In a game that was far closer than the lopsided final score indicated, the Seahawks blew numerous opportunities to defeat a tough Bengals team at home yesterday. The game displayed all of the important qualities of the Seattle Seahawks right now- Both the good and the bad. First... Ugh... The Bad:
-Pete Carroll's Bizarre Decisions
I love Pete Carroll, and I truly believe he is going to lead us to a Super bowl victory someday- But man, did he make some weird decisions yesterday. First there was the decision to hold out an obviously healthy Tarvaris Jackson in favor of Charlie Whitehurst. Then, after it was clear Beef Supreme wasn't playing much better than he had in Cleveland, PC threw T-Jack out there. Jackson was solid, and racked up 300+ yards through the air. However, that leads to this question: If T-Jack was healthy enough to play, why didn't he start? Given the quick TD he led us to in NY, it stands to reason Jackson might have led the offense more effectively in the 1st quarter yesterday than CW did. A productive offensive 1st quarter behind Jackson might have resulted in a victory.
Then there was the debacle at the end of the 1st half- Instead of taking three points, Carroll went for it on 4th down and 2 from the Bengals 3. Even if you agree that going for it was the right call (I don't), the way PC went about it was.. odd. First, he burned our last time out- Which meant that a running play that didn't get into the end zone almost certainly would result in time running out and NO points. What did we do then? We called a running play... that didn't get into the end zone and resulted in no points. The technical term for that entire sequence? A clusterfuck.
It was far too early in the game to go for it out of desperation- A FG would have pulled Seattle to within 17-6, and made the second half play out differently for sure. Beyond that, the decision-making after the decision to go for it was flawed. Carroll owned up to this in the post-game press conference, but it's still troubling. Just like the players, PC needs to be held accountable for his mistakes. Just like the players, PC needs to exercise greater self-discipline.
-Lack of focus and discipline
Yesterday we saw WAY too many dropped passes, penalties, and special teams breakdowns. The good news is that all of those problems are fixable, and to a great extent they are the products of youth and inexperience- But right now this isn't a team that can win games while fucking up that badly and that often.
-The Running Game
Yes, the offensive line is basically still in diapers (so to speak)... but this team cannot win games with a non-existent ground attack. I still think we have a stable of good running backs, but given how young the team is at almost every other position, I'd expect a youth movement in the offensive backfield after this season concludes.
Enough of that negative shit- What was good?
-The Defense and the Twelve Army
Seattle's defense is clearly the best unit the team puts out on the field these days. After allowing 17 points in the 1st half, they tightened up and held Cincy's offense to a lone field goal. They also ramped up the pressure on Andy Dalton and forced him into throwing two interceptions. They didn't play a perfect game by any means, but they did give the offense every opportunity to win the game. The crowd also did its part- I could tell on the CBS broadcast that it was very loud at Seahawks Stadium, and in the 2nd half the Bengals offense looked to be rattled. It's just a damn shame we couldn't capitalize on that.
T-Jack came off the bench and once again showed his quality. Not only is the guy a tough motherfucker, but he once again demonstrated that he's the only actual NFL QB on Seattle's roster. The offense is far from perfect with T-Jack under center, but at least it shows some life- and some ability to move the ball down the field. Our ONLY chance to be competitive over the final 9 games is with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. He's well on his way to EXCEEDING my "play as well as 1999 Jon Kitna" standard in 2011.
The dropped passes REALLY bugged me, but overall I love the weapons we can now roll out in the passing game: Rice, Baldwin, Obo, and Miller are all dangerous as receivers, and I still think BMW can do some serious damage once he gets healthy and builds a rapport with T-Jack.
So where do we stand? It's easier to profess doom and gloom, but there's still way more to like about the direction of the Seahawks than there is to hate. The playoffs seem like a dim possibility, but the fact is that we are only 2 games out of the final NFC Wild Card slot- If they can beat a very vulnerable Dallas team next Sunday, their post-season dreams will survive at least one more week. For now, that's enough for me- I'm not yet ready to go into "let's just hope we see the team show progress" mode. This is a young, but talented team that can rise up and string some wins together... but they need to play (and coach) smart, disciplined football starting NOW, or they are headed for a finish more 1980 than 1990.
What do you think, sirs?