Who could have predicted in October there’d ever be a time the Seahawks’ offense would be the cause for worry?
But that’s where we are after a stunning 17-12 defeat at home against the New York Giants, who might have a pretty good defense, but not so good that that should have happened.
Seattle, averaging 31 points per game and 6.1 yards per play coming in, was held to one lone touchdown and 4.7 yards per snap, season lows in both points and yards per play.
And suddenly, an offense that came into the week averaging 391 yards per game has been held to 347 or below in each of its past four.
Seattle looked disjointed offensively all day, and that allowed the Giants to take advantage of some second-half lapses by the defense to get a victory that means the Seahawks are back in second place in the NFC West (via the tiebreaker with the Rams) and probably no longer able to count on having the division wrapped up by the time Los Angeles returns Dec. 27 despite what had been the most favorable schedule in the league heading into the final six games.
Yep, one game can change an awful lot in the NFL.
On to some grades.
Just another bad game for Russell Wilson, who seemed hesitant all day long, surprisingly just dropped a snap that turned into a turnover at one point, and seems long past the days of anyone worrying if this is the year he’ll finally get an MVP vote (for the second time this year he tried to pick up a fumble and lost it instead of falling on it).
Wilson refuted the idea later that he was indecisive. But in taking five sacks for a loss of 47 yards — by far the most yards lost via sack this year — it was at least fair to wonder where the Wilson of the first half of the season has gone.
Chris Carson looked good early — 45 yards on seven carries in the first half, but he had just 20 on six the rest of the way as the running game got bogged down in the offensive struggles as the game wore on. He also let a pass go through his hands that turned into an interception in the second half.
Carlos Hyde was used a lot on third downs and had just 1 yard on two carries — and has 23 on 17 carries the past two games. While he had three receptions, they went for just 10 yards.
DK Metcalf had 80 yards and a Twitter-viral-worthy stiff arm going up mostly against Giants cornerback James Bradberry. But he also had a drop late in the game and didn’t seem to make the overall impact as he has in most games this season.
Tyler Lockett had three catches in the first quarter for 36 yards and seemed on his way to a big day, but then left briefly to be evaluated for a concussion and had 63 yards on six receptions overall.
Seattle got only one catch for 6 yards from its other receivers, making it evident there will be room for Josh Gordon in the rotation.
Seattle was hoping to do some damage with its tight ends with the way the Giants play, and got seven catches for 48 yards out of Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister. But typical of the day, Dissly was stopped a yard short on a third-down catch in the second half that then led to a failed fourth down.
The Seahawks had to go with another line configuration with Jamarco Jones playing right tackle in place of the injured Cedric Ogbuehi.
Everyone seemed to struggle against a Giants defense that showed Seattle a lot of different looks, allowing five sacks, though granted Wilson held the ball a long time on a few of them.
Still, the Giants’ line got the better of the Seahawks as the game wore on — Seattle had just 27 yards rushing on nine attempts in the second half.
Jones had his struggles, assessed a penalty for illegal formation on the final play of the third quarter when he didn’t line up on the line of scrimmage. He then suffered a groin injury in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Chad Wheeler, who was elevated off the practice squad Saturday and was getting his first snaps since the 2018 season when he was with the Giants.
It looked good early when Benson Mayowa got a sack on the second series. But for much of the day, the line wasn’t as fearsome as it has been in recent weeks — the only other sack was by safety Jamal Adams and Seattle had just four quarterback hits on 26 dropbacks, only one from a lineman.
One reason might have been Carlos Dunlap, who was dealing with a sore foot, seemed to play mostly on third downs and obvious passing situations and had a muted impact in this game.
The rushing stats don’t paint a pretty picture for Seattle’s linebackers, though they were hardly alone in blame. Still, some of those runs are not the kind of thing we’re used to seeing Seattle’s defense give up during the Bobby Wagner-K.J. Wright era.
On the plus side, for much of the game, the Seattle linebackers did a pretty good job in coverage. One notable example: Wright broke up a pass to Sterling Shepard on third down on the Giants’ first possession of the second half.
And rookie Jordyn Brooks showed impressive speed running Wayne Gallman down, with help from Adams, and seems to be making more of a presence with each week.
But it’s hard to excuse the third-quarter rushing.
Not a bad day here overall.
Adams now has 7½ sacks and generally played well throughout.
One of Adams’ bigger plays came when he tackled tight end Evan Engram in the open field a yard short of a first down. That forced the Giants to kick a field goal in the fourth quarter and kept the game in reach.
Quandre Diggs got his fourth interception of the season, a career high, to stop a Giants drive deep in Seattle territory in the first quarter. Ryan Neal, in the game as a sixth defensive back, had the hit to jar the ball loose with Diggs then getting the pick.
Maybe the only area of the team that had an overall pretty good day.
Neal broke through to block a punt late in the first half to give Seattle a safety, and two punts by Michael Dickson downed inside the 10 kept the field flipped for much of the first half — the second helped set up the block punt.
And Jason Myers hit his 27th consecutive field goal.
But you’d like to see Seattle get a little more out of the return game.