The Seahawks’ preseason home opener had few highlights from the first-team offense as Seattle went on to an 18-11 loss to Minnesota that was decided on a pick-six by Marcus Sherels with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.
Well, at least the finishes haven’t been boring this preseason.
For the second time in less than a week, a Seahawks game ended with Trevone Boykin throwing it into the end zone to try to win it.
But this time, unlike last Saturday in Kansas City, the pass fell incomplete, putting a fitting capper on what was a pretty desultory night for the Seahawks as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings 18-11 at CenturyLink Field.
Through three quarters, there was so little to cheer about that maybe the biggest roar was reserved for punter Jon Ryan — for catching a wayward punt from Minnesota counterpart Jeff Locke on the Seattle sideline late in the third quarter.
At that point, the Vikings led 11-0, with the Seattle first-team offense having backslid after some promising moments last Saturday at Kansas City — the Seahawks had four punts and were stopped on downs in five first-half possessions when the starters played.
“We were raggedy,’’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Too many negative things happened in the first half (sacks, penalties).That makes it really hard to get going.We have to clean that stuff up.’’
As they did a week ago at Kansas City, the Seahawks showed some life in the fourth quarter behind rookie Boykin.
A 4-yard touchdown run by Troymaine Pope with 12:49 left was punctuated by a two-point run by Boykin when he leapt as he was hit by Minnesota’s Jayron Kearse and Mackenzie Alexander and reached the ball over the pylon to make it 11-8. Russell Wilson raced down the sideline to congratulate Boykin almost before the play had ended.
“I’m just one of those guys that does whatever it takes, and I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to get the ball in the end zone,” Boykin said. “Right there, it was just don’t be denied.”
Seattle tied it a few minutes later, and when Minnesota’s Blair Walsh missed a 47-yard field goal, the Seahawks seemed primed to win it. But Boykin then threw a pass straight into the arms of Minnesota’s Marcus Sherels, who returned it 53 yards for a touchdown with 1:23 left to make it 18-11.
“The interception was a bad play, a bad ball,” Boykin said. “The defensive guy made a great play on it.”
With 31 seconds remaining, Minnesota’s Mackenzie Alexander was called for pass interference on Tanner McEvoy, giving Seattle the ball at the Vikings 25.
A player later, Boykin hit Antwan Goodley to the 5, with 25 seconds remaining. But Boykin was then sacked, and on the next play with the clock having ran out, his pass for Goodley was incomplete.
Until the fourth quarter, the Seattle offense did little.
The Seahawks have yet to score a point with Wilson as quarterback this preseason.
He threw an interception in the end zone to end his only drive last Saturday against Kansas City.
And against the Vikings, the Seahawks never got past the Minnesota 41 in Wilson’s five series, and marched past midfield just once, undone by sacks, dropped passes and assorted other sloppiness.
The one bright spot on the offense was again running back Christine Michael,who had 55 yards on 10 carries despite twice slipping in the backfield when he appeared to have room to run. He has 99 yards on 18 carries in three quarters this preseason.
Otherwise, the first half was an offensive quagmire as Wilson was sacked four times while also seeing three of his passes dropped.
Each sack appeared to have a different culprit, but in general Seattle’s offensive tackles – Bradley Sowell on the left and Garry Gilliam on the right — appeared to have issues. On another sack, Collins appeared not to pick up a rusher, linebacker Anthony Barr, who got to Wilson untouched. Sowell also drew a false-start penalty late in the second quarter.
Wilson was 5 for 11 for 77 yards and a 69.1 rating in the first half.
Carroll also said that while the four sacks may have seemed like an indictment of the offensive line, he added Wilson also could have helped by getting rid of the ball more quickly.
“Russ can do a better job to help us there when we get stuck,’’ he said. “Sometimes we try really hard to get out and try to make a bigger play when the pressure eventually gets there. … We need to get the ball out and stay quick with it like we want to and not let the rush get to us, and when you don’t you suffer negative stuff that makes it hard to get going.’’
Wilson agreed with that assessment, saying that while he thought the first two were coverage sacks in which the Vikings “did a good job’’ that the other two “I’ll just take the blame for.’’