SEATTLE – Coming off of back-to-back wins, this was the chance for the Seahawks to show they were a young team on the rise.
Instead, in blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks showed they are a young team that still has a long ways to go.
With a chance to win three straight games for the first time since 2007, Seattle instead played one of its sloppiest games of the season, falling 23-17 at CenturyLink Field to the Washington Redskins, a team that had lost six in a row heading into Sunday’s game.
“We’re just a young bunch of guys, man,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “There were too many things that happened at the end of the game that shouldn’t have happened. Decisions and choices and penalties that came up that just distract the heck out of the flow of the game. It hasn’t gone away yet. In this game, it made the difference. It’s not good enough.”
Carroll knows he can’t use his team’s youth as an excuse for its 4-7 record to absolve himself of blame. After all, he is the person, along with general manager John Schneider, responsible for building this young team. Seattle’s rebuilt roster is a collection of talent that is good enough, when clicking, to be excellent on defense, and solid enough on offense to beat good teams like the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens. But this game served as a reminder that the Seahawks are also inconsistent and mistake-prone enough to blow a 10-point lead at home to a team that hadn’t won since early October.
“We have to coach better,” he said. “I need to do a better job with these guys.”
In a game that started poorly for Seattle – the Redskins drove 80 yards for a touchdown to open the game – it looked like the Seahawks were going to be able to do enough to win a third straight game. The Seahawks turned a Brandon Browner interception into a touchdown when Marshawn Lynch scored on a 20-yard pass, then took the lead in the second half with a third-quarter field goal and a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson to Golden Tate.
Despite earlier issues with dropped passes, penalties – yes, again – and stretches of poor defensive play, the Seahawks had a 10-point lead with 5:43 left. Given the way they had closed out wins the past two weeks, it seemed reasonable to assume, at that point, that Seattle was in line to earn another victory.
But the Redskins, on the verge of a seventh-straight loss, quickly responded with a Roy Helu 28-yard touchdown run. It was a play that featured Helu hurdling cornerback Roy Lewis, then running through the attempted tackle of safety Kam Chancellor.
Following a Seahawks three-and-out, the Redskins took the lead on a 50-yard pass from Rex Grossman to Anthony Armstrong, who hadn’t caught a pass since Oct. 23. Oh, and that touchdown pass came on third-and-19. But somehow, Anthony got behind Browner and came down with the catch even after being interfered with by Browner.
“We practice it all the time,” Carroll said. “Brandon just kind of lost track of the guy. When (Grossman) stepped way up into the pocket, I think he was watching in the backfield and lost connection with him, and, when the ball is flying, he turned to find him, and all hell broke loose; he’s grabbing and doing anything he can to try to get out of that situation. That’s something he’ll grow from. It’s really not a very difficult situation, it’s just something you just have to do, and he didn’t do it right.”
And Browner’s bad day was far from over. After the defense forced the Redskins to punt on their next possession, Browner drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty while on punt coverage, resulting in Seattle’s offense starting at its 18-yard line with 2:34 left. That drive, as well as a last-ditch effort with 1:06 left following a Washington field goal, went nowhere, and the Seahawks were left wondering how a very winnable game turned so quickly.
“We’re better than that,” Lewis said. “We pride ourselves in getting finishes and today we didn’t finish. … There were humbling lessons in today’s game on both sides of the ball.”
With so many mistakes plaguing his team, particularly penalties – the Seahawks’ nine penalties Sunday gives them 55 in their last five games – Carroll said the blame should fall on him, but also that changes to the lineup could be coming.
“I take it, I don’t have any problem taking it,” Carroll said. “I’m not getting it done. It has to come to a position where we make the right choices. We’ll figure it out. But, I told them, it’s me. … Sometimes you just have to put other guys in the game. If the same guys keep making mistakes, you have to put other guys in. We’ll have to take a look at that.”
Redskins 23, Seahawks 17
Was—Davis 2 pass from Grossman (Gano kick).
Sea—Lynch 20 pass from Jackson (Hauschka kick).
Sea—FG Hauschka 36.
Sea—Tate 15 pass from Jackson (Hauschka kick).
Was—Helu 28 run (Gano kick).
Was—Armstrong 50 pass from Grossman (kick blocked).
Was—FG Gano 25.
|Total Net Yards||416||250|
|Time of Possession||33:20||26:40|
RUSHING—Washington, Helu 23-108, Royster 1-3, Grossman 5-(minus 1). Seattle, Lynch 24-111, Washington 4-9, Rice 1-3, Forsett 1-1.
PASSING—Washington, Grossman 26-35-2-314. Seattle, Jackson 14-30-1-144.
RECEIVING—Washington, Helu 7-54, Gaffney 5-72, Davis 4-58, Moss 4-29, Young 2-22, Paulsen 2-14, Armstrong 1-50, Sellers 1-15. Seattle, Baldwin 5-60, Obomanu 3-26, Lynch 1-20, Tate 1-15, A.McCoy 1-13, Robinson 1-7, Miller 1-2, Forsett 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Washington, Gano 23 (BK). Seattle, Hauschka 51 (WR).