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Saints 33 Seahawks 27: Winners and Losers from a shocking home defeat

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

I had a bad feeling when I saw the weather forecast for this game.

The Seattle Seahawks are, at least in my anecdotal belief, a bad football team when it rains too much. This loss against the New Orleans Saints is up there with the defeats against Washington in 2017, the St. Louis Rams in 2015, and 2013 vs. Arizona Cardinals in terms of pure sloppiness and lousy football. Hell, I can’t sit here and tell you that the 2014 wins against the Oakland Raiders or the 2017 squeaker over the San Francisco 49ers were a whole lot better. I can’t explain it. You cannot be this consistently unprepared for the elements to eff your entire world up.

Let’s get to Winners and Losers and then move onto next week, when they’ll be playing down in ... (checks stadium), oh no.

Winners

Russell Wilson

The final stats of 32/50 for 404 yards, 4 TDs (2 rush), and 51 yards rushing do admittedly have a lot of garbage time padding, but he was far and away the best player on the field for the Seahawks. I am willing to overlook some of Wilson’s misses because his positive plays far outweighed the misfires. It’s possible that we are in for the best Russell Wilson we’ve ever seen.

Will Dissly

I don’t know if he’s Seattle’s next Zach Miller or next John Carlson, maybe a bit of both. The box score reads 6 catches for 62 yards and a garbage time touchdown, but I love his ability to get open on seam routes, and he had one play where he effectively blocked Cam Jordan even in a Wilson scramble drill. He is a much better fit for this offense than Jimmy Graham ever was.

Tyler Lockett

Damn right he’s a #1 receiver. 11 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown, with a few missed plays that could’ve given him a truly off the charts afternoon. After just two targets on opening day — one was the game-winning TD — he has 21 catches in a two-game span.

Pass blocking offensive line

Keeping in mind that Wilson had a couple of sacks he avoided through magic that would fool Penn and Teller, I thought the OL held up fairly well against that dangerous Saints pass rush. Zero sacks is zero sacks and there were plenty of clean pockets for Wilson, along with lanes to take off when needed.

Losers

Chris Carson

Outlined here. Running back is a position you can replace so easily that a benching due to ineffectiveness and/or carelessness is much easier to do at that position than most other spots. Carson has both things going against him.

The alleged pass rush

Doesn’t exist. I probably could count the pressures on one hand. Teddy Bridgewater was scarcely under pressure, and that falls on the entire front four, as the Seahawks did not blitz too much in this game compared to the previous two weeks. Jadeveon Clowney, Rasheem Green, Ziggy Ansah, Quinton Jefferson, etc. were mostly invisible. That’s two straight weeks of poor play in the trenches.

Everyone on the defense for poor tackling

I believe Alvin Kamara is the NFL’s best running back, but that was about as uncharacteristic a tackling display by the Seahawks as we’ve seen in the Pete Carroll era. He might as well have been Jerome Bettis in that Geico commercial. No one was immune, not even Bobby Wagner. Lano Hill and Bradley McDougald’s double whiff on the Kamara screen touchdown was inexcusable. Mychal Kendricks had a 1st and 17 wrap-up tackle and blew it. Seattle was horribly undisciplined at times on defense, no matter how friendly the stats may have looked.

Oh yeah, and they had zero TFLs. Given who was starting at QB, I was not impressed with the defensive side of the ball. It would’ve been a hammering if Drew Brees had started.

Brian Schneider

I don’t have any stats to back my claim up, but the Michael Dickson Punt God thing has cratered in recent games. That punt return touchdown was a combination of poor coverage and a clunker by Dickson, whose kick was short and lacking in hang time. The Al Woods illegal formation penalty was an absolute killer and cost the Seahawks a touchdown instead of a missed field goal.

Brian Schneider should’ve been fired after last season. This special teams group looks only marginally better than last year’s, and last year was bad, so that’s not gonna get the job done. Cody Barton’s fumble recovery was cool, as was Ugo Amadi’s sideline tackle of Deonte Harris, but this group still has issues.

The coaching staff’s putrid game management

I’ve been doing these columns for three seasons now and I think I’m a bit tired of pinpointing how poorly the Seahawks manage their timeouts and their two-minute offense.

That end-of-half sequence was a complete disaster, and they have ended every 1st half poorly on either offense or defense through three weeks. Carroll’s excuse for not calling timeout prior to the deep ball to D.K. Metcalf was absurd. Russell Wilson also needs to be held accountable for not going a lot faster than he actually did.

If you looked at the game as a whole, that had the checkmarks of a poorly coached team, not too dissimilar from 2017. Carroll’s in-game management was brutal, right down to something simple like failing to properly go for two down 33-20 (8+8+3=19). You don’t need a TI-84 for that.

I didn’t even bring up the 4th and 4 punt from New Orleans’ 39, which was frighteningly conservative. Or the 3rd and 6 run (!!!) that I still don’t particularly like even with the intention to go for it on 4th down. Or that weird-ass squib kick instead of an onside kick when it was 33-21. Or the horizontal and short-yard passing game we largely saw throughout the 1st half.

The offense left points on the field, the special teams was poor, and the defense didn’t get enough critical stops when they needed to. That falls on both the players for execution and the coaching staff for the team looking unprepared. New Orleans got the breaks they needed to pull off an unlikely win, and the Seahawks were all too willing to oblige.

Other Notes

  • D.K. Metcalf had just 2 catches for 69 yards on a half-dozen targets, but damn if I wasn’t hyped on that 54-yard grab in double coverage. It was good to see David Moore get back onto the field and make a nice back-shoulder grab for 29 yards, and I look forward to seeing him more involve in the offense.
  • Wilson checked to a pass on that ill-fated 4th and 1 bomb to Malik Turner. There was defensive holding, although that’s not reviewable so that just about summed up Seattle’s day.
  • C.J. Prosise’s double move on a 4th and 3 was a thing of beauty to watch. He didn’t do anything of note on the ground, but if Schotty wants more RB targets, give them to Prosise.
  • Jason Myers has only kicked one field goal and it was from 58 yards out at Heinz Field. Another way to look at it? The Seahawks are giving you touchdowns, and we like touchdowns.
  • Cody Barton injuring Carroll at the end of pre-game warmups may have been the bad sign this game would be screwy.
  • I don’t see any evidence that the Seahawks are a great team, but they aren’t a bad team. They have played a lot of bad football though, which I don’t like seeing. Both wins (against presently 0-3 AFC South sides) were needlessly difficult, and you can attribute that to objectively sloppy and undisciplined play. They couldn’t get away with it against a team that may have been down its legendary quarterback, but is undeniably the best squad they’ve played all month.
  • Oh boy, the Arizona Cardinals are next. Can we got a year without suffering at least one devastating season-ending injury at that stadium? They can win 2-0 for all I care, I don’t want to go through that ordeal AGAIN.