While Pete Carroll’s well-intentioned but dubious play calling, especially on the fake field goal attempt before halftime (see Thiel: Valiant Seahawks lose on Carroll’s calls), has dominated local sports talk since the Seahawks botched an opportunity to knock off the Atlanta Falcons Monday night at CenturyLink Field, another factor contributed to Seattle’s 34-31 loss.
No, not Blair Walsh coming up short on a 52-yard field goal. Even though it was less than 24 hours after former Seahawk Stephen Hauschka, now in the employ of the Buffalo Bills, extended his streak of 50+-yard makes to an NFL-record 13 in a row against San Diego.
And, no, not Carroll inexplicably burning a second-half timeout by challenging an incomplete-pass call on WR Doug Baldwin. The drop was eminently clear to three-year-old children in the streets of Sedro Woolley without need for TV review.
The factor was nine penalties. They forced the Seahawks to give up 106 yards, including 10 on the final flag, a holding call during a punt return, which back Seattle’s final drive that ended with Walsh’s inches-short miss with seven seconds left.
Seattle has been penalized 103 times in 10 games, 19 more than the No. 2 offender, the Miami Dolphins. The Seahawks have also accrued 886 penalty yards, 141 more than No. 2 Kansas City’s 744.
Put another way, the Seahawks have more penalties (103) than the Washington Redskins (56) and Carolina Panthers (45) have combined. Even network announcers, paid huge coin to emphasize the positive and promote all things on behalf of the league, are aghast at the numbers, and no longer hesitate to say so.
We knew, and have commented upon in previous posts, that trend. But significant about Monday night’s game was that the Seahawks topped 100 yards in penalties for the fifth time this season.
In the Super Bowl era, which dates to the mid-1960s, only two other franchises, including the Raiders twice, produced five games in a single season with 100+ yards in penalties, meaning that Seattle has tied the league record with six games to play.
There’s no evidence that the Seahawks won’t end up owning that record for a good century or so.
Listed in reverse chronological order:
|2017||Seahawks||Pete Carroll||5||Seattle 3-2 record in the 5 games|
|2015||Ravens||John Harbaugh||5||Went 5-11, finished 3rd AFC North|
|2010||Raiders||Tom Cable||5||Went 8-8 under now-SEA OL coach|
|2002||Raiders||Bill Callahan||5||Went 11-5, won AFC West, lost SB|
The Seahawks preceded Monday’s flag fest with 15 penalties for 110 yards at the New York Giants (Oct. 22); 10 for 120 vs. Houston (Oct. 29); 16 for 138 vs. Washington (Nov. 5), and 12 for 108 at Arizona (Nov. 9).
All those 100-yard penalty games occurred consecutively. Before this boggling streak, no Seattle team had been docked 100+ yards in five consecutive contests. Closest to five: The 1984 Seahawks had three games in a row of runaway crime.
But there’s more here than a franchise record.
Five in a row is the most consecutive 100-yard penalty games in the Super Bowl era. The 1984 Seahawks are tied for No. 2.
The list (Chiefs coach in 1998: Marty Schottenheimer):
|2017||Seahawks||Pete Carroll||5||Season-high 138 yards vs. Redskins|
|1984||Seahawks||Chuck Knox||3||Went 12-4 and won a playoff game|
|1998||Chiefs||M. Shttnhmr||3||Went 7-9, finished 4th in AFC West|
|2002||Raiders||Bill Callahan||3||Went from 11-5 in ’02 to 4-12 in ’03|
|2003||Buccaneers||Jon Gruden||3||Finished 7-9, missed postseason|
|2005||Eagles||Andy Reid||3||Penalties hurt: Went 6-10, no playoffs|
|2010||Eagles||Andy Reid||3||Penalties didn’t hurt: 10-6, won division|
QB Russell Wilson didn’t produce the best statistical game of his career against the Falcons, finishing with 258 passing yards, two TDS and one pick, plus a strip sack that resulted in an Atlanta fumble-return TD.
But he had another outstanding fourth quarter. He engineered a 75-yard drive in less than a minute, without benefit of a timeout. It concluded with a TD pass to Doug Baldwin, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 34-31 with three minutes to play.
The score was Wilson’s 13th of the season in the fourth quarter. He has only one interception. Add in 912 passing yards and Wilson has a passer rating of 133.0 in the final quarter through 10 games.
In the past 25 years, 11 quarterbacks have won the NFL Most Valuable Player award (Associated Press), including Peyton Manning five times (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013), Brett Favre three times and Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers twice each.
This is how Wilson’s fourth-quarter rating compares to the best single-season fourth-quarter ratings by NFL MVPs over the last quarter of a century:
This is not to suggest that Wilson is the best quarterback, but only to show that, so far, he is the most efficient fourth-quarter passer in the past 25 years. And his 2015 production was nearly as impressive.