Not necessarily in terms of the stakes, because in the scope of the season this game doesn’t mean nearly as much, but in terms of opportunities taken away by officiating. Seattle had the chance to drive down the field to tie with less than two minutes left, and a horrible call awarded the ball to the Cardinals.
Right before the two-minute warning, the Seahawks had the ball after a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. Russell Wilson threw downfield to Doug Baldwin and the pass hit the ground before Baldwin’s outstretched arm deflected it back toward the line of scrimmage.
Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby made a diving catch to come up with the ball, and even after reviewing the play, the officials didn’t see enough to overturn the call on the field of an interception.
After watching the play several times, I’m still baffled by the call. In slow motion, you can get a frame that shows that there was no arm between the ball and the playing surface. If you watch at normal speed, you can see that the ball hits mid-forearm and not his hand. I can’t come up with a possible explanation as to how a ball could hit a human arm and react the way it did without hitting the ground.
If this is karma for the Golden Tate catch, then I hope the Seahawks’ slate is wiped clean.
That wasn’t the only questionable moment. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Michael Bennett came up with a fumble recovery in a drive that ended with a Cardinals field goal. Since there was no one clear shot of the ball coming loose before the runner’s knee was down, the officials said it was inconclusive.
Why they couldn’t use the two angles to make a determination – I have no idea. Like the Baldwin call, maybe too much actual thinking would’ve been involved.
It’s tough to be too upset about the officiating when the execution on offense was almost equally as terrible. It was about as bad as the Seahawks’ game against the Rams in St. Louis earlier this season.
The Cardinals defense held Wilson to 108 yards as he completed only 11-of-27 passes. From the start of the game, Russell couldn’t connect on anything downfield.
Of the four interceptions by Seattle, the Hawks’ offense was only able to manage one field goal. Malcolm Smith even returned an interception to the 3-yard line and the Seahawks came away with nothing. Lynch couldn’t get in on two tries, like most third-down pass attempts the ball fell incomplete, and a penalty negated an easy field goal that hit off the upright to miss the second attempt.
To me, it’s inexcusable to get only three points off four interceptions. At the same time, those turnovers by the defense took at least six points off the board, and as many as 14 considering they were passes intercepted in the end zone. If Seattle’s offense had capitalized on the scoring opportunities they had, it would have been enough for the defense to carry the game.
The Seahawks inability to make anything happen on offense came from the Cardinals ability to take away the downfield pass plays where Seattle has been able to pick up most of their yardage. In many cases Wilson had the time, but defenders were right there to knock the ball away. Arizona’s pass rush on third down was impressive.
A tweet by Jerry Rice that said, “Wow Seattle lost at home,” essentially summed up my disappointment in five words.
I was really looking forward to having that little bit of intimidation factor going into the post-season. Seattle had the appearance that no team could come into CenturyLink and win with Russell Wilson behind center.
Instead, we’ll have to settle with the lesson this team has learned that they’re going to have to perform much better on offense. Just because they’re at home doesn’t mean they’re going to always find a way to win. Better to learn that lesson now than in January.
That said, it’s still not a lock for Seattle to have any home games. Remember that Rams game I mentioned before? Russell Wilson passed for a total of 139 yards and Marshawn Lynch ran for 23 in the previous meeting. Seattle faces that team next week.
If San Francisco wins their final two games, St. Louis is the team that stands between the Seahawks and an NFC West title as well as home field advantage throughout the playoffs.