Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 40-34 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Lumen Field:
This was a somewhat sterile performance for a team that scored 34 points. Two of Seattle’s scores came on incredibly short fields courtesy of turnovers. Running back Ken Walker III was tremendous on his two touchdown runs, but was bottled up completely on everything else. Quarterback Geno Smith’s final passing numbers look nice (328 yards and two touchdowns on 73% completions), but the two turnovers don’t. Perhaps most importantly, the Seahawks twice had the ball needing just a field goal to win it, once at the end of regulation and once in overtime, and both times the drives went nowhere.
What a topsy-turvy game for the Seattle defense. From Quandre Diggs’ interception on the game’s first play from scrimmage, to allowing points on four consecutive drives, to coming up with a huge fourth-down stop in the fourth quarter, to allowing the tying TD drive inside the final two minutes, the Seahawks’ defense was a roller-coaster ride. It ended on a dramatic drop when Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs broke free up the middle for the game-winning 86-yard touchdown run. It was a fitting end as Seattle had all kinds of difficulty stopping the run for the second straight game — the Raiders ran rampant for 283 yards. For a game that began so well defensively, this turned into a disaster.
The special teams can’t be blamed for this one. Indeed, punter Michael Dickson produced a game-saving 58-yard punt in the final minute of regulation, and it nearly became a game-winning punt when it was muffed by returner Keelan Cole as he tried to catch it while it sailed over his head. Dickson had another pinning punt in overtime that went for naught. Otherwise, Seattle’s special teams did pretty much what they were supposed to do, without changing the game in a meaningful way.
On Seattle’s side this game seemed to be more about execution than coaching. One can argue, considering the run defense was the biggest issue in the Seahawks’ previous loss to Tampa Bay, that giving up another big running day coming out of a bye was disappointing. Seattle also wasn’t able to scheme a way to generate enough pressure on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. On the offensive side the Seahawks did a good job compensating for an ineffective running game by taking short passes into space over the middle, and the play-call for Travis Homer’s go-ahead touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was an inspired one. There was a whole lot more to second guess on the opposite sideline.
This game may have provided maximum entertainment value, but it was a bad loss for Seattle. The Seahawks were rested coming off their bye, were facing a Las Vegas team that came in 3-7, and were staked to the best possible start when they took a 7-0 lead just 28 seconds into the game — even though the Raiders received the opening kickoff. It ended up being a loss in a game Seattle will feel it should have won. The momentum Seattle built with their four-game winning streak has been stunted, and with San Francisco now rolling the Seahawks suddenly find themselves playing catch-up in the NFC West race.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer