By Brady Henderson
Twice on Sunday the Seahawks found themselves sweating out a review, hoping the replay would provide enough evidence to overturn an important call that could have gone either way.
Neither time it did.
“It’s the game of football,” receiver Doug Baldwin said after Seattle’s 17-10 loss to Arizona at CenturyLink Field. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.”
Sometimes it bounces right into the waiting arms of a defender, which is what happened on the Seahawks’ final offensive play. What the ball hit before ricocheting to linebacker Karlos Dansby – who intercepted it to secure the Cardinals’ win – was what the officials were trying to determine when they took another look.
Karlos Dansby’s fourth-quarter interception sealed Arizona’s win over Seattle after officials upheld their initial ruling that the ball bounced off Doug Baldwin’s arm. (AP)
The initial ruling – that the ball bounced off the right arm of a diving Baldwin – was upheld, referee Scott Green saying no replay indisputably showed otherwise.
Baldwin insisted the ball hit the turf.
“I don’t think anybody in the stadium had a better view of it than me,” he said.
Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks challenged a play that would have resulted in a turnover in their favor had it been overturned. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett stripped the ball away from Rashard Mendenhall, but officials ruled initially that the running back was down before fumbling. They upheld that ruling upon review.
“It was a good challenge,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The ball came out, we just don’t know when it did, and they didn’t have a good enough look to change it.”
Arizona retained possession and three plays later took a 9-3 lead with a 26-yard field goal.
Each ruling cost the Seahawks, especially in a game in which they scored just 10 points and managed fewer than 200 yards. But while Baldwin disputed the ruling on the interception, he made it clear that Seattle’s offense had itself to blame.
“We would have loved to have gotten that call, and I believe the ball did hit the ground, but at the same time that’s not the play that determined the game,” he said. “The fact that we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had in front of us as an offense, I think that dictated the game, and the penalties as well. So we’re going to get better at that and we’re not going to worry about the refs.”
Hauschka’s streak ends
Steven Hauschka had made 22 consecutive field-goal attempts before bouncing a 24-yard try off the left upright at the end of the second quarter. The snap from Clint Gresham was high, something Hauschka didn’t mention during a postgame interview, let alone blame for his miss.
“We’re a team out there, and we pride ourselves in that and we succeed as a team and we fail as a team,” Hauschka said, referring to himself, Gresham and holder Jon Ryan. “Things didn’t go right in that moment, and it wasn’t a good operation as a unit out there.”
Linebacker Malcolm Smith’s interception had given Seattle possession at Arizona’s 3-yard line with the score tied at 3. After two runs and an incomplete pass, Seattle lined up for a 19-yard attempt only to be pushed back 5 yards because of a snap infraction on Gresham.
When asked if the penalty affected the ensuing attempt, Hauschka said, “I didn’t feel like it did. We just need to do a better job on that play.”
Hauschka connected from 27 yards out earlier in the game. He’s now 31 of 33 on the season, his only other miss the result of a blocked attempt during Seattle’s Week-5 loss to Indianapolis.
So long to punt-coverage record?
More coverage of Seattle’s Week-16 loss to Arizona at CenturyLink Field.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O’Neil: What We Learned||• O’Neil: Russell Wilson’s first clunker||• The Pete Carroll Show: A ‘frustrating’ day||• Henderson: Defense can’t finish off Cards|
Allowing all of 6 yards on punt returns would constitute a banner day for most coverage units. For the Seahawks, though, that represented nearly a quarter of their season total.
Arizona’s Patrick Peterson gained 6 yards on a first-quarter return, increasing to 25 Seattle’s season total of yards allowed on punt returns. The Seahawks had a chance to beat the NFL record of 22, which was set back in 1967 by the Packers. They still do, technically, but they would need St. Louis to finish next week’s game with negative punt-return yardage.
The Packers’ record came in a 14-game season. The record for a 16-game season belongs to the Falcons, who allowed 49 in 2008.
• LT Russell Okung jogged off the field in the fourth quarter because of an issue with the big toe on his left foot. It’s the same one Okung injured earlier this season – forcing him miss two months – but Carroll noted that he returned to Sunday’s game shortly after leaving.
• CB Richard Sherman intercepted two passes Sunday to give him four over the past two games and eight this season. That puts him in sole possession of the league lead and ties the career high he established last season.
• Prior to Sunday, the Seahawks’ last home loss came in Week 16 of the 2011 season to San Francisco. Sunday’s loss snapped the longest home winning streak in franchise history.
• Rookie RG Michael Bowie started in place of J.R. Sweezy, who missed the game with a concussion. LG Paul McQuistan started ahead of James Carpenter, a change from the past two games.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.