An Agonizing Defeat


In the aftermath of today’s crushing 23-17 loss to the Washington Redskins, it’s becoming evident that the Seattle Seahawks are a team that can’t stand prosperity.  Winning this game would have given the Seahawks their first three game winning streak in four seasons.  Despite being badly outplayed in the first half, the game was tied at seven.  The Seahawks competed like they have for most of the season and gritted their way to a 17-7 lead, only to see themselves collapse on both sides of the ball and fall to a 4-7 record.

This game reminded me of a game against the St. Louis Rams in Qwest Field in October 2004, where the Seahawks blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead and lost the game in overtime.  It was my first season as a Seahawks season ticket holder.  The empty feeling I had after that game is almost exactly what I’m feeling right now.  Today’s outcome is disappointing on so many levels.

I felt the team was making significant progress this season, but it seems that is an overestimation.  There is progress, but a good team wins this game, and the Seahawks just aren’t a good team.  There were opportunities to win this game on both sides of the ball, but the Seahawks failed in every respect.

Seattle took a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter after a 12-play, 88-yard touchdown drive that took 5:43 off the clock.  Those are the kind of drives that help win football games.  However, the Seahawks failed to get a first down for the rest of the game, going three and out on their last four possessions.  Crucial penalties helped cripple the offense down the stretch.

The defense, despite giving up lots of yardage, held the Redskins to seven points through three quarters.  Yet the defense allowed Washington to score touchdowns on consecutive drives to take control of the game.  In less than five minutes, the Seahawks went from being up ten points to trailing by three.  The eventual winning touchdown came on a 3rd and 19 situation.

The referees missed an important pass interference penalty on Washington safety LaRon Landry that would have given Seattle an important first down, but the Seahawks had other opportunities to pull the game out and failed miserably.  The game wasn’t lost on one missed call; it was lost due to failure of execution by the offense, defense and special teams.  A total team effort in the negative sense.

In a season that’s been filled with highs and lows, sometimes during the same game, this loss represents another devastating low.  These things are to be expected with such a young football team.  The Seahawks don’t have much time to dwell on this game as the Philadelphia Eagles come into Seattle on Thursday.  That could be a good thing.

Head Coach Pete Carroll has a decision that he needs to make now that will have ramifications for the franchise for years to come.  I’ll discuss that decision in my next column.