Here’s one casualty of Seattle’s 3-7 start — no more prime-time games after Monday night’s contest at Washington.
The NFL announced Tuesday that Seattle’s home game against the 49ers on Dec. 5 — which had been slated for the Sunday night NBC prime-time slot — has instead been flexed and will kick off at 1:25 p.m. That game will now be televised on CBS.
Replacing the Seattle-San Francisco game in the NBC prime-time slot — or, 5:20 p.m. Seattle time — is a game between Denver and Kansas City.
Seattle has already played three prime-time games, and the Monday night contest against Washington this week will be its fourth. The 49ers game would have been Seattle’s fifth — the maximum a team can be scheduled for before the season.
The NFL reserves the right to flex games beginning the fifth week of the season to assure the most appealing matchups for the prime-time games (though Monday and Thursday night games cannot be changed).
The Seattle-San Francisco game looked like it could be a contest of two NFC West contenders heading into the season. Instead, it will now be a matchup of two teams battling to stay out of the cellar, with the 49ers in third place at 5-5 and Seattle two games behind San Francisco, and each far behind division-leading Arizona (9-2) and second-place Los Angeles (7-3).
It may be for the best that Seattle has just one more prime-time game as the Seahawks are winless in prime time this season, losing on Thursday night (to the Rams), Sunday night (at Pittsburgh) and Monday night (against the Saints).
Seattle entered this season 33-8-1 in prime time since Pete Carroll arrived as coach in 2010. But that glittering record is one of many that has taken a hit this season.
The Seahawks also recently had a Sunday night game at Philadelphia in 2019 flexed back to the afternoon slot. But that time, it was because the Eagles were a then-disappointing 5-4 and NBC decided to go with a Green Bay-San Francisco game, instead.
Tre Brown has knee surgery
The Seahawks confirmed Tuesday that cornerback Tre Brown had patellar tendon surgery Tuesday morning and will miss the rest of the 2021 season.
In a statement, team physician Ed Khalfayan also had surgery to repair medial and lateral retinacular tears. The statement said Brown will be on crutches for six weeks and will have a rehabilitation period of 6-7 months.
“I expect him to make a full recovery,” Khalfayan was quoted as saying.
Brown was injured in the second quarter while leaping to defend a pass to A.J. Green that went for a 31-yard completion, though on Monday coach Pete Carroll also said Brown has been dealing with “long-term” issues to his knee.
Brown was the team’s fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft out of Oklahoma and started the last three games at the critical left cornerback spot, playing five games in all. He began the season on injured reserve while also dealing with a knee injury before returning to practice and being activated in time for a game on Oct. 17 at Pittsburgh.
Brown’s introduction into the lineup coincided with much better play by the defense and Brown had allowed a passer rating of 63.3, as judged by Pro Football Reference.
With Brown out, former UW standout Sidney Jones is likely to step into the starting spot at left cornerback. Jones started four games at LCB before losing the spot to Brown.
D.J. Reed moved to play the right side when the Seahawks went with Jones at LCB, and then Brown. Reed, however, is also battling knee and groin injuries and did not play in Sunday’s 23-13 loss to Arizona. But once healthy he is likely to stay on the right side, given that Carroll has said he seems more comfortable there.
Bless Austin filled in on the right side Sunday and could be an option, as well.
Seattle also has John Reid as depth at cornerback and has Gavin Heslop and Michael Jackson on the practice squad.
And another option is Nigel Warrior, who was claimed off waivers from the Ravens on Sept. 1.
Warrior has been on IR since Sept. 7 but was designated to return from practice on Nov. 8. That means Seattle has one more week for Warrior to practice before he either is activated to the 53-man roster or reverts to IR for the rest of the season.