We are now an entire day removed form The Mistake by The Lake. I’m not referring to the city of Cleveland (this time), but rather the offensive (and I do mean offensive) performance by the Seattle Seahawks. Instead of venting my anger, I’m going to try to take a calmer approach.
There are positives to be taken from this game. A great effort from the defense and special teams should not be overlooked. The defense did what they were supposed to do, which is keep a poor offensive team out of the end zone. The Browns only managed two field goals from over 50 yards, with the special teams (or rather, Red Bryant) blocking two field goal attempts. Jon Ryan averaged over fifty yards per punt. Special teams nearly won the game for the Seahawks, except Leon Washington’s return for a touchdown was nullified by a penalty.
That brings me to the officiating. Yes, the officials blew two important calls during the game. One was on Washington’s return and the other was on a sack by SS Kam Chancellor. Both were terrible calls, yet I can see why the flag was thrown on each play. Even though he didn’t make contact with the defender, it certainly appeared as if Kennard Cox pushed the defender down from behind with a block in the back. Cox should have never put himself in that situation. I understand it’s the heat of the moment, and if it were anyone else I would be more forgiving, but Cox takes far more penalties than someone whose main contribution is playing on the return teams should.
Chancellor did not hit Browns QB Colt McCoy in the back with his helmet on the sack. However, given the angle at which he saw the play, I can see why Referee Mike Carey threw the flag. It’s an unfortunate circumstance of a new rule put in place this season. In years past, the referee stood a few yards behind the backs in the center of the field and the umpire stood a few yards past the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball. To prevent potential injury to the umpires and to also prevent offenses from using the umpire to their advantage (e.g., as a pick on a defender like in basketball), the umpire was moved to the offensive backfield with the referee, with each standing by one of the hashmarks rather than the middle of the field. Because of this rule, Carey was standing at an angle that made the sack appear to be an illegal hit. If he had been standing in the middle of the field as in previous years, I doubt he would have thrown the flag.
A side note to Leon Washington – please run hard all the way to the end zone on your returns. You were almost caught by one of the lineman before crossing the goal line. I would have thought you had learned your lesson last year against Carolina when you had an easy touchdown denied when you were chased down from behind by the PUNTER. I may be nitpicking, but it does bother me.
I’ve gone on longer than I should have because I wanted to avoid discussing the offense for as long as possible. It’s true that the Seahawks were missing several key starters. That is no excuse. The only surprise was the back spasms suffered by Marshawn Lynch just before the game. The team knew that Tarvaris Jackson, Max Unger and Zach Miller were unlikely to play in this game. Plus they had an extra week to prepare for this game. To perform so poorly under those circumstances is ridiculous. Blame must be shared by the coaches and the offensive unit. Not being able to score a touchdown with first and goal from the two yard line is unforgivable. If the Seahawks had scored a touchdown like they should have, it would have become an entirely different game.
I can’t talk about the offense any more. It makes me feel a little nauseous, which is how most Seahawks fans must have felt while watching the game.
There is one more positive to be taken from this game. The Seahawks don’t play the Browns again until 2015. I can only hope that that game is played in Qwest – oops, I mean CenturyLink – Field. (Then again, who knows what the name of the stadium will be by then?!) I would prefer that that game isn’t in Cleveland, because the first thing it would do is remind me of The Mistake by The Lake.