A recap of the Seahawks’ 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tarvaris Jackson. For a guy who wasn’t supposed to play, the Seahawks’ sore-shouldered quarterback played pretty darn well.
Jackson didn’t start the game because of a strained pectoral in his right shoulder, but he came on in the second quarter for a struggling Charlie Whitehurst. Before the game was over, Jackson had passed for a season-high 323 yards by completing 21 of 40 passes.
“I think we saw today that Tarvaris did an extraordinary, courageous job of playing under the circumstances,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He gives us our best chance, and we’ll hopefully get him healthier and get him ready for next week.”
Jackson sat out last week’s loss to the Browns in Cleveland, where the Seahawks mustered three points. He came on today after the Seahawks had scored three points on their first three possessions.
Jackson also passed for 300 yards the last time the Seahawks played at home – in a two-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. He had 166 yards in the Week 5 games against the Giants, before leaving early in the third quarter after injuring his shoulder.
If anything, Carroll is even more sold on Jackson as his QB after what he was able to do against the Bengals.
“I think Tarvaris is a really good football player,” Carroll said. “He can make plenty of things happen. We need to build around him. We need to take care of him better.”
For his part, Jackson offered, “It’s hard to deal with, being that we’re 2-5 and we’ve lost two straight. We came out of the bye week and this not what we pictured – being a 2-5 team. Who cares about how young we are? That doesn’t matter.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The all-rookie 43-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green that gave the Bengals a 17-3 lead late in the first half. The Seahawks got pressure on Dalton, but he eluded it and launched a pretty pass to Green, who caught the ball in the end zone despite tight coverage from free safety Earl Thomas.
“Earl Thomas, he’s a great player,” Green said. “(The pass) came a little inside. He was flat-footed. I took it over the top and Andy just threw a perfect ball. I just made a play.”
Defense: The Bengals’ Reggie Nelson intercepted a Jackson pass late in the fourth quarter and turned it into a pick-six with a 75-yard scoring return. But the game had been decided by that point, and before those points. So let’s go with one of the Seahawks’ two interceptions off Dalton – the one where rookie cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a pass that was intended for Green and strong safety Kam Chancellor intercepted the carom. That interception setup the Seahawks’ only TD – a 2-yard run by Marshawn Lynch – that made it 17-12 midway through the fourth quarter.
“He tried to accelerate away,” said Sherman, who had an interception of his own in the third quarter. “I caught up, got the ball and he tried to go over my head. But I batted it out and Kam was there.”
Special teams: Brandon Tate had two long returns late in the fourth quarter. His 45-yard kickoff return after the Seahawks’ only TD set up a field goal. But he then returned a punt 56 yards for a score.
The Seahawks played without Mike Williams, who tweaked a hamstring late in the week. But Ben Obomanu stepped in at split end and caught four passes for 107 yards.
In addition to Obomanu, Sidney Rice had seven catches for 102 yards. The last time the Seahawks had two 100-yard receivers in the same game was in 2004 against the Cowboys, when Darrell Jackson caught nine for 113 and Jerry Rice had eight for 145.
The defense held the Bengals to three points in the second half.
Lynch scored his team-high third rushing touchdown, but gained 24 yards on 16 carries for a 1.5-yard average. Leon Washington (two for 34) was the team’s leading rusher.
Jon Ryan averaged 53.3 yards on six punts, but his net average (24.0) took a beating because Tate returned his 49-yarder for 56 and the score.
Thomas led the Seahawks with 10 tackles, the first time this season he has done so. Chancellor and linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill have each led the team in tackles twice.
Heath Farwell had three coverage tackles on special teams for the Seahawks.
Sherman, making his first NFL start, had the interception, the tip to that led to the interception by Chancellor and five tackles.
The Seahawks had substantial advantages in total yards (411 to 252), offensive plays (71 to 57) and net passing yards (350 to 160). But the Bengals had the edge in time of possession (31:27 to 28:33). The Seahawks have yet to win the TOP battle this season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It ain’t a good place to be, but it’s a good place to leave behind.” – Carroll