We used to be in there, now we’re out here
They were lucky to escape with a win in a game in which they scored only one touchdown in six red-zone trips, averaged 3.0 yards per carry, committed 13 penalties and lost half a dozen guys to injuries.
But they continued to play tough, aggressive defense – sometimes too aggressive – and their offense took another step, albeit a small one, in the right direction.
Their offensive line is still having issues — three more penalties and right guard John Moffitt out for the season – but the unit made a statement at the very end of the game, with a lot of help from Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch has become a focus of the offense the past couple of weeks, and he definitely was in Beast Mode against Baltimore. He fought hard for every one of his 109 yards on 32 attempts, and he fought hardest on the final drive, when he ran for 32 yards and faked out Ray Lewis and Jarret Johnson on an 8-yard, third-down catch that he converted into a first down.
“He made like he was out there in the backyard playing against some of his cousins or something,” Tarvaris Jackson told reporters. “He made a great move.”
That final drive resulted in no points, but it was the physical, pounding nature of it against one of the league’s vaunted defenses that should give some needed confidence to a line that has struggled to find consistency.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a four-minute drill quite like this before,” center Max Unger told reporters. “I couldn’t tell you a time that we had that much time left on the clock with the lead and ran the ball out like that.”
It was obvious the Seahawks planned to be conservative in this game, if only to protect an already injured Jackson from getting banged around by Lewis and the rest of the Ravens’ physical defense.
Not counting the final two plays, in which Jackson kneeled down, the Hawks ran the ball 40 times for 121 yards. Not a great average by any stretch, and it explains why they were settling for field goals rather than scoring touchdowns. But it paid off in the end, when they wore down the Ravens and ran out the clock.
It’s too bad Moffitt is out for the season, as it will set back the development of a unit that is just starting to show signs of improvement. Yes, Pepe LePeu – er, Lemuel Jeanpierre – seemed to play fine in Moffitt’s absence, but the Hawks really needed their young linemen to last the entire season.
Even without Moffitt, though, the Hawks have to keep the focus on running the ball.
They also need to focus on cutting down the penalties. They had 13 for 100 yards. If not for the plus-three turnover margin, that would have been enough to lose this game.
Attribute it to being the second-youngest team in the league.
The main culprits this season have been Carpenter (eight), Okung (eight) and Browner (seven). They all made the list again this week – Carpenter with a hold, Okung with a hold and false start and Browner with another pass interference.
The defense also had four offsides, which is as ridiculous as the four false starts the O-line had at home two weeks ago.
If Pete Carroll does not get the penalty problem fixed, his team is not going to win many games, and Carroll knows it.
“I can’t tell you we can stop it yet, because I can’t tell you how fast we can grow up,” Carroll told reporters. “I don’t know how fast we can grow up. It is about making decisions and choices and stuff like that … It could have lost us the football game, and it didn’t. We just keep working at it. We keep growing and we make good choices.”
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