Specifically, people are ripping that ticky-tack roughing-the-passer penalty called by Ed Hochuli that gave the Hawks a second chance at a touchdown early in the fourth quarter after Russell Wilson had thrown incomplete on third down.
Yeah, linebacker Nick Moody’s hit on Wilson looked clean to us, too, and the NFL confirmed Monday it was the wrong call. Just like the NFL confirmed it missed a huge fourth-down end zone pass interference against Kansas City four weeks ago in a game the Seahawks lost 24-20.
The call against the 49ers was nowhere near as impactful. Seattle scored on a 10-yard TD pass from Wilson to Paul Richardson two plays later, giving the Hawks a 17-7 lead. But the 49ers didn’t score again anyway, so 13-7 would have been just as good for Seattle.
Pete Carroll, who has joined us over the past month in pointing out the huge disparity between flags thrown against Seattle and their opponents, had no problem getting a cheap call or two for once.
“We actually felt the benefit of a couple calls. We rarely feel that,” he told 710 ESPN on Monday.
The only other opponent that has received more penalties vs. Seattle is Green Bay, which had eight to Seattle’s four in the season opener (although the Hawks were set back for more yards, 69-65).
The Hawks had been on the high end of a 37-13 disparity in flags over the past four games. That included a 14-3 margin (for a net loss of 85 yards) at San Francisco two weeks ago.
On Sunday, the 49ers were flagged eight times for 78 yards, and the Hawks were assessed seven for 50 yards. The 15 flags were actually under the average for these teams in the past three games, when they had combined for 55 flags (18 per game).
“This was good to see them penalized,” Carroll said of Sunday’s game, “because we’re certainly going to get ours the way we’re going.”
Seattle opponents still have the fewest flags (63) and the Hawks have the most (117). Their penalty differential of minus-3.86 per game is still more than double the second-worst margin (Denver at minus-1.86) and on pace to be the worst in more than 20 years.
Seattle has an NFL-high 56 pre-snap penalties, and Carroll admitted, “We’ve got an area of our game that isn’t right. It’s in our nature (to be penalized). Our guys are pushing so hard … Sometimes it gets in our way.
“We don’t make a lot of dumb mistakes (hitting people late, etc.),” he said, apparently not counting an unforced error as a dumb mistake. “It’s more execution things that get us because we’re trying to get off the ball, trying to get the jump. It’s basically a product of over-trying. …
“We walk that fine line,” he reminded. “We’re always trying to get better. Know that we’re working on it; we’re not ignoring. But sometimes it comes along with our style of play.”
And sometimes — like this week — the Hawks get lucky and get an extra call or two to go their way, even if they don’t really need it.