Not exactly how I drew it up in my preview, but the Seahawks did win as I predicted (though hardly convincingly). A few things happened as I thought, but more things didn’t. I certainly didn’t expect the ‘Hawks to be so inept throwing the football, and I didn’t expect the opposite from the Texans, who lit it up for 355 yards through the air. In the first half, Matt Schaub showed why he’s a good quarterback. His touchdown pass to Garrett Graham was especially nice. In the second half, he showed why he’s not a great quarterback. Sherman’s pick-six was one of the worst decisions I’ve seen a QB make in some time (though certainly not ever*). Once the play gets blown up you have to have enough sense to just go down and cover up. Force the ‘Hawks to burn a timeout, punt the ball, and play the stout D you’ve been playing most the game. It was a delightfully inexcusable gaffe by Schaub.
But give the Seattle D a lot of credit for making it happen. They read the play-action beautifully. It looked like a Tecmo Super Bowl play when you guess the computer’s call. If you watch Kam Chancellor, he doesn’t even kinda bite on the fake to Foster; he’s straight to Schaub, who acts as if he’d been pre-programmed to throw the ball to Owen Daniels. Richard Sherman does his thing by outmaneuvering Daniels and taking it to the house. And then he does his thing some more by performing a joyous but confusing touchdown dance. (Was he digging up the Seahawks, because they weren’t dead yet? Was he burying the Texans? Was he even shoveling? Whatever it was, I was doing it in my living room with him.)
I won’t go so far as to call this a bad game for the Seahawks, but it certainly raised some concerns. The pass rush was non-existent in the first half. (Although they really stepped it up in crunch time. The cut-in-the-preseason-and-subsequently-brought-back Clinton McDonald had a good game on the interior.) Then there was the dreadful pass protection on the other side of the ball. Apparently playing without three starting offensive linemen, two of whom are Pro Bowlers, against a d-line with the best defensive player in the game can affect the passing game. Huh, go figure. Russell Wilson didn’t look sharp, but he wasn’t missing open throws. He was constantly running for his life. And occasionally running up field. His ass scrambling was basically the entire passing attack. (Well, there was the absurdly clutch, absurdly nice Doug Baldwin toe-tapper, as well.)
Marshawn Lynch had a pretty good game running the ball with the exception of the lost fumble. Although Arian Foster had the better raw numbers, Lynch was the more efficient back, averaging over seven yards a touch. Foster had a very Foster-like 27 for 102 on the ground (3.8 Y/A) and chipped in with 69 more yards and a touchdown through the air. Ben Tate had a very Ben Tate-like 7 for 44 day (6.3 Y/A), but he also had a costly fumble. That turnover was doubly good for the ‘Hawks; it set them up for their second field goal, and it kept the explosive Tate benched for the rest of the game. I mean, Foster wasn’t bad down the stretch, but he didn’t do anything to win the game either.
Overall, this was one of those could’ve-gone-either-way games (duh, overtime). The ‘Hawks caught a break in the personal foul “suplex” call against Kareem Jackson on the game-winning drive. But the offensive pass interference penalty against Jermaine Kearse that negated a touchdown was a ticky-tack call, and the defensive pass interference penalty against Brandon Browner on third down on a ball to Andre Johnson that was five yards out of bounds wasn’t even a ticky-tack call. It was just a bad call. As I mentioned in my last post, the Texans had been living a charmed life when it comes to winning close games. Their luck finally ran out. And it ran out at a good time for the Seahawks and their fans.
*If you look at the NFL on Fox score icon during this clip you’ll notice the 49ers are beating the Seahawks 7-0. Don’t fret, the Seahawks would go on to win 42-27.