A look back and a look ahead at the week that was and the week that will be for the Seahawks:
Anatomy of a 34-17 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis
T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s hands: After catching eight passes for 97 yards the previous two weeks, Housh had eight receptions for 103 yards against the Colts. He got open. He made the tough catches. He moved the chains (seven of his catches produced first downs; three came on third downs; five went for at least 14 yards). He’s now second on the team with 22 receptions (two behind Nate Burleson), and has the best per-catch average (11.3 yards) of any receiver with more than three catches.
Lofa Tatupu’s legs: After missing the previous seven quarters-plus because of a strained hamstring, the team’s middle linebacker not only was back against the Colts he collected a game-high 11 tackles. But because it was the Colts, seven of Tatupu’s tackles came on pass plays and just four on running plays (after gains of six yards). He wasn’t just running the defense, he was running down plays.
Gus Bradley’s lungs: After the Colts’ second touchdown – and scoring drives of 80 and 90 yards – the Seahawks defensive coordinator gathered his players around him on the sideline and encouraged them to fix the mistakes that Colts QB Peyton Manning was exploiting.
“Gus was doing a good job of play calling and we were out there messing up on the things we were practicing the whole week,” said strong safety Deon Grant, a defensive co-captain.
Manning’s all seeing eyes: The Colts’ QB wasn’t as good as advertised. He was better. Any little mistake by the Seahawks became a big play for the Colts, because Manning recognized it and made the most of it. That’s how he ended up with 353 passing yards and the Colts finished with TD drives of 80, 90, 78 and 80 yards.
The week ahead
Jim Mora keeps talking about getting injured players back, but the pile just keeps getting larger. The Seahawks coach said on his KIRO-FM radio show this morning that Rob Sims has a high sprain of his left ankle. Also, defensive end Patrick Kerney has a strained groin. Both players were injured in Sunday’s game.
This week’s on-field task is gearing up for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who slapped a 37-17 loss on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Jaguars (2-2) are capable of pounding the ball at opposing defenses with Maurice Jones-Drew (296 rushing yards and five TDs). But against the Titans, QB David Garrard completed 27 of 37 for 323 yards and three TDs in leading scoring drives on five the Jags’ first six possessions.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 34-17 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Peyton Manning. The Colts quarterback is off to a MVP start for his undefeated team, having passed for at least 300 yards in all four games. Sunday was no exception. Manning completed 31 of 41 passes for 353 yards, and was 17 of 20 for 220 yards while passing the Colts to a 21-3 halftime lead.
He threw TD passes to Reggie Wayne (5 yards) and Austin Collie (21), and his passing set up TD runs by Donald Brown (1 yard) and Joseph Addai (12).
“The guy is a great one,” Seahawks coach Jim Mora said. “There’s not a lot you can do when he’s hot like that.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Manning’s 21-yard TD pass to Collie. The Colts QB saw that Collie was being covered by fill-in nickel back Travis Fisher, so he went to him – and Collie made a falling grab of a well-thrown pass in the end zone. That made it 21-3 just before halftime.
Defense: The one play where the Seahawks finally got Manning – an interception by cornerback Ken Lucas on a pass where Manning threw one way and Wayne went the other. The offense could not take advantage of the turnover, but at least the defense stopped the Colts on that possession.
Special teams: When the Colts overloaded to the right side anticipating Olindo Mare’s onside kick after the Seahawks’ touchdown in the fourth quarter, the veteran kicker went to the left side and safety Jordan Babineaux eventually recovered the bouncing ball at the Seahawks 46-yard line. Eight plays later, the Seahawks scored on Seneca Wallace’s 1-yard pass to fullback Owen Schmitt.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Seahawks came out with shares of pink – the official color of the movement. Wide receivers Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had pink on their shoes and their gloves. Tight end John Owen and rookie QB Mike Teel were wearing pink wristbands, while Wallace and running back Edgerrin James opted for a single pink wrist band. Defensive end Darryl Tapp had pink fingers on his gloves.
After the Colts’ second touchdown drive – a 90-yarder – defensive coordinator Gus Bradley gathered his players around him and launched into an impassioned sideline speech.
“He was speaking passionately and yet positively,” Mora said. “What Gus was saying was, ‘If we do our jobs, if all 11 of us just do our jobs on every single play, then we’re going to give ourselves a chance to make some plays. If you off just a little bit and you’re not exact, a guy like this is going to make you pay.’ ”
The player with the most reporters gathered around his cubicle in the Seahawks’ locker room? Lofa Tatupu, who had 11 tackles? Houshmandzadeh, who finished with eight receptions for 103 yards? Wallace, who refused to quit in rallying the team to two fourth-quarter touchdowns?
No, it was James, who began his career with the Colts and obviously is not forgotten. James ran the ball four times for 16 yards and also caught a 6-yard pass. Each time, he was greeted by applause and cheers from the crowd of 66,112.
Left guard Rob Sims started the game, despite having a strained oblique. But he left in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and was replaced by Mansfield Wrotto. Sims will have additional tests Monday to determine the extent of the injury and how long he might be sidelined.
Defensive end Patrick Kerney left the game in the middle of the second half with a pull groin. He’s also scheduled for additional tests Monday. Tapp replaced Kerney at right end.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There’s no quit in this team. There really isn’t. There’s a determination in that room. There’s not one guy in there that will back away from a challenge. It’s just not part of our character.” – Mora
The Colts did not take advantage of the fumble-forcing sack, however, as WR Reggie Wayne dropped Manning’s second-down pass and rookie LB Aaron Curry wrapped up and dropped RB Joseph Addai after a 2-yard gain.
The Colts used a 22-yard punt return to get to the Seahawks 48, setting up a 37-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri midway through the quarter. The key play, of course, was a Manning pass – this one an 18-yarder to Reggie Wayne on third-and-7.
And the Colts weren’t done. On third-and-7, DE Robert Mathis got to Wallace for a fumble-forcing sack and DE Raheem Brock recovered at the Seahawks 5. After SS Deon Grant broke up Manning’s third-down pass to TE Dallas Clark in the end zone, Vinatieri kicked a 19-yard field goal to make it 34-3.
But the Seahawks weren’t done, either, as Wallace scored on a 7-yard run to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive. Wallace was 7 of 9 on the drive, none bigger than his 12-yard pass to TE John Carlson on fourth-and-2. He also hooked up with Houshmandzadeh for a 15-yard play on third-and-8.
Jordan Babineaux then recovered Mare’s onside kick to give the Seahawks another chance, and they didn’t waste it as Wallace passed 1 yards to FB Owen Schmitt. Wallace also passed to Houshmandzadeh (14 yards) and Deon Branch (13) to get the ball to the Colts 10. A pass interference penalty on third down gave the Seahawks the ball at the 1, setting up the score.
The second half started the way the first half ended – with Peyton Manning leading a long scoring drive. This one was 80 yards in 12 plays, and ended with Joseph Addai running up the gut of the Seahawks defense for a 12-yard TD that made it 28-3. Manning checked to the play at the line of scrimmage. Before handing the ball to Addai, Manning seven more passes, in eight attempts, as the redundancy rolled on.
The Seahawks got the ball when CB Ken Lucas intercepted a Manning pass with 3½ minutes left in the quarter. But, after driving to the Colts 36, DE Robert Mathis slapped the ball from Wallace’s grasp just after he had eluded a possible sack. MLB Freddy Keiaho recovered to end the Seahawks’ possession.
The Seahawks’ plan was to force the Colts to drive the long field on defense and play ball control on offense. The end result in the first half was touchdown drives of 80, 90 and 78 yards by the Colts, and mistake-plagued possessions by the Seahawks on three of their four possessions.
The Seahawks did get on the board, thanks to a 38-yard field goal by Olindo Mare with 1:22 to play. But the drive reached the Colts 9 before RT Ray Willis was called for his second holding penalty and Wallace was sacked on third down.
The quarter began with another ill-fated possession by the Seahawks. They moved to the Colts’ 37, but a holding penalty against Willis erased a 16-yard pass to TE John Carlson and Wallace was beyond the line of scrimmage on his third-down pass to WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh – a 5-yard penalty and loss of down.
The Colts? Their next possession resulted in a 9-play, 90-yard drive that ended with Manning’s 5-yard TD pass to WR Reggie Wayne. On the drive, Manning was 5 of 5 for 63 yards. His biggest throw was a 31-yard pass to Garcon to the Seahawks 17 on third-and-3.
Before the half ended, Manning put together a textbook 2-minute drive. The nine-play, 78-yarder ended with Austin Collie’s falling grab of a 21-yard pass in the end zone against Travis Fisher. Manning was 7 of 10, with big throws to Wayne (21 yards on second-and-20) and on the TD (which came on second-and-15).
The Colts’ offense was as advertised – efficient and effective. The first time they got the ball, the Colts drove 80 yards in 10 plays to a 1-yard touchdown run by Donald Brown. Peyton Manning was 4 of 4 for 57 yards, including 10-yarder to TE Dallas Clark on third-and-2 and a25-yarder to WR Pierre Garcon to the Seahawks’ 20.
The Seahawks’ offense? On their second possession, they drove to the Colts’ 26, but then lost yards on three consecutive plays: RB Julius Jones was dropped for a 4-yard loss as DT Eric Foster shot through a gap; WR Deion Branch took a pass on the right side and ran back to his left, but was stopped a 3-yard loss; and, on third down, QB Seneca Wallace scrambled to his right and went out of bounds for a 5-yard sack.
Not surprisingly, CB Josh Wilson is among the Seahawks’ inactive players today. He practiced on a limited basis during the week, but his high ankle sprain will not allow him to play against the Colts. That means Kelly Jennings will start on the left side, with Travis Fisher working in the nickel as the third corner.
QB Matt Hasselbeck
LB Leroy Hill
OT Walter Jones
OT Sean Locklear
DT Red Bryant
TE Cameron Morrah
DT Michael Bennett
Inactive for the Colts:
WR Anthony Gonzalez
SS Bob Sanders
CB Kelvin Hayden
LB Gary Brackett
OG Jamey Richard
OT Tony Ugoh
DT Fili Moala
3rd QB: Curtis Painter
Missing from the list? DE Dwight Freeney, who did not practice all week because of a thigh injury. He already has four sacks this season, including two against the Cardinals last week.
Greetings from Lucas Oil Stadium, on a beautiful day in Indianapolis. So beautiful, in fact, that they’ve opened the lid on the Colts’ new home.
The talk all week was how the Seahawks’ defense was going to weather the storm that is the Colts’ top-ranked passing game, and the pre-snap antics that QB Peyton Manning goes through to try and create a mismatch to exploit.
It’s not just idle chatter, especially when Manning is playing against NFC opponents. His passer rating is 10 points higher against the NFC (108.4) than the AFC (98.5) since 2002. Also, two of Manning’s three perfect rating games during that span have come against NFC teams, and of his six games with at least five TD passes four have come against NFC teams.
Then there’s the fact that the Colts are 3-0 and coming off wins on the road against a pair of defending division champs in a six-day period (Miami and Arizona). But the three-game winning streak to open the season has come against opponents that are a combined 2-8.
The Seahawks made a roster move Saturday, signing tackle Kyle Williams off the practice squad – an insurance move because left tackle Brandon Frye has a strained groin and left guard Rob Sims a strained oblique. To clear a roster spot, veteran fullback Justin Griffith was released.
We’ll be back later with the inactive, a list that will include LB Leroy Hill, OT Walter Jones and OT Sean Locklear and likely will include QB Matt Hasselbeck.
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Lucas Oil Stadium
Records: Seahawks 1-2, Colts 3-0
TV: KCPQ/13 (Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, Chris Myers)
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO-FM/97.3 (Steve Raible, Warren Moon, Jen Mueller)
The Seahawks defense vs. Colts QB Peyton Manning: It’s not just the 11 starters, but also those players who are used in the rotation on the line and in the secondary in the nickel and dime defenses. Manning will tax their patient, test their resolve and exploit even the slightest weakness. The Seahawks must find a way to at least get some pressure on Manning and also disrupt the timing of the Colts’ passing game by being physical with receivers Reggie Wayne (20 receptions, 16.3-yard average, two touchdowns), Dallas Clark (18 for 15.8 and two) and Pierre Garcon (seven for 19.4 and two). In the end, the best way for the Seahawks to defense Manning and the league’s top-ranked passing game might be to try and keep everything in front of them, so they don’t give up any quick scores.
One to watch
Seahawks OTs Ray Willis and Brandon Frye vs. Colts DEs Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock: Even without spinning-top pass-rusher Dwight Freeney (thigh injury), the Colts are capable of bringing the heat in passing situations – and also against the run. Mathis and Brock have combined for three sacks and four pressures, as well as 19 tackles. Willis and Frye will need to deal with their up-the-field pressure against the run as well as the pass if Seneca Wallace is to have time to pass and Julius Jones room to run.
Fun to watch
MLB Lofa Tatupu vs. Manning: This is the game within the game that is the Seahawks’ defense vs. the AFC offensive player of the month for September. Tatupu returns just in time for the cat-and-mouse segment of the prolonged pre-snap portion of the Colts’ offense. It’s during this arm-waving, finger-pointing, foot-lifting ritual that Manning tries to create the mismatch he will manipulate. It will be up to Tatupu to make the proper counter adjustments to try and minimize Manning’s extended excursion into audibles – the real, as well as the exaggerated.
The Colts have a league-best 12-game winning streak in regular-season games, dating back to last season. … The Colts also have won 10 of their past 11 home games against NFC teams. … Colts WR Reggie Wayne is looking for his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game. … Since 2007, the Colts’ Dallas Clark leads all NFL tight ends with 19 touchdown catches. … The teams have not met in the regular season since Christmas Eve in 2005, when the Seahawks won 28-13 at Qwest Field for their franchise-record 11th consecutive victory. … The last game between the two teams in Indianapolis was in 1997, when the Seahawks won 31-3. … FS Antoine Bethea leads the Colts in tackles (25), while backup MLB David Hawthorne paces the Seahawks (with 16 of his 22 coming last week).
A recap of the day’s activities:
Craig Terrill. This is a special week for the sixth-year defensive tackle because he’s “going home” for the Seahawks’ game against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday. Terrill isn’t just an Indian boy, he wrote a love song to his home state on his first CD, CT: