Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bengals use big plays to crush Seahawks at home 34-12

By Kshell

The Cincinnati Bengals(5-2) spanked the Seattle Seahawks(2-5) in Seattle 34-12 behind three big touchdowns while the Seahawks offense continued to struggle. The Seahawks who were held to just 27 yards rushing on 18 carries(1.5 YPC) until the final two plays of the game when Leon Washington ran for 34 yards on the ground. Pete Carroll decided Tarvaris Jackson was too hurt to start so he went with Charlie Whitehurst who once again gave the team nothing so he decided Jackson wasn't too hurt to play anymore. The Seahawks outgained the Bengals 411 to 252 yet lost the game due to mistakes. The Seahawks had several dropped passes,  a punt return for a touchdown go against them then an interception returned for a touchdown. The Seahawks also botched a redzone attempt at the end of the half and while the Bengals didn't do much the Seahawks made sure they didn't need to. Now that the Seahawks are 2-5 while the San Francisco 49ers are 6-1 the season appears to be headed towards NFL Draft talk going forward.

The Bengals took the opening drive and drove 58 yards on 12 plays eating up eight minutes before the Seahawks held them to a field goal giving the Bengals a 3-0 lead. The Bengals tried to pound the run to Bernard Scott filling in for the injured Cedric Benson to control the clock. Scott ran the ball six times for 18 yards while Andy Dalton was five for five passing for 35 yards. The Seahawks who were starting Whitehurst quickly went three and out as the Seahawks had to punt from their own 24 yard line. Jon Ryan had a punt that went 65 yards that outkicked his coverage as Adam "Pacman" Jones made it "rain" as he returned the punt 63 yards to the Seahawks 26 yard line as Ryan tackled him. The Bengals continued to use ball control as Scott ran for nine yards to the Seahawks 17 yard line. Scott rushed for three more yards for the first down to the Seahawks 14 yard line. Dalton finally passed the ball as he found Jerome Simpson down the middle for a 14 yard touchdown giving the Bengals a commanding 10-0 lead as the first quarter was coming to an end. The Seahawks who had Whitehurst starting looked bleak as he proved the previous week he simply can't get the job done. Whitehurst responded to the score and actually appeared to show a resemblence of an NFL quarterback on the following drive.

Starting from their own 21 yard line the Seahawks already trailing 10-0 started their drive. After a Bengals 15 yard penalty which gave them the ball on their own 36 the Seahawks went to work. Whitehurst completed a pass to Zach Miller for a gain of 17 yards. He completed another pass to Sidney Rice for 15 yards to the Bengals 33 yard line. After a sack and a penalty facing a third and 19 from the Bengals 42 yard line Whitehurst hit Ben Obomanu for a gain of 13 yards which was short of the first down but gave the Seahawks a chance at a field goal. Steve Hauschka nailed the 47 yard field goal to open up the second quarter to cut the lead to 10-3. The Bengals then went three and out giving the ball back to the Seahawks. After the Seahawks went three and out Whitehurst saw his day end as Carroll had enough of his ineffectiveness. The Seahawks defense continued to play well as they once again three and outed the Bengals offense.

The Seahawks had made a quarterback change putting in the supposedly injured Tarvaris Jackson for Whitehurst. Starting from their own 28 yard line Marshawn Lynch fumbled the ball giving the Bengals possession on the Seahawks 31 yard line. The Bengals would self destruct committing back to back 10 yard holding penalties giving them the ball first and 30 from their own 49 yard line. Dalton would complete back to back passes setting up a third and 20 which the Seahawks defended well forcing the Bengals to punt from the Seahawks 41 yard line. For the Seahawks on their own 11 yard line facing a third and 10 Jackson hit Rice for a gain of 11 yards which Carroll had to challenge as the spot was off. The Seahawks ultimately would have to punt the ball back to the Bengals as they took over on their own 16 yard line after wasting the previous opportunity. There would be no wasting this possession for the Bengals.

The Bengals starting on their own 16 yard line would run Scott for a gain of three yards. Dalton would hit first round pick A.J. Green for a gain of six yards setting up a third and one. The Seahawks gave the Bengals a first down on a six yard penalty giving the Bengals the ball on the 31 yard line. On third and six from the 35 yard line the Seahawks committed another penalty this time a 14 yard penalty giving the Bengals another first down. Facing a third and 11 Dalton hit a crucial 14 yard pass to move the chains to the Seahawks 38 yard line. It was the Bengals who had a penalty pushing them back to the Seahawks 43. That is when the Bengals dialed up the long ball as Dalton hit Green who blew by the Seahawks secondary as Earl Thomas was late for the touchdown giving the Bengals a 17-3 lead. The Seahawks ended the half with the ball on the Bengals three yard line with 14 seconds left fourth and two with no timeouts. Carroll decided to go for it then the Seahawks called a run to Lynch who got the first down with a gain of two yards but time had expired so the Seahawks trailed 17-3 at halftime.

In the third quarter the Seahawks offense starting from their own nine yard line were facing a second and 10. That is when Jackson hit Ben Obomanu on a deep pass for 55 yards to the Bengals 36 yard line. With second and eight from the 34 yard line Lynch had his longest run of the game for nine yards to the 25 yard line. Jackson then completed a pass to Rice for 15 yards to the Bengals 10 yard line. The Seahawks offense would stall on the seven yard line and would this time elect to kick the field goal. Steven Hauschka nailed the 25 yard field goal cutting the lead to 17-6. At that point Seahawks fans were really wishing they had those three points that Carroll passed up on in the first half. The Bengals offense would take over to start the fourth quarter. At the Seahawks 48 yard line Dalton tried to go deep but Kam Chancellor intercepted Dalton on the 13 yard line then returned it eight yards to the Bengals 21 yard line as the Seahawks finally were having momentum on their side.

Facing a third and 11 from their own 20 Jackson would hit Doug Baldwin for a gain of 31 yards to the Bengals 49 yard line. On the next play Jackson would hit Rice for a gain of 35 yards to the Bengals 14 yard line as the Seahawks moved the ball 66 yards in just two plays. Still riding the hot hand Jackson completed a pass to Golden Tate for a gain of nine yards to the five yard line. This is when the Seahawks turned to Lynch who ran for three yards and the first down to set up first and goal from the two yard line. Lynch would then score his third rushing touchdown of the season from two yards out. Trailing 17-12 now the Seahawks decided to go for two but Jackson's throw to Obomanu was incomplete. After a long 45 yard kickoff return by Brandon Tate giving the Bengals the ball  on their own 43 yard line. The Bengals would eventually settle for a field goal giving them a 20-12 lead over the Seahawks with under five minutes left in the game.

That wouldn't be the last time Tate burned the Seahawks. The Seahawks offense went three and out and were forced to punt from their own seven yard line. Ryan had a 49 yard punt as Tate fielded the ball then made some defenders miss as he went up the sideline for the game clinching score. Tate ran back the punt 56 yards for the game clinching touchdown giving the Bengals a commanding 27-12 lead over the Seahawks. The Seahawks though didn't quit as they took over on their own 33 yard line. Jackson completed a 16 yard pass to Baldwin to the 49 yard line. Jackson completed his next two passes for 21 yards converting a crucial third down to the 35 yard line. After the third down incomplete pass Jackson was injured as Whitehurst came into the game with 1:40 left. Whitehurst hit Zach Miller who dropped the pass which was a theme for the Seahawks all game long. The defense would three and out the Bengals as they used up all their timeouts. Despite limping out there Carroll decided to go back with Jackson instead of Whitehurst despite the fact the game was out of reach with a minute to go in the ball game. Jackson showing a ton of heart for his teammates didn't want to be pulled much like Keith Price against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Jackson would be picked off though as the Bengals Reggie Nelson went 75 yards down the sideline for the touchdown to give the Bengals the 34-12 win.

The Bengals won this 34-12 in what is usually a tough road matchup. The Seahawks have now lost five games in a row to their old conference the AFC. The Bengals were led by the quarterback the Seahawks passed on Andy Dalton who was 18-29(62.1%) for 168 yards(5.8 YPA) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His main receiver was A.J. Green who had four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. While Bernard Scott ran for 76 yards on 22 carries(3.5 YPC). Meanwhile the Seahawks were led by Tarvaris Jackson who was 21-40(52.5%) passing for 323 yards(8.1 YPA) with an interception. While the starter Charlie Whitehurst was 4-7(57.1%) for 52 yards(7.4 YPA). The main receivers for the Seahawks were Sidney Rice who had seven receptions for 102 yards. Ben Obomanu had four receptions for 107 yards while Doug Baldwin had five for 73 yards. The running game was led by Leon Washington who had 34 yards rushing on just two carries. Meanwhile Marshawn Lynch had a terrible game rushing for only 24 yards on 16 carries(1.5 YPC) with a touchdown and a fumble. This was a tough loss for the Seahawks who allowed two return touchdowns while their offensive miscues cost them once again. This has been a trying year for Seahawk fans which doesn't look to have any hope in sight for this season at least.

All in all, the Seahawks drop to 2-5 and have lost their last two home games. They will once again go on the road to Dallas this week a place they haven't won at since 2002. This year appears to be going down the drain and unless the Seahawks can somehow find an offense in the offseason I don't see next season being any different. The Seahawks when they were 2-3 had two winnable games coming up and they lost them both as the offense scored 15 points in those two games. The league has figured out the no huddle offense they run and the quarterback play continues to be suspect. This year has turned into what the Seattle Mariners just experienced a try out for the youngsters. Sadly as Seattle fans that seems to be how our teams are lately always waiting for next year and this Seahawks season is no different.


-  Marshawn Lynch is proving yet again why the Buffalo Bills are a smart franchise to get rid of him. Lynch had another lackluster game with 24 yards rushing on 16(1.5 YPC) with a fumble while being shutout in the passing game. Lynch isn't getting holes but he also is slow. Lynch unlike the other running back in the same city Chris Polk is simply a short yardage. He can't beat you in other ways with his speed or with his pass catching ability. Lynch is proving to be a bust minus the one big run in the playoffs last year. This is a position the Seahawks have neglected far too long and must draft a runningback this year as Lynch has proven time and time again he isn't the answer at runningback for this franchise.

For the year Lynch has ran for just 263 yards(3.6 YPC) with three touchdowns and only 11 receptions for 83 yards. In six games this year Lynch has rushed for under 40 yards in four games and under 30 yards in three games. He has averaged less than 4.0 YPC in five games and less than 3.0 YPC in three games and even less than 2.0 YPC in two games. He has been a total disaster and once the Seahawks fans realize this the easier life will become. When the Seahawks let Lynch go he'll just be a goaline back for some other team. He has proven he isn't a starting runningback in the NFL.

- Tarvaris Jackson has actually impressed me this year. He has shown a ton of courage as he is getting killed this season having been sacked 20 times despite playing only 21 quarters this season. This past game despite obviously being hurt Jackson still threw for over 300 yards even though his receivers didn't help him out with all the drops. Jackson has shown he can be a nice backup quarterback who can fill in for the guy when he goes down. Jackson by no means is ever going to be the guy but unlike Whitehurst who obviously doesn't belong in the NFL Jackson has proven he still indeed has value. Jackson is also showing he is a better leader than I had ever thought he was and the fans are slowly starting to embrace Jackson(it doesn't hurt that Whitehurst has killed any chance of a controversy).

For the year Jackson has completed 60.9% of his passes for 1,335 yards(6.8 YPA) with six touchdown passes to six interceptions for a quarterback rating of 78.5 which is about what I expected from him. That shows he is an NFL quarterback but also shows he isn't a franchise quarterback that will lead you to the promise land anytime soon. As is I wouldn't mind him starting the year next year as the starter as the Seahawks hopefully are developing their first round draft pick at quarterback.

- Pete Carroll inherited a team that was short on talent and on the defensive side of the ball he has done a terrific job. He moved Red Bryant to defensive end, drafted Earl Thomas with 14th pick overall. He traded for Chris Clemons and signed Brandon Browner off the scrap heap. He got good value in the draft with Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright showing he does know defense pretty well.

On the offensive side of the ball his moves have bombed. Russell Okung who was taken sixth overall can't go a game without jumping for a false start. James Carpenter was a questionable draft pick as well as he continues to be burned every week. Carroll traded 20 spots down in the second round plus gave up a third round pick for Whitehurst which has been a bust move. Gave up two draft picks for Lynch who has been terrible as well. Drafted Tate in the second round who has given the Seahawks very little. The Seahawks offense this year is averaging a pathetic 15.5 points per game in an offensive era where the rules are set for the offense. Carroll's teams are committing way too many penalties as well. I do think Carroll is a good head coach just not sure if he should be team president. There obviously needs to be an offensive guru in his ear this next offseason as he has shown he knows defense while showing he knows nothing about offense.

In conclusion, this years Seahawks season won't be very fun. From here on out there will be draft talk and rebuilding talk once again. There won't be any magical playoff runs like last season which is too bad. The Seahawks appear to be headed towards their fourth straight losing season something they haven't done since 1991-1994 which like this included a transition from their franchise quarterback to having nobody next in line. The fans aren't as patient with Carroll as most Seattle fans are I've noticed. This season has gone down the drain quickly with this embarassing home loss 34-12. Now the Seahawks despite us just now entering November and the season isn't even half over yet are already talking about next year. This should be another depressing final two months of the season much like 2008 and 2009 were.

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