One minute, the Seahawks look like they are on their way to fulfilling all of that Super Bowl talk.
The next, the found themselves in last place in the NFC West.
That’s just how stunning — and potentially meaningful — the whiplashing events of Sunday were as Seattle blew a 30-16 lead with just over 12 minutes left to lose to Tennessee 33-30 in overtime.
Worse, there was really nothing fluky about it. The Titans had 532 yards and held the Seahawks to three three-and-outs in the span of four drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Titans held the ball for a mind-numbing 42:33 to Seattle’s 22:42. And think what you want of whether time of possession matters much — it sure seemed to Sunday.
On to the grades.
Early on, Russell Wilson was mostly his usual MVP-like self as he was 11 for 15 for 191 yards and one touchdown in the first half. But aside from the 68-yard TD to Freddie Swain, Wilson had trouble connecting much with anyone in the second half. And the overtime drive seemed like a time he needed to make better decisions to just get the ball moving some, especially avoiding the sack on third down that left Seattle at its own 1.
Said coach Pete Carroll of the last drive: “We took a big shot and we missed by a hair on the sidelines (on a pass to Tyler Lockett) and then the second-down play (an incompletion to DK Metcalf). That’s the only three plays that I thought were really of question, that we didn’t handle those three plays as well as we needed to. We wound up on the goal line backed up. So we messed that sequence up getting out of there and made it really easy for them.”
There wasn’t a whole lot of a running game with Seattle getting just 56 yards on 14 carries by running backs — 25 on one run by Alex Collins on the Seahawks’ scoring drive to end the first half, the last time the Seattle offense really seemed in sync in the game. Chris Carson had just 31 yards on 13 carries and no targets, and Collins oddly never touched the ball again after his run. Travis Homer filled the third-down back role with Rashaad Penny sidelined.
What a hit-and-miss day here.
Tyler Lockett could hardly have been better with eight receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets and has 278 yards on 13 receptions for the season with three touchdowns. And Freddie Swain had the best game of his career with five catches on five targets for 95 yards and. TD.
But DK Metcalf got called for three penalties (only one of which was accepted) and didn’t make the kind of impact that many expected given Tennessee’s struggles in the secondary (which were readily apparent on the long Lockett and Swain TDs). Metcalf had just six receptions on 11 targets for 53 yards. Worse, he hurt his knee late in the game and it’s unclear if that’ll be an issue long-term.
A week after there was so much buzz about Seattle’s use of the tight ends the position was almost totally nonexistent. Gerald Everett had just one reception for 3 yards on two targets, and Will Dissly did not have a target, also seeming to go long stretches without being on the field.
The good is that Wilson went from the first quarter to the final offensive play of overtime without getting sacked. The line gave him the time to complete the three big play to Lockett and Swain that accounted for 17 of Seattle’s 30 points.
The bad is that Seattle could not get any kind of consistent rushing attack going with Carson held to 2.4 yards per carry.
This was another spot where there was some really good, and then some not-so-good.
The Seahawks had two sacks of Ryan Tannehill in the first half, including the forced fumble by Alton Robinson that led to a touchdown and looked like it might help Seattle break the game open.
But Seattle had only one sack in the final two quarters and overtime that appeared to be due more to coverage.
And then there’s the obvious that the Seattle defense seemed to wear out as the game wore on and Derrick Henry got rolling. Seattle again used a five-man front to try to contain a powerful running game, as it had the week before against the Colts. It worked for about two-and-half quarters.
Seattle finished with just two sacks from the defensive line and six quarterback hits, but that came against a Tennessee line that found out before the game it would be without starting left tackle Taylor Lewan, who apparently tweaked his knee in pregame warmups. The thought — and hope — was Seattle could take greater advantage.
Bobby Wagner broke a team record with 20 tackles, which spoke volumes about his play but also said a little something about the rest of the defense and Wagner needing to do so much work.
Wagner also had a sack and two of the team’s eight QB hits.
But the rest was spotty.
Jordyn Brooks was benched after a personal foul penalty on Tennessee’s first drive of the third quarter. That had Cody Barton playing the rest of that series — which finished in a Tennessee TD — and the next.
Darrell Taylor was quiet with only one tackle coming on special teams, with Seattle using Benson Mayowa and Robinson substantially in what was essentially a strongside linebacker role, apparently as part of the game plan against Henry and the running game.
Given the perception of Seattle’s cornerbacks, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown didn’t hurt the Seahawks as much as some might have thought. Still, they combined for nine catches for 171 yards and were just an inch away from Jones also scoring a touchdown in the first half that was instead overruled.
And sure, it’s a really tough ask of Quandre Diggs to bring down Henry on his 60-yard fourth-quarter TD run that turned the game. But Diggs’ reaction — throwing down his helmet — indicated he thought he should have got the job done there.
Jamal Adams had eight tackles but has yet to get a sack this season. And it’s worth wondering if teams are figuring out his blitzing a little bit — Henry’s run came on a play when Adams blitzed but was well blocked.
Ugo Amadi again got the start at nickel but Marquise Blair was sprinkled in some.
A somewhat spotty day here. Jason Myers’ missed extra point in the fourth quarter ended up playing a pretty big role in allowing Tennessee to tie the game.
DeeJay Dallas had just 30 yards on three kickoff returns and while Michael Dickson hit the ball well most of the time, he needed some better luck on a couple that ended up as touchbacks.
The coverage was solid.