SEATTLE – There’s a lot of NFL football yet to be played in 2011, so maybe the Seattle Seahawks aren’t out of it yet.
Maybe they can still get a decent draft spot to pick off a marquee quarterback.
But they’re certainly going to have to be consistent. No more of these back-to-back victories like the kind they put together the previous two weekends. More meltdowns like the fourth-quarter calamity they concocted Sunday against Washington, which not only snapped the Redskins’ six-game losing streak but repositioned the Seahawks in the Barkley-Keenum-Weeden Sweepstakes back there behind the hapless Indianapolis Colts picking Andrew Luck.
Of course, they may need some help. San Diego is down-trending like mad. Minnesota isn’t cooperating. The Rams aren’t going to do an NFC West rival any favors.
But the best thing the Seahawks can do is help themselves. More dropped passes. More penalties. More relying on a courageous sore-armed quarterback. More penalties. More getting gashed by the NFL’s most maligned gunslingers.
Long before Seattle blew a 10-point lead with 10 minutes to play and fell to the Redskins 23-17, you had the feeling there would be strange doings on the turf at the Clink.
Like when the team captains staged a little shove-and-smack – during the pre-game coin toss, Hanson Brothers-style.
“No disrespect to nobody,” insisted Redskins tackle Trent Williams, who kept it up all day. “That’s just football. Shake their hand after the game and tell them how great they played.”
And push them and tell them what punks they are during it.
The Seahawks, everyone knew, were not going to be much in the way of a prom date this season, and three consecutive losses a few weeks ago were only confirmation of that. The player shuttle that defined 2010 has continued this season, and only 11 players on the active roster remain from the pre-Pete Carroll days. Most significantly, they had to sign a castoff quarterback – Tarvaris Jackson – who leads the league in try, because their previous investment at the position was, well, Charlie Whitehurst.
But then came the upset of Baltimore and a solid win over the dismal Rams, and suddenly Jackson is saying things like, “We want people to expect us to win.”
With the Redskins coming to town, people actually did.
Then Seattle went all round heels as the Redskins put together a 14-play touchdown drive to open the game, and reality settled over the 66,007 drizzlephiles again. By quarter’s end, Seattle had run five plays and had the ball for barely more than 2 minutes.
“Really disappointing,” Carroll said. “The lessons are hard, really hard.”
That they scrapped back to take the lead is a tribute to the running of Marshawn Lynch (a third straight week over 100 yards), the will of Red Bryant (a third blocked field goal) and Skins quarterback Rex Grossman occasionally slipping out of his Superman duds to be, well, Rex Grossman.
The Rex threw for 314 yards Sunday, and even with two picks his rating was up there close to 100. Even so, heading into the fourth quarter the visitors had but a touchdown on the board, but while they were ahead, the Seahawks were more out of control than in control.
Still, down a field goal, the Seahawks had the ball on their 40 after an out-of-bounds kickoff and six minutes to make good. That’s when tackle Breno Giacomini was flagged for a chop block – the last big hunk of Seattle’s 91 yards in penalties, giving them 814 for the year. That’s second only to the Raiders, who have turned the infraction into an art form.
“I take it,” Carroll said. “I don’t have any problem taking it. The things that we have chosen to do to make the points haven’t hit home. I’m not getting it done.
“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.”
And that isn’t just the coach talking. Mike Williams, who combined with fellow starting wideout Sidney Rice for exactly zero catches, spent most of the second half on the bench after dinging a shoulder.
“But I wasn’t playing good anyway,” he said.
“So I don’t think it matters if I’m healthy or not.”
Now the Seahawks have just a three-day window before they play again here Thursday night against a true NFL underachiever, the Philadelphia Eagles. They’re 4-7, just like the Seahawks, so it won’t be a challenge to play down to a lesser team’s level.
“But regardless of what anybody’s record is,” Williams said, “if you give a team enough chances they can come away with a win.”
That’s the spirit.
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