To a man, the Seattle Seahawks believed they should have beaten the San Francisco 49ers here tonight.
“It’s just a tough one to swallow,” Seattle defensive back Roy Lewis said. “I feel like we had control of the game early. And then they kind of rallied back, and that’s what we expected because they’re a good team.
“And then we rallied back, and we started to make our surge in the second half. We came up short – the ball really, truly didn’t bounce are way. And that’s the toughest one to swallow. Those are the ones that are going to sting, and leave a nasty taste in our mouth.”
Playing against his former college coach Jim Harbaugh, Seattle rookie receiver Doug Baldwin had extra motivation.
“We had mistakes the whole game, starting with the first play of the game when I dropped the ball,” Baldwin said. “So it’s not just one play that defined the game. We just collectively didn’t do what we were capable of doing to come out with the victory.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was frustrated after the game, stating that he believed the decisions by the officials played a role in the outcome.
“I’m really upset about the officials,” Carroll said. “I can’t tell you. I’m not going to talk about it – but I am. There were a couple things that happened there that didn’t need to happen, and made a difference in the game.
“But that happens. We left the margin so close, that those were the factors that I’m steaming about here at the end.”
One call that Carroll had concerns about was the third and goal situation at the one yard line at the end of the first half. Carroll said that everyone in the sideline and on the field thought that left tackle Paul McQuistan jumped off sides, and so the Seahawks anticipated the call and stopped playing.
But the officials didn’t see it and never blew the whistle, leaving Tarvaris Jackson scrambling because Michael Robinson and Marshawn Lynch did not come through the line for the run play called to Lynch.
“We loved the call that we had to knock it in the end zone,” Carroll said. “We didn’t make it, and they didn’t call a penalty, and so that happened. I’m pretty sure we moved because we all saw it, and they didn’t call it.
“In that case we were wishing that they would have called the penalty on us to give us another chance.”
Instead, Jackson scrambled out of bounds and Seattle had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. Carroll said he considered going for it on fourth goal, but thought with the way the game was going with points at a premium, his team was better off getting three points.
One of the plays that Carroll was not necessarily frustrated about was the personal foul call on fullback Michael Robinson on Kyle Williams in the final quarter.
On the play, it looked like Williams was never touched down, so Robinson delivered a blow and jarred the ball loose, and I believe Byron Maxwell recovered. However, Carroll said the official explained to him that Williams was ruled down because they believed he was not trying to advance the ball, so Robinson should have touched him down.
“It looked to me – and I didn’t see it as well as you guys have – that it was bang-bang,” Carroll said. “He tries to get up, and he gets hit. It’s just a guy competing for the moment, and at the moment the guy is knocked down, you hit him as hard as you can and hope the ball comes out, and it did.”
Although they did not win the game, Carroll was pleased with his team’s ability to run the ball with authority against the best run defense in the league.
“Our guys blocked them like other teams that we’ve played,” Carroll said. “I thought it was really, really stellar on our guys part. Nobody has blocked them like that.”
But once again, the story in the final minutes was Tarvaris Jackson and the rest of the offense’s inability to put a drive together to win a game. While Jackson has proved efficient at managing a game in the final minutes when his team is ahead, he has yet to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback for Seattle.
Jackson’s well aware of that sad fact, and said he actually thought about that to himself before going out on the field for the final two drives of the game.
“That’s something that we’ve got to get better at,” he said. “Obviously, we’re pretty good at finishing the game with four minutes left and being able to run the football. But when it comes down to us being able to throw the football in an obvious passing situation and go down and put points on the board at the end of the game, we haven’t been able to do that the whole season.
“I don’t know what we’ve got to do, but we’ve got to get more on the same page and be able to execute better in that situation.”
On the forced fumble by San Francisco linebacker Larry Grant at the end of the game with Seattle driving, Jackson had this to say: “I was just trying to make a play, tried to get the ball in there, tried to get the first down. I felt like I was close. I wanted to at least get a little bit closer instead of just throwing it away, but the guy made a good play and got the ball out.”
In terms of injuries, receiver Ben Obomanu suffered a strained knee at the end of the game, but that was about it for Seattle.
For San Francisco, tight end Delanie Walker got kneed in the head by Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill and had to leave the game with a jaw injury. He went to the hospital but flew back with the team. Niners kick returner Kyle Williams suffered an apparent head injury on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Seattle fullback Michael Robinson in the fourth quarter.