Now that the playoff picture is starting to take shape I started to think back on the season the Seahawks have had, and how the team had at least 4 games slip through their fingers. How different things could be right now had it not been for 4 losses that could have been wins. Let’s accept that the first game at the 49ers was one the Seahawks were expected to lose. In the other 4 losses the Seahawks were actually favored. If not for just 4 plays the Seahawks would likely be sitting on a league leading 13 and 1 record! This begs the question; Which 4 plays would have changed the Seahawks record from 9 and 5 to 13 and 1?
Here is my best shot at determining those 4 plays that, had they gone the other way, would have changed the Seahawks season.
- Week 1 vs the Cardinals – Most people would pick one of the 2 missed passes at the end of this game that could have given the Seahawks a touchdown and the win. But I’m going to pick a another play earlier in the game. Seattle had just scored 13 consecutive points and led Arizona 16-13 . Arizona’s offense under QB John Skelton was having an awful second half and the Seahawks were in complete control and had all the momentum. Then Skelton was hit during an attempted pass and left the game with an injured right ankle. Kevin Kolb, who had lost the starting job to Skelton in the preseason, came in and drove the Cardinals on a scoring, and game winning drive. The Hawks later fell short on several pass attempts in the red zone after a long drive. Had Skelton not been hurt, the Seahawks would likely have continued to stifle him and would have been able to play ball control the rest of the game and gotten the win.
- Week 4 vs the Rams – An uninspired effort by the offense left the Seahawks defense with the majority of the load in this game. The Rams Danny Amendola was able to get open for key completions all game long. Even so the Seahawks were only down by 6 and driving with 2 minutes left. The game was lost on a throw when Wilson’s intended receiver Anthony McCoy tripped on his route and Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher grabbed an easy interception, and that handed the win to St. Louis.
- Week 8 vs the Lions – This is another one that, despite a late 4th quarter winning drive by the Lions, was actually lost not on the last drive of the game, but late in the second quarter. It was on a Lions drive that was stalled at third-and-11 just past midfield. Stafford made probably his best throw of the year to Titus Young who streaked for a 46-yard touchdown. Had the Seahawks held on that 3rd and 11, they likely could have held the Lions out of the end zone until half time and that 4th quarter drive by the Lions would have been irrelevant.
- Week 12 vs the Dolphins – The Seahawks had the lead and the Dolphins were driving with 8 minutes remaining in the game. On first and goal from Seattle’s 7-yard line QB Ryan Tannehill was flushed out of the pocket to his right and forced a throw to Anthony Fasano in tight coverage. Hawks LB Bobby Wagner intercepted the ball in the end zone for what would have been a touchback and Hawks ball at the 20. Unfortunately, during the throw, Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas had launched himself airborne in an attempt to knock down the pass. His forward momentum carried him into Tannehills path and Thomas’ arm inadvertently brushed the quarterback’s helmet, drawing a personal foul. Interception negated. Dolphins get the easy score and win 21-24.
So there you have it…Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda. 4 Plays that would have made the Seahawks the No.1 seed in the playoffs had they not happened, giving them home field advantage and a bye in the first week…just like their Super Bowl year. Even winning just one of these games would have made this weeks game vs the 49ers a battle for the NFC West lead. I’m sure every Seahawks player knows this and will remember it next season, which should be one to remember. But with a little luck, a top 3 defense, and the newly found offensive power of the last 3 games, hopefully fans won’t have to wait until next season for a look at another Seahawks Super Bowl. But how much easier it could have been.
Arizona Cardinals 27 @ Tennessee Titans 32
Arizona entered this game with a huge question mark at quarterback and on offensive line struggling to impose itself on opposing defenses. John Skelton started the game out with a sack for a loss and promptly followed it up with an interception. Skelton made some decent throws across the middle but he had trouble overall. Kolb started the second half with a pick-six due to a “rookie” mistake – throwing late over the middle, across the body. He honestly should know better. Arizona’s issues at offensive tackle can’t be understated, either. It is going to make the whole offense that much harder to run. Fitzgerald, of course, looked like the ridiculous stud that he is. I can’t think of a team that wouldn’t love to see him in their uniforms. If there isn’t significant improvement on the offensive line and at quarterback, it’s going to be a long season for Fitzgerald and the Cardinals organization.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt has a tough decision ahead of him since neither quarterback played well enough, or even consistently enough, to have the job outright.
The loss of Levi Brown poses another large question for Arizona. He injured his triceps in last week’s game against the Raiders and required surgery. Does Arizona put him on the IR in which case he is out for the whole season? Or do they take up a roster spot with a player than won’t be able to play until the second half of the season?
All in all, Arizona’s defense is definitely the better of the two units but it still didn’t look stellar tonight. It’s a defense that can really rough up receivers and play strong on the line, but it also faces a consistency issue. I don’t think Arizona is going to get walked over by teams, but I think they are going to have a rough season until some of these injury and consistency issues iron themselves out.