SEATTLE – Let’s start with the concept of the touchdown, foreign as it is to the Seattle Seahawks.
But certainly you remember touchdowns, if only from surfing through other NFL games on your viewing device. Even the Jets and Browns – purportedly NFL teams – are minimally accomplished at this skill.
It involves crossing the goal line in possession of the football, or catching a pass or falling on a fumble in the end zone. Blocking a punt and recovering it there. There are a number of ways to achieve this grail, though anyone following the Seahawks had been taking this matter on faith until late Sunday afternoon.
By that time, the notion had taken root that the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were setting football back 100 years in their clash at CenturyLink Field, where owner Paul Allen was feted Sunday for “saving” the franchise 20 years ago.
If he knew how to score a touchdown, that would really make him a savior.
But in fact, setting the game back 100 years may not be enough. The Seahawks may be better served shooting for, oh, 125 years. That would take it back to the era when the touchdown was not only worth less (just four points) but also worth no more than what was known as the goal after. Perhaps that sort of devaluation would balance the scales for Seattle.
Except that when the Seahawks did finally score a touchdown for the first time this season, the Blair Walsh Project – Seattle’s new kicker with some old baggage – banged his goal-after try off an upright. So at least that squandered only a point and not four.
Hey, what can you expect? He was out of practice.
Nonetheless, the Seahawks were able to make their 12-9 advantage hold up over the last seven minutes, thanks to one final three-and-out stand by the defense and some slashing first downs courtesy of their new running back find, Chris Carson, who will only have to aspire to be the successor to Thomas Rawls and not Marshawn Lynch.
But, c’mon – the Niners were 2-14 last year. Some people are still dropping Seattle into Super Bowl conversations.
“Games are hard,” shrugged Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Hard to stomach, if they’re like this one. Or just unwatchable.
Where’s an eclipse or all that smoke when you need it?
Of course, we have been here before. Just last season, the Seahawks scored all of 15 points and a single touchdown in their first two games and there was still a wild card at the end of the rainbow. But that’s little consolation for the fretful, who figure the offseason is for, you know, fixing problems.
So far, no fix.
The red-tag sale offensive line has taken the weight of blame – and it’s not very good. Quarterback Russell Wilson took even more hits this week than in the opener at Green Bay, and through three quarters Seattle had all of 50 yards in rushing – the holes being, well, not.
But this week, the problems were contagious – which is not to say catching. Running back C.J. Prosise dropped a slant pass that would have been a touchdown on the first drive. Then second-year receiver Tanner McEvoy fluffed a challenging, but catchable, ball in the end zone the next time down – making all wonder whatever happened to preseason discards Kasen Williams and Jerome Kearse (the latter with two TD catches for the Jets on Sunday).
When did old Mariners general managers start consulting with the Seahawks?
Once again, this left the burden of game winning pretty much solely with Wilson – a far too familiar circumstance. Not until the Seahawks fell behind 9-6 and he began quickly bailing on dropbacks and scrambling for major yardage did the holes begin to appear for Carson – a nice seventh-round draft discovery, yes, but let’s not go crazy yet.
And while Paul Richardson made a fine adjustment on that touchdown reception, only Wilson among NFL quarterbacks was likely to make the escape and throw – in the clutches of DeForest Buckner – that produced it.
“I’m always ready (to run) if it’s necessary, you know,” Wilson said.
And it’s almost always necessary.
Of course, it only worked because the Seahawks defense did their thing – making life miserable for career mediocrity Brian Hoyer and being stung only by two long runs by Carlos Hyde.
“It was ugly,” admitted Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin. “That’s football, you know. When you grind it out like that, there’s something special to it. I don’t know what. It’s not pretty. But for us to grind it out the way we did, it’s a beautiful part of the game.”
Ugly and not pretty equal beautiful? Who knew?
Besides, it could be worse. The 49ers still haven’t scored a touchdown.
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