Two weeks ago, the Seahawks ranked fourth in the NFL in fourth-down conversions, converting 7 of 9, including four Russell Wilson touchdown passes.
Two weeks later, the Seahawks are 7 for 13, going 0 for 2 each of the last two weeks, with a failed fourth-down conversion proving to be as big of a play as any in their shocking 17-12 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.
Also head scratching was a decision not to go for it on fourth down in the second quarter when the Seahawks were at the Giants’ 37 facing a fourth-and-6. Instead of either going for it or kicking a field goal with Jason Myers — who has made 27 in a row — they took a delay of game penalty to set up a punt.
“That was at the end of the distance that we wanted to kick (a field goal),’’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of what would have been roughly a 55-yarder. “That was beyond it.’’
The Seahawks pinned the Giants at the 9 and got the ball back quickly via a punt.
“I was happy punting the ball deep, playing that kind of style,’’ Carroll said.
Proving a little harder to figure out — for a team with a running back it thinks is one of the best in the NFL in Chris Carson — was to call for a pass play on fourth-and-one at its own 48 on its second possession of the third quarter. The Giants had just scored to take an 8-5 lead, and when a Wilson pass under pressure to Carson went incomplete, the Giants had good field position to drive for another touchdown.
“If we get that, the whole game may change,’’ Wilson said.
The Seahawks appeared to be really close to getting the needed yards on the play before, but Will Dissly was stopped just short. Carson had been running well, with 56 yards on nine carries to that point. But the play called for Wilson to roll out.
“We put Russ out on the edge and he had three big options there as well as (Wilson running), and they did a nice job defending it,’’ Carroll said.
Why not just hand it to Carson?
Carroll said any play that doesn’t work creates the obvious hindsight of wondering if the team should have called something else.
“I wish we would have made it too, you know,’’ Carroll said. “And there’s different ways to do it. We wanted the ball in Russ’ hands to give him a chance, and he had all kinds of options and they didn’t work.’’
Wilson said the formation didn’t allow for trying to change the play to a run at the line.
“We had a pass call on,’’ Wilson said. “Going back at it, I think that we should probably go downhill and let Chris try to run over somebody like he always does, it seems like. … They covered it really well. It was almost like they knew it was coming.’’
The play conjured up bad memories of two failed fourth downs in Monday night’s game against the Eagles, each in Philadelphia territory early in the game. The Seahawks coming back to beat Philadelphia mitigated the impact.
But they didn’t survive the fourth-down failure against the Giants, a game that ended — maybe fittingly — on another failed fourth down when Wilson heaved a Hail Mary into a crowd on fourth-and-18 from the Seattle 46.
There were still 48 seconds, so the Seahawks maybe could have tried something different just to get the yards — though the Seahawks were out of time outs.
“You’re trying to make a play, trying to win the game and not play it safely,’’ Wilson said referring to the first fourth down but a comment that seemed to cover both. “Unfortunately they covered it really well.’’
Seahawks ends game with fourth-string right tackle
Carroll said late in the week that regular right tackle Brandon Shell had made a good turn in his recovery from a sprained ankle suffered in the win over Arizona and hopefully would be able to return soon.
The urgency to get him back only grew Sunday as the Seahawks declared his backup — Cedric Ogbuehi — inactive with a calf injury suffered in Friday’s practice and saw third-teamer Jamarco Jones leave with a groin injury in the fourth quarter.
That had the Seahawks playing the final two series with Chad Wheeler, a veteran of 19 NFL starts with the Giants but who had not played since 2018 and had been elevated off the practice squad Saturday.
“It was in a walk-through, and Cedric tweaked something,’’ Carroll said. “It was very late in the week, so we didn’t have any time to prepare for it. … And then, Jamarco pulled his groin a little bit or something in there, and he came out, and Chad Wheeler had to go in and play, and Chad battled his tail off there, to try to help us.’’
Lockett evaluated for concussion, Neal leaves with hip injury
Tyler Lockett left the game briefly in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. But he was cleared to return and after sitting out a series.
“They cleared him,’’ Carroll said. “He was all right.’’
The Seahawks also lost backup defensive back Ryan Neal to a hip injury the severity of which was unclear. Neal helped force an interception with a deflection in the first quarter and blocked a punt that led to a safety.
Time called to avoid penalty
The Seahawks were forced to call a time out before the Giants kicked a field goal with 9:55 to go in the game. It was their first time out, and it hindered the ability to manage the clock better when they got the ball back in the final minutes.
Carroll said the time out was called because the Seahawks were not sure if they had too many men on the field. It was fourth-and-1, and a penalty would have given the Giants a first down at the Seattle 25.
“We were uncertain if we had numbers right, right there, and we didn’t want to screw it up,’’ Carroll said.