Seattle's inconsistency continues in Redskins loss
It's natural for a young team still in a rebuilding mode to make errors against good opponents.
The maddening inconsistency for the Seattle Seahawks has come in games they should be winning.
''We have some issues, you know, that we have to keep working on,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks' fourth-quarter collapse in Sunday's 23-17 loss to Washington.
Having won two straight and with a chance to get back into the fringes of the NFC playoff talk thanks to three straight home games, the Seahawks blew their chance at being relevant during a season with minimal expectations.
At 4-7, Seattle is not mathematically eliminated from anything yet. But the loss to the Redskins, combined with a 6-3 loss at Cleveland earlier in the season when Seattle was severely short-handed due to injuries, will be looked back on as the games where the Seahawks missed their chance.
''Regardless of what anybody's record is, if you give a team enough chances they can come away with a win. ... We really practiced and prepared hard to come up in here and get our third win in a row,'' Seattle receiver Mike Williams said.
For most of Sunday, the Seahawks did enough to mask their mistakes. They dropped nearly a half-dozen passes, committed nine penalties and allowed 172 yards of offense to Washington in the first quarter alone. And yet, the Seahawks led 17-7 early in the fourth quarter after a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson to Golden Tate.
In the 12 minutes that followed, Seattle went from being relevant to looking ahead at draft position. Even with three of its final five games at home, the likelihood of getting back into the playoff picture is slim.
The breakdowns were multifaceted. After gaining nearly 200 yards in the first quarter, the Redskins managed just 93 yards on six possessions in the second and third quarters combined as Seattle's defense forced two interceptions, blocked a field goal and found some answers.
The first two times Washington had possession in the fourth quarter the Redskins gained a combined 138 yards on just 10 plays and scored 13 points to surge into the lead. The first drive was capped by rookie Roy Helu's hurdling 28-yard touchdown run and the second by Rex Grossman's 50-yard TD toss to Anthony Armstrong. That throw came on third-and-19 and would have led to a first-and-goal at the Seattle 1 even if Armstrong had dropped it thanks to a pass interference penalty against Brandon Browner that was declined.
Browner was flagged three times on Sunday. Carroll said the careless penalties need to stop. Seattle has been flagged for 56 in the previous five games.
''I'm not putting it out there to try to threaten anybody because I don't mean it in that manner, but sometimes the bench really works for you,'' Carroll said.
While Seattle's defense was suddenly being gashed for big plays in the closing minutes, the Seahawks' offense was essentially absent. The Seahawks ran 13 offensive plays on their final four possessions. None went for more than 11 yards. Seattle failed to pick up any first downs and had three penalties, two sacks and a turnover.
For a team that prides itself on finishing, Sunday was a perfect example of a collapse.
''"It's tough. You had an opportunity to take another step and I feel like we let it slip today,'' Seattle DE Red Bryant said. ''That's just a sign of a young team in terms of you have to take advantage of your opportunities because you never know how many you're going to get. I feel like we played tough, but we came up short.''
There's little time for Seattle to lament the missed chance or correct mistakes ahead of Thursday night's game against Philadelphia. The Seahawks were dark on Monday, except for a late evening walkthrough for players. The real preparations for the Eagles will begin on Tuesday
''We have enough leaders and enough vets, so we've just kind of got to bring everybody along,'' Williams said. ''We're kind of beat up a little bit, but at this time of the year everybody is.''
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