Seahawks can’t live on pyrotechnics alone. The Arizona Cardinals exposed that truth when they put up 196 yards and 13 points on their last four possessions to shred Seattle’s defense, 37-34.
One would think that in the pile of 33 first downs and 572 yards of offense, including 200 receiving yards by WR Tyler Lockett, there would be a victory in there. But that’s probably because the realization had yet to harden that the Seahawks offense has to compensate for a defense that not only is the worst in the the NFL, it seems destined to go down as one of the most helpless since the bad guy tried to use a knife against the pistol of Indiana Jones.
Once Russell Wilson fell back in the second in the half Sunday night, followed by the awareness from the Arizona Cardinals (5-2) that the Seahawks (5-1) really weren’t as good as 5-0 made them look, the reckoning arrived in the bright national TV spotlight:
The Seattle defense will ruin the season.
Lavishly entertaining as was the game — DK Metcalf’s Usain Bolt-like rundown of Cardinals DB Budda Baker’s 90-yard interception return will replayed by the generations almost as much as Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake run — the failure to hold a 10-point lead in the final five minutes of regulation will influence the rest of the schedule.
A winnable game was not won; for the first time in 60 games of the Wilson era when the Seahawks had a halftime lead of four or more points, they lost.
The 37-34 overtime defeat (box) to a division rival hit the Seahawks where they live.
“We take such pride and finishing well, doing things right down the stretch,” said coach Pete Carroll. “Making the other team have to out-execute us. I didn’t feel like that tonight. It didn’t feel like we were able to force the issue . . . really disappointing night here for us.
“With so much that happened in this game, we had all kinds of chances to win. We could have won it on offense a couple times, on defense a couple times, in overtime as well.”
TWO FEET IN! 🙌
Make it 3️⃣ touchdowns on the day for @TDLockett12!
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 26, 2020
While the startling headline was three interceptions by Wilson, the more odious development was the inability to get even a single hit — not a sack, just a hit — on precocious Arizona QB Kyler Murray.
In a small, contested space filled with large, swarthy men, the expectation over 69 minutes is that Seattle defenders would at least bump into him in the pocket. He threw 48 times. But no.
So many weird things have happened to the Seahawks in the Glendale barn, despite a 6-0-1 record there in past seven meetings, that absurdity should be expected. But each time it leaves a different mark. Even with the advantages of coming off a bye week while the Cardinals played Monday night, the Seahawks ended up gassed and passed at the end because they couldn’t disrupt Murray.
“We had our hands on him a few times, but weren’t able to get him down,” Carroll said. “He’s really hard to get and we were unable to do it.”
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 26, 2020
Murray completed 34 of his throws for 360 yards and three touchdowns, with only one interception. He added 68 yards on his 14 carries, but he wasn’t devastating with his specialty — in fact, Wilson out-rushed him with a game high 84 yards on six scrambles.
Ironically, it was the Cardinals rushing game that turned things late. Down 34-24 with five minutes remaining, Arizona’s first six plays were runs. Supplemented by a personal foul on DE Benson Mayowa for pushing down a lineman on a field goal attempt, the Cardinals took 14 plays to go 75 yards for a touchdown.
Then came a Seattle tactical decision that built the Cardinals’ momentum. On the next possession, they had five consecutive runs to force to the Cardinals to burn three timeouts. But it left them at fourth-and-two at their own 34, and Carroll chose to punt.
The problem was it took the ball out of the hands of their surest asset, Wilson, and brought back the inept defense to attempt to save the day. Even with just 52 seconds left and no timeouts, Murray cruised with an eight-play drive that delivered the field goal at :00 to tie the game at 34.
In two possessions in OT — one missed field goal, then the game-winner — Arizona accumulated another 68 yards, meaning that in the final four possessions, the Cards ran up 196 yards and 13 points against the Seahawks defense.
“We’re nowhere we want to be we,” said LB Bobby Wagner. “We can’t put the offense in a situation that we put them. We have the ability to improve. We have to make our minds up that’s it no more saying we’re going to do it. We have to show it. So at this point, I don’t have no words for you. We do or we don’t.”
The defense for the third game in a row was without injured SS Jamal Adams, their prime playmaker, and in the third quarter lost CB Shaquill Griffin to a concussion. The offense also lost RB Chris Carson to a sprained foot. So there were some reasons.
But the defense was bad when Adams was healthy. And it isn’t likely that difference-making talent will be acquired before the Nov. 3 trade deadline. Unless the Seahawks want to move some of their premium talent on offense.
That’s not happening. Although it would be fun to listen to the calls general manager John Schneider will get Monday after Metcalf astonished the sports world in the second quarter.
“It’s one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen,” said Carroll of what was calculated by Next Gen stats as a 114-yard dash at more than 22 mph to bring down Baker after his interception. “It was just remarkable. He just used all that marvelous skill, and the will to go run the guy down — it was such an incredible play.
I just have never seen one quite like that. The follow-up, because of the inspirational moment, was extraordinary, too.”
He referred to the fact that Arizona still had the ball at the Seattle 8-yard line. But the defense, in its one moment of glory, forced a four-and-out. Wilson promptly took the Seahawks for a 97-yard touchdown drive and a 20-7 lead.
That sequence made for the apex moments of Seattle’s evening. Thereafter, the game slowly shifted toward the need for the defense to put its foot down.
Not once did it land on Murray.
Kyler Murray getting it done on his own 💪
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 26, 2020