For the second time in two days, a football game in Seattle was briefly delayed in the fourth quarter by a drone intruding just a little too close.
Saturday, it was Washington’s victory over Stanford at Husky Stadium that was stopped for a few minutes.
Sunday, it happened again when officials stopped play with 6:42 remaining, with referee Tra Blake announcing there was a security situation and players had to leave the field.
“All they told us was a drone,” said Atlanta coach Arthur Smith. “And I’ve probably read too many CIA fiction thrillers, maybe too many Brad Thor books. So I’m looking up, and they’re telling me to get over to the sideline, there’s a drone. Some interesting thoughts go through your head when they told us to go to the bench, but luckily nothing happened.”
After about seven minutes, play resumed.
Three plays later, Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled without being hit on a botched exchange with running back Avery Williams. Mariota took the blame, saying he was trying to pull the ball after deciding he thought he could get around the end.
Smith said he didn’t think the delay had anything to do with the game or the fumble that followed.
“It is what it is, you know,” he said. “You can control the things you want to. Nobody can control that. I appreciate the people looking out for everybody that’s in that stadium. I mean, as we all know, there are some bizarre things that can happen around the world. I’d rather be safe. So that didn’t frustrate me.”
Tyler Lockett leaves briefly with ‘crook in neck’
It looked like one of Seattle’s worst fears had come to life when receiver Tyler Lockett stayed down after taking a hard hit from Atlanta safety Richie Grant late in the second quarter. He stayed on the field for half-a-minute or so before he headed for an extensive exam in the blue medical tent.
But after sitting out a few plays, Lockett left the tent, grabbed his helmet and returned to the field later in the series, finishing out the game.
Lockett called it a little “crook in my neck” that he said he has been dealing with for a few weeks.
“Every time it gets better, I get hit in the same spot so that’s all it was,” he said. “I just keep getting hit in the same spot where my crook is in my neck so once it gets better, I’ll be good.”
Lockett led the Seahawks with nine receptions for 76 yards on 11 targets — the play on which he was hurt being one of the two incompletions, the other the interception thrown by Geno Smith on Seattle’s last play.
“He played great, again,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He was everywhere. He did a great job for us.”
Travis Homer leaves with bruised ribs
Seattle suffered only one injury that caused a player to leave the game entirely when running back Travis Homer departed with bruised ribs in the first quarter.
“He has some bruised ribs,” Carroll said. “It looks like something like that. Not broken, but some complications when he got hit pretty good.”
Should Homer need a stint on the injured reserve — players now only have to miss at least four games if they go on IR — the Seahawks could sign veteran Darwin Thompson off the practice squad.
DeeJay Dallas replaced Homer as Seattle’s third-down/two-minute back for the rest of the game, with rookie Kenneth Walker III also seeing some extended playing time in relief of starter Rashaad Penny.
Walker had 19 yards on three carries, 21 coming on an end-around in the third quarter when he broke a tackle and then weaved back to the middle of the field for more yards.
But Carroll also indicated it was Walker who ran the wrong way on a play in the second quarter that resulted in Smith being tackled for a 3-yard loss, with Seattle then forced to punt after a third-down incompletion on the next play.
Said Carroll: “We’ve got to break Kenny in. He is still trying to get comfortable. He was a little jittery today because he is so excited and he is so competitive. He just needs the time out there. He just hasn’t played very much. We’re just going to keep forcing him to get really relaxed and comfortable out there. He is going to make a lot of things happen. He showed plenty of good stuff today. We could all see that. But, he went the wrong way on a play, and he had some other things he could be cleaner on. It’s just getting him over the hump. He is going to be a big factor.”
Sidney Jones IV a surprise inactive
Seattle’s list of inactive players for Sunday included one surprise — cornerback Sidney Jones IV, who entered training camp as the starter at left cornerback.
Jones missed time during training camp with a concussion and did not play in any of Seattle’s three preseason games, which allowed Michael Jackson to emerge as the starter at left corner.
But Jones has been healthy for the regular season. He was active for the victory over Denver and played 12 snaps, and then was active last week against the 49ers, though he did not play. Sunday he was inactive with the Seahawks instead using Xavier Crawford and Isaiah Dunn — each acquired since Aug. 31 — as backups, instead, behind starters Jackson and Tariq Woolen, and nickel corner Coby Bryant. Seattle might have preferred Dunn and Crawford to play on special teams.
But that left Jones, whose $3.56 million cap hit this year is the most for any cornerback on the team, as an apparently healthy scratch — he did not show up on the injury report at any time during the week.
Asked about Jones last Wednesday Carroll said, “Sid is back and ready to go. He’s sitting in the third spot ready to jump in there. The guys have just done well and we’re just pushing those guys to see how long they can keep rolling and Sid is ready to go. He’s frustrated about that. It’s just the way it is right now. Mike has done a really nice job and Tariq has done a really nice job starting out. I think they’re going to continue and get better, but he’s ready to go.”
The other inactives were cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Artie Burns, safety Joey Blount, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, receiver Dareke Young and offensive lineman Jake Curhan.
Harris had been ruled out earlier due to a glute injury and a personal matter. Blount also is dealing with a hamstring and was listed as doubtful, and Coleman has a calf injury and was listed as doubtful. Blount and Coleman were inactive last week.
The others were healthy scratches, but Burns didn’t return to practice until this week after missing most of the preseason and the first two games with a groin injury.