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Seahawks on tape: Critical Ethan Pocic hold was correct call in franchise-high penalty game

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

So this happened:

In a frustrating 26-23 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks seemed to be constantly impeded by officiating calls going against them. Pete Morelli’s crew handed out a few ticky-tacky, ‘happens on every play’ holding calls that felt one-sided. Penalties jarred and crunched against the offense’s schedule. Pete Carroll’s post-game thoughts corroborated with this:

“We hurt ourselves so much with this penalty thing...really uncharacteristically we had 148 yards in penalties...There was just too much to overcome. So that was a difficult game.”

“It surely happened right at the crucial times...and it was unfortunate. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

It extended to defensive calls too. Shaquill Griffin’s defensive pass interference call in overtime on Dante Pettis looked highly questionable. How a corner is supposed to catch and run with a wide receiver is beyond me. Even more egregious was the DPI call against the impressive Delano Hill on the mostly neutered George Kittle.

However, on the crucial big completion down the sideline to J.D. McKissic, the officials got it 100% right. Pre-snap, McKissic motioned out wide. His before-the-play movement was followed by Fred Warner. This told Russell Wilson the coverage was man-to-man.

Given the sugaring linebackers and off-the-screen deep middle safety, Wilson knew he basically had a one-on-one to hit against a man blitz.

Boy did he hit it! McKissic was a giant speed and route-running mismatch for Warner. Unfortunately, as the tape shows, Ethan Pocic hooked his oncoming rusher towards the end of the rep. The holding call was the correct one...on this occasion.

It seems bizarre that people are using this game as a method for criticizing offensive playcaller Brian Schottenheimer. His designs were adapted throughout the game; he did a sound job once more.

Such poor officiating and execution, combined with an embarrassingly bad playing surface (Tedric Thompson slip be damned), is what lost Seattle this game.

Still, enough doom and gloom. The Seahawks are still going to the playoffs. While this loss makes it slightly less likely that their trip to the postseason will be as the 5th seed, to be the best you have to beat the best. And this is still a year beyond most of pre-season’s wildest dreams.

The 49ers are now 1-11 in their last 5 years against Seattle; Richard Sherman can have this one. But this game can act as a valuable teaching moment for the Seahawks— “huge lessons for our team,” said Carroll. Despite all the bad aspects, Seattle was a missed SeaBass PAT away from winning in normal time. Heck, they even inexplicably short-kicked on the 49ers’ touchdown return!

We’re on to Kansas City.