Rookie Christine Michael ran 43 yards for a touchdown and Stephen Williams caught a long touchdown pass for the third straight game as the Seahawks muddled through a sloppy, penalty-filled game to beat the Green Bay Packers 17-10 on Friday night.
The Hawks, who have had problems with penalties all preseason, topped themselves in this game. Led by an undisciplined offensive line, the tallied 14 penalties for 182 yards.
Their regular-season records in those categories are 17 flags (vs. Green Bay in 1984) and 145 yards (vs. Denver in 1979).
A few of the penalties were questionable, but in general the young Hawks seem to be replicating the issues they had early last season.
Coach Pete Carroll said before the game he wanted to fix the penalty problem -- eight for 65 yards in the opener at San Diego, 12 for 107 vs. Denver. But it merely got worse.
"Giving up 180 yards in penalties is ridiculous," he told KIRO-7 TV after the game. "It's hard to deal with and feel like you played well."
The offensive line was the main culprit. Right guard J.R. Sweezy -- who earned the starting job this week over John Moffitt, who was traded -- drew three flags in the first three drives. Two were for holding and one was a personal foul for a late hit -- the kind of penalty his linemate, right tackle Breno Giacomini, made a habit of committing early last season.
The line also had a couple of false starts (Russell Okung and Alvin Bailey) and a couple more holding infractions (Paul McQuistan and Lemuel Jeanpierre, who also had one declined).
The defense chipped in a bunch of its own fouls -- pass interference on Richard Sherman, a bogus personal foul on Bobby Wagner, a legit roughness call against John Lotulelei, etc.
"I think we have a lot of things to work on, especially with penalties," Wagner told KIRO-7 TV. "(Carroll) said we did a good job, but the penalty thing we've got to get fixed. That's definitely the main focus.
"We've just got to be conscious of it. A lot of the stuff we are doing is late hits. We've just got to make sure we stay focused on it and fix it."
Williams agreed, telling KIRO, "We've got a real good team, but we need to minimize the penalties and mental mistakes."
That was part of the reason the offense struggled to find any consistency.
"We didn't get in a great rhythm on offense and everybody was kind of frustrated by that," Williams said.
Williams alleviated some of that angst with by scoring for a third straight game. He scored early in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard pass from Brady Quinn that the 6-foot-5 Williams stole from the defender. It was the fourth pass of 38 yards or longer Williams has caught this preseason.
"Stephen Williams ... has really made a big statement for himself to become a part of this football team," Carroll told reporters, via KIRO.
Russell Wilson did not have a very good game. A week after lighting up Denver, he completed just 11 of 17 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions -- one tipped at the line, the other a poor downfield decision. His rating of 47.3 was about 100 points lower than last week, when he hit 8 of 12 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, while leading the Hawks to scores on four of five drives.
He did drive the Hawks to 10 points Friday, but the touchdown came courtesy of a huge hole opened by the offensive line for Michael, who got a good block from Jermaine Kearse and sprinted 43 yards for the score. His blazing speed, something none of the other backs have, was quite evident on that play.
"I was anxious to get back out there and help contribute," Michael, who missed the last game with back spasms, told KIRO-7 TV. "I'm starting to get in the flow with those guys (linemen) and starting to trust those guys a lot more. I'm trying to come out here and get better every day and try to stay on this team. It's very hard to make this team. They have great players all over. I'm just trying to find a spot."
On the bright side, the Hawks ran for 166 yards on 27 attempts. Michael had 97 on 11 carries and Robert Turbin ran for 50 on 10 attempts. Marshawn Lynch carried just three times for eight yards. The backs also did well in the passing game, combining for six catches for 70 yards. Turbin caught four short passes, Lynch gained 23 yards on a checkdown and Michael gained 25 on his catch.
The key defensive storyline was the return of Bruce Irvin and the debut of Tony McDaniel. Each made a couple of standout plays -- Irvin with a tackle for loss and McDaniel with a TFL and a batted pass.
Both players had been out with groin injuries. McDaniel was very active as he tried to get back in the battle for a spot on the defensive line.
Benson Mayowa had yet another standout game, finishing with four tackles, one for loss, a quarterback hit and a fumble recovery. He was much better early in the game than he was against Denver.