Texans smack Seahawks, kill playoff hopes
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; The News Tribune
Houston – The Seattle Seahawks sleepwalked through another road defeat, this time getting pounded by the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium, 34-7.
In a season of embarrassing defeats away from Qwest Field, Sunday’s humbling loss was perhaps the worst, as the Texans jumped out to a 24-7 lead at halftime and never looked back.
Consider this: Houston quarterback Matt Schaub completed 24 of 28 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns – in the first half. His 336 yards was the second-highest halftime total for a quarterback this season.
Schaub’s favorite target was receiver Andre Johnson, who finished with 10 receptions for 184 yards and two scores in the first half. Those numbers were career highs for Johnson in a half as well.
Going into the game the Seahawks knew they had to stop Houston’s two playmakers, and they failed miserably.
The Seahawks are 5-8 and officially eliminated from the playoffs.
With three games left, Seattle’s now playing for pride – and from head coach Jim Mora on down, future employment with the team. The search for a new general manager continues. Mora specifically called out his offensive line, saying changes need to be made up front.
“We’re going to find out about people,” Mora said. “We’re going to find out who deserves to be part of the process going forward. And those are the things I’m going to be looking extremely hard at over the next two days with regards to the offensive line, and the next three weeks with regards to the team.”
The Seahawks are 3-12 on the road the last two seasons and have lost the six games on the road this year by an average of 19 points. Seattle has given up an average of 30 points a game on the road this season.
On paper, the two teams appeared evenly matched, but the Texans (6-7) thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball. Seattle’s offense was held to 282 total yards, finishing 1 of 14 on third downs. Of the team’s 63 plays, 15 resulted in a loss.
Defensively, the Seahawks gave up 365 yards through the air and finished with no sacks for the third time this season.
“I’m just kind of at a loss for words,” said Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who finished 24 of 35 for 247 yards and a touchdown but was under pressure most of the day. “It’s just a really bad performance by us today. It’s just going to be one of those weeks for us where it’s uncomfortable and it’s going to be harder than normal and there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny. And it’s probably what we need right now.”
Running back Julius Jones probably summed it up best.
“It’s really a pathetic, pitiful performance.”
Even with the way his team played, Mora did not question the team’s effort.
“The effort is a given,” he said. “You’re supposed to play hard in this game and we did. We had an excellent week of practice. We practiced well; we were ready to go, and we came out and got off to a horrible start again.”
Houston grabbed the lead on the first play from scrimmage, with Johnson racing past Marcus Trufant on a go-route and scoring untouched on a 64-yard play. The Texans scored on their first four possessions in building a 24-0 lead. Meanwhile, Seattle’s offense sputtered with three consecutive three-and-outs to start the game.
Houston actually could have led by more in the opening half, but Seattle defensive tackle Craig Terrill blocked a Kris Brown 26-yard field goal, and Brown missed from 48 yards to end the half.
The Seahawks finally got on the scoreboard with 3:29 left in the second quarter, with tight end John Carlson punctuating a six-play, 84-yard drive by Seattle with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Hasselbeck.
The Texans pushed their lead to 27-7 on a Brown 31-yard field goal with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
The Seahawks stalled again on the ensuing possession, but Trufant intercepted a Schaub pass, giving Seattle the ball at midfield with a chance to cut the lead to 13. However, two plays later Hasselbeck’s pass to the flat intended for Justin Griffith was picked off by Houston safety Bernard Pollard, who returned it 70 yards for a score, putting the game away.
Mora said his team’s loss at Houston is perhaps the low point of his coaching career in Seattle.
“I’m very discouraged right now,” he said. “I’m as discouraged as I’ve been in any game probably in my career. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop fighting, kicking and scratching trying to get better, because we are. We’re going to fight our butts off.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437