It’s hard to win a game when you finish with 14 accepted penalties for 182 yards. But that’s what the Seattle Seahawks accomplished on Friday in a 17-10 victory over Green Bay here at Lambeau Field, the team’s eighth straight preseason win.
The Seahawks have now totaled 34 accepted penalties through three preseason games, and Pete Carroll knows his team cannot consistently win games during the regular season playing this sloppy in all three phases of the game.
“There were distractions in this game,” Carroll said. “We played good and hard football. We did a lot of good things in this game, but the distractions of giving up 180-something yards in penalties is ridiculously hard to deal with, and feel like you played well.”
Specifically, J.R. Sweezy was one of the team’s main offenders. Named the starting right guard after the Seahawks traded John Moffitt to Denver this week, Sweezy totaled three penalties on the first two series of the game – two holding calls and a personal foul penalty – and was replaced for a play by second-year pro Rishaw Johnson while he received an earful from Carroll on the sideline.
“I just wanted to let him know how serious it is when one guy makes a penalty,” Carroll said. “It’s not okay. And I just wanted to make sure, and get him right then. And he would have been pulled out in a regular-season game in the same fashion.”
So how will Carroll get the penalty issue cleaned up?
“We’re trying too hard to make plays,” Carroll said. “That’s the situation, whether it’s the late hit, or whether it’s trying to reach out and grab a guy so he doesn’t tackle our returner. We’re trying too hard. And we have to trust that we’re okay doing the regular techniques.”
Along with the penalties, Russell Wilson and Seattle’s offense struggled to find consistency. The Seahawks turned the ball over on offense for the first time during exhibition play this season.
Wilson scuffled in his dress rehearsal for the regular season, finishing 11 of 17 for 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wilson’s first interception was tipped by Green Bay linebacker Nick Perry. The deflection bounced off linebacker Robert Francois’ hands, and was corralled by cornerback Casey Hayward.
On his second pick, Wilson tried to force a ball into double coverage down the middle of the field on a pass intended for Doug Baldwin, but picked off by safety Jerron McMillian.
“The good thing is we won the game,” Wilson said. “The disappointing part is the turnovers, and I can’t ever do that. I think that’s my main focus. It’s my fault, so I’ve got to fix those things.”
While Wilson shouldered the blame, he had to scramble out of the pocket most of the evening. Green Bay brought constant pressure defensively, sacking Wilson three times. Wilson finished with a 47.3 passer rating.
Michael flashes again
Rookie running back Christine Michael once again flashed his impressive running ability, and is showing that Pete Carroll might have to find a way to get him on the field come the regular season.
The Texas A&M product did not play last week against Denver due to back spasms. But he returned on Friday in Green Bay, bolting through a big hole for a 43-yard touchdown.
Michael also made a nice, one-handed grab on a pass out in the flat, hitting the turbo button and gaining 25 yards.
Michael finished with 97 yards on 11 carries.
“Both games he’s played in, he’s been a factor,” Carroll said. “And he looked very good tonight.”
Michael said he’s getting more comfortable in Seattle’s offense.
“I’m more and more comfortable every day,” Michael said. “I just have to go to practice and get some more work in, be more trustworthy in the running game. And just go out there and have fun. Put the work in.”
Yet another TD for Williams
While scoring is important, receiver Stephen Williams wants you to know he can do other things beside catch go routes for touchdowns.
And Williams showed some of that versatility against the Packers.
On third and 16 from Seattle’s 49 yard line early in the third quarter, Williams took a shallow crossing route, outran the defense and turned the corner to pick up the first down.
“I feel like a lot of people feel I’m just going to run vertical,” Williams said. “But another part of my game, I love yards after the catch. I’m big on catching the ball and going vertical down the field. That’s something I’ve been doing since college, but I finally got an opportunity to do it in this game.”
And of course, Williams scored his third touchdown of the season on a 42-yard pass play from Brady Quinn on – you guessed it – a go route. Williams finished with two catches for 58 yards.
“He’s really made a big statement for himself in trying to be part of this football team,” Carroll said. “It was great to see that.”
Beefy defensive tackle Siliga makes debut
It’s hard to miss 6-3, 335 pound defensive tackle Dwayne Cherrington and 6-2, 325 pounder Sealver Siliga. Carroll had both players on the field together in the second half, and liked what he saw.
Siliga, who the Seahawks received in the trade with Denver for John Moffitt, finished the game with two tackles and a sack
“It was fun to Silga in there too, see him for the first time,” Carroll said. “He had a sack tonight. And when Cherrington and Silga are in there, there isn’t a whole lot of room up the middle now. Those are some big, big dudes in there. That was fun to see that.”
A game-time decision, outside linebacker Bruce Irvin talked his way onto the field after a good workout with trainers before the game. Carroll said the Irvin played seven plays. He finished with a tackle for a 5-yard loss. The plan is for Irvin to get a lot more playing time against Oakland in the team’s final preseason game, before he has to begin serving his four-game suspension.
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel also saw his first action of preseason play, finishing with two tackles and a tipped pass. Carroll said that McDaniel flashed during the game.
Michael Bennett suffered a knee injury during the game, but returned. Carroll said his team got out of the game without any other serious injuries.
“We had nobody that was in the training room right now, so that’s a fantastic accomplishment,” Carroll said after the game.
Tight end Zach Miller, cornerback Ron Parker, receiver Sidney Rice and offensive lineman James Carpenter and defensive end Cliff Avril all suited up in pads for the pre-game workout, but did not play in the game.
Carroll was particularly optimistic about the possible return of Carpenter, who looked good working with the trainers before the game.
“The guys were all fired up about him,” Carroll said. “He got out there, and he was just thrilled to be in the uniform for game day. So it was great to just get him that close, and hopefully next week we’ll get a shot at it.”