A look back and a look ahead to the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday
John Carlson’s resurgent hands: The Seahawks have scored two touchdowns the past two games, both by Carlson. His lunge to the pylon for a 29-yard TD against the Bucs highlighted a seven-catch, 86-yard performance by the second-year tight end. Those numbers topped his totals from the past five games combined (seven for 78 yards). With five TD catches, Carlson equaled the output from his rookie season and left him needing one more to break the franchise record for the position that he shares with Jerramy Stevens.
The tackling tentacles of David Hawthorne and Jordan Babineaux: Neither player had ever had triple-digit tackles in a season. Until Sunday, that is. Hawthorne, a second-year middle linebacker, had a game-high 10 tackles to give him 102 for the season – and lift him past Babineaux in what has been a game of leading-tackler leapfrog the past two months. Babineaux, in his first season as the starting free safety, had seven tackles against the Bucs to hit 100 for the season. Which one will lead be the team’s leading tackler in 2009? Either way, it will be someone who has never done it before.
Deon Grant’s left wrist: Despite playing with a cast on his hand/wrist, the veteran strong safety intercepted a pass on the Bucs’ third play of the game, got his hands on another pass and also had eight solo tackles.
Kevin Houser’s aching shoulder: The injury to the team’s long snapper led to a botched field-goal attempt when the ball bounced before it got to holder Jon Ryan. It also forced Houser to go to the hospital in the second half, leaving cornerback Kelly Jennings to snap for a fourth-quarter punt – and the team to likely be in the market for a new snapper to complete the season.
The week ahead
Coach Jim Mora is tweaking the schedule to accommodate Christmas. The player are off today and will practice Tuesday, their usual day off. They’ll also practice Wednesday and Thursday, allowing them to come in later on Friday so they can spend Christmas morning with their families.
Saturday, the team will leave for Wisconsin, and Sunday’s game against the Packers in Green Bay. The last time they visited Lambeau Field, the Seahawks lost a 42-20 decision to the Packers in a snow-covered divisional playoff game after the 2007 season. While the Seahawks have won nine games the past two seasons, the Packers are 9-5 this season – and rank second in the league in defense and sixth in offense.
The Packers also lead the league at plus-18 in takeaway/turnover ratio, and rank third in third-down conversion percentage (.466) – while QB Aaron Rodgers is the league’s top-rated passer on third downs (134.4) because he has thrown 14 touchdowns, no interceptions and completed 67.4 percent of his passes. Not surprisingly, wide receivers Greg Jennings (23) and Donald Driver (20) are among the league leaders in third-down receptions.
On defense, cornerback Charles Woodson shares the NFC lead with eight interceptions and free safety Nick Collins has six, while rookie linebacker Clay Matthews has 10 sacks.
That’s a month’s worth of issues to deal with in a holiday-altered work week.