The Seahawks nearly pulled off some last-second magic for the second straight week. Seattle trailed 11-0 going into the fourth quarter, but led by back-up quarterback Trevone Boykin and third-string running back Troymaine Pope the Seahawks tied it and were driving with less than 2 minutes remaining. However, Minnesota’s Marcus Sherels intercepted an ill-advised Boykin pass and returned it 53 yards for the decisive score. Even then Seattle tried to pull off another miracle, with a long pass-interference penalty helping the Seahawks drive to the Vikings 5-yard line with less than 30 seconds remaining. But unlike last week in the 17-16 victory over Kansas City, there was no last-second magic this time as a sack and an incomplete pass ended the game.
While there were plenty of late-game dramatics, the bigger story for Seattle was the struggles of the first-team offense. A week ago quarterback Russell Wilson played just one series, so it wasn’t that big a deal the the first teamers didn’t score. This week the first teamers played the entire first half and were still shut out, managing to breach midfield in just one of their five drives. The first-team offensive line played three series last week without allowing a sack, but Wilson was sacked four times by the Vikings, though the first two of those were coverage sacks. Through two preseason games Seattle’s first-team offense has yet to score a point.
Seattle’s defense was fine. The first-team more-or-less played the entire first half, with the second-unit defensive line or secondary switching in on occasion, and it played well with the exception of a couple big plays to tight ends — something that’s not uncommon given the style Seattle plays. Then in the second half the defense didn’t give up anything. But the offense hasn’t shaken off the rust yet.
On the injury front, three players left the game for Seattle, those being linebacker K.J. Wright, tight end Nick Vannett and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he was unaware of any injury to Wright, who went back to the locker room accompanied by trainers toward the end of the first half after being shaken up on a play. Carroll said Vannett suffered an ankle injury, but it didn’t appear severe when it happened. Carroll said Reed re-aggravated an ankle injury, but that it’s not considered serious.
It’s also worth noting that running back Thomas Rawls, though he didn’t play, was a full participant during warm-ups, getting reps with the first team. Also, Minnesota did not play star running back Adrian Peterson or starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Here’s some players who helped or hurt their cause Thursday:
• RB Christine Michael had another good day. Michael showed the same kind of energy and burst he displayed against Kansas City, gaining 55 yards on 10 carries. He was essentially the extent of Seattle’s positive offensive contributions in the first half.
• RB Troymaine Pope is an undrafted rookie who was only signed two weeks ago when the Seahawks were dealing with a rash of injuries to running backs. But he may have put himself into the mix with 86 yards on 10 carries, and his speed has also allowed him to be used as a kick returner.
• Rookie DTs Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson continue to impress. Reed was a wrecking ball in the interior of Seattle’s defense prior to leaving the game injured, while Jefferson was effective both as a tackle and an end.
• SS Kelcie McCray, filling in for the injured Kam Chancellor, showed he’s ready to step in when needed, breaking up two passes.
• CB Marcus Burley is in danger of having his roster spot taken away, but he helped his cause with two good plays on special teams and a near forced fumble. Meanwhile his main competition for his spot, CB Tye Smith, lost contain on one running play.
• QB Trevone Boykin had both his good and bad moments. He got a chance to show off his running ability, and he again moved the team down the field when behind late in the game. But he also made an ill-advised throw on the pick-six, and he took a sack with time winding down, which prevented the Seahawks from having multiple shots at the end zone from the 5-yard line.
• WR Kenny Lawler also had his ups and downs. He did a good job getting open for three catches, but then followed with a pair of drops on third down.
• Curiously, we didn’t see a lot of DT Brandin Bryant. Bryant was Seattle’s first defensive tackle off the bench last week, but he was limited to third-string duties Thursday as just-signed DT Tony McDaniel got the second-team action.
• RT Garry Gilliam had one instance when the Vikings blitzed on his side and he didn’t pick up anyone.
• Rookie RB Alex Collins had a difficult game. He gained just 13 yards on six carries, was stuffed twice when needing just a yard to get a first down, and had a pass go through his hands.
• TE Brandon Williams was making a case for a roster spot, but he was quiet Thursday and had a drop.
• WR Montario Hunter is getting a chance as a punt returner, but he didn’t help his cause with a muff that resulted in 12 lost yards, and he also committed offensive pass interference on what could have been a positive play.
• The Seahawks cycled through long snappers through the offseason, finally settling on Nolan Frese, but he had a couple shaky snaps, with one high snap playing a role in Steven Hauschka coming up short on a 53-yard field goal.