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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Seattle survives circus of a game at home

The Seattle Seahawks beat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 to move to a 5-1 record on the season, and protect their top spot in the division. But the score doesn't really tell the tale of just how strange the game really was. The Seahawks and Titans game looked something like an old film reel of the Harlem Globetrotters as the entire game was filled with laughable mistakes by both sides. In a contest filled with interceptions, fumbles, bad snaps, and countless miscues, a Seahawk's win was never really locked down until the final two minutes of the game.

The Titans started well with their defense handling keeping the Seattle defense off the board the first few drives and scoring the game's first points with a field goal in the first quarter to go up 3-0; then the strange circus show ensued. First, the Titans fumbled a routine punt snap giving the Seahawks great field position. Then, Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka got injured trying to block the Titans kick returner on a kickoff. That left the Seahawks punter Jon Ryan to assume the role of place kicker, something he had never done. Later, at the end of the second quarter, the Seahawks attempted a field goal with 2 seconds left in the half, with Ryan attempting to kick it, and Chris Maragose holding, something he had never done before in the Pro ranks. Maragose botched the hold, then tried to pass the ball as he was tackled by Tennessee defenders, allowing them to pick up the ball and run it back for a touchdown. The Titans took advantage of the 10-point swing to take a 10-7 lead into halftime.

The weirdness didn't stop in the second half. In the fourth quarter on a Seahawks long drive down the field, Marshawn Lynch fumbled on the 4 yard line, and as Titans Linebacker Zack Brown tried to scoop the ball up, it squirted out of his hands and right into the hands of Russell Wilson. The drive ended with a field goal. On the very first play of the ensuing drive by the Titans, Ryan Fitzpatrick, standing in for the injured Jake Locker for Tennessee, threw his second interception of the game right into the hands of Richard Sherman, who was obviously in front of the receiver the entire time. Later, Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball as he was hit in the backfield. As the Seattle defenders tried to jump on it, it squirted out right into the hands of Kendall Wright for a 25 yard gain. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll challenged the play, and it was ruled an incomplete pass as Fitzpatrick's arm was barely moving forward on the play.

With the score 20-10, the Titans managed to get into the red zone with less than 2 minutes left in the game. It was the first time the entire afternoon that Tennessee had gotten into the red zone. The Seahawks defense clamped down and only allowed a field goal to make the score 20-13. Tennessee elected to not go for an onside kick, and on the ensuing kickoff, Jermaine Kearse ran the ball back 40 yards to midfield. A couple of first downs later and Seattle was celebrating its fifth win in six games, and its eleventh win in a row at Century Link Field, the longest current streak in the league.

The Titans on the other hand, after starting 3-1 with Jake Locker at quarterback, have lost the last two with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Tennessee did not have a turnover during the first four games under Locker, but have had six in the last two games with Fitzpatrick. The Titans will have to figure out how to win with Fitzpatrick at the quarterback position, with the return of Locker still week to week.

In the end, the Seahawks got it done at home to sustain their home winning streak and protect their lead in the division. Now Seattle must go on the road for the next two games against division rivals Arizona and St. Louis. The Seahawks have been practically living on the road as their last two prior games were on the road, and the upcoming two will be on the road. The good news though is that Seattle is 5-1, and though they are favorites in the next two road games, if they can even split against their division rivals, they will be 6-2 heading into the second half of the season, where the Seahawks have five of their last eight games at home. The outlook for Seattle winning their division and securing home field for the playoffs has been steadily getting brighter with each win and even though it has to be exhausting for the Seahawks to play so many road games in the first half, I'm sure they are loving having the majority of games at home in the second half as they make their push to secure a high playoff seeding.

Time will tell, but the table is set for the Seahawks to possibly win more games than they ever have in franchise history and with that, make a Superbowl run that won't end the way it did in 2005. Seattle fans are loudly rooting all the way.

by: Keith Ishii

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