BY Steve Rudman & Art Thiel 02:58PM 11/06/2011

Seahawks Lose A Winnable Game in Dallas, 23-13

They found a running game, but the Seahawks couldn’t overcome Tarvaris Jackson’s worst outing as the Cowboys handed Seattle (2-6) its fourth loss in five games.

Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw a pair of costly second-half interceptions in Seattle's loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

STEVE: What a weird game from Seattle’s perspective. The Seahawks receive a 100-yard rushing game from Marshawn Lynch, stop Dallas from scoring touchdowns three times in the red zone, don’t allow a sack until the final minute to a team that features DeMarcus Ware (most sacks, 27.5, in the NFL since 2010), and still fall to the Cowboys 23-13. Goes to show what can happen when you whiff on about 30 tackles and toss a couple of ugly interceptions.

ART: This was a real setback game for Tarvaris Jackson. He had a hard time all week in practice with his strained chest muscle. He’ll never say how much it affected him, but even a little is a lot for the throwing arm. Three picks (the last a bad call) left him with a QB rating of 40.4. The results say he’s either hurt or regressing, even when Lynch’s 135 yards (his first 100-yard rushing game of the season) against a good defense took pressure off the passing game.

STEVE: The Seahawks had some success this year, particularly against the New York Giants, when they used the no-huddle offense. They largely abandoned that Sunday, meaning that Jackson didn’t do what Jackson does best. I commend Jackson for playing with his injury, but it’s hard to regress when, as an NFL quarterback, you have never really progressed.

ART: Asked post-game whether this was Jackson’s worst game, Pete Carroll deflected the question, saying he doesn’t measure such things: “You might be right; I don’t know,” he said. For understandable reasons, Jackson feels the pressure to make things happen, and he’s forcing some passes while being hesitant to run, perhaps because of injury (and perhaps because he knows who is backing him up). But that means he’s trapped by indecision.

STEVE: I didn’t think so going in, but this became a winnable game for the Seahawks. Dallas, ahead 6-3, had a shot at burying Seattle in the first half. But Richard Sherman jarred loose the ball from Dez Bryant after a Bryant catch-and-run brought him to the goal line. The Seahawks recovered and a had a good, 13-play drive, but settled for a field goal and a halftime tie. Their first four possessions of the second half were five-and-out, blocked field goal, interception, interception. With the exception of the block, all had more to do with Seattle mistakes than Dallas defensive brilliance.

ART: Carroll again lamented the penalties, including seven in the second half, that continue to haunt. The Seahawks entered the day the fourth-most penalized team in the league, and he said, “I’m disappointed we’re still talking about it.” He said there was a cadence problem between Jackson and the line that accounted for some of the false starts, then regretted talking about it. A cadence problem should be fixed in preseason, not in week 8.

STEVE: In fact, 10 penalties for 88 yards overall. Some is a function of so many new, young players, some of it is lack of focus and just plain slop.

ART: Carroll keeps saying the penalty problem is fixable, and it has yet to happen. Youth is a part of it, but a fair amount of that is on him, because he’s in charge of creating the communication and discipline to reduce the mental errors. The one aspect that does show growth is the line clicked well enough to have a season-high rushing total, as well as protect Jackson enough to deny a sack until the last moments. So it’s not hopeless, but they are 2-6, losers of four of five, out of the playoff hunt already, and the Baltimore Ravens’ ferocious defense (15.7 points a game, second best in the league) are coming to the Clink Sunday. Carroll has to set up the second half with goals that have nothing to do with anything beyond making collective progress. Not very sexy, for either players or fans.

STEVE: Part of that collective progress has to involve developing some consistency on both sides. For example, the Seahawks came into Sunday’s game with one of the better run defenses in the league, but lapsed badly,  allowing Dallas 163 yards on the ground. Every week, it’s something different. If Carroll can create reliability somewhere, the Seahawks could win a few games — not enough to book Super Bowl reservations, but steal a couple like Sunday’s wasted opportunity.

ART: Consistency is a hallmark of veteran teams, and Carroll deliberately decided to make this a young team. I understand the principle, but there are unintended consequences. A good example was in the third quarter, prior to the blocked field goal. On third down, Jackson locked in on Sidney Rice heading into the end zone, where he was double-covered. Jackson had to throw it away, never looking at an open Mike Williams on the sideline. For reasons of  injury, a lousy offense and his own lack of focus, Williams is a non-factor this season when he was the No. 1 receiving weapon a year ago. That is a squandering of a franchise asset they can ill afford. All QBs overlook open targets from time to time, but as long as Jackson can’t read defenses and know well his options, the chances to win close games — and this one was never out of hand — vanish.


YourThoughts

  • Cruddly

    TJack looked almost as bad as he did during the 1st quarter at San Diego, on opening day.  To me he looks like a competent backup and little else. I honestly don’t believe this season will get much better with him at the helm.  But they have no other option, unless you bring the rookie in, but I doubt if Carrol and co will admit they bungled the quarterback position by letting him play. 
    On the bright side, there will a lot of QB’s in the draft next year.

  • red devil

    Jackson couldn’t read defenses in Minnesota, he has played a fair amount in the NFL & still can’t make his ‘progressions’ & doesn’t even utilize his own running ability enough. How long do we have to watch this, it is painful! Put the rookie in, can he play? The oganization is using the season as an evaluation process. Are we on a ten year plan? Carroll has next year or get rid!

  • J4hansen

    Hold it!  Are Steve and Art talking about the Huskies or the Seahawks?  How in the heck can you use the youth excuse with talking about pro football?  How long does a player have to play the game before the youth excuse doesn’t cut it anymore?  How about sticking a size 14 shoe someplace on our right tackle that might get his attention?  Need to get their attention, how about a $5K team fine per stupid offside penalty?  These are suppose to be one of the top 60 players from college draft on this OL and are paid millions for their suppose talent.  I can understand a missed block with a new line, but not these dumb penalties.  Suck it up or go get a job!