At one point during the game, I turned to my buddy and said: “I’m about this close to throwing my bar stool out the window.” I was angry, my palms raw from slapping the bartop in frustration. It’s one thing to be bullied, dominated, terrorized by a legitimate contender. It’s a whole another thing to be bullied, dominated and terrorized by the Oakland Raiders. The Oakland. Fucking. Raiders.
Funny enough, when the game ended I was no longer angry but instead completely incredulous. I mean, literally anything that could have gone the way of the Raiders went the way of the Raiders. Could a team be any more unlucky than the Seahawks than they were that game? Let’s sum up what unlucky meant for the Seahawks:
- Olindo Mare missed two semi-easy field goal attempts, breaking a streak of 30 straight attempts. One, I could understand; no one’s perfect. But two? The second was a 29 yard chip shot; something Mare could do in his sleep 9 times out of 10. Guy is unbelievably clutch, and today was likely an aberration.
- Two tipped passes went in Oakland’s favor: Michel Bush caught a tipped ball and turned a sure 3rd down incompletion into a 55 yard gain. And Matt’s seeming completion to Deon Butler bounced off his outstretched hands and into the welcoming arms of an Oakland defender.
- An easy pass dropped by Mike Williams near the goal line would have likely either converted a first down or possibly resulted in a touchdown. The drop was worth negative 0.04% Win Percentage Added. It’s a catch Williams routinely makes. It killed the drive, and the ensuing field goal was missed.
- Chris Clemons was flagged for a personal foul after he had been roughed up by an Oakland player after the play was blown dead. He was simply defending himself. The penalty came after the Raiders failed to convert on third down.
- A legitimate catch by Golden Tate was ruled incomplete (and Carroll foolishly didn’t challenge). If you watch the replay, Tate secured the ball while one foot was firmly in bounds, and the toes of his other foot were also in bounds. That consistutes a catch. A fraction of a second later, Tate’s heel landed out of bounds; that’s likely what caused the line judge to call the catch incomplete. But since it was never challenged and reviewed, the line judge’s call stood. It would have netted the Seahawks a good 20 yards and a first down.
- Worst, and most critical of all, a freakish rash of injuries hurt an already depleted team: Matt Hasselbeck (minor concussion), Red Bryant (knee sprain), Golden Tate (ankle sprain), Mike Williams (bruised knee), Colin Cole (ankle sprain) and Tyler Polumbus (minor knee sprain) all suffered injuries during the game.
If you weren’t already paying attention, Brandon Mebane was inactive due to his lingering calf injury. Combine his absence with the departure of Red Bryant and Colin Cole, and the Seahawks were left with a defensive line with one starter: Chris Clemons. The once stalwart defensive line was easily gashed by Oakland’s talented backs for over 150 yards. On top of that, the secondary was already without two of its three starting cornerbacks. It was that kind of day.
On the offensive side of the ball, the line had no answer for Richard Seymour or really anyone on Oakland’s defensive line. Locklear had another monumentally terrible game, and Ben Hamilton is declining at a frightening pace as the season continues. And once again: Stacey Andrews is not a guard, he’s a tackle. The offensive line’s complete lack of push led to Jeremy Bates abandoning the run early on, and hanging the burden on Matt Hasselbeck’s shoulders. Matt was tentative, took a lot of sacks, and generally did not target the middle of the field. Matt was once a very effective quarterback. And I still love him to death. But at 35, with most of his arm strength all but gone, he’s not a quarterback that can carry an entire defense when playing from behind, in a hostile environment. For people that don’t agree, this game should erase any doubt.
Honestly, I didn’t really expect a win. The Seahawks offense was very sloppy at home versus a poor Arizona team, and allowed a lot of sacks. On top of that, we all know the Seahawks’ affinity for road games. As it turned out, the offensive line would completely collapse early on and remove any legitimate threat of scoring. With a defense missing three key players going into the game, I’d hoped that stacking the box to prevent the run and pressuring Jason Campbell would be enough to disarm their offense. The Seahawks did just that and were very successful for the first quarter; Campbell was on the run and definitely throw off his game. But defense could not sustain pressure as the injuries started to pile up.
Boy, it’s hard to come out of that game with any positives. The loss stings, but the injuries are downright disheartening.
Here’s to hoping that the Seahawks can field a competitive team next week against the Giants. A team, by the way, that has knocked out three opposing quarterbacks in a span of just seven games.