And now we find out what the Seahawks are really made of.
This was the worst-case scenario of the games that we knew Russell Wilson had to miss, with the Seahawks now falling into the kind of hole that will make simply finishing with a winning record a fairly herculean effort.
Consider that now being 2-5, Seattle will have to go 7-3 the rest of the way just to finish 9-8. And that’s with two games left against the Cardinals and one each against the Rams and Packers who are a combined 19-2, three of those four on the road.
So, yeah, Monday’s 13-10 loss to Saints will be a tough one to overcome.
On to some quick grades.
No, Geno Smith isn’t Russell Wilson.
It’s hard to know how much difference Wilson would have made, but Seattle isn’t paying him $35 million a year because it wouldn’t be significant.
True, Smith got little help from the running game, and the receiving corps also didn’t seem to get open a whole lot.
But while Smith avoided the costly turnover, he did not avoid the costly sack, and the three he took in the fourth quarter were all killers, one moving Seattle 11 yards back on a field goal try and two on the final drive killing any chance the Seahawks had of moving the ball.
After being listed as questionable and practicing only on Saturday, Alex Collins again got the start. But neither Collins nor Rashaad Penny — in his first action since the opener — were able to get much done, with the two combining for 44 yards on 22 carries.
And sure, the Saints are really good against the run, coming into the game allowing just 3.3 per carry, fewest in the NFL. So, maybe it was foolhardy to put too much on the running game. But after the outburst against the Steelers, the hope was that Seattle would be able to replicate that rushing attack and take some pressure off Smith. But it didn’t happen on this night.
DK Metcalf was shadowed throughout by three-time Pro Bowler Marshon Lattimore. He got the better of Lattimore on the early 84-yarder. But Lattimore seemed to get the better of Metcalf much of the rest of the night as he had just one more catch for 12 yards.
And Tyler Lockett couldn’t corral a deep pass down the left sideline under tight coverage late in the second quarter as he was held to just 12 yards on two catches overall. It was a tough catch to make but the kind we’ve so often seen Lockett pull off.
No idea where Will Dissly has gone but he was invisible on a night when you felt they could have used him.
Gerald Everett had 11 yards on three catches but also a really costly taunting penalty in the second quarter to kill a drive.
The lack of a running game and five sacks speak to what a tough night it was for the Seattle offensive line, though coach Pete Carroll put a lot of the blame afterward on Smith for holding on to the ball too long. So, maybe the initial blaming of the line is a little out of place.
Still, the longest run by either Collins or Penny in 22 carries was just six yards, indicating that when the Saints knew a run was coming they were winning the physical battle.
A pretty good day here overall as the line helped hold the Saints to just 94 yards rushing on 31 carries, and Alvin Kamara to just 51 on 20.
Al Woods played another really solid game overall. In the fourth quarter, he drew a holding penalty that negated a 30-yard completion on a drive in which the Saints ultimately punted and was a really key part of the run defense.
But he also had two bad penalties, running on late to get called for an offsides early to give the Saints a first down and then the encroachment on the final drive to turn a fourth-down field goal attempt into another first down (Carroll said the team had a field-goal block play on).
Poona Ford also played really well and Rasheem Green had two QB hits and a sack, Carlos Dunlap showed some life with half-a-sack, and Alton Robinson had a good game with four tackles, one for a loss.
Bobby Wagner had seven tackles and played a key role in holding down the Saints’ running game.
And Jordyn Brooks had four tackles but made one of the game’s bigger plays in the second quarter when he leapt high to bat down a pass from Jameis Winston on third-and-goal at the 2 to force the Saints to settle for a field goal at the end of an 86-yard drive.
A pretty good game here, too.
Sidney Jones started at left cornerback, but as Carroll had said, rookie Tre Brown also played as the two rotated by series in the first half, then kept rotating in the second half.
Jones broke up a pass on third down to stop the Saints’ first drive and seemed to play a pretty solid game overall.
With Seattle playing particularly conservative on defense, appearing content to make the Saints hunt-and-peck their way down the field on a rainy and windy night, Jamal Adams was not used much as a pass rusher. But he came on a delayed blitz on a third down in the fourth quarter and batted down a pass. That came after he broke up a deep pass in the third quarter.
Ugo Amadi again got the start at nickel and turned in one of the game’s big plays with his forced fumble of Adam Trautman late in the third quarter that led to Seattle’s tying field goal.
The Seahawks again used a dime package featuring Ryan Neal as a sixth defensive back on third-and-longs and other obvious passing downs. Neal, though, got beat for a 31-yard completion to Kamara on the Saints’ drive before halftime that turned into the Saints’ only TD of the game.
A tough day here as Jason Myers went 1-3 when Seattle needed every point it could get. Sure, they were not gimmes — 44 and 53 each in the second half — but Myers has now missed four field goals in the last five games after having hit a franchise-record 37 in a row.