The Seattle Seahawks lost 33-27 to the Tennessee Titans in a game that started as a defensive struggle, then turned into an offensive shootout, which the Seahawks have historically not been able to win. While the Seahawks run offense wasn’t clicking, Russell Wilson (29-49 for a career-high 373 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs) rebounded from a slow start and played utterly fantastic football from the end of the 2nd quarter and all the way through the 4th. It was the vaunted defense that fell apart in the 3rd quarter, allowing three touchdowns on as many possessions, and Seattle was forced to play catch-up football for most of the 2nd half.
Seattle drops to 1-2 on the season and they are now 1-11 in their last 12 regular season games when trailing by at least two possessions.
Both teams exchanged three-and-outs for five possessions before the Seahawks got a first down through Doug Baldwin’s first catch of the game. Chris Carson had a couple of nice runs, but the drive stalled just outside the Titans 40, with Russell Wilson continuing to throw high, inaccurate passes. Seattle’s defense continued to shut the Titans down, the Seattle offense continued to play like garbage.
Marcus Mariota threw an interception to Kam Chancellor, but Richard Sherman was flagged for both pass interference and holding on Chancellor’s runback, lost his mind over those calls, and was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yelling at the officials. On another day, his actions towards the officials could’ve gotten him an ejection.
Tennessee converted a 3rd and 15 thanks to a phenomenal catch by Eric Decker on the sidelines (beating tight coverage from Sherman). A Mariota touchdown run was called back due to a Decker holding penalty. Decker committed OPI on Sherman, which essentially ended realistic hopes of a touchdown, so the Titans settled for a 3-0 lead off of Ryan Succop’s 24-yard boot.
Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson both dropped passes on Seattle’s predictably painful three-and-out on the next possession. Richard Sherman found himself under scrutiny for a late hit on Marcus Mariota, and all hell broke loose on the Titans bench. It wasn’t a clean shot on Mariota, but he did hit him, and the ensuing fracas led to offsetting penalties. Sherman broke up a 3rd down pass to force Tennessee into kicking another field goal, making it 6-0.
A bad snap by Justin Britt led to Wilson getting sacked on 3rd down, and he looked shaken up on the hit. Dangerous return specialist Adoree Jackson took the ensuing punt back for a score, only for David Fluellen to bail out his former team with a block in the back penalty. The Titans went three-and-out, handing the ball back to Seattle’s offense with a shade over two minutes remaining. Wilson completed deep passes to Doug Baldwin and C.J. Prosise to set up a goal-to-go situation, and Wilson hooked up with Baldwin for a touchdown to put the Seahawks up 7-6.
Wilson 2️⃣ Baldwin = SIX pic.twitter.com/5duN8SEsJD— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 24, 2017
The lead was short-lived, as Marcus Mariota led the Titans downfield for an end-of-half field goal to take a 9-7 lead into the break. A fortunate scoreline for the Seahawks, to say the least.
Wilson engineered a 9-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a 10-yard pass to Chris Carson. It was by far the most efficient offensive possession by the Seahawks this season. Unfortunately, the Titans responded with a 4-play, 75 yard TD of their own, with Rishard Matthews taking a screen pass 55 yards to the end zone, as he capitalized on poor tackling, as well as Seattle’s umpteenth offsides penalty.
The Seahawks went three-and-out on the next possession and gifted the Titans with great field position on a bad punt plus a nice return by Adoree Jackson. Seattle’s vaunted defensive line was showing signs of fatigue in the hot Nashville weather, and Tennessee went up 23-14 on a 21-yard touchdown to a wide open Jonnu Smith, who ran right past Michael Wilhoite.
On Tennessee’s next drive, DeMarco Murray embarrassed the exhausted and beaten down Seahawks defense with a 75-yard TD run to make it 30-14. It’s the longest touchdown run Seattle has ever allowed in the Pete Carroll era.
Down by 16, Seattle sought to cut the deficit in half on its next possession. They were able to get six through Wilson’s seam pass to Luke Willson, but the two-point conversion failed, making the scoreline 30-20. Tennessee’s offensive line wrecked Seattle’s porous run defense some more, but a misfire by Marcus Mariota meant another Ryan Succop field goal, extending Tennessee’s lead to 13 points.
The Seahawks passing game was red hot, and Wilson was ready to cut the scoreline to 33-27, but the drive disintegrated badly. Coming out of a timeout, Wilson was pressured by a blitzing Wesley Woodyard and took a critical intentional grounding penalty. Facing 3rd and 29, the final two plays of this possession were a short pass to Graham and an incomplete Hail Mary. On the grounding penalty, either Germain Ifedi blew his assignment or Chris Carson missed his blitz pickup.
Following a Titans punt, Wilson continued to exploit the Titans secondary and extend plays with his legs, including a critical 4th down conversion to Tyler Lockett after he (again) faced pressure on a three-man rush. With 1:50 to go, Wilson threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, finding Paul Richardson to cut it to 33-27.
Down to just one timeout due to an injury to Rees Odhiambo, Seattle had to attempt an onside kick, and Delanie Walker was there for a recovery. Any chance the Seahawks had at getting the ball back ended when they were penalized for 12-men on the field. A fitting end for another worrying performance from Seattle’s special teams.
Seahawks Injury Notes
On the opening kickoff (which went for a touchback), Dewey McDonald injured his knee and did not return.
Doug Baldwin (10 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD) injured his groin.
Tyler Lockett came off the field with an apparent cramp.
Rees Ohdiambo walked off the field with an undisclosed injury.
The Seahawks host the Indianapolis Colts (1-2) on Sunday Night Football at 5:30 PM PT on NBC. Andrew Luck is not going to be playing, so Jacoby Brissett gets his first experience at CenturyLink Field.