A recap of the Seahawks’ 17-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Qwest Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chris Johnson. This day belonged to the Titans’ talented running back, in several ways. First, he scored two touchdowns – including a 1-yarder with 4½ minutes to play that proved to be the game-winner. But he also ran for 134 yards, making him the sixth player in NFL history to compile 2,000 in a single season – 2,006, to be exact.
It did, however, take Johnson a career-high 36 carries to join Eric Dickerson, O.J. Simpson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis and Jamal Lewis in the record book.
“I’m not really tired,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy about getting 2,000 yards and the victory. It’s not weighing down on me or anything like that. I’m not paying too much attention to that.”
The Seahawks did pay a lot of attention to Johnson, and his quest. They hit him hard, and often, in holding Johnson to a 3.7-yard average.
“They told me that I wasn’t going to get it on them, that went on the whole game,” said Johnson, who surpassed 2K on a on a 4-yard run midway through the fourth quarter and then added the decisive 1-yarder with 4 minutes, 33 seconds left.
Peephole perspective: 17-13, Titans. Chris Johnson found the end zone with 4½ minutes to play for the deciding score.
Player of the quarter: Johnson. He not only scored the game-winner on a 1-yard drive to the goal line, he became the sixth player in NFL history to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in a season.
Play of the quarter: Johnson would not have scored unless QB Vince Young and WR Nate Washington hooked up for a 29-yard gain on seond-and-13. Washington came back to get the pass, and just got his right knee in before going out of bounds at the 2.
Line of the quarter: 3-3-37. Johnson got the deciding score and date with history, but Young hit each of his three passes in the quarter.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks’ possession that ended the third quarter carried into the fourth, and produced points as Olindo Mare kicked a 20-yard field goal to make it 13-10 with 12½ minutes to play. The nine-play drive included a 15-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Deion Branch on third-and-13 and a scintillating 17-yard run by Justin Forsett to the 2-yard line. But a no-gain run by Forsett and two incompletions forced the Seahawks to settle for three points.
On the Titans’ ensuing series, Johnson went over the 2,000-yard rushing barrier for the season. It came on a 4-yard run – his fifth of the drive. Johnson scored on a 62-yard run, but it was nullified by a holding penalty against FB Ahmard Hall.
The Seahawks’ drive that followed not only stalled, P Jon Ryan dropped the snap and got off a 19-yard punt under duress. The Titans took advantage of getting the ball at the Seattle 28 to drive five plays to a go-ahead score – a 1-yard run by Johnson. The big play that setup the short run was a 29-yard pass from Vince Young to WR Nate Washington on second-and-13. Seahawks coach Jim Mora challenged the catch and the score, but lost both.
Down, but not out, the Seahawks started their next possession with a 25-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Houshmandzadeh. Hasselbeck then went to Ben Obomanu for 7 yards to the Titans’ 43 on third-and-5, before ducking what would have been a sack by DT Kevin Vickerson and scrambling for 6 yards. But the drive to a potential go-ahead score ended when LB Gerald McRath intercepted Hasselbeck’s fourth-down pass.
Peephole perspective: 10-10, as Olindo Mare and Rob Bironas kicked field goals.
Player of the quarter: Deon Grant. The Seahawks’ strong safety, who is playing with a cast on his wrist, had four tackles and recovered a fumble.
Play of the quarter: The first play of the quarter, as Matt Hasselbeck and Deion Branch hooked up on 35-yard pass play that led to Mare’s field goal.
Line of the quarter: 9-39. The Chris Johnson watched continued, as he ran nine times for 39 yards – leaving him 20 shy of 2K.
The bigger picture: The half started well for the Seahawks as Rob Bironas’ kickoff went out of bounds, giving Seattle the ball at the 40. Matt Hasselbeck and WR Deion Branch hooked up for a 35-yard gain on the first play, but the drive stalled and Olindo Mare kicked a 35-yard field to give the Seahawks a 10-7 lead. It was Mare’s 20th consecutive field goal, extending his club-record streak.
Bironas atoned for the opening kickoff by kicking a 47-yard field goal with 4:40 left in the quarter to cap a 13-play, 50-yard drive. Chris Johnson carried seven times for 31 yards. QB Vince Young converted twice on third downs with a 7-yard pass to WR Nate Washington and a 7-yarder to TE Bo Scaife.
The Seahawks moved from their own 34 to the Titans’ 41 on their next possession, with RB Julius Jones gaining 17 yards on three carries. But a sack and two incompletions forced the Seahawks to punt. It could have been worse, as S Chris Hope dropped Hasselbeck’s third-down pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Peephole perspective: 7-7 at the half, as Matt Hasselbeck passed 6 yards to TE John Carlson for their now-weekly touchdown.
Player of the quarter: Hasselbeck. The Seahawks’ maligned QB completed 5 of 7 passes for 56 yards and the TD in the quarter, for a 134.5 passer rating.
Play of the quarter: On second-and-goal from the 6, Carlson made a sliding grab of a Hasselbeck pass to tie the score. The Seahawks have scored four TDs in their past four games, and each has been a Hasselbeck-to-Carlson pass.
Line of the quarter: 8-33. Chris Johnson’s quest for 2K continued, as he ran eight times for 33 yards in the quarter – giving him 73 for the half. He needs 55 in the second half to become the sixth player in league history to get 2,000 in a season. He also surpasses Marshall Faulk’s NFL record for most yards from scrimmage during the quarter.
The bigger picture: The second quarter started the same way the first ended – with Johnson pounding away. He gained 20 yards on the Titans’ first series, including an 11-yarder on his first carry. But LB Leroy Hill and CB Marcus Trufant teamed up to stop Johnson for a 1-yard loss on second down and he was just short on getting the needed 4 yards on third down.
The Seahawks then got it going on their next possession. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh took a short pass from Hasselbeck and got up the right sideline for a 24-yard gain. Then, Hasselbeck lateraled to backup QB Seneca Wallace, who completed a 17-yard pass to Houshmandzadeh from the SeneCat formation. Then it was RB Justin Forsett for 20 yards to the Titans’ 8-yard line and 2 yards. That setup Carlson’s sliding catch of a Hasselbeck pass in the end zone for his fourth TD in the past four games.
After the defense forced another three-and-out, the Seahawks were on the move again, driving from their own 20 to the Titans’ 38. But CB Rod Hood poked away Hasselbeck’s second-down pass to WR Deion Branch and a third-and-13 screen to RB Julius Jones gained only 3 yards. The drive included a 17-yard run by Jones and a 21-yard pass to Branch.
The Titans had a chance to get on the board again, but Rob Bironas was wide left on a 47-yard field goal with 3 seconds to play. Bironas lined up for a 42-yarder, but the Titans were penalized 5 yards for delay of game. The drive featured QB Vince Young completing six consecutive passes for 58 yards.
Peephole perspective: Titans 7-0. One long drive to the open the game, an interception by the Seahawks and a trio of three-and-outs.
Player of the quarter: Chris Johnson. The Titans’ running back accounted for 45 of the 82 yards on the game-opening TD drive – including the final 6 for the score. Johnson carried seven times for 26 yards and had 19 on two receptions.
Play of the quarter: The Titans went deep on the second play of their second possession, but QB Vince Young overthrew WR Justin Gage and Seahawks SS Deon Grant made the interception.
Line of the quarter: 11-40. Johnson’s carries and rushing yards – which were more than three times as many yards as the Seahawks were able to generate in the quarter (13).
The bigger picture: The Titans took the opening kickoff and drove 82 yards in 13 plays to a 6-yard TD run by – who else? – Johnson. The scoring play came on fourth down and was the Titans’ second fourth-down conversion on the drive. The other was a 2-yard run by Johnson on fourth-and-1. Johnson carried seven times for 26 yards and also caught two passes for 19 yards.
Grant’s interception ended the Titans’ second series, but the Seahawks were unable to generate any points from the turnover.
Cornerback Josh Wilson is inactive for today’s game, not surprising because of the hip pointer he got in last week’s loss to the Packers in Green Bay. Wilson did not practice during the week and was barely able to jog, let alone run, on the side.
With Wilson out, Kelly Jennings will start at right cornerback, free safety Jordan Babineaux will move up to cover the slot receiver in the nickel (and be replaced at free safety by Lawyer Milloy) and Ken Lucas will play in the dime when the Seahawks go to four corners.
Also inactive are wide receiver Nate Burleson (sprained ankle) and linebacker Aaron Curry (shoulder stinger). Burleson finishes with 63 receptions for 812 yards – his highest totals since joining the Seahawks in 2006 – and three touchdowns. Curry’s rookie-season totals were 60 tackles, two sacks, eight QB hits, six passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
Wilson, meanwhile, led the team with 14 passes defensed and also had 44 tackles and two interceptions.
- OG Trevor Canfield
- OG Mansfield Wrotto
- DT Red Bryant
- TE Cameron Morrah
- 3rd QB: Mike Teel
Inactive for the Titans:
- WR Dominique Edison
- RB Javon Ringer
- CB Ryan Mouton
- CB Jamar Love
- OL Fernando Velasco
- OL Troy Kropog
- DE Jevon Kearse
- DT Tony Brown
Adding some needed intrigue to this matchup is the quest of the Titans’ Chris Johnson to join Jamal Lewis (2,066 yards in 2003), Terrell Davis (2,008 in 1998), Barry Sanders (2,053 in 1997), Eric Dickerson (a league-record 2,105 in 1984) and O.J. Simpson (2,003 in 1973) as the only backs in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in one season.
Johnson needs 128 yards to do it, and he has averaged 124.8 in compiling his league-leading total of 1,872. Titans coach Jeff Fisher has turned this into an offensive achievement, while Johnson’s teammates have made it an entire-team goal.
“First off, these goals that people are talking about are team goals. They’re not individual goals,” Fisher said. “Without the offense, C.J. wouldn’t be where he’s at. There are some things the team would like to achieve, and the defense is rooting the offense on.”
Offered tight end Bo Scaife, “Everyone is committed to doing everything they can to help C.J. get 2,000.”
The Seahawks, of course, are determined to not let it happen. As linebacker Leroy Hill put it, “That’s the motto – ‘Not in our house.’ He has been ripping the league all year. We’re going to do our best to stop him, obviously.”
One thing that would help is for the Seahawks to take a lead by putting points on the board early. Or period, the way the offense has struggled while scoring only one touchdown in each of the past three games – all losses. The Seahawks have scored only 37 points in the first quarter all season; none during their current three-game skid.
To score early, they will have to avoid turnovers – starting with Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks’ QB has nine turnovers in the past two games – four interceptions against the Packers in Green Bay last week, four more picks and a fumble the week before against the Buccaneers at Qwest.
“I do think about it – or did think about it,” said Hasselbeck, who will be presented the Steve Largent Award in a pregame ceremony. “It’s something I’m definitely focused on – not dwelling on, but focused on, aware of. I know why. I look at the turnovers all separately. As a quarterback, there’s a fine line between cutting it loose, making plays and also being careless or forcing things and being desperate with the ball.”
Hasselbeck snapping out of his uncharacteristic funk plays into the Seahawks’ motivation: Getting a win, to end this disappointing season with a needed pinch of the positive; but also to avoid losing their last four games of the season for the first time since 1992.
The Titans also have another goal: Becoming the first team to finish .500 after starting 0-6.
“First and foremost, we’re going to try and win the football game – as the Seahawks are,” Fisher said. “These types of things are more easily said than done. This is going to be a difficult effort for our football team. And I’m talking about just trying to win the game, let alone achieve some of these milestones for our offense.”
It is against this backdrop of trying to achieve – as well as sidestep – the historic that the Seahawks and Titans are about to play what some will try and label a “meaningless” game.
We’ll be back later with the inactives – for the final time this season.