By Rich Myhre and John Boyle Herald Writers
SEATTLE — Safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman are two of the most talkative Seahawks, and both spoke willingly about the play of Seattle’s defense on Sunday.
According to Thomas, it was not so bad. According to Sherman, it was not so good.
“A lot of good stuff happened for the defense,” Thomas said. “We don’t have anything to hang our heads about. I think we did a great job of creating turnovers and being disruptive like we always do. … We made them turn the ball over four times, so that’s a great job by us.”
Sherman, meanwhile, offered a different opinion. The Seahawks had a 10-9 lead midway through the fourth quarter “and we should’ve been able to sustain that lead,” he said. “We should’ve been able to hold them at the end.”
The Cardinals, aided by a critical third-down holding penalty against the Seahawks, moved 80 yards in 10 plays for the go-ahead touchdown and converted a two-point PAT, so “obviously we didn’t do enough to win the ballgame,” Sherman said.
“We played a good game,” he added. “We just didn’t do enough to win.”
Seattle place-kicker Steven Hauschka has been close to perfect this season, booting 31 of 32 field goal attempts coming into Sunday’s game (including 22 in a row) and missing only a try at Indianapolis on Oct. 6 that was blocked.
It was shocking, then, when Hauschka missed from 24 yards in the final seconds before halftime. His attempt hooked in the air, struck the left upright and bounced back onto the playing field.
It appeared the snap from long snapper Clint Gresham was a bit high, and also that holder Jon Ryan was unable to get the laces on the ball turned away from the point of impact.
Asked about the miss, Hauschka said, “Our operation was off. (Place-kicking) is a specialized skill, and Jon, Clint and I need to do a better job in a situation like that. … We’re a team out there. We pride ourselves in that. We succeed as a team and we fail as a team.
“Things didn’t go right in that moment. It wasn’t a good operation as a unit out there. We didn’t pull our weight out there.”
Said Carroll: “We should nail that one. … But (Hauschka) has had a fantastic year and we’re counting on him to finish in fantastic fashion. He’s been there for us all year long. How that happened, I don’t know.”
At one point during Seattle’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive, left tackle Russell Okung jogged off the field with a limp. He returned to the field before the drive ended, seemingly a sign that nothing serious was wrong, but one potential cause for concern is that he came off because of soreness in his toe, Carroll said.
It was the same toe, Carroll confirmed, that landed Okung on short-term injured reserve earlier this year, causing him to miss eight weeks. Obviously Okung returning to the game is an encouraging sign, but it will be something to monitor this week. The only other injury Carroll mentioned was a sore ankle for receiver Jermaine Kearse.
With J.R. Sweezy sidelined by a concussion, rookie Michael Bowie got the start at right guard. Bowie had started earlier this season at right tackle when Breno Giacomini was sidelined by a knee injury.
Carroll wouldn’t say during the week who would start for Sweezy, who before Sunday had been the only lineman to start all of Seattle’s games this season, leaving it open to speculation whether Bowie, Alvin Bailey, Paul McQuistan or James Carpenter would get the nod. Carroll said until he sees the film he couldn’t say how Bowie played, though he noted that the line as a whole did a good job protecting quarterback Russell Wilson.