A win is a win is a win. Or at least, that’s the cliché.
But this Thursday night game against the Cardinals didn’t feel cliché at all; it felt like the Seahawks got beaten with a lead pipe by Arizona players and referees in tandem, managing to eek out a win before departing from the desert with a consolatory tally in the win box.
Seahawks Lose Sherman
The devastating injury to Richard Sherman cannot be sugarcoated – it’s a colossal loss. The seventh-year pro is the best corner in the league – you can take that to the bank.
But another thing you can take to the bank is Seattle’s CB depth. Cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin, Jeremy Lane, Justin Coleman and Deshawn Shead have played well, and are showing the potential to hold down the fort the rest of the year.
With Sherman struck from the game, the Legion of Boom still balled out. Each of the CBs made great plays on the ball, especially Griffin, who continues to look like a steal of a draft pick. It was nice to see Lane block an extra point, too. If Thursday night is anything to go by, there are still some studs in the L.O.B., even without the stud of them all.
Third Down’s The Charm
Make no mistake, there’s still a lot of work to do on offense. Russell Wilson and Co. need to be better than they were last night, particularly on third down. In that area, they were 3 for 13 (23% success rate). That stat is not going to cut it. And it isn’t exactly clear what the fix is. There are some plays where Wilson takes too long to make throws, and others where there are breakdowns in protection. The run game was not even close to good, which leads to 3rd and 8+ situations.
Assuming Duane Brown can make it back in little time, this offense has earned the benefit of the doubt. The offense has showcased some awesome performances this year, highlighted by a 41-point effort vs. the Texans. It was also good to see Wilson connecting with TE Jimmy Graham for a pair of nice touchdowns. But the inconsistency is holding this team back. The natural inclination is to keep passing the ball, hoping Russell Wilson can do it all on his own- he might be able to. But a running game would be the straw that stirs the drink in Seattle.
With an effective ground game, the Seahawks would see more short-yardage situations. Wilson would then have a plethora of additional options at his disposal. Such conditions could facilitate the most productive offense in the league- it’s that talented. Actually accomplishing that will take some ingenuity from Darrell Bevell, and a uptick in performance from one of the ball-carriers.
Even More Injuries
When starting LT Duane Brown sprains his ankle and that’s not even close to your worst injury, you know it was a bad day. Brown, who played his second game since being acquired from the Texans, has helped solidify pass protection and can only trend Seattle upwards in the run game. If he misses any time, Matt Tobin will likely step in. The talent drop-off between Brown and Tobin is massive.
The Seahawks also lost a key run defender- DT Jarran Reed. According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Reed’s hamstring injury is “worrisome.” The big run-stuffer out of Alabama has been a dynamic contributor this year. In particular, he’s continued to play the run extremely well, but also has added an element of pass rush to his game. Using his impressive size, Reed’s bullrush has really developed. If he is to miss time, a combination of Nazair Jones, Garrison Smith and possibly Sheldon Richardson will look to plug the middle.
In sadly unsurprising news, RB C.J. Prosise had to leave the game with a sprained ankle. The sprain is on the leg opposite of the one he sprained earlier in the season. This information was disheartening for head coach Pete Carroll.
“I can’t even fathom how that happened to this poor kid,” Carroll said. “He’s trying to play football and he just can’t stay out there.”
On the bright side, RB J.D. McKissic has played more than up to par since filling in earlier this year. He will continue to showcase his speed and quickness.
It was also reported that Kam Chancellor has a stinger. No word on the severity yet, but stingers are generally among the more minor nicks players sustain during the season.
The officiating in Thursday’s game was exhibit A of how an inconsistent officiating crew operates. On a play in the first quarter, Wilson’s facemask was pulled during a sack- no penalty was called. On the ensuing Cardinals possession, a similar-looking face-grab (which was legitimate) was called in their favor.
This drive then saw the referees escort the Cardinals offense down the field like an Uber ride to a drunk person. On the possession, Griffin was charged with a totally bogus pass interference. The rookie was penalized covering WR Larry Fitzgerald, essentially for playing his opponent about as well as he could. The ghost-like infraction converted the third down and extended the offense’s efforts. It continued with a ticky-tack illegal use of hands call on Coleman.
For the grand finale, the officials decided to move the Cardinals up the field again when an offensive lineman pushed Richardson into QB Drew Stanton’s legs. The zebras called roughing the passer on the play.
Facing the favorable scenario of only needing to gain 18 yards on their own merit, the Cardinals easily fed TE Jermaine Gresham for the score.
The game should have been much more one-sided. It wasn’t because, as Mike Holmgren once said, the Seahawks had to play the referees as well as the opposing football team.
Near the end of the first half, a clear Andre Ellington catch-and-fumble was changed to incomplete upon further review. It didn’t have much effect on the game’s result – it’s still frustrating. Ellington lost control after a thorough four steps. That absurd decision just added to a bizarre and horrible night for the referees.
If TNF’s display of officiating was anything to go by, there are plenty more reasons to shut down the weekly program than just injuries.
But hey, a win is a win. And sometimes that’s all you can ask for.