What a dreadful game to write about. I'm looking forward to playing the Cardinals! Two sucky teams playing each other!