Win some. Lose some. And some you simply throw away.
The Seattle Seahawks gave up 16 points to the Washington Redskins in the final 10 minutes to fall, 23-17, in another indictment of their chronic inability to follow the rules.
Sunday brought nine more penalties for 91 yards.
It ended a streak of three games in a row with double-digit penalties, but the 2011 Seahawks (105 penalties) are well on their way to breaking the franchise record of 128 in 1984.
The truest of the postgame quotes came from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “We have to coach better; I need to do a better job with these guys.”
While crediting Carroll for building an aggressive and intense group of players who will take no abuse – even if it’s during the coin toss – he and his staff have been wildly ineffective at stemming the weekly avalanche of penalty flags.
For a while, the argument that the Seahawks were among the youngest teams in the NFL seemed fair and valid. But it’s getting worse. And the recidivism is inexcusable.
“I take it,” Carroll said of the blame for the mistakes.
“The things that we have chosen to do to make the points haven’t hit home ... I’m not getting it done,” Carroll said.
He’s left to examine more extreme measures.
“Sometimes you just have to put other guys in the game,” he said. “If the same guys keep making mistakes, you have to put other guys in. We’ll have to take a look at that.”
The logical reference there is cornerback Brandon Browner, who has been among the most penalized players in the league. The 6-foot-4 Browner plays a physical game, and the benefits include the interception he made against the Redskins.
But on the first drive of the game, the Hawks stopped the Redskins on third-and-11 only to give them an automatic first down when Browner was flagged for holding.
He later interfered while also getting beaten for a fourth-quarter touchdown. And as the Hawks faced their last chance, Browner was penalized for roughness on a punt return that cost them 15 more yards.
Some penalties seemed ridiculous, though. Receiver Golden Tate drew 15 yards for collapsing backward in the end zone after a touchdown catch. Apparently, that’s a violation, but it’s legal to run and jump into the stands after a score in Green Bay.
While a lowlight of last week’s win over St. Louis was the four penalties by right guard Paul McQuistan, this week the issues up front mostly involved right tackle Breno Giacomini, who was called for a chop block and roughing.
“He’s trying to make a good play and trying to make a statement about being tough ... those are aggressive plays and he’s trying to do the right thing, but he hasn’t discerned yet when to and when not to,” Carroll said. “That’s kind of a common theme for us.”
Yes, too common.
In some very definite ways, this team has needed to develop a more combative attitude for several seasons. The willingness and ability to rear up and refuse to be pushed around is a crucial part of success in the NFL. And it might be what becomes a positive hallmark for this team heading into the future.
The Seahawks have shown it in recent weeks, to good effect, for instance, in a win over Baltimore.
We could see before the Redskins game that this would be – as the hockey euphemism goes when more than a dozen teeth have been punched out – a little chippy out there.
It was the first time in hundreds of NFL games I’ve seen that the opposing captains scuffled before the coin flip. The captains were barking at each other, and it got heated enough that a number of players joined in from both sidelines. It was good theater if not good sportsmanship.
But this is pro football not pro wrestling, and there’s a threshold to find between being tough and being incorrigibly knuckleheaded.
It stands as Carroll’s prime challenge.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com