For the Seahawks Sunday (Oct. 2), offensive huddles seemed to be working about as well as meetings do at Dilbert’s office. At halftime the club was being drubbed 24-7 by an Atlanta attack monopolizing the game clock. The path to victory against Atlanta would mean abandoning huddles during the second half and letting the quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, a suddenly lively field leader, appear to make executive decisions on the fly.
It almost worked. The Hawk offense clawed back to within two points but the defense couldn’t stall a fourth-quarter Falcon possession that seemed more interminable than the most tedious meeting you can remember. It left Seattle with limited time to set up what proved to be a futile 61-yard field-goal attempt. and the Hawks lost 30-28.
The loss leaves the Hawks at 1-3 with scant prospects for improvement. They have to play three of the next four in other time zones. With an Oct. 16 bye, they won’t get home again until Oct. 30, ominously catching the orange and black of Cincinnati for a Halloween foe; the Bengals defeated previously unbeaten Buffalo Sunday.
A National Football League season lasts about 20 weeks. The Seahawk fortunes for the 2011 season seemed to expire in about 20 minutes. Prior to kickoff the Hawks’ main division nemesis, San Francisco, had grabbed and held a one-point lead to run the 49er record to 3-1. The Niners had trailed most of the game and a loss along with a Seattle win would’ve left the Hawks tied for first instead of next-to worst (St. Louis is 0-4).
But Steven Hauschka’s 61-yard try was ill-fated the instant he kicked it, the ball fading left and deflating the collective demeanor of what had been another spirited home crowd. The latter came alive during a second half that seemed destined for a local victory; but even though the Falcons’ managed a meager pair of field goals in the final 30 minutes, the Hawks had too much of a deficit to overcome.
Hawk prospects seem to be the inverse of the other local big-time football contingent. The night before, the Washington Huskies provided TV viewers with the greatest local gridiron entertainment of the year so far. The Salt Lake City spectacle cemented the Dawgs’ strong position heading toward post-season consideration.
Their dominant, 31-14 triumph over favored Utah would seem to predict at least a seven-win season, with UW likely favored against Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon State, if not their other four foes. A two-week break in the schedule probably couldn’t come at a better time for bruised players such as emerging star quarterback Keith Price and deservedly exhausted, often unstoppable Chris Polk, who had 189 yards against the new-to-the-league Utes.
Just as exemplary for the Huskies: The defense and special teams played with speed, smarts, and intensity against Utah players who seemed stunned by the result of their first Pac-12 home game.
The Seahawk brain trust might’ve been well-advised to convene one final brief meeting before Sunday’s game expired. The team, after all, had 13 seconds and a single time-out left. The lesser gamble might’ve meant trying for the first down on fourth and eight and setting up a more manageable field-goal try.
As for the decision to eschew the first-down gamble: “I wanted to give us a chance to win,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the loss, though, while praising his players, he granted that the success of a lengthy thump wasn’t exactly to be expected.
Anyway, one would think, if yet another meeting never seems to end well where Dilbert works, why expect it to pay off for the animated Hawk mentor and his minions?