Ugly, but not panic-worthy……yet
by Mike Salk
I said on Friday that I would not push the panic button if and when the Seahawks lost to the Colts, and that remains true. As ugly as the loss was, I’m willing to give this team another week before I declare the sky to be crashing towards earth. But make no mistake, the Seahawks are at a watershed moment for 2009, and possibly beyond.
Beat Jacksonville on Sunday, and the team will be 2-3 with a division battle against Arizona at home standing between them and .500. But fall to the Jags (who looked very impressive this week in a 37-17 win over Tennessee), and the walls of the hole may be too deep to scale, even with a grappling hook! What’s worse, a season that ends early in 2009 could lead to major changes in the near future as ‘rebuilding’ will become a necessity. So, while my finger is off the panic button for another week, the button I’m prepared to push if they lose to Jacksonville is gargantuan.
I’m weary of singling out individuals for criticism or praise after the loss to Indianapolis; the team was fairly horrible across the board. But a few things stuck out.
1. Edgerrin James. Four carries for 16 yards and the tape won’t be used in his Hal of Fame resume reel, but he showed a little more than he has in previous games – there were a couple of nice five yard runs. It was also nice to hear the Indianapolis crowd give him the respect he deserves.
2. TJ Houshmandzadeh. Eight catches for 103 yards are nice numbers. I really liked the catch he made for a first down where he literally tore the ball away from the defender. That’s twice in as many weeks he’s shown the ability and hand strength to just overpower defensive backs with the football in the vicinity.
3. Austin Collie. Oh. Wait. I have to pick all Seahawks here? No fair! That catch he made in the end zone was awesome! Oh well, if you have another Seahawk offensive player that should have made this list, by all means leave a comment below…
1.Ray Willis. Unimpressive performance from the starting right tackle. In addition to Robert Mathis doing his thing virtually unimpeded, Willis was called for two key holding penalties that sabotaged drives. The first one negated a long pass to John Carlson that would have set up first down at the 16 yard line, but instead forced the team out of field goal range. The second took them from the 3-yard line to the 19, and forced a field goal instead of a potential touchdown that could have kept this one closer longer. Throw in a missed block on a Seneca Wallace rollout which led to a loss of yardage, and Willis had himself a bad day.
2.Seneca Wallace. He wasn’t that bad, but he wasn’t good enough either. 33 for 45. 257 yards. 1 TD, 0 INT. A QB rating of 94.4. Against a normal offense, those numbers might get the job done. But when Peyton Manning is doing his thing, you need even more from your own quarterback, and he just didn’t have it. He overthrew burner Deon Butler on a go route on the second series which could have changed the complexion of the game. Later, he fumbled twice in the pocket. That pretty much killed any chance of getting back into the game when the Colts offense was in brief hibernation.
3.Julius Jones. As good as he was last week, the team needed him to step up today and the 2.3 average wasn’t enough. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of running room for him, but he makes the list as a figurehead for the entire running game.
I refuse to pick out individuals here. I tried, but just couldn’t do it. Yeah, Ken Lucas had a nice pick, but the game was already out of reach. Same for Nick Reed’s pressures late in the game. Nice to see Lofa Tatupu return with 11 tackles as well.
But the defense was atrocious throughout this game. They failed to get pressure on Manning without bringing extra rushers. And when they blitzed, Manning consistently found the open man. There were times I honestly paused the game to count defenders because I thought they only had 8 or 9 on the field! How many times did Manning just heave one up to a receiver who had no one within 10 yards of him? Very irritating to watch.
The first drive for the Colts resulted in a touchdown. Go back and rewatch it: every single play was a win for the Colts offense. Every one. Other than the 1-yard TD run for Donald Brown, only one other play was for less than four yards, and it was a first down run. They gained (in order): 17, 3, 5, 10, 25, 5, 6, 4,4,1. Wow. That is dominance.