In Week 1, the Seahawks committed nine penalties against the Panthers but were able to squeak out a 10 a.m. road win so nobody worried. After several weeks of whistles and yellow flags, the Seahawks committed eight penalties against the Buccaneers but they were able to get an overtime win so nobody worried. And then, after several more flag tosses, Seattle entered their game with the 49ers and committed nine penalties. Unfortunately, this was the game where Seattle couldn’t afford to be excessively penalized. The end result? The 49ers won 19-17.
Honestly, the Seahawks have been racking up penalties since the beginning of the preseason. However, because they have been winning it’s been easy to overlook the potential consequences of their problems with the guys in black and white.
Well, here’s the deal. The Seahawks currently have committed 104 penalties for a total of 966 yards which is 2nd only to Tampa Bay, who’s committed 106 penalties for 1,000 yards. Just to put that into perspective, the Miami Dolphins have committed 55 penalties for a total of 502 yards to this point in the season. That’s right, the Dolphins have nearly half as many penalties and penalty yards as the Seahawks. That doesn’t exactly sound like championship football.
It’s tough to find many reasons to complain about a team that is 11-2 but the Seahawks can’t afford to ignore their penalty issues anymore. In that respect, losing to the 49ers might be the best thing for the Seahawks at this point. It may force them to pay more attention to the small details that can have a major impact on a games outcome. Sometimes one play or penalty can decide the game (just ask Frank Gore about his 51-yard run last Sunday).
At some point in the playoffs the Seahawks will likely find themselves in another close battle similar to the one they played against the 49ers. In those games, it’s usually what a team doesn’t do that makes the difference. Avoiding turnovers and especially penalties will likely be the key to Seattle’s chances in January and hopefully Febuary.
So after nearly an entire season of trying to fix their obsession with yellow handkerchiefs, the Seahawks are running out of time before the playoffs start. Their chance to right the ship begins at Met Life Stadium on Sunday. If they can start to limit their penalties there’s a good chance they will make a second trip to Met Life Stadium this season for Super Bowl XLVIII.