The maddening thing about football is that there are no points awarded for effort and the only number that really counts at the end of the game is the score. The Seahawks have not done well in that category this season and it continued today with a heartbreaking 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
In other seasons perhaps the Seahawks numbers would have added up to a Seahawks victory. Seneca Wallace, playing for the injured Matt Hasselbeck was 20 for 28 for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He ran the ball three times averaging 15 yards per carry. Former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch got a chance to play against his former teammates and caught four passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns including an electrifying 63 yard catch and run in the 3rd quarter.
When asked about that long catch and run Deion let down his guard a little and said, “I ran about 30 yards before I even touched the ball then once I got the ball in my hand I was just trying to make a play.” A smile crossed Branch’s face as he continued. ”Once I caught it I looked up and saw Junior (Seau) and I remember they just signed him back yesterday, so I looked at him and I knew I could beat him.” The Seahawks scored two plays later when Wallace found Branch in the endzone to give the Seahawks a 21-13 lead.
Rookie John Carlson continued to make Seahawk fans feel confident about the tight end position in future years. He caught eight passes for 69 yards and a touchdown, “It’s just kind of a function of our situation, obviously with so many guys hurt, and I was the only guy who stayed healthy for quite a while on the receiving corps, the numbers are just going to happen.”
And there were more impressive efforts on defense. Marcus Trufant won his battle with receiver Randy Moss only once getting beaten for a 33 yard gain. Unfortunately Wes Welker made up the difference with a few numbers of his own. Welker caught 12 passes for 134 yards including five on the Patriots game winning drive. Baraka Atkins had two sacks and five tackles in his best effort of the season while the rest of the Seahawks defense hurried or hammered Matt Cassell on several occasions.
In this frustrating season this may have been the toughest loss of all for coach Holmgren and his players.
“As a coach, I have not just done this for me, contrary to what people might think. I do it because I’m a teacher, and I enjoy that part of putting it together. When I go in the locker room and they’re happy, I’m happy. The reward comes from winning. Unfortunately sometimes, but that’s the way it is.”
Deion Branch summed it up for everyone when he said, “one mistake cost us the game, but that’s football, that’s what happens in football.”
The crowd of 68,077 was as loud as they’ve been all season, especially late in the game when the Patriots were driving. But not even the 12th man could stop a New England team that seems to find a way to win. Matt Cassel was rushed all day and sacked twice but still managed to drive his team 71 yards on 14 plays late in the 4th quarter to get his team’s eighth victory of the season. “That’s our job, you come out and week in and week out you talk about playing for sixth minutes. So there is never a point in the game where you look down or feel like you aren’t going to win the game.”