Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
With 2 minutes and 14 seconds left in the 3rd quarter of their game today against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks were trailing by a score of 16-14. They had just stopped a 49er drive when Hawks cornerback Byron Maxwell intercepted San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick deep in Seattle territory and they now had the ball with a 1st and 10 on their own 37 yard line. On the next play Hawks quarterback Russell Wilson handed off to Marshawn Lynch who broke around the left side of the San Francisco line for 21 yards, all the way to the 49ers 42 yard line. It should have been Lynch’s best run of the day and would have given Seattle a 1st down with momentum in 49ers territory. Instead Hawks fullback Michael Robinson was flagged for a face mask penalty and what should have been a 1st and 10 at the San Francisco 42 wound up being a 1st and 25 at Seattle’s own 23. From there Seattle couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.
Earlier in the game, with just over 2 minutes left in the 1st quarter and Seattle trailing 3-0, the Hawks had the ball with a 4th down at their own 16 yard line and their punter John Ryan was now on the field. The situation called for Ryan to kick the ball high and deep which, with Seattle’s great punt coverage, would help recover some of the field position lost on the prior possession. Instead, as the ball was snapped to Ryan, Seattle’s Malcom Smith, who was lined up to block on the right side of the line, inexplicably took a step to his right instead of just blocking the defender opposite him, the 49ers Kassim Osgood. As a result Osgood had a clean lane to Ryan and easily blocked the punt, giving the 49ers a 1st down deep in Seattle territory, which they turned into a field goal and 3 points.
Earlier in that series Wilson had just hit Hawks wide receiver Golden Tate for 15 yards and a first down but the play was called back when Tate was flagged for offensive pass interference for pushing off on the defender covering him.
Later, with 2 minutes and 57 seconds left in the 2nd quarter the 49ers had the ball with a 2nd down and 8 yards to go on their own 30 yard line. As a result of two excellent scoring drives earlier in the quarter the Hawks had taken the lead 14-9 and looked to be on the verge of taking control of the game. Stop the 49ers now and force a punt and Seattle has the lead, the ball and a chance to score again before the half. Instead, on the ensuing play Hawks cornerback Byron Maxwell is called for defensive holding on 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree (replays showed it was more of a mugging than holding, but still…) giving the 9ers five free yards and an automatic first down. From their Kaepernick and company took it on in for a go-ahead score and ended the half with a 16-14 lead.
There were similar plays that cost Seattle opportunities in the second half. If any one of these mistakes don’t happen the face of this game changes. In my view, and I am sure Seahawks coach Pete Carroll would agree, the 49ers did not so much win this game as the Seahawks lost it with their errors. Whether because of the short week of preparation (Seattle played the New Orleans Saints last Monday night), the hostile environment, or some other unknown factor, the Hawks just made too many mistakes to win, on the road and against a tough team like the 49ers.
Unless your team happens to be the ’72 Miami Dolphins there will be games like this during the long NFL season, which resembles nothing so much as a war of attrition. Seattle is fortunate to have built up the 3 game lead (now 2 as a result of this loss) over the 49ers in the NFC West division in which they both reside. As long as they take care of business by winning two of their last three games of this season, the Seahawks’ mission of winning the NFC West and home field advantage through the playoffs will be successful.
That mission continues next week when Seattle travels to New York to take on Eli Manning and the Giants in their last 10 AM west coast start of the regular season. The Giants are out of the playoffs picture already and have nothing to lose. They will give the Hawks their best effort.
I expect that Seattle will reciprocate and take their next step toward that NFC West title…IF…they avoid the mistakes that plagued them today in San Francisco.
I think they can and will.
Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved
 The 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 through the regular season and won the Super Bowl while going 3-0 through the playoffs to complete a 17-0 perfect season, the only perfect season in modern pro football history.