The Seattle Seahawks improved to 5-1 today after defeating the Tennessee Titans 20-13 at CenturyLink Field.
The victory was, however, much more difficult than it should have been for the Seahawks.
The 20-13 final score wasn’t indicative of how the two teams matched up, because Tennessee didn’t put up a glorious fight throughout the day. Seattle’s defense intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, including a key fourth quarter grab by Richard Sherman, and kept the Titans’ offense out of the end zone. The Titans’ defense played decently, holding Seattle to field goals on two lengthy drives, but the Titans as a whole were only hanging around because, up until the fourth quarter, Seattle was shooting itself in the foot.
Some dropped passes and penalties killed a few lengthy drives for the Seahawks, and even though they were able to walk away with Steven Hauschka field goals, it was disappointing for fans. Then there were the turnovers and missed opportunities throughout the game.
Walter Thurmond had a chance to take a Fitzpatrick ball to the house and make it 14-3 in the first half, but instead the ball went right through his hands. At the end of the first half, Chris Maragos’ fumble on a disastrous field goal attempt led to the only Tennessee touchdown of the game, causing Seattle to lose the lead heading into the locker room.
That field goal attempt felt doomed from the start, because at that point Steven Hauschka was still being checked for a concussion after taking a shot during a kickoff return. Punter Jon Ryan, the normal holder, was set to take the kick, making Maragos, a defensive back, the honorary holder for two seconds. What a disastrous two seconds. Maragos muffed the snap and tried to make a desperate throw into the end zone, but wound up fumbling before he could throw.
Then there was Sidney Rice’s fumble in the second half, in which he tried to stretch the ball across the first down marker. Instead, the ball hit a Titan helmet and Tennessee recovered. The Seattle defense came up with another stop, so it didn’t harm the Seahawks, but it did kill another drive that Russell Wilson was putting together. Rice eventually redeemed himself later when he made a spectacular catch in the red zone late, but it didn’t completely forgive his bonehead fumble.
Perhaps the most terrifying miscue was Marshawn Lynch’s red zone fumble early in the fourth quarter. With the score still tied at ten, the ball bounced up toward the Tennessee defender, and as he grabbed at it with the intent to keep running, the ball hopped out of his hands and fell right into Russell Wilson’s, allowing the drive to continue. Seattle kicked a field goal, and on the very next drive, Richard Sherman snared a pick, and the Hawk offense marched down the field and put the game away.
The fumbles and penalties stifled offensive production for the Seahawks, but despite the terrifying amount of mistakes, Seattle stuck with it and came out a winner. The Seahawk defense, as usual, put together an incredible effort, stifling the Titans and allowing Russell Wilson to gradually pull away.
Wilson’s mobility was probably the key to the game. The Titans had excellent downfield coverage, but when Wilson saw an opening on the ground, he took it and torched the defense. Lynch bulldozed his way into the end zone to finish off Wilson’s well-orchestrated drives.
Seattle has a short week ahead to iron out the mistakes, but Seattle fans have nothing to worry about. The sloppy play seen today will not show up this Thursday night, and the Hawks will get back to Super Bowl-caliber play before long.
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