Monday, August 22, 2011

Curry loses his cool, as Seahawks fall to Vikings 20-7

By Wyatt

The Seahawks lost their second preseason game 20-7 against the Vikings in Seattle. For the most part, there wasn’t a whole lot to like in this game. The Seahawks pretty much gave the game away. So let’s do a quick recap and then get deeper into what actually went wrong.

The Vikings scored late in the first quarter on an interception from Tarvaris Jackson. The pass was thrown perfectly, and the intended receiver, Golden Tate, should have come down with it, but instead he tipped it. Then a Vikings DB caught it and ran it back for a touchdown. Not Jackson’s fault at all. The Vikings would get two more field goals in the half to go up 13-0 at the end of two.

Charlie Whitehurst came into the game with about 8 minutes left in the third with a chance to get within a touchdown of the Vikings. He did just that. In the drive, he went 10-for-11 passing, which was good for 79 yards and a touchdown. That made the score 13-7 with pretty much all of the fourth quarter left.

On the next drive, Emmanuel Arceneaux got a nice pass from Joe Webb, and looked like he was going to score, but Josh Pinkard had other plans. At the five yard line, he punched the ball out of Arceneaux’s hands into the endzone for a touchback giving the Seahawks the ball at the 20 yard line.

Things were looking pretty good to get the go ahead touchdown until Patrick Williams dropped a pass on a third-and-7 at the Minnesota 47, which pretty much ended the game for the Seahawks. The Vikings scored again late in the fourth to put the nail in the coffin.

Now let’s break down what went wrong. First off, the quarterbacks. Looking purely at Tarvaris Jackson’s stats does not tell the story of his game. He was 11-for-21, with 75 yards and 1 interception. I already talked about the interception that wasn’t his fault. Now, it may look like he wasn’t all that efficient in his passing, but in reality, he had no time to do anything. While he ended up only getting sacked one time, he got hit many more times than that. The offensive line did a HORRIBLE job of blocking for him. You can tell me all you want that he’s not a good passer and all that, but what we saw Saturday night wasn’t a true gauge of his skills. If he had adequate time to actually go through his options and make a pass without having to rush it, I think he would’ve been much better. Despite the line not giving him any time, Jackson showed once again that he’s a very mobile QB and can run pretty well. If Matt Hasselbeck was still our QB, he would’ve gotten pounded many more times than Jackson did.

In addition, while Jackson again wasn’t able to lead the Seahawks to any points, this again wasn’t completely his fault. They had a 1st-and-goal at the Vikings 2-yard line, and proceeded to have Justin Forsett, the smallest running back on the team, run the ball four straight times and get stuffed every time. So if they had let someone else run the ball or even went for a pass, they might have scored and Jackson could have been shown as actually leading them to some points.

Just like Jackson, looking purely at Whitehurst’s stats does not tell the whole story. He was 14-for-19, with 97 yards and 1 TD. Just looking at those stats, you'd think that he had an really good game. While I will say that he looked on that touchdown drive, there's a pretty big caveat there. He was playing against the Vikings backup defense at that point. So it's not all that impressive when looking at it in that light. Some people out there, including former Seahawks safety Lawyer Milloy, who took his voice to twitter, were taking his performance as evidence that he should be the starting QB. I just don't see it.

At this point, I'm still pretty confident that Jackson will be good enough to keep the team afloat this season. As I've said before, he's definitely not the Seahawks' QB of the future, he's just a temporary remedy for our murky QB situation. Look for him to get better in the coming weeks once the line can actually block for him.

I mentioned it above, but the offensive line was so bad in this game. It seemed as if they couldn't block anyone out. Jackson had linebackers and defensive ends coming at him left and right all night. This is a big problem that needs to be fixed before the season opener on September 11. Hopefully this has something to do with the absence of Russell Okung because then it can be rectified upon his return.

Looking at guys on offense aside from the quarterbacks and the line, there were some bright spots, however:
Mike Williams played his first game of the preseason and while he only had one catch, it was a nice one for 17 yards that set up that goal line situation that failed horribly.

We got our first look at rookie Kris Durham, and it was a good one. He had four catches for 26 yards. Dominique Byrd had another good game bringing down four catches for 32 yards. Anthony McCoy had four catches for 24 yards, including one 3-yard catch for the lone Seahawks touchdown. It's definitely nice to see those young guys doing good.

We also got out first look at new receiver Sidney Rice, and it wasn't a great one. Not that he had a bad game, it was just an underwhelming one. He only had two catches for 11 yards, and his first catch didn't come until late in the first quarter. Then again, you can't really expect him to do all that great when the quarterback's had no time to find him down the field. Definitely look for a better game from Rice next Saturday.

The defense was pretty good throughout the game. Aside from the aforementioned defensive touchdown, only one touchdown was allowed, and that came late in the fourth quarter; the rest of the points giving up by the D came via field goals. Some of the few bright spots of the game came on defense. Of course there was Josh Pinkard's nice stop at the goal line to prevent a touchdown. Then there was Raheem Brock showing why his re-signing was so important. He had a team high 3 tackles, including one sack. Leroy Hill also had 2 tackles showing that he was another good pick up.

Obviously defense isn't all that much of a problem with this team as the offense is. Last week, they allowed just one touchdown and one field goal in the first half, and shut the Chargers out in the second half. The other touchdown last week was allowed by the special teams. This week, only one touchdown and two field goals were allowed. The other touchdown this week was off of an offensive turnover. So far, the defense is looking much better than the offense. Hopefully the offense can get some cohesion between now and the first game of the season.

I also need to point out Aaron Curry’s stupid play in the 2nd quarter. He received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking off an opposing players helmet, and then proceeding to throw it 20 yards towards their bench. This was an unnecessary play that just can’t happen. Curry should know better than to do something like that.

Speaking of penalties, the Seahawks had a lot of them. They had 10 penalties for 84 yards. That’s something that they can’t do if they want to win games. Especially since the Vikings only had 5 penalties for 46 yards. Hopefully they get themselves together on this front before Saturday as well.

Overall, this game wasn’t all that great. While there were some small bright spots, like the young receivers doing well, none of it translated into a win. The Seahawks gave this game to the Vikings. They’ll need to play much smarter in order to win games. I pretty just want to erase this game from my memory. As Pete Carroll said after the game, this game was just a testament as to how easy it is to give the game to the other team. Let’s hope next week’s game is better, or else we could be looking at a long season.

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