MINNEAPOLIS — Well, at least the Seahawks can feel good about kicker Jason Myers.
When a 25-19 defeat against the Vikings had mercifully ended — Seattle’s final two plays were a dropped pass by Jazz Ferguson and an interception thrown by J.T. Barrett — Myers’ four field goals, an 88-yard pick-six by DeShawn Shead, and a few nice plays by some of the team’s offensive and defensive starters was about all there was to cheer.
Seattle had all of its starters play two series, with some staying on the field for a third, playing the Vikings fairly evenly.
But when the backups took over, so did the Vikings, who dominated the final three quarters statistically as they outgained Seattle 409-221 and had 27 first downs to the Seahawks’ 13 to hold on for the victory.
Here’s more of what stood out.
Russell Wilson and No. 1 offense have their moments, but bog down in mistakes
The Seahawks’ starting offense played two series and moved the ball each time — 46 yards on six plays the first time and 60 yards on 12 plays the second, the latter resulting in the first of Myers’ four field goals.
But both times the drives stalled due to the kind of thing that happens in the preseason and that the Seahawks hope they get out of their system now — penalties and ill-timed mistakes.
The first drive stalled thanks in part to a false start on Justin Britt, one of six penalties against Seattle in the first half (Germain Ifedi was called for a false start on Seattle’s second drive.)
After the penalty, Jaron Brown then dropped a pass from Wilson on third down that would have kept the drive going.
“I’m hitting myself,” Brown said. “I had a drop on a crossing route. It was a good pass. I just clearly dropped it.”
The second stalled at the Minnesota 15-yard line when a Wilson pass fell incomplete to Chris Carson.
“I missed the throw to Chris,” Wilson said. “I was a little out in front. If I hit him there I think we are rolling. He may score. So those are things we work on and we fix and we are right where we want to be.”
The Seahawks had gotten as close as they were thanks to a 33-yard completion from Wilson to Brown on a third-and-10 that the team felt was indicative of the way the first-team offensive line handled Minnesota’s blitzes all night.
“That’s awesome,” said left tackle Duane Brown. “That’s a very good front, especially playing in this stadium. It’s loud. They are getting off the ball. … very encouraging couple of drives. If we eliminate our penalties we are talking 14 points on the board.”
Wilson, seeing his first preseason action after sitting out last week, was 6 for 9 for 82 yards. Carson, also seeing his first preseason action, had 25 yards on five carries.
“I thought the first unit did a nice job,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I thought Russ was moving the club pretty well. We missed a couple of third-down throws that would have made a difference in their outing, but they did move the ball well.”
Lynch leaves late after hard hit to the head
The Seahawks’ backup quarterback position took another injury hit as backup Paxton Lynch left with 3:53 remaining after taking a point-blank helmet-to-helmet shot from Minnesota cornerback Holton Hill, who was ejected.
Lynch was prone on the ground for a minute or so before getting up and walking off under his own power.
And as bad as the hit looked, Lynch seemed to be doing OK after the game. He was not available to talk to media, but was in the locker room and conversing with teammates and staffers.
“He felt like he was OK,” Carroll said. “But he’s still got to pass those (concussion protocol) tests. So we have to recognize all the process and take care of that.”
Lynch was set to play the final three quarters after taking over for Wilson with Geno Smith sitting out after having surgery to remove a cyst in his knee last week.
The injury came as Lynch was leading one of his best of his six drives — he had rushed for 3 yards to the 19 when he was injured.
Lynch was one of the stars of the preseason opener against Denver, hitting 11 of 15 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
But with the Vikings mostly dominating the Seattle backup offensive line, Lynch didn’t have a lot of success most of the night, completing 6 of 15 passes for 67 yards and also rushing twice for minus-1 yard (he had 38 yards rushing against Denver).
“Yeah it wasn’t as sharp as it was last week,” Carroll said. “He missed a couple of throws to get going. But he looked competitive.”
Barrett, signed in the wake of the injury to Smith, finished the game and gained just 5 yards on a scramble on third-and-goal from the 7 as Seattle had to settle for another field goal.
Smith should be back for the third preseason game Saturday against the Chargers, but the Seahawks might also need to keep Barrett around.
Poona, Poona, Poona
For the first two series, the Seahawks used what is basically its starting defense minus three key players in linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright and rush end Ziggy Ansah.
The star was second-year tackle Poona Ford, who had three tackles in the first half, two for a loss, as the Seahawks held down Minnesota’s running game early. The Vikings had just 25 yards on eight carries in the first quarter when it had its No. 1 offense (including four of five starting linemen) on the field.
“I thought we had a good, competitive first half in the game,” Carroll said. “It was a good, hard night with a lot of good ball.”
Young defensive backs have their struggles, but Carroll says it wasn’t all bad
While Seattle’s run defense was a strong suit, especially early on, the pass defense was another matter.
The Vikings beat each of Seattle’s starting cornerbacks to move to the 6 on their second drive.
First, left corner Shaquill Griffin was beaten for a 34-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen on a third-and-five that took the ball to the 49.
Then Tre Flowers, the starter on the right side, got called for a defensive pass interference penalty while trying to guard Thielen that took it to the 6.
The drive stalled there in part due to a clipping penalty on the Vikings.
But Cousins threw for 68 yards in his one quarter, as well as the 45-yard penalty on Flowers.
Carroll asked to have Theilen’s catch against Griffin reviewed under the new NFL rules, alleging that Thielen maybe had pushed off — the officials did not agree and the call stood.
“We had a classic opportunity under the new rule and really the clips from the broadcast didn’t really catch the push that was in question,” Carroll said. “But it definitely happened. Whether it was enough, I don’t know. We are going to learn as the preseason goes along what New York is going to call in those situations.”
As for the penalty on Flowers, Carroll said he thought it was close.
“I thought Tre was in great position,” Carroll said. “Wish he just wouldn’t have put his hand on the guy’s arm on the deep ball. … I thought they played pretty tight coverage for the most part.”
DeShawn Shead: One big play but also a lot of struggles
Seattle’s only touchdown came on an 88-yard interception return by Shead late in the second quarter.
A good rush from Barkevious Mingo and Cassius Marsh helped force a hurried throw from Sean Mannion that flew over the head of Chad Beebe and straight to Shead, who then went basically untouched for the score.
Shead said he read the crossing pattern on the play “and I seen the QB and I went and jumped the route.”
Shead suffered an ACL injury in January 2017 that he said lingered through the 2018 season that he spent with Detroit. But he said he felt the interception and the run shows he’s all the way back.
“It’s good to go out there and just play normal and feel normal and not worry about any injury,” he said.
Shead played as essentially the third safety, coming in when Seattle replaced started Bradley McDougald, pairing with Tedric Thompson for a while in the first half.
But while Shead had the score he also got beat for an 11-yard completion on a third-and-three play three plays prior to the interception.
And later in the half he missed a tackle on a 45-yard Mannion pass to running back Mike Boone that helped set up a Vikings score that tied the game at halftime, 10-10.
The pick-six, a safety last week, and Shead’s history with the Seahawks will make him a popular choice to make the roster — and if rookie Marquise Blair is out for any length of time with back spasms, he might have to.
But expect the Seahawks to also try to get Lano Hill some serious work next week against the Chargers and a chance to earn a roster spot at safety.
Any reason to worry about Penny? Carroll says no
Seattle’s starting offensive line played intact for just two series, during which time Carson was the primary running back.
Injuries to four other offensive linemen had the Seahawks going with a pretty makeshift backup crew that had trouble fending off the Vikings defense the rest of the night.
So maybe there’s not much to read into Rashaad Penny finishing with minus-2 yards on six carries.
Still, that’s a somewhat startling line for a player the team spent a first-round choice on last season and has talked up throughout the offseason for showing improvement from what was a spotty rookie year.
But Carroll said the real issue was the line’s struggles and a lack of room for Penny to run.
“He couldn’t get going,” Carroll said. “Rashaad looked good on the screen (a completion for 14 yards). He just needs some space. We’ve got to block for him better than that. He didn’t have a chance.”
Penny had 15 yards on six carries in the opener against Denver, meaning he has 13 yards on 12 carries for the preseason.