By Brady Henderson
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks call it “Tell the Truth Monday,” the day of the week in which they cut through the noise and determine what really happened the day before.
So while Sunday’s 34-28 loss to the Colts included a handful of calls that were questionable at best and downright awful at worst, Carroll said the reality is that the Seahawks were hurt more by their own mistakes than those that might have been made by the officials.
“We have a real strong [belief] that we go by that we only concern ourselves with the things that we can control, and we can’t control the way they call their calls, so to spend energy on that and to spend a lot of time and remorse and all that, it doesn’t do you any good,” Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” on Monday. “There’s nothing you can do about it. I want to spend our focus on the things that we can do right and we can do well and that can change the game, and there’s a bunch of those.”
There certainly were Sunday, a day in which Seattle had a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, struggled on third down on both sides of the ball, gave up a pair of long touchdown passes and allowed Indianapolis to score on its final three possessions.
Those miscues might have ultimately been what did the Seahawks in, but a few calls that didn’t go their way certainly didn’t do them any favors.
The first was the blocked punt in the first quarter that resulted in a Seahawks safety instead of a touchdown after officials ruled that Jeron Johnson didn’t have possession of the ball before sliding out of the back of the end zone. Carroll and Johnson disagreed, telling reporters after the game that the call should have been reversed upon review. It wasn’t, and the five-point swing on that ruling was only magnified when Seattle ended up losing the game by six points.
The second call was much less costly but arguably the most egregious, as wide receiver Golden Tate was called for an offensive pass interference penalty that negated a long reception. Replays showed that while Tate gained some last-second separation from the defender, it wasn’t because he pushed off.
And while that call didn’t hurt the Seahawks considering they still found the end zone on that possession, the same can’t be said for a pair of defensive pass interference penalties that went against Seattle later in the game. The Colts twice needed more than 20 yards to convert on third down, and penalties on cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman extended drives that resulted in 10 Indianapolis points. Sherman’s penalty came on the drive in which Indianapolis scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it was the call that went against Browner that Carroll mentioned Monday.
“The two penalties on third downs were really costly as well, particularly the one where we had them backed up,” he said. “That was just a bad situation for us. We jump offsides, they chuck it because we jump offsides, Brandon reaches out and bones the guy a little bit with his elbow. [He] didn’t have to. Those are things that didn’t have to happen.”
Seattle was awarded a safety instead of a touchdown on a blocked punt that Jeron Johnson (32) tried to recover in the end zone, which was one of a handful of questionable calls that didn’t go the Seahawks’ way. (AP) | More photos
Those two plays helped quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts convert seven of their 12 third-down chances. The Seahawks were even worse at sustaining their own drives than stopping Indianapolis’, converting just two of 12 times on third down and one of three on fourth down.
Seattle gave up 73- and 29-yard touchdown passes to Indianapolis’ T.Y. Hilton, uncharacteristic mistakes for a defense that prides itself on not allowing big plays and one that has what’s unanimously considered the league’s best secondary.
Carroll said the longer of the two was the result of blown coverage, with Hilton getting behind Sherman and safety Earl Thomas for the Colts’ first score.
“We misread what was going on and we should have had a real easy zone concept that took care of it and we didn’t get back there,” he said. “We got caught up and you make a mistake and they took advantage of it. That’s what their quarterback and their receiver was capable of doing and he did it a couple times and those were huge, costly plays in the game.”
Browner was in coverage on Hilton’s second touchdown, which cut Seattle’s lead to two points in the third quarter. The Colts scored the next two times they had the ball, adding up to 17 points over their final three possessions of the game. That was reversal of fortunes for a defense that didn’t allow a single point in the second halves of Seattle’s first two road games.
“We really gave that game to them, from the way we would look at it,” Carroll said. “They were there to take it, they did a great job, they get all the credit, but there was plays in there that we make normally that we can count on that doesn’t allow that to happen.”
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.