Poor offensive play. A distinct disadvantage in the penalty count. There were lots of things to point to in the Seahawks' 25-20 loss to the Saints. Here is what local and national media, and the Seahawks, are saying about it.
ESPN Seahawks writer Sheil Kapadia says the Seahawks' offense remains a major problem.
"The failure to finish (Russell Wilson was unable to connect with Jermaine Kearse on a game-winning touchdown on the final play) was a theme for the Seahawks' offense all game long. Seattle scored just one touchdown on nine offensive possessions against a Saints defense that came into the game allowing 32.5 points per game -- worst in the league."
Of course, you can't talk about the Seahawks' offensive woes without talking about the offensive line. George Fant made his first start since junior high school Sunday. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson says it may be too late for the Seahawks to find help on the line.
"This is going to be a problem in January. Most likely because the Seahawks will likely have to go through the Dallas Cowboys, who are now the biggest offensive bullies in the NFC."
Poor offensive line play means poor running game, as pointed out by SB Nation's Adam Stites.
"The Seahawks have eclipsed 100 rushing yards just twice in the seven games post-Marshawn Lynch after bullying their way to 100 yards on the ground in 15 of 16 regular season games a year ago, even when Lynch was dealing with injuries."
Now let's talk about the penalties. Or better yet, let's let Richard Sherman talk about them. He's fun to listen to.
"We played within the rules and we got called. They played not within the rules and they didn’t get called,” Sherman said, via Gregg Bell of The News Tribune. “It looked pretty obvious the way the game was officiated. I don’t think they weren’t trying to hide. Some of the calls — or lack thereof — was pretty egregious. … Even when we are at home we rarely get calls. But at least they don’t tear us apart (as they did on Sunday).”
Danny O'Neil of 710 ESPN Seattle says he hates having to talk about officiating, but that in the context of what happened Sunday, it must be talked about.
"The Seahawks were penalized 11 times in their 25-20 loss to New Orleans. Four of those were against Seattle’s defense on third down, awarding the Saints an automatic first down in each instance ... On the other side, the Saints were penalized twice on Sunday, which is significant for two reasons. First, they had been penalized an average of 7.5 times entering the game, which ranked among the most in the league. Second, neither of those two penalties against New Orleans were for offensive pass interference."
The Seattle Times' Jayson Jenks points out the penalties are a recurring issue for the Seahawks.
"Seattle was flagged for 11 penalties for 76 yards, a week after being called for 10 penalties for 90 yards in a tie against Arizona. That’s a lot of free yardage to overcome, especially for an offense that struggled even without being in a hole.
And The Seattle Times Sean Quinton says "On two occasions in the fourth quarter, a Seahawks defender was leveled on a pick play in which a Saints receiver blocked out the defender, creating lanes for a touchdown pass and a critical first down."
And on at least one of those occasions, former NFL official and FOX Sports analyst Mike Pereira agreed.
I think it was OPI. He blocked more than a yard downfield before the pass was touched by the receiver. #SEAvsNO— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 30, 2016
Former Husky and Seahawk Brock Huard put it plainly.
That would have been called offensive PI against the Hawks 100 out of 100 times. NFL Target on Pete's Hawks— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) October 30, 2016
Heck, even Earl Thomas was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after hugging an official.
Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham left the Superdome speechless.
Jimmy Graham declined to talk with media after the game. pic.twitter.com/IlbBpDZ0Sm— Christopher Dabe (@cmdabe) October 30, 2016
Here's one side note to those who would say the officials cost the Seahawks the win in this game. The Oakland Raiders were flagged for an NFL record 23 penalties for 200 yards vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. Six penalties were called against the Bucs for 64 yards. The Raiders still managed to win, 30-24 in overtime.
We'll give the final word to Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who says something besides the penalties is to blame.
Doug Baldwin said the controversial pick plays were legal. "That's not why we lost the game if that's what you're asking."— Matt Calkins (@Matt_Calkins) October 30, 2016