It was a quiet and pretty much empty locker room that we walked into after Seattle’s 6-3 loss to Cleveland, with a few players still left milling around that had not hustled out to catch the bus to the airport
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll obviously felt his team let one get away.
“We just couldn’t get enough done to get a win,” Carroll said. “We left the margin too close. We thought we could do more than this, particularly on offense. But it was just one of those games where it was so close, anything could have made a difference. And it did. It changed it. … It’s a very difficult loss in that regard. The guys took it hard, real hard.”
The Seahawks now sit at 2-4, three games behind idle San Francisco. And likely if they make a late run and don’t get into the playoffs, the Seahawks will look at this game as one that perhaps sealed their fate.
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Adding to that feeling is that fact that Seattle suffered some tough injuries. Cornerback Walter Thurmond suffered the most significant one. He has a cracked fibula and is done for the year. Safety Kam Chancellor suffered a bruised knee, and Marshawn Lynch had back spasms that acted up during pre-game workouts and his back locked up.
“He’s had an ongoing something or other with his back since he arrived with us,” Carroll said about Lynch “But today is 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.”
The most glaring reason for Seattle’s loss was the play of the offense. They totaled only 137 yards. Cleveland had a 42:56 to 17:04 advantage in time of possession, and ran 84 plays to Seattle’s 50
Charlie Whitehurst’s first start of the season couldn’t have gone any worse. He finished 12 of 30 for 97 yards and an interception. He also lost a fumble on a sack. Whitehurst was sacked three times, and finished with a 35.0 passer rating. His performance likely brought to a close any question of a quarterback controversy in Seattle.
Whitehurst said he felt prepared heading into the game, and that Cleveland didn’t do anything significantly different that Seattle hadn’t already seen on tape.
“I’m extremely disappointed, for sure,” Whitehurst said. “Like I said before, I know we were in it really until the end – until it was over. So at the end is when the disappointment kind of hits you that we lost a football game that was absolutely there to take.”
Carroll had this to say when asked if he was disappointed with Whitehurst’s performance: ““I don’t know if I’d be disappointed. He went out and did the best he could. We need to see what happened a little bit more clearly about where we were open, did we have opportunities to throw the ball. Was the pressure more of a factor than we thought – all of that stuff.”
Officials play a role: I thought several calls by the officials were questionable today. But the two that were blatant in my opinion were the phantom block in the back by Kennard Cox that erased an 81-yard punt return by Leon Washington, and the unnecessary roughness call on Chancellor’s sack of Colt McCoy, which gave Cleveland a new set of downs.
The Seahawks ended up getting past the personal foul call when Red Bryant blocked Phil Dawson’s 48-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter, one of two blocked field goals by Bryant on the day.
But the penalty on the punt return erased seven points because Whitehurst threw an interception to Cleveland cornerback Sheldon Brown on an under throw to Sidney Rice.
“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.”
“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 his quarterback in on Sunday after not practicing most of the week. Carroll said there’s a good chance that Jackson’s played 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.”
* The Seahawks effort on third down told the story today. Seattle finished 2 of 12 (17 percent) on third down offensively, and allowed Cleveland’s offense to convert 12 of 24 (50 percent) on third down.
* The Seahawks allowed Cleveland to rush for 141 yards. Montario Hardesty finished with 95 yards on 33 carries. Colt McCoy had 31 yards on eight carries.
* The Seahawks again showed their youth with unforced errors, finishing with eight accepted penalties for 68 yards.
* David Hawthorne led Seattle with 11 combined tackles. He also had a sack and two tackles for a loss, an interception and a pass deflection.
* The Seahawks finished with five sacks on the day. Chris Clemons led the Seahawks with two, and now has six sacks on the year.