Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
It is rare that I hate being right. Count this as one of those times. I had a feeling that this might be ‘the game’ that Seattle finally lost, in fact I was so convinced that I predicted it on the Fansided site, to the derision of my colleagues. When it comes to my Seahawks, I am a zealot, therefore it hurts my soul to go against them, but the realist in me took over and there were too many things to overlook to continue to pick them against good teams.
I saw three main reasons why the Seahawks came up a day late and a dollar short in Indianapolis:
#1 Penalties. It seems that we couldn’t get out of our own way to win this game. As in the first four games the same story played out, except the outcome was different this time. The numbers don’t lie, Seattle amassed 7 penalties for 85 yards and Indianapolis had 3 penalties for 35 yards. As bad as those numbers are, it was the timing of those penalties that made them especially painful, like a sucker-punch to the stomach. Two 3rd down defensive pass interferences on touchdown drives don’t help matters when your defense is doing its job on 1st and 2nd down. Too many times penalties stopped any momentum we were building and in many instances, mostly in the second half, we were left settling for field goals. It is hard to win making three points while the other team is netting seven points when they touch the ball.
#2 Third-down efficiency. Ouch! This one hurts, like stepping on a rusty nail. The Seahawks were 2 for 12 and the Colts were 7 for 12. There is no way to say this any nicer, you can’t win a game with those kinds of numbers. Any respectable team is hoping for something over 50% on third down, we were 17%. And just a side-note, our 4th down efficiency was 1 for 3.
#3 Intangibles. I am going to lump a lot of items in on this one. From having a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown, a feat that the Seattle faithful haven’t seen since 1988, to giving up a 73 yard touchdown pass, the first in six years. These were incredible plays, the likes of which are rare in one game, let alone having both happen in the same game. I cringe to even mention our game management, but I will. All three timeouts were used by the 9 minute mark of the fourth quarter. How can you manage the clock when you have no timeouts as a safety net? Who’s fault is this? I place the blame squarely on the coaching staff. They have to know what personnel is needed on the field, they need to count the players, they need to make adjustments before it is too late. Coach Carroll has been around this game long enough to not make silly mistakes like this. And without being a ‘homer’ I just want to touch briefly on the officiating, I didn’t think it was impartial. I felt like there were some questionable calls that stopped our drives, extended their drives and flat out took points away from us (think the blocked punt safety). “That’s all I have to say about that” (said in my thickest Forrest Gump accent).
Don’t get me wrong there were some bright spots for this team. Russell Wilson stood toe to toe with, who some are calling, potentially one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Our running game was … well, running. Our defensive line was finally healthy, and they were able to get some pressure on Andrew Luck. When he was able to get the ball over the line of scrimmage, Mr. Hauschka was on target. Our porous offensive line only gave up two sacks totaling five yards. We had over 400 yards of total offense, pretty good for a team that is still trying to find their offensive identity. We finally got off to a fast start in a game, despite it being a 1pm start on the road. You see, there were a few bright spots.
If we would have been told that at the end of the game we would have the ball, 1:45 on the clock and Mr. Wilson starting at the 20 yard line, I think we all would have taken those odds. This time it came up ‘snake eyes’ for us and now we have to pay up with our first loss of the season. We got beat in Indianapolis and now it is time to return home, lick our wounds, regroup against a Tennessee team that is without their starting QB. I have a feeling we should bet the farm on this one because, in Seattle, the house always wins. Go Hawks!