Every close loss inevitably features its share of penalties called and official’s decisions made that can be second-guessed later.
So it was with Arizona’s surprising 17-10 win over the Seahawks on Sunday, particularly on two reviews of plays on which there were turnovers. In both cases, the review upheld the initial call, which left Arizona in possession of the ball.
“There’s some stuff that we certainly feel like griping about,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “But it isn’t going to do us any good, so we’re not going to.”
Foremost might have been Seattle’s last offensive play. After Arizona scored to go ahead 17-10, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tried to hit Doug Baldwin near midfield. Instead, the ball caromed off Baldwin — or so the officials determined, anyway — and into the air, where it was caught by Arizona’s Karlos Dansby with 1:56 left, effectively ending the game.
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Baldwin said “it hit the ground.” Carroll said he was told that one official thought “it hit off the receiver’s foot’’ and that two others said “it was incomplete. But the guy that said he (Dansby) caught it, they went with that one.’’
Referee Scott Green said that “we didn’t have indisputable evidence that it hit the ground and therefore we went with the call as it was made on the field, which was an interception.”
On a drive in the fourth quarter that ended in an Arizona field goal that made it 9-3, Seattle thought it had the ball when Michael Bennett helped knock it loose from Rashard Mendenhall and then recovered it.
Green, in comments to a pool reporter, said of that play that “we could not determine the status of the runner’s knee. The ball does come loose, but we never got a shot that showed the status of his knee or any other part of his body being down, so therefore you go with the call that was made on the field.’’
FG operation off
Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka has been virtually automatic this season, having made 30 of 31 field goals heading into Sunday’s game.
But he missed one Sunday in surprising fashion and at a critical time, hitting the upright on a 24-yard attempt with 22 seconds left in the first half that would have given Seattle a 6-3 lead.
Carroll said “I think the snap was a little high.”
Hauschka didn’t get specific about that, but said “our operation was off.”
Said Carroll: “He’s been there for us all year long. “How that happened, I don’t know.”
Robert Turbin fumbled on a kickoff return when his knee knocked the ball out of his hand at the end of the third quarter. Carroll previously said Turbin was returning kicks because of his ball security.
“That’s why I’m so disappointed about it,” Turbin said. “I’m usually so in tune with the ball. Whenever I run the ball, my main focus is the ball before anything else. There’s other parts of running the ball, like going through your reads and making guys miss. But the most important thing is the ball. It’s just surprising to me that it happened.”
Carroll’s message to Turbin: “He basically said he knows what kind of football player I am and keep my head up and get ready for next week,” Turbin said.
Baldwin replaced Turbin as the returner for the final two kicks, and his 37-yard return helped set up Seattle’s only touchdown.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell had gained attention the last few weeks because of the way he played in replacing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond.
But against Arizona, Maxwell was beat for the game-winning touchdown down the sideline. Only here’s the thing: Maxwell actually had pretty good coverage. He got his hand on the ball, and Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd juggled it before making the catch.
“Max did a great job of making him make a spectacular catch, and that’s all we talk about,” safety Earl Thomas said. “If we’re going to get beat, they’re going to have to be on ESPN for it.”
• One positive was that Seattle came through the game relatively injury free. Carroll said WR Jermaine Kearse hurt his ankle and that left tackle Russell Okung came out for a few games because his “toe was sore today.’’ That’s the same toe that caused Okung to be on the injured list for eight games earlier this season. But Okung returned to the game, indicating it wasn’t serious.
• Richard Sherman’s two interceptions gave him four in the past two games and an NFL high eight for the season.