August 25, 2013 in Sports

Seahawks’ propensity for penalties gets worse

Bob Condotta Seattle Times

GREEN BAY, Wis. – So what did we learn in Seattle’s 17-10 win here over the Packers on Friday night? Glad you asked.

1 Seattle’s penalty issues from the first two games didn’t get fixed.

Indeed, statistically they only got worse. Seattle officially had 20 penalties for 172 yards in the first two games, which ranked second in the NFL behind Buffalo (23).

The Seahawks were then called for 18 more against Green Bay, with 14 accepted for 182 yards.

And once again, it couldn’t be blamed solely on young guys who might not make the final roster, as Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman were all flagged.

All three phases (offense, defense, special teams) had their share of flags, but the biggest offender was the offensive line, which had seven penalties, five of them holds (three from guard J.R. Sweezy that included two holds).

Coach Pete Carroll noted after the game that center Max Unger had gathered the line to try to hash it out.

“They were all talking about it after the game and talking about how to pull out of the late hits and (other penalties),” Carroll said. “They are busting their tails to get down there and make a play and make another big, physical hit, and it’s beyond the play. We don’t need that.”

Carroll said of the penalties that “we’ve got some big lessons we’ve got to undertake and see if we can get squared away.”

Sherman said if there’s a silver lining, it’s that it’s happening now and the Seahawks have two weeks before playing a game that counts.

“It happens in the season it’s like ‘Oh, man, what are you doing?’ ” Sherman said.

“But this gives us a chance to clean everything up to make the corrections we need to make and get back on top of it.”

2 The Seahawks have a lot of depth in the backfield.

In fact, one writer opined after watching the Seahawks on Friday that Seattle is “emerging as the deepest backfield in the NFL.”

With Marshawn Lynch again getting limited action, backups Christine Michael (97 yards on 11 carries) and Robert Turbin (50 on 10) led Seattle to a huge statistical edge in the running game.

While some might fixate on who wins the job as the backup, the bigger picture is that Seattle appears to have two talented, young tailbacks more than capable of giving Lynch occasional rest (though blocking by each could improve).

Turbin and Michael also are proving effective in the passing game. Turbin led all receivers in the game with four catches, while Michael had a one-handed 25-yard grab to set up Seattle’s winning TD.

3 Tony McDaniel might prove to be a starter at defensive tackle, after all.

There might have been no player more on the spot in this game than McDaniel, an eight-year NFL veteran signed in the offseason with the hope he could replace the departed Alan Branch at the three-technique defensive tackle spot – particularly to serve as an early-down run-stuffer.

McDaniel, though, missed the first two games with a groin injury while younger players such as Jordan Hill filled the void. With Hill out for a few weeks with a biceps injury, McDaniel got the start and helped lead a Seattle defensive effort that was dominating against the run.

Take out three runs by quarterback Vince Young for 39 yards, and Green Bay had just 36 yards on 20 carries.

Packers rookie Eddie Lacy, a second-round pick who had 40 yards on eight carries last week against the Rams, was held to minus-5 on eight attempts against the Seahawks.

Carroll thought there was some definite substance in the stats, saying of McDaniel that “he did flash. They really had a hard time running the football.”

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