The impressive thing about this landing versus the previous water landings is a roughly 1000x increase in accuracy. The previous landings were shooting for a 30km "target" area. This time, with the addition of completely new, untested, navigation components (grid fins), the target was reduced from =/-30,000 m to =/-30m. That is a HUGE change. And the result was that they did indeed "hit" the target. Sounds like they just hit it a little to fast or just a shade off center or something. From and engineering standpoint, especially for the first flight test of new, unproven navigation components, this is a HUGE win. As for why not just "splash down" and then recover, I would guess that any water landing would, regardless of how good or how soft, automatically require the replacement of all the wiring, all the sensors, and everything electric and electronic. It would also require a complete tear down and rebuild of all the engines, probably well beyond what would have been needed otherwise. Salt water is bad. Also, I would think that anytime a big, thin walled, tube falls over into the ocean, a lot of stuff is going to get bent all to crap.