Penalties, including seven against the offensive line, hurt the Seahawks
The Seahawks’ 27-17 victory over Washington was harder than it should have been because of 13 penalties, including seven committed by the offensive line.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin had three touchdowns wiped out by penalties.
10:33, second quarter: Second-and-seven, Washington 16-yard line. Harvin run around left end, nullified by holding on James Carpenter.
10:25, second quarter: Second-and-17, Washington 26-yard line. Harvin scores after catching short pass from Russell Wilson, nullified by false start on Harvin.
12:54, fourth quarter: First-and-10, Washington 41-yard line. Harvin pass deep down the middle from Wilson, nullified by unnecessary roughness on Carpenter.
LANDOVER, Md. – Characterizing the game of Percy Harvin proved tough even for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
On the one hand, Harvin looked explosive and hard to tackle on the way to scoring three touchdowns. On the other hand, he never actually scored three touchdowns because each of his scores was called back by penalties.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like Percy had,” Carroll said. “That would have been a phenomenal game, which it still was.”
The asterisk hanging over Harvin’s performance is the same cloud hanging over Seattle’s 27-17 win Monday night against Washington: The Seahawks had 13 penalties, seven of which were attached to offensive linemen. Those penalties wrecked what Carroll thought otherwise would have been a “very big night,” and it forced the Seahawks to claw out a win instead of cruise to one.
Left tackle Russell Okung had three penalties, including one on third down. Center Max Unger had two penalties, including one on third down. And guard James Carpenter had two penalties, both of which took away touchdowns.
“A bunch of costly penalties,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said.
The most controversial call of the game was the penalty on Carpenter in the fourth quarter that took away a deep touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Harvin. Carpenter was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he continued blocking a Washington player after he went to the ground.
“They just said you can’t hit people when they’re on the ground,” Carpenter said. “That’s what the ref said. I don’t know. I didn’t see the play. I just tried to finish.”
New York Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz sent out two tweets during the game blasting the call: “Umm when did it turn illegal to finish a DL? That’s a bad call. Should we just tap them when they fall down?... He didn’t even spear the guy or lead with his head. Just fell on him. Next time he should pick him up and give him a hug. Maybe that will do.”
Seattle’s coaches in the press box during the game told Carroll they thought it was a bad call, and Cable agreed.
“It was,” Cable said. “He just finished it. I always tell those guys: You don’t worry about stuff like that as long as you’re doing it right. If it’s late, if it’s something that’s stupid, I don’t want it. But that wasn’t.”
Seattle’s penalties took the shine off what the Seahawks did well. Harvin had three explosive touchdowns taken away — one on a running play wiped out by a Carpenter hold, one on a quick pass negated by illegal procedure on Harvin and one on the deep pass called back by Carpenter’s unnecessary roughness penalty.
Harvin admitted after the game he got “a little frustrated” by the third touchdown that was erased.
And the penalties overshadowed the physical way the offensive line played; the Seahawks averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
“They played really good,” Cable said, “but the point is those penalties make you feel like, ‘Eh, it’s not great.’ But they knocked the socks off those guys.”
The Seahawks were good enough to still grind out a victory against a struggling Washington team, but costly mistakes, albeit of a slightly different nature, burned them in their only loss to the Chargers.
The Seahawks looked poised to blow out Washington — they had Washington wobbling in the first half — but penalties forced them into a gridlock.
“We’ve just got to be better, especially me,” Okung said. “I’ve got to play better. I can’t afford to have three penalties.
“Just a lack of focus. I take full responsibility for it. I can’t help out the line making mistakes like that.”
The larger problem? He wasn’t alone.
“For the coaching staff, we know there are so many things we can control at the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said. “Those are things we can clean up. We obviously didn’t come out of the bye (week) well in that regard.”
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org