Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium:
Quarterback Russell Wilson was uncharacteristically loose with the ball, throwing three interceptions, including two with the Seahawks on the verge of scoring. He was mostly his usual incredible self otherwise, making some incredible deep throws and having a throwback day with his legs. Receiver Tyler Lockett had another career day, catching 15 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. But the offense become less effective as the game progressed, and it came up lame both at the end of regulation, when it couldn’t get the clinching first down, and in overtime, when it first was forced to punt, then Wilson threw his third pick.
Seattle’s defense forced two turnovers, for much of the contest shut down an Arizona running game that came in ranked fourth in the league, and made a gargantuan stand following Budda Baker’s 90-yard interception return in the second quarter. But the Seahawks had four chances to come up with a stop to either win the game or keep it alive late in regulation and in overtime, and it failed all four times — the only reason Seattle got that second chance for a stop in OT was because the Cardinals missed a field goal with their first chance at winning it.
Seattle’s special teams have been immaculate this season, but the first cracks appeared in this one as the Seahawks committed three penalties, including a devastating unsportsmanlike-conduct flag on Benson Mayowa during a late Arizona field-goal that gave the Cardinals a first down which they quickly turned into a touchdown. The specialists, however, continued to shine. Kicker Jason Myers has been no-drama, splitting the uprights with both his field goals all four of his extra points. Punter Michael Dickson wasn’t called upon often, but did the job when asked.
In the first half the Seahawks put on a coaching clinic. The offense was finding space all over the field, while the defense shut down Arizona’s running game, including keeping quarterback Kyler Murray in check. However, the Cardinals’ staff made the better halftime adjustments to get the game to overtime, and Seattle’s defensive tactics at the end of regulation were particularly problematic as the Seahawks dropped back in a yards-allowing prevent defense, when Arizona only needed a field goal to tie the score. Pete Carroll made a good challenge to reverse a call that resulted in Lockett’s third TD. But the inability to handle prosperity, letting teams back in it after leading big (13 points in the first half, 10 points in the fourth quarter), is a coaching issue.
Seattle has played with fire all season long, playing close games and finding ways to win it at the end, but the Seahawks finally got burned Sunday. This one feels more like Seattle lost the game than Arizona won it, especially considering the Seahawks were coming off a bye and had extra time to prepare. The Seahawks had a chance to take full control of the race in the NFC West, as a win would have put Seattle two games up in the loss column over the rest of the division. Instead, the division is now a horse race, and with all four teams over .500, the Seahawks have surrendered their margin of error.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer