Monday, September 15, 2014

Can't Get Right: Seahawks 21 @ Chargers 30

The Seattle Seahawks suffered their first meaningful loss since winning the Super Bowl and, boy, does it hurt.

The Chargers, a playoff team last season, looked extremely sharp and well prepared.  They didn't overpower the Seahawks by any means--- hell, the Seahawks looked like they were going to wake up and put the game away at any moment. Alas, that moment never came.

There were a lot of factors that contributed to this loss.  Just looking at the box score, you could easily point to Marshawn Lynch's measly 6 carries to being a factor. At one point early in the broadcast, there was speculation that perhaps Lynch was injured because of his absence from the field, but Carroll cleared that up with the sideline reporter by saying "We can't give him the ball if the defense can't get off the field."

The Seahawks simply had no answer for the future Hall of Fame tight end, Antonio Gates.  Kam Chancellor, KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner were all burned at one point or another by the former college basketball standout. Gates finished the game with all 3 of Phillip Rivers touchdowns and some crucial first down conversions.

The heat may have been a factor.  It was reported that it was as hot as 120 degrees in certain spots on the field.  Seattle was forced to wear their home blue jerseys which had to draw in the heat more than their usual white road uniforms.  Nevertheless, you can't hide behind that excuse.

San Diego dominated the Seahawks in time of possession throughout the game.  They systematically took advantage of the injuries in Seattle's secondary by picking them apart with dink-and-dunk passes and short but effective runs. Seattle couldn't adjust and their offense never made up for the lost time.

Mistakes plagued the Seahawks on both sides of the ball and certainly had an affect on the outcome. Zach Miller had 3 costly mistake that were the only reason his name was mentioned during the game's broadcast. Percy Harvin coughed up the ball on a kick return which completely killed any momentum the Seahawks may have had.  Ryan Matthews had 2 fumbles that could've swung things the other direction, but they were both retained by San Diego. Bruce Irvin added a stupid late hit penalty late in the game.

There was some controversy surrounding the 51-yard touchdown run by Percy Harvin in the first half.  The replay showed that he may have stepped out after the last defender dove at him.  Deion Sanders argued that his heel never went down out of bounds, and since the original ruling was a touchdown, they would've needed conclusive evidence to overturn the call. Whether it was conclusive or not was irrelevant the instant the PAT was kicked, but the broadcast crew hoped with all their might that the Seahawks would pull this win out so that it would be a controversy-- but it ultimately had no impact on the game outcome.

This was a win Seattle should've had. They were the better team and they had opportunities but they were all squandered. They might be coming home this weekend but it's not going to get any easier with the defending AFC Champions coming into town.  You have to hope that this loss will motivate them.

Judging from the preseason matchup against Denver, I expect them to use same high-efficiency, dink-and-dunk strategy employed by the Chargers yesterday.  Seattle must revert back to their mantra "If we Man up, we Stand up" if they want to put an abrupt end to that exploitation of their overly aggressive, high-flying defense.

The Seahawks need to get Marshawn Lynch established early and often while mixing in a few shots down field and trick plays-- none of these were utilized Sunday.  As much as every game matters, this loss is still just one game. Maybe Seattle needed this reminder that teams are going to get up for them every week.  The Super Bowl rematch is going down at CenturyLink Field next week.

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