Flag that wipes out Seahawks TD sticks in Carroll's craw

CLEVELAND -- The Seattle Seahawks found the end zone once. They weren't allowed to stay.

An illegal block -- on a questionable call -- wiped out Leon Washington's 81-yard punt return for a touchdown Sunday, and the Seahawks couldn't muster much offense in a sloppy 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, whose only points came on a pair of long field goals by Phil Dawson.

Desperate for a big play with backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst unable to move their offense, the Seahawks (2-4) finally got one in the third quarter from Washington only to have his TD nullified by a blocking-in-the-back penalty against cornerback Kennard Cox.

Cox's bump of Browns cornerback James Dockery near midfield was deemed illegal, although Seattle coach Pete Carroll wasn't so sure about the call.

"That's a touchdown play and way after the fact here it (the penalty flag) comes," Carroll said. "They (officials) saw something and whether it was legit, I don't know. In this game, those calls are magnified and they play a big role. I kind of hope they were right. I hope they made the right choices on those things because it's pretty hard to live with otherwise."

Watching the Seahawks offense was hard enough.

With Whitehurst filling in for injured starter Tarvaris Jackson, the Seahawks managed just 137 yards of offense and only had the ball for 17:04 to Cleveland's 42:56. Whitehurst completed 12 of 30 passes for 97 yards.

"It's disappointing for sure," Whitehurst said. "We definitely had a chance to win the game and we didn't do it. We couldn't convert and I couldn't hit some guys when they were open. It was a tough day on offense."

Even Whitehurst's longest completion was, well, incomplete.

Rolling to his right in the third quarter, Whitehurst hit wide receiver Sidney Rice wide open near the sideline. All Rice had to do was catch the ball and waltz into the end zone, but he stumbled after making the grab and went out of bounds at Cleveland's 9-yard line.

"On my turn, I didn't realize how close I was to the sideline," Rice said. "I was trying to get some extra yards and I went out of bounds."

The Seahawks were penalized eight times, and a few of the calls were sketchy.

In the first quarter, safety Kam Chancellor sacked Browns QB Colt McCoy on third down but was whistled for unnecessary roughness, a call that sent Carroll onto the field screaming at referee Mike Carey.

"They said he led with his head, you can't do that," said Carroll, careful not to blame the officials. "It looked like Kam tried not to do that and get his head to the side and then actually wrapped him up and threw him down. You guys had a better look than I had, so I don't know what to tell you about that."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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