By Brady Henderson
Missed calls and missed opportunities.
That was the theme of Pete Carroll’s discussion with Brock and Salk on Monday, a day after losing 6-3 to the Browns in a game that featured some questionable officiating and inept offense from the Seahawks.
Carroll was reluctant to make any definitive statements on the officiating after the game, telling reporters that he would have to see the replays first. While he chose his words carefully on Monday, it was clear that he disagreed with a few of the calls.
Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown intercepted a third-quarter pass intended for Sidney Rice, ending one of the Seahawks’ better scoring chances. (AP)
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “It’s very clear. I think you can see what happened.”
Kam Chancellor was flagged for an illegal hit during his sack of Colt McCoy late in the first quarter. Instead of a 10-yard loss and a fourth down, Cleveland got 15 yards and a fresh set of downs.
Referee Mike Carey flagged Chancellor for the hit, deeming that he led with his head. Replays showed that his helmet appeared to merely glance McCoy’s back.
“It’s a perfect play,” Carroll said. “He did exactly what he shoulda. He respected the quarterback. He respected the rules. His head slid to the side and he made the sack. It was a beautiful play. I want him to do it exactly the same way next chance we get.”
That penalty wasn’t terribly costly as the drive ended with the first of Red Bryant’s two blocked field goals. The Seahawks weren’t as fortunate on two other plays.
They appeared to finally find the end zone when Leon Washington returned a third-quarter punt 81 yards for a touchdown, but the play was negated by a penalty for an illegal block in the back on Kennard Cox. Replays showed Cox making minimal contact with Cleveland’s James Dockery.
On the next play, Charlie Whitehurst looked deep down the left sideline for Sidney Rice, but the pass was underthrown and intercepted by Sheldon Brown. Defenders are often called for pass interference when making a similar amount of contact with receivers as Brown did with Rice. No flag was thrown.
“Should you be upset? Should you be mad? Yeah, we all are,” Carroll said. “But … you have to understand that that’s part of the game, and that you can’t allow that to be the factor, the issue that decides the football game. We have a lot of chances. There was a lot of opportunities to win that football game going away easily, without any big, substantial things happening.”
One of those opportunities came not long after the interception.
The Seahawks forced a three-and-out on Cleveland’s next possession and took over at their own 38. Two Washington carries gained 15 yards before Whitehurst rolled to his right and saw a wide-open Rice downfield. An accurate throw could have meant a touchdown, but the pass carried Rice toward the sideline and he could only gain a few yards before his momentum took him out of bounds.
A facemask penalty on Cleveland gave the Seahawks first-and-goal from the Browns 2, but they would settle for a tying field goal after a Justin Forsett run for no gain and two incompletions.
Carroll was careful not to pin too much blame on Whitehurst, noting the team’s three dropped passes and two false start penalties. But he said there were some off-target throws and some plays where Whitehurst didn’t see an open receiver, including one play in which he never saw Mike Williams open for what would have been a touchdown.
“Talking with Charlie, he felt horrible about it,” Carroll said. “His opportunities were there and he didn’t make the most of them.”
Jackson almost played
Carroll said Tarvaris Jackson was close to playing on Sunday after throwing during warm-ups, but he decided to keep the quarterback on the sideline in order to give his pectoral injury more time to heal.
“We looked at each other and talked about it in pregame, feeling like if we waited another week he might have a chance to be close to full speed. I think that’s a challenge still; we’re going to have to go through the week and find out how he does,” Carroll said. “But he’s amazing about getting himself ready and pushing himself and would have gone if we called on him yesterday.”
Carroll said Jackson will practice this week but his throwing will be scaled back.