Injuries, refs make a tough day worse
CLEVELAND – Injuries played a significant role in the Seattle Seahawks’ struggles on offense.
Going into Sunday’s game at Cleveland, Seattle already had three starters out – quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (strained pectoral), center Max Unger (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (head/neck).
And running back Marshawn Lynch was a late addition to the injury report. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Lynch had trouble during warm-ups before the game with his lower back locking up.
Lynch came out to the field in uniform, but his back never loosened up enough for him to play.
“He’s had an ongoing something or other with his back since he arrived with us,” Carroll said about Lynch. “But today it just came up right before game time, and he just couldn’t get loose, couldn’t get going. So we tried to work him the whole game, and keep him going.
“Early in the third quarter he was about ready to take a shot at going after it, but he had sat too long.”
Lynch had his best game running the ball two weeks ago against the New York Giants, finishing with 98 yards on 12 carries and a score. Because Cleveland came in giving up 129 yards of rushing per contest, the Seahawks were planning to make him a focal point of the offense.
“It’s tough,” Seattle quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. “He’s our starting tailback. We didn’t throw it very well. And we didn’t run it very well, either. … We’re confident with whoever is in there, but Marshawn is kind of our guy there.”
The Seahawks also suffered some significant injuries during the game. Cornerback Walter Thurmond cracked a fibula tangling with safety Earl Thomas as they defended a deep pass late in the second quarter to Cleveland receiver Greg Little. Thurmond is done for the year. Safety Kam Chancellor suffered a bruised knee in the third quarter and did not play the rest of the game.
OFFICIALS PLAY A ROLE
The officials had about as good as day as the Seahawks, with several questionable calls.
Two of the most blatant were a phantom block in the back called on defensive back Kennard Cox that erased an 81-yard punt return for touchdown by Leon Washington in the third quarter, and an unnecessary roughness call on Kam Chancellor’s sack of Colt McCoy, which gave Cleveland a new set of downs in the first half.
The Seahawks ended up surviving the personal foul call when defensive end Red Bryant blocked Phil Dawson’s 48-yard field goal attempt, one of two blocked field goals by Bryant on the day.
But the penalty on the punt return erased six points. Then Whitehurst threw an interception to Cleveland cornerback Sheldon Brown on an underthrown pass to Sidney Rice one play later.
“I haven’t seen the TV copy yet,” Washington said. “I’d be interested to see it, so I can see what actually happened on the play. But with an opportunity like that, you’ve got to take advantage of it, especially in a close game like this.”
Carroll chose to be diplomatic about the officials.
“When a game is this close, a call can make a difference,” Carroll said about the calls. “And whether they did or not, we’ll see the film and take a look. I have my information now. The punt return, that’s a touchdown play way after the fact here it comes. And they saw something.
“Whether it’s legit or not, I don’t know. But in this game, those calls were magnified. And they played a big role in the football game. I kind of hope they were right, to tell you the truth. I hope they were right, and they made the right choices on those things because it’s pretty hard to live with otherwise.”
T-JACK ALMOST READY
Seattle starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw the ball pretty well during warm-ups before the game, but ultimately Carroll decided against putting in his quarterback Sunday after not practicing most of the week. Carroll said there’s a good chance that Jackson will play next week against Cincinnati at home.
“He threw the ball very well under the circumstances, but he’s not 100 percent,” Carroll said. “And he was going to have to say, ‘I can go. I can do it. I don’t feel it.’ And really give us a real positive on it. It’s really up to him right now because he’s the one that’s feeling it. But we thought if he doesn’t go today, that he’ll have a chance to go next week. And if he did go, we didn’t know what would happen.”
Jackson, receiver Kris Durham, cornerback Byron Maxwell, Unger, Miller, offensive tackle Jarriel King and defensive tackle Al Woods were inactive for Seattle on Sunday. ... Seahawks again showed their youth with unforced errors, finishing with eight accepted penalties for 68 yards. ... The Seahawks finished with five sacks on the day. Defensive end Chris Clemons led with two, and has six sacks on the year. ... Seattle allowed Cleveland to rush for 141 yards. Montario Hardesty finished with 95 yards on a career-high 33 carries. Colt McCoy had 31 yards on eight carries.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks