Pete Carroll wasn’t going to get any sympathy for his busted nose Sunday. Seahawks fans’ eyes endured far greater pain.
Whatever took place on that field was a study in collective dysfunction. You could call it a comedy of errors if it wasn’t so sad.
New Orleans beat Seattle 33-27 in a loss that featured about mishap a minute. From poor clock management, to missed tackles, to boneheaded penalties, the home team never ceased to embarrass.
The Saints played without their star quarterback. The Seahawks played without a clue.
“This was an unusual game. So many things happened that we just hurt ourselves,” said Carroll, who coached with a bandage on his nose after getting decked by a wayward football before the game. “Sometimes a game goes like that when you can’t get out of your own way.”
With future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees out for the Saints, the Seahawks (2-1) were favored by as many as 5½ points. Perhaps to level the playing field, Seattle let New Orleans go up 7-0 without the offense having to take the field.
Less than three minutes into the game, Saints returner Deonte Harris took Michael Dickson’s punt 53 yards to the end zone while eluding a slew of Seahawks tacklers. The special-teams snafu was just one of many blunders to come.
There was running back Chris Carson’s fumble — his third in as many games — which the Saints returned 33 yards for a touchdown. The turnover negated what would have been a 23-yard gain and put Seattle down 13-7.
There was Carroll neglecting to use either of his two remaining timeouts at the end of the first half, which likely cost Seattle points. The Seahawks started their final drive of the second quarter from their own 21 with 29 seconds left, watched Russell Wilson hit tight end Nick Vannett for a 9-yard gain, yet did not stop the clock. Then, with 10 seconds remaining at the snap, Wilson connected with DK Metcalf for a 54-yard gain that put the ball on New Orleans’ 16, but there was no time remaining once the play was over.
Carroll said that if he knew Wilson would have come up with the “magic” he did at the end of the half, he would have called time out earlier. Really? If he knew the NFL’s highest-paid player would do something spectacular, he would have managed the clock differently? Ridiculous.
But so much of this game was.
With the Seahawks down 20-7 midway through the third quarter, the Saints (2-1) were set to attempt a 53-yard field goal. Then, defensive tackle Al Woods was penalized for lining up over the center, providing a first down for the Saints, who scored a touchdown seven plays later.
Down by 20 points a couple minutes later, the Seahawks recovered a fumbled punt, only to incur a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when safety Tedric Thompson, who wasn’t in uniform, ran onto the field to celebrate. Yeah, it was just that kind of a day.
Twice, the Seahawks had to call time out because they had 12 men on the field. They missed tackle after tackle, as Saints running back Alvin Kamara tallied 161 yards of total offense.
There was even a brain lapse when the Seahawks cut the deficit to 13 upon a touchdown run by Wilson with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter, when Carroll opted for the extra point. A two-point conversion would have made it an 11-point game and put Seattle within a touchdown and a field goal.
“We didn’t do that right, either,” said Carroll. “I had a particularly bad day.”
The Seahawks’ last touchdown came with no time remaining, as they never threatened in the second half. It felt like a missed opportunity given Brees’ absence, although backup Teddy Bridgewater (177 yards on 19-for-27 passing) was adequate.
The only bright spot for Seattle was the 406 passing yards it got from Wilson, who threw for two scores and ran for two more. But a lot of those yards came in garbage time, which might be a good title for this game.
Maybe the Seahawks were overconfident because one of the all-time greats wasn’t in uniform for New Orleans. Or maybe their first two wins were misleading given the quality of their opponents.
Either way, every 12 at CenturyLink Field would have preferred a football to the face over that mess Sunday. The Seahawks were awful.
Sorry if that’s a little on the nose.