Without the injured Tedric Thompson, the Seahawks had to shuffle up the defensive secondary. But they found a way to shut down the Chiefs' offense anyway.
The Seahawks’ defensive task seemed daunting enough when the week began, trying to somehow contain Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes — whose 45 touchdown passes were 11 more than any other QB in the NFL after 14 games.
It got even more ominous when the team revealed that starting free safety Tedric Thompson would miss the game with a chest situation discovered during the week, and that strong safety Bradley McDougald was out of the area getting a treatment on his knee.
At that point, cornerback Shaquill Griffin said he pulled the defensive backs aside and said it didn’t matter.
“They’re counting on us,’’ Griffin told his teammates.
McDougald returned despite not practicing all week, which Carroll called “just valor.’’
But the loss of Thompson meant that McDougald moved to free safety, while Delano Hill earned his first-career start, pairing with McDougald at strong safety.
The Seahawks gave up a fair share of yards and three touchdown passes to Mahomes in an eventual 38-31 Seattle win.
But they also kept the Chiefs from turning in the kind of big plays that have been their trademark — Kansas City’s longest gain was 32 yards and Tyreek Hill (who came into the game with 1,304 yards, fifth move in the NFL) had just four receptions on nine targets for 74 yards.
“We stayed on top,’’ coach Pete Carroll said. “Not giving up the deep ball.’’
And that at least made the Chiefs work for things.
Griffin said keeping Hill from going crazy was “something we were focused on.” “Actually, me and (fellow cornerback) Tre Flowers were excited to go against him,’’ Griffin said.
Griffin said the Seahawks likewise wanted to contain tight end Travis Kelce, who came into the game with 1,220 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was held to 54 yards and no touchdowns.
“Once those guys (were taken out of the game) we had to make those other guys step up and make plays,’’
Griffin said. “That’s what we were focused on and I’m glad we got it done.’’
Wright returns, Shaquem Griffin sees some time
Veteran weakside linebacker K.J. Wright returned to the starting lineup after missing the past five games to let his surgically repaired knee heal.
Wright suffered the injury in the preseason and had arthroscopic surgery that held him out the first six games. He returned to play in three games before deciding to further rest his knee.
Wright proved key on the second play of the game, batting down a Patrick Mahomes pass that was intended for a wide open Tyreek Hill.
Wright said this week he would be on a “pitch count’’ against the Chiefs, with the hope that he could ramp up and play a full game by the playoffs.
Wright split time early with rookie Shaquem Griffin, who saw his most significant action since the season opener at Denver on Sept. 7.