Even in defeat, a 30-28 loss to Atlanta, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was somewhat upbeat, and believes his team made progress today
“Last week was terrific to get the win, but we gained more today,” Carroll said. “And I think we grew more today. And we understand what we can do better. And I thought that it was just something that needed to be noted. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see where we go from here.”
One of the reasons was the performance of Seattle’s offense. After scoring 30 points all season, the Seahawks rang up 28 points today on a pretty good offense.
And quarterback Tarvaris Jackson finally played like Seahawks’ brass thought he could, finishing 25 of 38 for 319 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
“I thought Tarvaris showed us what we’ve been counting on, what we’ve been seeing and what we felt,” Carroll said about Jackson’s performance. “Tremendous play, tremendous throws, sense, poise, toughness again and the ability to execute when it’s really hard.
“He got us in position to win the football game – and it was a long ways away from that position – but he got us close enough to win the football game.”
Yes, let’s talk about that. Down 30-28 at the end of the game, Carroll said that he considered going for the first down when Atlanta called a time out to ice Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka on his 61-yard field goal attempt that feel short and was wide left.
Seattle had 4th and 8 from Atlanta’s 43-yard line with 13 seconds left after Jackson failed to complete a pass to tight end Zach Miller on third down.
Sidney Rice’s false start penalty on 2nd and 10 from Atlanta’s 45-yard line also hurt Seattle in that situation, pushing them back five yards.
Ultimately, Carroll said he wanted to give his team a chance to win, and felt like if the Seahawks went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it, even though they had one timeout left, that they would not have had take a shot at winning the game.
“I wanted to give us a chance to win it,” Carroll said. “If we get the ball knocked down or something doesn’t happen and we come up short on fourth down, then we don’t get a shot to win the game. So in that instance it was 60 and we’re going to take a shot to make a historic kick.”
To put Hauschka’s 61-yard attempt in perspective, only nine players in NFL history have made field goals from 60 yards or longer, with the latest Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski, who tied the record with a 63-yarder in his team’s 23-20 win at Denver on Sept. 12.
Hauschka was kicking into the wind toward the open end of CenturyLink Field. And although he had been striking the ball well, with three touchbacks on the day, Hauschka’s longest field goal is 54 yards when he was with Baltimore in 2008.
Also hampering Seattle on the drive was the fact they had burned two timeouts earlier in the second half.
Tight end Zach Miller said the team had confidence that Hauschka could make the kick because he had made some from similar distances in practice.
“We felt like he could make that kick and he’s done it before,” Miller said. “There was no reason not to kick it, 4th and 8 with so little time left. That’s a touch conversion play, too, so obviously if he would have hit it we’d all be celebrating right now.”
That said, Miller would have like for the offense to execute better in that situation to make the kick easier.
“Yeah, definitely,” Miller said. “We had some chances. The clock was winding down on us. We only had the one timeout starting the drive. We ended up finishing with it, so a few more yards here or there you get close enough to where he has a better shot at it.
“So I think everyone, when we started that drive, felt like there was no doubt we were going to win that game either on a field goal, or even a touchdown. I felt like we just ran out of time, and didn’t make enough plays there in that last drive.”
No sacks for O-line: Jackson finished with his first 300-yard game as a Seahawk, completing passes to nine different receivers, as the Seahawks finally were able to spread the ball around in the passing game.
Jackson said the reason for his success passing the ball was simple – no sacks.
“I feel fresh, like I just came to the stadium,” Jackson said. “I rarely hit the ground, so I just want to take my hat off to those guys today. They did a great job protecting. It just shows the hard work that they put in, the extra time they put in and the extra work they put in has paid off.”
A lot had been made of Jackson not going through his progressions and working one side of the field. Well, Jackson said that having the extra time to work through his progressions and allow guys to get open down the field.
“Those guys did a great job and allowed me to get through my progressions,” Jackson said. “And not having to rush through them. So whenever you have time like that, a defense can’t cover for that long. It’s hard, somebody’s going to wiggle open.
Defense bounces back: Atlanta jumped out to a 24-7 lead on the legs of running back Michael Turner, converting 6 of 8 third downs in the first half and only punting once.
But after allowing Turner to rush for 51 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, they held him 19 yards the rest of the way.
“We went back to our bread and butter,” Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said. “We went to Oakland – that’s our bread and butter defense where we clamp down and we stop the run. And Michael Turner, he’s a great back. But he’s not the first back we’ve been able to control.
“So what he did in the first half, we tip our hat to him. But we knew coming out after the half that they wanted to commit to the run, and we were going to make it harder than hell to run the ball.”
Injury update: It appears that linebacker Matt McCoy’s injury could be serious, although Carroll did not provide details on his injury. Linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive end Anthony Hargrove have hamstring injuries, and receiver Mike Williams suffered a concussion on the crack block on Marshawn Lynch’s 11-yard run. Linebacker Aaron Curry suffered an hip injury during the first quarter but returned to the game and continued to play.