In an ideal situation, the Seahawks might have been able to give Quinton Dunbar a little bit of rest for his sore knee Sunday.
But with Shaquill Griffin out for a second consecutive game with a hamstring injury and nickel cornerback Ugo Amadi also out with an ailing hamstring, the Seahawks had little choice but to go with Dunbar at the left cornerback spot, with Tre Flowers filling in for Griffin on the other side.
With D.J. Reed playing the nickel corner, Seattle’s only backups Sunday were Linden Stephens — who had just 37 defensive snaps in his career before Sunday — and Jayson Stanley, who was elevated off the practice squad Saturday and doesn’t have any. Backup safety Ryan Neal has cornerback experience, but has been playing safety all year and is dealing with a hip injury of late. Damarious Randall has played corner in his career, but Seattle has been using him as a safety.
In other words, there simply weren’t a lot of other options.
“Under these circumstances, we needed him to play today,’’ said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Dunbar was clearly nowhere near 100% and was eventually replaced by Stephens.
“He was hobbling,’’ Carroll said of Dunbar. “He tried to suck it up and keep going, but we needed to get him out.’’
By then, though, much damage had been done, with the Bills picking on Dunbar time and again as Josh Allen threw for 415 yards in Buffalo’s 44-34 victory.
“He had a tough day,’’ Carroll said. “ … He was surviving a bit more than we wanted to.’’
Dunbar appeared to often play far off receivers at the line, probably due to concern over his knee, making for some easy completions for the Bills.
Carroll said the cushion wasn’t really the plan going in.
“We gave them some stuff with some misplay,’’ Carroll said. “We expected to play the stuff that we did play much better than we did, and it seemed like we were real loose on run after catch stuff as well. We did not plan to be off them as much as it wound up looking like. That was not the plan. So I’ve got to see why that happened.
“You know, I mean, there was some stuff, he was by himself, we hung out guys out with things that we did, and it didn’t work out for us.’’
Carroll, though, said it wasn’t just the defensive backs, noting that the Seahawks went to blitzing more as the game wore on to try to pressure Allen and the cornerbacks were at times left on an island.
“We’ve got to help them more,’’ Carroll said.
What Seattle also needs is to get healthy in the back end, though with the bye week gone and now having two games in 11 days, that might not happen anytime soon.
“We need to get Shaquill back out there to help us out,’’ Carroll said.