Even know the score was somewhat lopsided, the Seattle Seahawks felt they could have been in this one in the second half had they played better on the road in Denver in the team’s 31-14 loss here.
A quick check of that stat sheet confirms that thought.
The Broncos held a 369-339 overall advantage in total yards. They had a healthy lead in time of possession at 37:27 to 22:33. But Seattle did a better job of running the ball, with a 109-65 advantage.
Where this game was lost was turnover margin, with the Seahawks turning the ball over four times today, and not creating any turnovers defensively.
Along with that, the Seahawks were awful on third down conversions defensively. After holding San Francisco to 1 of 15 on third downs last week, Seattle allowed the Broncos to convert 14 of 20 third down situations.
Seattle also finished with seven penalties for 64 yards, including a holding penalty by Sean Locklear that negated a 6-yard touchdown by Justin Forsett on the first drive of the game.
Seahawks veteran Lawyer Milloy said with all those mistakes Seattle can’t win on the road.
“When you go on the road, it’s already hard having 53 men going against 70,000-plus,” Milloy said. “So you have to go out there and you have to be on your game. We were at home last week and we threw an interception and we had the crowd, and we stopped them and stayed in the game. But now we’re on the road and we have a couple turnovers, it doesn’t work the same. That’s why they call it home field advantage.
“But we didn’t play Seahawk football. That’s the bottom line. It had nothing to do with the atmosphere or the altitude. That’s not how we want to play.”
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was frustrated and honest in discussing his poor performance today. For the second straight game he threw an interception on the first series of the game, a fade route to Deion Branch that was under thrown and picked off by Champ Bailey near the end zone.
Hasselbeck finished 20 of 35 for 233 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.
“Across the NFL if you lose the turnover ratio like we did today, you’re going to make it very, very hard to win a game,” Hasselbeck said. “I don’t care who you are. And that’s what we did today. I turned the ball over and didn’t give us a great chance to win the game.”
Both head coach Pete Carroll and Hasselbeck addressed the fourth and 2 call from Denver’s 20-yard line. Seattle was down 24-7 at that point with a little over two minutes left. If they kick a field goal they are only down 14 points with a little over a quarter to go, but Carroll said he felt good about going for it there.
“That was just a chance to capture the momentum and give our guys another boost,” Hasselbeck said. “And they did a nice job of covering up the stuff we wanted to get the first down on, and he had to put it up to give us a shot.
“So it feel like, ‘Why don’t you go ahead and kick the field goal?’ after you see that. But I like the thought. We were being aggressive and going for it.”
Hasselbeck said offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates called a screen pass to Julius Jones that Denver covered up, so his last resort was fade ball to Branch, who was covered by Bailey on the play.
“It’s kind of like a screen play to the right essentially,” Hasselbeck said. “Julius Jones is kind of the guy to get the ball. I think their defense got confused. They ran two guys to Julius, so it’s just kind of a bad break, a little bit of bad luck. Rather than try and concede the play I just tried to throw it up again to Champ Bailey, which probably isn’t going to work.”
Walter Thurmond also talked about the muff punt that led to Denver’s first touchdown of the game, and made no excuses about not coming up with the ball.
“I just dropped the ball, just poor technique is all it was,” Thurmond. “I mean I could have said the ball went into the sun. I could have said a whole bunch of things. But it was poor technique, that’s all it was.”
Even though Thurmond is just a year removed for major knee reconstructive surgery, Carroll said he wanted to give Thurmond a chance back there catching punts, and thought Denver was a good situation because the ball carries so much he would have enough time to settle under the ball for a comfortable return.
But with the way Golden Tate looked on his 63-yard punt return, the Notre Dame product might have won the job over with his play today.
Overall, Carroll was disappointed his team played poorly on the road.
“We didn’t take our game on the road, and that’s what we have to do the next time we go,” Carroll said. “We had to do all of the right things – make the right decisions and the right choices and handles the issues on the road and play well.
“It was a tough lesson.”
The Seahawks had no major injuries to report other than linebacker Leroy Hill suffering a calf injuries that forced him to miss the rest of the second half.