Seahawks head coach Jim Mora was a man of few words after his team’s 17-13 loss to Tennessee. Mora said he was proud of the way his team competed, but basically said the Seahawks close loss at home, ending the season on a four-game losing streak for the first time since the 2-14, 1992 season, was a microcosm of the way the season played out for his team.
“We just don’t have a lot of margin of error on this football team right now,” Mora said. “And so it’s just tough for us to overcome when we get those opportunities and we don’t capitalize. It’s difficult for us.”
Mora addressed the two challenges that he went for at the end the game, when Tennessee scored the go-ahead touchdown that ultimately gave the Titans the victory.
Mora first challenged the 29-yard completion to Nate Washington, believing he was out-of-bounds when he made the catch, but the officials ruled that Washington’s right knee was in abounds, and a knee equals two feet.
He then challenged Chris Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown run, thinking Johnson’s legs were down before he got in, but again was rebuffed by the officials. With those two challenges, Mora finished 0-for-7 on challenges this year.
“No. 1, I didn’t think he caught the first one,” Mora said. “And No. 2 I didn’t think he was in on the second one. And if it was going to be fourth and that much (Mora holds thumb and forefinger an inch apart), then I’m challenging it. I’m not quitting.”
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck talked about the final drive, saying that he felt in rhythm. On the final play, Hasselbeck said he initially wanted to go to the left side pre-snap, but Tennessee rolled coverage to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch’s side, so when he was forced to step up in the pocket he decided to go backside to Deon Butler on a 20-yard dig route, and thought he had put enough air on the ball to get it over the linebacker.
Of course, that wasn’t the case, as Tennessee linebacker Gerald McRath came up with the ball and the Titans offense ran out the clock.
“The plays were there, I think,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s the story of our season: opportunities were there and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
Hasselbeck finished 15 of 30 for 175 yards, a touchdown and an interception, with a 65.3 passer rating. Hasselbeck finished the season with 17 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, which is the most interceptions he’s thrown in a single season.
At times he looked like the old Hasselbeck today, creating plays by distorting the defense and playing with fire and emotion. But he still made a crucial mistake at the end of the game.
With the season now over, the players understand that plenty of changes await them for the offseason.
“The thing he (Mora) emphasized a couple weeks ago is everybody is being evaluated, including himself,” said safety Lawyer Milloy, who believes Mora deserves to come back for one more season. “And it was the right message.”
Asked to explain the difference between quitting and a team being despondent considering the way his team finished the season, Mora had this to say:
“I feel like when you lose, and you lose the way we’ve lost some of the games in the last, few weeks, that the perception is guys quit,” he said. “I don’t think guys ever quit at this level. I think at times, our teams have gotten a little bit of – maybe despondent is the right word – but ‘here we go again’ type of attitude that sometimes happens when you’re struggling. And today we didn’t get that. It’s something that we have to fight through and try to purge.
“When you have two seasons that are unsuccessful, back-to-back like we’ve had, that’s common. But it can’t be accepted. And so we have to find a way to purge any of that from our culture.”
Mora went on to say the only way for team’s to come out of that type of situation is to win games.
• If you’re looking for a reason Seattle struggled offensively these last four games, this stat might point to that more than most. Seattle finished 1 of 3 in the red zone against Tennessee, and in the last four games Seattle finished 3 for 9 in the red zone
• Tennessee running back Chris Johnson finished with 134 yards on 36 carries and two touchdowns for a 3.7 yards-per-carry average. It would have been more had the 62-yard run in the fourth quarter not been called back because of a holding call on Tennesse fullbackAhmard Hall. Johnson also finished with three catches for 20 yards. For the season, Johnson finished with 2,006 yards rushing, and broke Marshall Faulk’s record of 2,429 yards from scrimmage. Johnson finished with 2,509 yards from scrimmage.
• T.J. Houshmandzadeh finished as the team’s leading receiver, with 79 catches for 911 yards and three touchdowns, with a 11.5 yards per catch average.
• Olindo Mare finished the season with 21 straight field goals made.
• Seattle rushed for 140 yards on the ground today on 26 carries for a 5.4 yards per carry average. Justin Forsett finished with 10 carries for 74 yards, and Julius Jones totaled 61 yards on 14 carries. “You know, it’s just a shame that we waited for so long to really get going,” said Seattle running back Julius Jones. “Everybody fought hard, but. … that’s kind of been the story all year long.”