It was ugly. There is no other word that would be a better descripter than that. Ugly. Ugly like a Raiders fan beauty contest.
The story of the game from the Seahawks side of the ball was the complete and unbelievable lack of luck and dropped passes. It really couldn’t be simpler than that. Every bounce that could go Oakland’s way did. Every pass Matt Hasselbeck threw seemed to go off the fingertips.
Two examples should suffice, although there were so many more. Hasselbeck threw deep to the right to Deon Butler. The ball was tipped by the Raiders’ corner Stanford Routt. Butler made a huge stretch to try and make the catch. He got it in his hands but the impact with the ground knocked the ball straight up. Oakland safety Tyvon Branch plucked it out of the air.
How about the Oakland version of the Immaculate Reception? Oakland QB Jason Campbell throws a quick slant to the slot receiver. He was never identified, and I can’t tell from the replay who the intended receiver is, but the ball ricochets off his thigh into the air. Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford has a shot but bobbles the ball into the hands of running back Michael Bush who rumbles for 60 yards. Seriously, it was that crazy a play; it will be shown on highlight films for the rest of the NFL’s life.
The whole game was like that. Despite the statistics looking like Oakland dominated, and announcer John Lynch trying hard to make it sound that way, the real story is a few big plays, dropped passes, and stupid mistakes. The game was close until late when the complete lack of offense by the Seahawks combined with the time on the field for the Seahawks defense
1. Leon Washington – Returning to the place he broke his leg, Washington ran back kickoffs and one punt with abandon and looked dangerous every time he touched the ball when he was put in as running back late in the game. I am a big Justin Forsett fan, but I’m starting to think that a Washington and Marshawn Lynch combination would be a better one than a Lynch/Forsett combo.
2. Defense – Despite giving up 33 points and over 500 yards to the Raiders, it could have been a lot worse. Most of those yards were gathered on a few plays and most of those happened late in the game. Darren McFadden ran for 111 yards but 49 of those were on one run.
3. Lawyer Milloy – You’re right. I am really reaching for a third good here.
1. Golden Tate – On the only big play Tate made, a nice catch and move to gain 22 yards, the play was called back because Tate was penalized for not lining up properly. I like Tate, I think he’s got amazing potential, but in this game he showed how far he has yet to go.
2. Michael Williams – Getting 21 catches in two games, I was excited to see how Williams did against the aggressive bump and run style of the Raiders cornerbacks. Now I know. One catch for 27 yards. Williams was pouting on the side line and showing a regression to the form that found him out of football after being a first round draft pick. The BMW turned into a Yugo in Oakland.
3. Injuries – Red Bryant, Colin Cole, Tyler Polumbus, Golden Tate. The beat goes on for Seattle. Supposedly Mike Williams hurt his knee, but I feel like it might have been more his ego than his knee that was hurt.
4. Olindo Mare – Maker of over a year’s worth of field goals, over 30 straight, Mare picked an awful time to miss. The Seahawks needed his foot to stay in the game early and he responded with two misses. Mare, you’re still a stud kicker but this was an awful trick to pull.
1. Drops – You can’t blame Hasselbeck for this one. Nor can you blame Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates. The right plays were called; the passes were put in the right places. Every single one of them seemed to end up on the ground off the tips of a Seahawks receiver fingers.
2. Deon Butler – He gave his best effort, I do not doubt that at all, but his best was not good enough. If anything, Butler was less than useless in Oakland. The flashes are still there. I’m a firm believer that if the ball hits you in the hands, you have to make the catch. Too many balls hit Butler’s hands but ended up on the turf.
3. Penalties – It wasn’t the number of penalties. No, once again it was when they occurred that caused the problems. A false start here, a holding there, every time something good happened for the Seahawks, a yellow handkerchief brought them back to earth.
4. Offensive Line – The O-Line was just plain offensive. The Raiders D-line is good but there is no way the Seahawks should have gotten pushed around like this. I don’t know how to fix it. Two sacks in the first three plays, eight sacks overall, less than 20 yards rushing, the numbers tell the whole story here. It’s the main problem with the Seahawks right now and this ride will be over quickly if something isn’t done.
The Raiders are in no way 30 points better than Seattle. Oakland did play well; they executed their game plan and, when execution let them down, the football gods blessed them with the lucky bounce. The Raiders got the treats while Seattle sucked down the tricks.
The question now is how the Seahawks respond to the beat down. The NY Giants are coming to town on Sunday. If Seattle is still showing the effects, this could get ugly fast. I believe Seattle will bounce back. It’s a question of cleaning up the mistakes and catching the damn ball more than players not performing. Except Mike Williams, of course. He had better get that chip off of his shoulder and prove that the games against Chicago and Arizona were not mirages. Otherwise, he’ll be out of the league again before he knows it.
I’m nervous about Sunday. I want to believe the Seahawks are getting better each week. I want to believe things will improve. Are they though? That’s a question that will only be answered on the field.
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