That loud bang you just heard was the window slamming on the Seattle Seahawks’ conceit of still being an elite team in the National Football League.
The yelp afterward?
Maybe it fell on Blair Walsh’s fingers. Although Seahawks fans may have wished to target the lower extremities.
As tragic figures go, the Seattle kicker is fast approaching Norwoodian proportions after his, uh, contributions to the half-gainer the Seahawks did from the 10-meter banana peel Sunday afternoon – a 17-14 loss to the Washington Redskins and assorted strangers that was as inexplicable as the wild-and-crazy shootout over Houston the week before.
You remember that one? When coach Pete Carroll grinned and said of his players, “They were swashbuckling out there.”
On Sunday, swash left town. Only buckle remained.
That was evident by halftime, at which point the Seahawks had managed all of two points on a Bobby Wagner sack for a safety and had seen their kicker duck hook three field goal tries and become a one-man Legion of Boo.
Golf development homeowners may want to request the pro shop alert them if Walsh requests a tee time.
When the Seahawks slogged into the locker room at intermission, he stayed behind – presumably to correct his swing, though given Richard Sherman’s propensity for going off on coaches and teammates for his perception of their failures it may have been self-preservation. Walsh thumped practice kicks at one end of the CenturyLink Field turf while they staged pig races at the other. No long distance runner has ever looked so lonely.
It was the same expression Walsh wore two years ago when he kicked for the Minnesota Vikings and shanked a short field goal that allowed the Seahawks to move on in the playoffs. After he was roasted on social media, a classroom of first-graders in suburban Minneapolis sent him buck-up notes.
Hope the post office has extra manpower on his mail route this week.
And yet by the end of Sunday’s hot mess, a kicker with the yips seemed like the least of Seattle’s problems.
But there’s always been something with the Seahawks lately, even as they teetered atop the NFC West standings, which they no longer do. As thrilling as the Houston game was, for example, their impotent running game was cause for Carroll to make it his special priority this week. And Seattle responded with 148 yards.
Except more than half belonged to quarterback Russell Wilson, who is now the team’s leading rusher this season. Naturally, many of his 77 yards were accumulated running for his life as the Redskins bulled and barreled through Seattle’s offensive line, even reinforced as it was by newly acquired Duane Brown. Big Duane appropriated German Ifedi’s No. 76 jersey and, as might have been predicted, there was a leftover false start penalty in it – five of the 65 yards worth the O-line accumulated.
This on top of the two picks Wilson threw, not counting the goal-line slant pass for a two-point conversion that was intercepted. Somehow, that’s still in the playbook after Super Bowl XLIX. The other two-point try went through the hands of tight end Jimmy Graham, who tries to match Ifedi drop-for-hold.
And yet Wilson and the offense put together two whip-crack fourth quarter drives to take the lead, only to see the defense – that is to say, young cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Shaquill Griffin – cough it up on two long passes.
“Turnovers, penalties, getting beat deep – we played against ourselves all day long,” said Carroll, who finally seems as vexed as the fan base by all the flags. “I’m anxious to get it fixed so we can go play against the other team instead of ourselves.”
It’s all “fixable,” Wilson insisted. Except maybe it isn’t.
Brown is a nice patch to the offensive line, but it’s still the youngest in the NFL and hardly befitting of a team with championship pretentions. Other than Doug Baldwin, the receivers are hit-and-miss at getting separation – though they rarely have much time to do so. The running game simply doesn’t command an opponent’s respect.
And no defense that regards itself as a badass outfit the way the Seahawks do can let a team like Washington – missing four of five regulars on the offensive line, two tight ends and its best wide receiver – go 70 yards in 35 seconds and steal one from you at home. Earl Thomas’ hamstring can’t heal fast enough.
At the moment, it’s hard to consider the Seahawks more than mere hangers-on. Their five victories this season? The victims are a collective 13-28.
Wilson and Carroll both pushed the premise that the short week ahead – the Seahawks play Thursday night at Arizona – is a blessing in disguise, if only as mouthwash for this fiasco.
“I like it,” Carroll said. “Let’s go back and play some more.”
They’d better plan on breaking some windows.
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