Somehow, despite what coach Pete Carroll called “one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen,’’ a career performance by Tyler Lockett and 572 yards by the Seattle offense — the third-most in team history — the Seahawks lost Sunday night, 37-34 to Arizona in overtime.
And it’s a defeat that will only further inflame the debate whether the Seahawks have the defense they need to take advantage of an offense that is one of the best in the NFL.
In allowing 519 yards, Seattle blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowed a 44-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez on the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Then, after Gonzalez missed an earlier attempt to win it in overtime, he hit a 48-yarder with 20 seconds left in overtime to give Arizona the home victory — the kick resulting in the first time all night Arizona had the lead — and the first time in the Russell Wilson era Seattle lost a game in which it led by four or more at halftime (the Seahawks had been 59-0 in such situations previously since 2012).
“Really disappointing night here for us,’’ Carroll said via Zoom. “With so much that happened in this game, we had all kinds of chances to win a football game. We could have won it on offense a couple times, on defense a couple times, in overtime as well, and we weren’t able to get the finish that we needed.’’
As Carroll said, “we’ve been finding a way’’ to win close games, including pulling out three other victories this year all decided in the final 15 seconds.
Indeed, Seattle was 13-2 in its previous 15 games decided by a possession or less, and when Gonzalez missed a 41-yard field goal early in overtime it looked like Seattle might find a way again.
But Wilson — who for much of the night looked like the leader in the NFL MVP race he has been portrayed to be much of the year — finally proved fallible, throwing three interceptions, his most since the 2017 season, including one in overtime that set up the winning field goal.
“None of those had to happen, so I know he’s really disappointed about that, for sure,’’ Carroll said.
Wilson didn’t dispute that when he talked to media members later via Zoom, saying “I thought we played a great game except for those three plays, and those are my fault, honestly.’’
The defeat was doubly disappointing as it was coming off a bye week that Carroll said was the best Seattle has ever had and was a chance for the Seahawks to take control of the NFC West.
Instead, while Seattle is still in good shape at 5-1, Arizona is a surprising 5-2, the Rams can get to 5-2 Monday night, and Seattle now has to face a 49ers team that appears to be rounding into form.
It also was a defeat in which Seattle couldn’t take advantage of DK Metcalf’s incredible chase-down of Arizona’s Budda Baker on a 90-yard interception return in the first half.
The play came when Seattle tried to hurry to the line and catch Arizona off guard, leading 13-7 and hoping for a dagger to make it 20-7.
Wilson lofted a pass to Chris Carson that Baker instead read and jumped in front of.
At the moment he caught it, Baker had the end zone in his sights 98 yards away, sprinting down his own sideline, and when he moved past Wilson at about the 30-yard line, some his Arizona teammates and coaches appeared to begin celebrating a touchdown.
Metcalf, though, took off from about the 2-yard line, giving up about 7 yards in distance as well as a few more in the width of the field, and took off after Baker, eventually tracking him down at the Arizona 8.
“One of the most remarkable plays I’ve ever seen,’’ Wilson said, echoing Carroll calling it “one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen.’ … It was such an incredible play because of what happened afterward.”
That’s a reference to Arizona somehow not scoring from the 8, a Kyler Murray pass on fourth down from the 3 going incomplete and Seattle then driving 97 yards for a touchdown to take the 20-7 lead.
Carroll also could have said that about almost any of the plays by Lockett, including a 48-yard touchdown late in the first half on a catch of a moon ball throw by Wilson that put Seattle up double digits at halftime, or the toe-tapping TD in the fourth quarter that again put Seattle up 10.
“Tyler Lockett’s game was just crazy,’’ Carroll said.
Indeed, he finished with 15 receptions for 200 yards and the three touchdowns.
Had he made a 16th, Seattle might have won.
The key play came when Wilson tried to slip a pass to Lockett on a third-and-14 from the Seattle 48 that Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons instead picked off at the Arizona 39 that turned the game for good.
“We thought we had an angle at Tyler,’’ Wilson said. “Thought we had a window. The guy made a good play.’’
Gonzalez had missed an earlier 41-yarder.
But he didn’t miss when Arizona drove pretty easily from its 48 to the Seattle 30, splitting the uprights with 20 seconds left.
It capped an especially disappointing night for the defense, which, while featuring some star-studded players and lots of hope, continues to struggle.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be,’’ said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. “We have to play better. We have to execute the plays better, be more consistent, find a way to get off the field.’’
Thanks in large part to Metcalf’s heroics, Seattle led 27-17 at halftime, having gained a stunning 377 yards.
Wilson was 16 of 24 for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone while also rushing for 56 yards on two carries — a 34-yarder and a 22-yarder that each set up touchdowns.
But despite all the yards and points, the Seahawks never really felt comfortable, with a defense that has been leaky all year not appearing to have gotten any better during the bye week.
After being forced to punt for the first time in the game following their first drive of the second half, the Seahawks allowed Arizona to drive 93 yards in 12 plays — aided by a controversial penalty on Wagner on third down for unnecessary roughness that kept the march alive.
Murray concluded the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run in which he slithered past K.J. Wright and dove into the end zone to make it 27-24 with 3:06 left in the third quarter.
Seattle then drove to the Arizona 30 where, on a third-and-five play, Wilson lofted it over Metcalf’s head into the end zone, where it was instead picked off by Patrick Peterson.
Fitting the always-chaotic nature of Seattle-Arizona games, though, Murray then simply overthrew an open Andy Isabella on the next play, the ball going into the hands of Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs at the 45.
Seattle drove for the touchdown to Lockett that seemed enough to win it.
The game still somehow wasn’t over, as Arizona used a personal foul on Benson Mayowa on what was an apparent 52-yard field goal to instead drive for a touchdown that cut the lead to 34-31 with 2:33 left.
Seattle got one first down on its next drive but then had to punt, and Arizona took over at its own 20 with 52 seconds left and no time outs and drove for Gonzalez’s field goal.
Arizona then stopped Seattle on the first drive of overtime.
Arizona had a first down at the Seattle 18. After a 5-yard loss by Murray — tackled by Ryan Neal — Arizona decided to kick a field goal from 41 yards out.
The first attempt by Gonzalez went through, but the Cardinals had called time with the play clock running out.
As might be expected just given how things always go in these games, Gonzalez pulled the next attempt to the left.
Seattle took over at the 31 with 2:42 left and two timeouts.
A few plays later, Wilson then hit Metcalf on a short pass that he turned into a 48-yard touchdown. However, David Moore was called for holding on Arizona cornerback Kevin Peterson, and Seattle had a third-and-14 at its own 48.
On the next play, a Wilson pass intended for Lockett was picked off by Simmons, who returned it to the Seattle 49.
A pass a few plays later to Larry Fitzgerald took it to the 30, and Arizona called its final timeout with 25 seconds remaining. Two plays later, Arizona got the kick it needed to win the game.