All black and orange in Seahawks loss to Bengals, 34-12
Backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst started. Tarvaris Jackson finished.
In between, the Seahawks’ hopes of realistically competing for a playoff spot disappeared on the wet turf of CenturyLink Field in a 34-12 meltdown to seasonally clad visiting Cincinnati (black and orange) on Sunday.
Seattle (2-5) lost its second consecutive game and now sits four games behind NFC West division leader San Francisco (6-1).
The Seahawks fell behind 17-3 in the first half Sunday, and didn’t get much help from head coach Pete Carroll and his curious choice of going for it on a fourth-and-2 from the 3 line with 14 seconds remaining in the half.
The Seahawks ran Marshawn Lynch up the middle on an inside draw. Lynch got the first down, but fell a foot short of the end zone. Without a timeout, the Seahawks could not stop the clock and a minor scrum ensued as Seattle tried to line up, without success, to run another play.
So Seattle went into halftime down two touchdowns and with nothing to show for a good drive to end the first half.
“We learned about what happens when a coach gets hormonal and tries to freakin’ jam it down their throat for the touchdown there right at the half,” Carroll said about the play. “That was a mistake. It would have been a good call if we made it. But we didn’t.”
Carroll admitted his choice could have factored into the game because the Seahawks could have been down 17-9 to the Bengals instead of 17-6 heading into the fourth quarter, needing only one score to tie the game.
Of course, the play did not have any actual bearing on the outcome because Cincinnati outscored Seattle 17-6 in the final quarter.
A week after Seattle’s offense failed to move the chains against Cleveland, the Seahawks’ special teams unit once again forgot how to tackle.
The Seahawks allowed 249 return yards, including a 56-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ben Tate, and a 63-yard punt return by Adam Jones that set up a 14-yard touchdown catch by Jerome Simpson.
“That shocks me with the way we’ve been playing and how we’ve been growing,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how that happened. But we’ll figure that out, too.”
After three ineffective series with Whitehurst at the helm, regular starting quarterback Jackson entered the game for Seattle, providing a spark to the Seahawks’ offense.
Jackson, playing in his first game since suffering a strained pectoral muscle against the New York Giants on Oct. 9, completed 21 of 40 passes for 323 yards and an interception that Reggie Nelson returned for a 75-yard touchdown for the final score of the contest.
Jackson said he physically felt fine after the game, but the team is still searching for a way to salvage the season.
“We came out of the bye week and this is not what we pictured – being a 2-5 team,” Jackson said. “Who cares about how young we are – that doesn’t matter. We’re still playing football out there.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437