Three missed field goals and an offensive line that was still shaky despite the addition of Duane Brown add up to a poor report card for the Seahawks.
Unable to fully catch up with Washington on Sunday, eventually falling 17-14 in one of the drearier efforts in years, the Seahawks will now be forced to play catchup with the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West.
Thanks to a flurry of missed field goals, flags and just general faux pas Sunday, the Seahawks gave away their cushion in the West as the Rams routed the Giants in New York to improve to 6-2 while Seattle fell to 5-3 (true, Seattle still retains control due to having a victory over the Rams earlier, but at this point running the table isn’t easy to fathom).
The immediate issue, though, is a long list of problems and a short time to fix them with a game at Arizona on Thursday night.
That the turnaround will come fast was one of the real positives of the day to coach Pete Carroll, who said he was glad there’s not much time to dissect this one.
“Let’s go, let’s go back out, let’s go out there again,’’ Carroll said. “It will come by really quick for us.’’
Here, in grade form, is a look at some of what Seattle has to clean up between now and Thursday.
What a difference a week made. One of the best offensive performances in the Carroll era (or at least one of the most timely) was followed by one of the more mystifying ones. Seattle had 437 yards, including 148 on the ground, second-best of the season, but didn’t have an offensive point until 11:48 remained.
True, Seattle could have (should have?) had nine points at that point if the field goals had been made. But that Seattle was forced to settle for field goals was part of the problem — 10 offensive penalties contributed greatly as did just general inefficiency — the Seahawks were just five of 14 on third down, 36 percent. It was their third-worst percentage of the season (the other lower percentages came in Seattle’s other two defeats).
Seattle’s running game, while better, also was erratic with Russell Wilson accounting for much of it with a season-high 77 yards on 10 carries.
The tailbacks accounted for 71 on 18, decent but not enough to take over the game.
As the running totals indicate, the addition of Duane Brown at left tackle seemed to help, though it didn’t fix everything as Wilson was sacked twice and hit nine times and again often had to evade pressure. The offensive line struggled more than any unit with penalties — all five starters had at least one.
Maybe it was the elements, but Wilson also was just off a bit more than usual in completing 24 of 45 passes — and just 14 of 31 in the first three quarters before again rallying in the fourth quarter. It was his worst percentage since going 14 for 27 against Green Bay in the opener.
For most of the game, this was the Seattle defense as we have long known it, and it appeared good enough to win the game on its own.
But the late collapse in allowing Washington to pull out the victory was another sign that maybe this defense is more vulnerable than those of the past.
Bobby Wagner shrugged off a hamstring injury to turn in maybe his best game of the season with a safety, a pass defense, two quarterback hits and a game-high 12 tackles.
Dwight Freeney showed he still has it at age 37 with two solo sacks, one of which nearly forced a fumble that would have given Seattle the lead in the fourth quarter had it not been overturned on review. He led a Seattle pass rush that feasted on a Washington offensive line that was without three starters to turn in a season-high six sacks.
Rookie Nazair Jones, getting his first start in place of injured Sheldon Richardson, had an early fumble recovery and half a sack.
Bradley McDougald seemed to hold up well enough in place of Earl Thomas at free safety.
And Seattle’s run defense was stellar (with the caveat of Washington playing with a beat-up line), allowing a season-low 2.2 yards per carry (51 on 23).
But the final series was another in a season of uncharacteristic breakdowns at key times by the Seattle defense this year.
The Seahawks went at it aggressive on the key play, putting rookie Shaquill Griffin in press man coverage on Washington’s Josh Doctson, a first-round draft choice in 2016, and Washington took advantage.
That it took a great play to get it done was small consolation for Seattle later.
Blair Walsh’s three missed field goals in the first half — of 44, 39 and 49 yards — made this one of the worst days in recent team history for the kicking game.
And it will cast that much more of a light on the team’s decision not to really try to re-sign Stephen Hauschka, who got a three-year, $8.85 million deal with Buffalo compared to the one-year, $1.1 million contract Seattle handed Walsh.
Hauschka had a few timely misses last season, but missed three or fewer field goals for the entire season in three of his six full seasons with Seattle. He was 33 for 37 last year — Walsh now is 12 for 16.
The coverage units were good and Jon Ryan punted well and Seattle also got one good punt return from Tyler Lockett — a season-high 21-yarder. But it’s rare that something stands out as negatively as a reason for a defeat as Walsh’s misses.
The coverage units were good, but Seattle isn’t getting much out of its return game.
Watch | Blair Walsh talks field goal misses vs. Washington