Riddle for you: Seneca Wallace threw for seemingly 30 completions as his Seattle Seahawks lost Sunday, Nov. 9, 21-19 in Miami, but the diminutive fill-in quarterback only got credit for 21 successful attempts. Why?
Those who saw via TV what actually was an entertaining game know the correct answer: because Wallace's nominal receivers dropped balls like a talk-show host drops names. Any of about a half-dozen easy completions would have positioned the 2-7 franchise to eke out a slim win over a 5-4 Dolphins team surfacing from the depths of last year's worst-in-league status. But Koren Robinson, John Carlson, and, notably, Keary Colbert couldn't get the hang of it at key junctures. Coupled with early defensive lapses that allowed the 'Phins to surf to an early first-quarter lead, the problems among the receiving corps were too much for a crummy team to overcome, especially playing a continent away in the inhospitable Eastern time zone.
These, after all, are the Seahawks, not exactly astronauts when it comes to travel. They're supposedly well-conditioned athletes who nevertheless probably wouldn't even make it as flight attendants because they say they're inordinately susceptible to time and distance changes. Some are believed to suffer jet lag when they drive home to Bellevue after practicing in Renton.
Occasionally, a struggling club makes its own luck. Unfortunately, such a contingent isn't one coached by Mike Holmgren, who seems to regard "trick play" the way many feel about trichinosis. The Dolphins worked a perfect, and perfectly surprising, "flea-flicker" pass early in the game. But the element of surprise cannot be found on Dr. Holmy's periodic table. Hence, as the seconds waned and Seattle, of course, had piddled away all but one of its second-half time-out options, the Hawks never were going to risk an onside kick to secure a possession that could have led to a game-winning field goal. Making the play work would have left Seattle at mid-field with ample time remaining. But the coach has a long memory and no doubt vividly recalled how he tried the onside one night when he was behind as a high-school mentor. It didn't work then; ergo it will never work again.
Soon neither will Holmgren, or so we hear. All he has to do is glower on the sidelines seven more times through the Dec. 28 season finale, then head home and start puttering through his planned after-career (and weighing options to come out of "retirement"). Post-season play would necessitate Seattle winning its final seven games. Hence, Seahawk fans seem to have long since resigned themselves to missing the playoffs this season, unless National Football League officials decide to take the bottom 12 teams.
The consolation is that it's less painful watching the Hawks lose than, say, sitting through 2008 University of Washington home games. The thousands (well, hundreds is what it looked like) of us vultures hunched over in Husky Stadium Saturday, Nov. 8, seemed to realize that what we've been doing this season is less a leisure pursuit, more a case of acute morbid curiosity (Arizona State 39, Huskies 19, for those who share our curiosity).
But the Seahawks are starting to mend, with hobbled QB Matt Hasselbeck said to be about ready to start a game, maybe as soon as next week's Qwest Field tiff with division-leading Arizona virtually certain to make the playoffs. After that the Hawks host the Jim Zorn-led Washington franchise, followed by a Thanksgiving Day game at Dallas and a Dec. 7 home event with New England, the 5:15 p.m. featured meeting of Sunday Night Football. It isn't likely that the Hawks actually will win any of the above. But at least the games could be entertaining, if only for seeing Hasselbeck complete 30 passes each outing only to be credited for 21.