Corbin Smith

Offense Hurt Seattle, Not Controversial Calls

Dec 23, 2013 10:01 PM EST

Before I embark on my tiny rant for the evening, let me set things straight. I'm not one to let people's opinions get to me and I normally could care less when people shoot me negative tweets and post comments. I've received plenty of "hate mail" on Twitter this season while covering Seahawk football, and everyone else in this business deals with similar issues. It's part of the game, so to speak.

But last night and today have provided a rare example where readers have crossed the line. After watching the Seattle Seahawks-Arizona Cardinals game twice in the last 24 hours and breaking down film, I find it borderline insane that many people view two controversial calls from this game as the main reasons that Seattle lost a 17-10 heart-breaker.

Everyone keeps throwing a fit about the final interception thrown by Russell Wilson that brought the game to a brutal end, but while I felt it was the wrong call, fans need to understand that this team simply blew too many opportunities throughout the game to deserve a victory. That one call doesn't change that, and neither does the fumble by Rashard Mendenhall that the officials chose not to overturn earlier in the game. Both could have been potential difference makers, but Seattle still would have had to capitalize on both situations, and the offense played poorly enough yesterday that I'm not overly confident they could have gotten the job done.

If you really understand the game of football and watched this contest unfold, Seattle's "offense" never showed up. Darrell Bevell called his worst game of the entire season, as it seemed like the offense alternated between one or two play action plays and one running play the entire afternoon. Even when Arizona kept knocking away Wilson's deep throws, Seattle stubbornly kept trying to attack the Cardinals down field. The play calling became ridiculously predictable, and I'm pretty confident that Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was one step ahead of Bevell all afternoon.

The Seahawks refused to make adjustments until midway through the 4th quarter, when Bevell finally dialed up a few mid-range pass patterns and suddenly Wilson started to get into a groove. Eventually, he hit Zach Miller for a touchdown to retake the lead 10-9. Unfortunately, the adjustments came way too late, and Arizona managed to put together a touchdown drive of its own to win the game. It's no mystery why Seattle's only touchdown drive looked so different from the rest of the game, as it was refreshing to see the Seahawks actually try a few different plays after exhausting the same three or four plays for most of the contest.

Look, I'm not denying that the interception at the end of the game didn't have a slight impact on the final outcome. It looked pretty obvious to me that Wilson's pass to Doug Baldwin hit the ground and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the football wouldn't have shot 20 feet into the air if it only hit Baldwin's arm. As a die-hard Seahawk fan, I was furious when I heard the verdict and realized the play would stand. If the call would have been reversed, was it possible Wilson could have led a game-tying scoring drive? Sure.

But I'm not going to lean as far as saying that game truly altered the outcome. Seattle would have had to drive well over 70 yards to score a touchdown with only one timeout. Wilson has pulled that off before, so it wouldn't have been unprecedented. But instead of placing all the blame for an ugly loss on one disputable play, I'm going to continue to point the blame towards the offense for scoring a lousy three total points off of four Carson Palmer interceptions.

Again, I will reiterate- when a team intercepts the opposing quarterback four times and scores only three points off those turnovers, that team deserves to get beat. And that's exactly what happened to the Seahawks yesterday. I could maybe give Pete Carroll's team the benefit of the doubt if all of those interceptions had happened deep in Seattle territory, but that's not the case.

I don't know if I've ever seen a more poorly executed possession than the one that followed Malcolm Smith's interception late in the 2nd quarter yesterday. This short drive had everything a fan needs to want to gouge his/her eyes out. The coaches did a terrible time managing the clock, the play calls were beyond predictable, and the execution by the players was nothing short of a disaster.

Starting at the Arizona three yard line, the Seahawks ran two straight run plays with Marshawn Lynch up the gut, and the Cardinals stuffed both plays, forcing Seattle to use its final two timeouts. Knowing that Seattle couldn't stop the clock, the Cardinals prepared for the pass, and Wilson misfired on the 3rd down play. Well, at least the Seahawks would get three easy points before the break, right?...

Wrong. An emphatic wrong. Much like the offense, Steven Hauschka was off yesterday, and he ended up slicing the short field goal off the left goal post. The entire sequence was a microcosm of everything that had gone wrong for the Seahawks all day long. The offense simply couldn't move the football with any consistency and there were far too many mistakes from a normally great special teams unit.

When a team racks up four interceptions, there's no reason why they should lose. But the Seahawks proved yesterday that it can happen, and the two controversial calls that fans are screaming about had little to do with it. It doesn't matter how many turnovers a defense creates if the offense can't capitalize, and Seattle simply didn't get the job done.