First loss is painful for the Seahawks
October, 6, 2013
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Brent R. SmithGolden Tate had five receptions for 61 yards and a score in Seattle's loss to Indianapolis.INDIANAPOLIS -- Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Red Bryant sat with his face almost inside his locker, not wanting to look at anyone or anything.
Receiver Golden Tate shook his head and said, “I feel like we just lost the Super Bowl.”
It was a gloomy bunch. Judging by the looks on their faces and their initial comments in the locker room Sunday, you would have thought the season just ended for Seahawks.
Cheer up. All is not lost.
After going 1-1 in back-to-back road games -- winning in overtime at Houston before losing 34-28 Sunday to Indianapolis Colts (4-1) -- Seattle heads home, where it has won 10 consecutive regular-season games.
“You’re right, but for this team, that’s not good enough,” Tate said of splitting the road games. “That’s what makes us special. The mood in here is not good.”
The Seahawks (4-1) felt they could have won. They felt they should have won. And a few of them felt the officials kept them from winning.
“We can’t let the other team beat us, and we can’t let the third team beat us,” Tate said, referring to the officials.
Most of the game-changing calls did not go Seattle's way, starting with a safety that everyone on the Seattle sideline thought was a Jeron Johnson touchdown.
Jermaine Kearse blocked a punt in the first quarter that rolled into the end zone. Johnson fell on the ball and appeared to have possession before he slid out of the back of the end zone. It was ruled a safety before going to the replay official.
“I was certain that would be called a touchdown," Johnson said of the review. “I felt I had control."
Said coach Pete Carroll: “I was sure they were going to change it, but the replay official said he didn’t think Jeron had possession.”
It was one of several key plays that went against the Seahawks, including a pass interference call on cornerback Richard Sherman that kept a fourth-quarter touchdown drive alive for the Colts.
“It doesn’t change anything,” Sherman said. “Flags like that are going to happen on the road. You’re not going to get any calls. It’s the way it is.”
Seattle didn’t lose this game because of officiating. The Seahawks lost because the offense could not convert third downs and the defense could not make key stops.
Seattle had 423 yards of offense, including 218 yards rushing. Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson each ran for 102 yards.
So how do you lose when two players rush for more than 100 yards apiece on the road? You fail to do what you have done all season: Make the big play when you need it the most.
Seattle was 2-for-12 on third down. Five of those third downs were inside the Indianapolis 40 (one at the 18 and one at the 20), resulting in four Steven Hauschka field goals.
“When we have these opportunities, we have to make sure we capitalize,” Wilson said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t make those plays today.”
One third-down failure in Colts territory resulted in a 10-point swing in the second quarter. Hauschka’s 48-yard attempt was blocked and became a 61-yard touchdown for Delano Howell to give Indianapolis a 14-12 lead.
“This was a terrific football game," Carroll said. “But it came down to a few big plays they made and we didn’t make.”
A prime example was a 73-yard touchdown pass by Andrew Luck to a wide open T.Y. Hilton -- a rare blown coverage by the Seahawks secondary -- for the Colts' first points of the game.
“Just one key play or one call in our favor and this game is not as close as it ended up,” Tate said. “But that’s life on the road.”
Seattle led 28-23 entering the fourth quarter before Luck, who passed 229 yards and two scores, guided Indianapolis to a fourth-quarter comeback for the ninth time since his NFL career began last season.
Wilson has done that six times over the same time frame, including twice on the road this season. He had a chance to do it again Sunday when Seattle had the ball at its 20-yard-line with 1:55 to go.
“That’s all I ask for," said Wilson, who finished 15-of-31 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. “Normally, we get it done in that situation, but not today.”
The Seahawks found out they are human and cannot work their magic every time. The players were down afterward, but as they thought about it and started to leave Lucas Oil Stadium, they started to change their outlook.
“There’s only been one perfect team, the Miami Dolphins [in 1972], to ever play the game,” Wilson said.
Safety Earl Thomas said nothing has changed: “We know who were are,” he said. “There is concrete in us.”
Even Tate got in a positive mode after a little reflection.
“The good news is we are 4-1 and going home," Tate said. “And you can bet your tail we are going to come back firing.”