New season. Same problem.
Russell Wilson and his offense have to be nearly perfect for the Seahawks to win.
Just as at the start of the 2020 season, Seattle’s defense mostly can’t stop anything, anyone, anywhere.
Not backup running backs. Not Kirk Cousins. Not even themselves.
For the second consecutive week, Seattle blew a two-score lead. Cousins had all day into Minnesota night to throw, fill-in running back Alexander Mattison romped for 112 yards rushing replacing injured star Dalvin Cook and the Seahawks allowed 23 unanswered points to lose 30-17 Sunday inside the rockin’ stadium that looks like a Viking Ship in downtown Minneapolis.
The Seahawks (1-2) allowed previously winless Minnesota (1-2) 453 yards. The Vikings became the second team in seven days to score at least 30 points on Seattle. That’s rendering Wilson and first-time play caller Shane Waldron’s new schemes meaningless in the grand scheme of winning and losing.
Seattle’s only win going into October and back-to-back games at San Francisco then home to the Los Angeles Rams four days later? At the winless Indianapolis Colts in the opener. The Colts appear to be one of the NFL’s worst teams.
The Seahawks appear to have one of the league’s worst defenses.
Five-man defensive line. Defensive end Alton Robinson finally getting a start and the playing time he’s earned. Four-man pass rushes. Blitzing three extra pass rushers. None of it mattered Sunday.
The way this Seahawks defense is--and isn’t--the opening coin toss may be the most important moment of games this season. Lose it, the opponent defers, and gets the chance to score at will to end first half and begin the second.
Sunday, that was 14 game-changing points for the Vikings, without Wilson and Waldon getting the ball.
It got so bad for the defense that by the third quarter, surrendering three more points to the Vikings like like a massive win. Darrell Taylor broke in on Cousins and forced the ball from the quarterback on Seattle’s first sack and only third pressure in 27 drop backs by Cousins. That was on a third and 11 in the red zone. The loss of 10 yards forced Minnesota to settle for 43-yard field goal by Greg Joseph.
Somehow, despite not having a chance at a full possession since midway through the second quarter, Wilson and the Seahawks trailed only 24-17 midway through the third period.
But then the Seahawks allowed Everson Griffen to sack Wilson on a four-man rush, resulting in a three and out for Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks stayed behind by seven.
During the timeout between the third and fourth quarters, assistant defensive backs coach (and former Seahawks player) DeShawn Shead walked to the other end of the field with Tre Flowers. Shead was talking with his hands out, palms to the stadium roof. Flowers, the starting cornerback, was shaking his head.
Nickel defensive back Ugo Amadi was burned repeatedly on third downs for easy Vikings catches, as Minnesota was 9 for 14 converting those into first downs. Amadi also had a crushing, obvious penalty for holding Minnesota receiver K.J. Osborn in the slot on one of the few times Seattle would have been off the field on third down, in the first half. Instead of Wilson getting the ball back leading 17-7, Amadi’s penalty away from the play and automatic first down led to Cousins’ 15-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen easily inside cornerback D.J. Reed.
That made it 17-14, and the Vikings’ roll over Seattle’s defense was on.
Cousins finished 30 of 38 passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
Wilson was 22 for 31, 283 yards and a 10-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf to end a sharp opening drive of the game for the Seahawks’ offense.
The day looked promising at that point.
Then again, the defense had yet to take the field.
BROOKS CARTED OFF
Jordyn Brooks, the 2020 first-round pick benched by Carroll briefly last week in Seattle’s loss to Tennessee, for a late hit out of bounds left the game early in the fourth quarter on the back of a motorized cart. He appeared to injure his lower right leg tackling Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin in the open field following a catch, just before Minnesota kicked a field goal to up its lead to 27-17.
Cody Barton replaced Brooks at outside linebacker.
After what he admitted were a shaky first two games, getting into too many head games with opposing defensive backs, Metcalf had an All-Pro game Sunday.
He had four catches for 78 yards in the first quarter. His late block outside left allowed Chris Carson to finish that 30-yard TD run.
Metcalf finished with 107 yards on six receptions. He appeared to get injured on the next-to-last series of the game, but jogged back the huddle. He stayed down on the field long enough that officials called for an injury time out. So Metcalf had to leave the field for a fourth and 12.
Wilson threw deep to Penny Hart in the end zone. Minnesota safety Harrison Smith appeared to arrive just before the ball did, then knocked the ball away from Hart as the receiver fell onto his back. The officials ruled incomplete. Wilson ran to the end zone to argue for pass interference he wouldn’t get. And Seattle stayed behind 30-17 with 3 minutes left.
The Seahawks had lost this game way before that.
MYERS’ STREAK ENDS AT 37
Jason Myers made his first field goal to extend his Seahawks record to 37 makes in a row. Then he missed a 44-yarder wide in the second quarter. Seattle stayed ahead 17-14.
Wide receiver Cody Thompson, promoted by the Seahawks from the practice squad Saturday, made his NFL debut, at age 25. The former high school quarterback from Huron, Ohio, and University of Toledo wide receiver was on the return team for the game’s opening kickoff. He was also on the kickoff-coverage team.
Thompson was active Sunday because rookie wide receiver Dee Eskridge missed his second consecutive game with a concussion Eskridge got in Seattle’s opener at Indianapolis.
CURHAN ALSO DEBUTS
Jake Curhan made his NFL debut Sunday, months after it seemed he may never get one.
The rookie from the University of California — and Carroll’s alma mater of Redwood High School in Larkspur, California — replaced Jamarco Jones at right tackle for one series in the second quarter. Jones started there for the first time since November, because Brandon Shell was out with a sprained ankle.
Curhan thought his NFL chances may be done this spring. Medical evaluations before the draft revealed a heart issue. That scared teams into not drafting him. Seattle’s medical staff found the condition Curhan declines to detail as manageable. The Seahawks signed him after the draft as a rookie free agent.
He had an impressive training camp to make the team, replacing Cedric Ogbuehi as a backup tackle. Ogbuehi, a former first-round pick by Cincinnati, is on Seattle’s injured-reserve list.
Jones replaced Curhan after one drive.
What a story, Jake Curhan. Thought out of NFL chances when heart issue detected pre draft. Goes undrafted. Now the former Cal Bear is the #Seahawks right tackle, rookie holding it down in the third game of the season.
HART THANKFULLY RECONSIDERS
The wild first half had what almost included one of the wilder scenes in recent NFL history.
After the Vikings scored their second touchdown of the game, Cousins’ 15-yard pass too easy in front of Reed in the second quarter, a crazy guy in orange shorts and a Vikings jersey jumped out of stands and ran to midfield into the middle of the Vikings’ logo.
Wide receiver Hart started to run off the Seahawks’ sideline to tackle the guy. He got nearly to the yard-line numbers, as if he was really about to do it.
Hart’s startled teammates and coaches got him to come back. Fellow wide receiver Freddie Swain looked at Hart with an expression that said “What were you thinking?!”
Security guards let the guy run around to the opposite goal line before one of them tackled him and sent him away, presumably to jail.
And Hart played on.
This story was originally published by The News Tribune.
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