BY Steve Rudman & Art Thiel 08:44PM 10/30/2011

Woes Mount In Seahawks’ 34-12 Clank At The Clink

Red zone failures and special teams flubs factored big in the Seahawks’ 34-12 loss to Cincinnati. Despite a 2-5 record, Seattle remains in second place in the horrid NFC West.

Marshawn Lynch rushed for just 24 yards on 16 carries -- at one point he had nine yards on 10 carries -- in Seattle's 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks fell to 2-5. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

ART: Any NFL defeat can be characterized as a step back, but the Seahawks’ 34-12 loss at the Clink to Cincinnati Sunday was much more —  a fall-over-backward-and-drop-dead defeat, responsibility for which can be given to head coach Pete Carroll. He mismanaged this thing from pre-game to the end.

STEVE: Obviously, Carroll is not your leader in the clubhouse for NFL Coach of the Year. I thought his biggest gaffe was his play calling right before the end of the half when the Seahawks, in the red zone, had a chance to come away with a touchdown or a field goal and instead came away looking like Oliver pleading for more gruel. If the Seahawks scored a touchdown there, as well as in the second half when they entered the red zone again following a 55-yard completion from Tarvaris Jackson to Ben Obomanu, it might have been a different game. But, alas, no. The good news is that there is a lot of football left to play. The bad news is that there is a lot of football left to play.

ART: After the game, Carroll took full responsibility for the massive bungle at the end of the first half. He called it “my mistake” by wanting to “jam a touchdown down their throats.” It was an adolescent response to a situation that is best managed by adults. After getting to the Cincy 5-yard-line with 19 seconds to play, they couldn’t figure out what to do and wasted five seconds before burning their final timeout at 14 seconds. At fourth-and-2, they decided to go for it instead of kicking a field goal. When a run play with Marshawn Lynch was good for the first down but not the touchdown, the Bengals smartly squatted on him, then slapped the ball around to kill the clock and deny the Seahawks another play. Bad as it was, it was a repeat of a nearly identical situation a year ago against San Diego. Carroll then promised to “take note” of the foolishness. Obviously, he lost the note. Everyone makes mistakes, but the Seahawks offense is so inexperienced that it has no margin for  error from the head coach.

STEVE: Young, yes, but not without some talent. Once Charlie had finished “Whitehursting” the Seahawks in the first quarter, Jackson came on and threw for 333 yards. Two receivers, Obomanu and Sidney Rice,  caught passes worth more than 100 yards. The Seahawks have not had a 300-yard passer and two 100-yard receivers (Matt Hasselbeck, 414; Jerry Rice, 145; Darrell Jackson, 113) since Dec. 4, 2004, against Dallas. But to only get 12 points out of that is absurd.

ART: Jackson’s total was the most meaningless 300-yard game in Seahawks history. Understandably rusty after a 20-day layoff from games, Jackson should not have played Sunday unless injury demanded it. It was another big mistake by Carroll.  He admitted he was trying to keep Jackson out of the game another week to get him close to 100 percent following his strained pectoral muscle, so he started Whitehurst. But Carroll caved in to urgency and jerked Whitehurst after three series because “nothing was happening,” he said. So he undercut Whitehurst while forcing Jackson to work a miracle mid-game. He wasn’t ready. It took him 40 passes to get his 300 yards, and a lot came after they were behind and couldn’t run the ball anyway. Jackson wasn’t awful, and he had a lot of help in holding back the offense — four false start penalties and a couple of holding calls along with six drops by receivers. Clearly, after seven games, one of which was a 36-25 win in New York against the Giants, they are regressing rapidly.

STEVE: My vote for the most meaningless 300-yard game in Seahawks history goes to John Friesz on Nov. 3, 1996, against the Houston Oilers. But that’s beside the point. I, you, and everyone else can see that the Seahawks are regressing. Question is why. Lots of people think it’s Carroll.

ART: This game exposed what soldiers sometimes call mission futility: Asking the impossible with limited resources. A year ago, the Seahawks got away with churning the roster because of the mess left by former GM Tim Ruskell and the weakness of the NFC West. But a second season of many new players and no established leadership is catching up to Carroll. His specialty of  defense is solid, but going without an established QB was a dangerous risk with so many new faces. And now he’s waffling between two guys who really can’t do the job. And for the second week in a row, a key starter was scratched just before the game with an “injury” that was never disclosed before the game. Last week it was Lynch who didn’t play against Cleveland. This week, wide receiver Mike Williams had a hamstring problem that kept him out. I suppose it’s coincidence, but when a team seems directionless, such mysteries invite suspicion.

STEVE: Speaking of a team with no established quarterback: We had an opportunity to watch Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, whom the Seahawks could have drafted instead of OT James Carpenter in last spring’s body snatch. Dalton threw a couple of long interceptions, but looked pretty poised for a rookie.

ART: Mistakes aside, Dalton appears to have what it takes to be a steady success in the NFL. Carroll post-game talked about most everyone on the offense being “part of the future,” which is obvious when it comes to Carpenter and the rest of the O-line and most of the receivers. Granted, patience is needed. But asked whether that meant the QBs, Carroll redefined “the future” to mean the next few weeks. I understand the principle about building a line for the long haul, but sometimes in the draft a special guy falls through the cracks. Dalton, taken 35th, has a chance to be special. Not sure that can be said about Carpenter, especially when he was part of a group that helped the Seahawks to 61 yards rushing.

STEVE: A lot of our business (media) involves jumping guns, putting carts before horses, and counting chickens before they’re hatched. It’s a long way to the draft, but the Seahawks have to make QB the priority, based on the returns of 2011.

ART: Without a doubt. I’ve said since he came here that Jackson was a placeholder until the 2012 draft. Carroll can’t say that publicly, but it’s obvious. On Saturday, college football provided a good platform for three top-tier candidates — Stanford’s Andrew Luck, USC’s Matt Barkley and Arizona’s Nick Foles. All have a bigger upside than Jackson, who’s better than I believed based on his four years at Minnesota, but not a high-caliber talent. Then again, nothing was high caliber about the Seahawks offense (or special teams) Sunday, including the coaching.


YourThoughts

  • Brett

    I agree with everything you two said, except that Dalton has a chance to be special.  Nothing he did today indicated such.  Yes, the Seahawks’ current QB situation is a mess, but I’m not torn up about them passing over Dalton.  His upside appears to be serviceable game manager, but nothing more.

    • Alofland

      or Seattle beater, but you have two QBs that are Seattle beaters lol

  • cruddly

    Monday we will be hearing idiots on the radio debating whether Carrol should be fired or not. 
    I still think this team is making progress.  The safeties are better.  The corner backs are better.  The linebackers are better.  The defensive line is better.  The receivers are better.  The tight ends are better.  And believe it or not, the offensive line will be better.  The running backs are about the same.  The quarterback?  Not so much.  Heck, this is a rebuilding year, despite what happened last year. 
    Who really thinks they had a chance to go to the Super Bowl this year any way?  Just relax and enjoy the ride.  Even Tjack has showed improvement, and he is just a stand in.  Everybody lighten up.  You live in Seattle, you should be used to this by now.

  • Soggyblogger

    Cruddly has a much better handle on this situation then either of you veteran sports writers. You guys are writing this stuff while drinking beer at the local pub, right? Wow, a few more articles like this and I will remove my bookmark for this joint. 

  • Bob

    Is Hollywood Pete likely to be here as long as it takes Majestic Realty or somebody else to land an NFL franchise in LA?

  • J4hansen

    OK, my question is: Would the coaches who coach winning NFL teams, like GB, NE, or even Tennessee, run and coach a game like Carroll does here in Seattle?  This is not the type of coaching that will get this team back to the Super Bowl.  The sad part is that this team is being put in a position that will take the next coach years to overcome due to the lack of decent players on this team.

  • Bayviewherb

    Back in the early days of the Seahawks when they then had a weak offensive line, we had a tailback, Sherman Smith. He did a sprint draw, which I haven’t seen used in a very long time. Draws and screens can defeat an overly aggresive defensive line. I wish when we are getting blitzed we would run a sprint draw every once in a while. It keeps the defense honest.

  • jafabian

    Finally.  A team that could help the Mariners NOT be in the cellar.

  • Jamo57

    What if the Ms held a game and no one showed up?