Oh, how three hours can turn the feeling of a week.
Last Sunday, the Seahawks’ locker room in Pittsburgh was a picture of jubilation, coach Pete Carroll getting a celebratory drenching following a comeback road victory on his 68th birthday.
At the same time in Seattle, fans allowed themselves the thought of winning games the next two weeks in which the team might be favored to get to 4-0 before hosting the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 3 in a potential early test of NFC West supremacy.
Now, after one of the more inexplicable and humbling afternoons in recent Seahawks history (not as bad as the 42-7 loss to the Rams in 2017, but also not too far off), Seattle has to win at Arizona — never an easy task under any circumstance — to avoid already being in must-win territory when the Rams arrive.
Yep, Sunday was an especially bad day at the office, as the grades will reveal.
How bad did the Seahawks play? So bad that even one of Russell Wilson’s best statistical days couldn’t save it. Wilson’s 406 passing yards were the second-most of his career (behind the 452 against Houston in 2017) and he also showed some rare aggression to run early (apparently sensing things were going off the rails from the beginning), finishing with 51 yards on seven carries, his fourth-highest total since the 2017 season. Some of the late passes maybe looked a little uncharacteristic, but don’t blame Wilson for trying to the end.
Another week, another Chris Carson fumble. Consider that Seattle lost only four fumbles all of last season. Seattle now has lost four in three weeks, with Carson directly credited with three of them and part of another (the exchange handoff last week with Wilson). Carson fumbled at the end of a 23-yard run. He had just 30 yards on his other 14 carries while C.J. Prosise had just 5 yards on four carries on another day when the running game didn’t get a whole lot done.
The receivers got a lot of opportunities — Wilson’s 50 pass attempts were a career high. Tyler Lockett caught 11 of them for 154 yards and the Week 1 worry about his adjustment to a more high-profile role seems really misplaced now. But the rest of the receiving corps was hit and miss. DK Metcalf had just two receptions, one the Hail Mary at the end of the first half, and a few times seemed covered when Wilson wanted to go to him. David Moore caught one early pass but that was it. And Jaron Brown had three receptions but none until desperation time in the fourth quarter.
The receiving stats were good — Will Dissly had another six catches and a touchdown. But he also had a tone-setting penalty on the first play of the game and a false start in the second quarter.
It was such a weird game that it feels a little hard to really judge some positions, such as the OL. Wilson was never sacked and Seattle had 515 total yards — third-highest in the Carroll era. There was only one penalty on the line — holding on Germain Ifedi in the third quarter. But Seattle couldn’t gain a yard when it really needed to on the fourth-down attempt late in the second quarter when it was 13-7 and Wilson’s escapability was on full display throughout.
Watching it live, it was sort of hard to believe the Saints had only 88 yards rushing on 23 attempts, with Alvin Kamara getting 69 on 16. Seattle actually kept the Saints’ offense pretty contained early. But the Seahawks had no sacks and only two QB hits on Teddy Bridgewater, which, along with New Orleans taking a lead on two return touchdowns early, seemed to allow him to get more comfortable as the game wore on. The Seahawks planned to play Ziggy Ansah about 20 snaps, and it’s obvious he’ll need a bit more time to get acclimated. He didn’t record a stat.
Seattle again mostly went with its base defense — meaning keeping all three linebackers on the field. Bobby Wagner (18) and K.J. Wright (13) combined for an absurd 31 of Seattle’s 63 tackles. But Mychal Kendricks missed a shot to tackle Kamara in the backfield on a run that turned into an 18-yard gain on New Orleans’ scoring drive to start the second half.
Again, on paper, not a bad day. Bridgewater threw for just 177 yards with his longest gain of 29 yards on a pass that didn’t go far at all — the screen Kamara took for a touchdown. But that was also the play in which Shaquill Griffin, Bradley McDougald and Lano Hill all had chances to get him down (or out of bounds) and couldn’t. Tre Flowers appeared to get much of the duty on Michael Thomas and did a nice job for a while. But Thomas eventually got going enough to help the Saints blow it open. And Seattle has only one interception all year, none Sunday.
This was a disaster. There were the two obvious big mistakes — Michael Dickson’s first punt that went just 38 yards before being returned for a touchdown and Al Woods lining up over center on a field-goal attempt that gave the Saints a first down and led to a touchdown. But little went well, such as Lockett declining to catch two punts that ended up being downed or going out of bounds inside the 5 as New Orleans had a net punting average of 52 compared to Seattle’s 28.