SEATTLE – The Seahawks lost a preseason game to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. And much more significantly, they may have lost a big part of their future for a little while.
Worse than any of the results from the 27-24 loss was the fact that left tackle Russell Okung, the No. 6 pick of this year’s draft, left with an ankle injury and could be sidelined for a while.
“It’s going to be a bit, it’s a legitimate ankle sprain, so we’ll see how it goes,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
When asked if the injury was a high ankle sprain, Carroll answered: “It may be. I don’t know that right now.”
The Seahawks also lost cornerback Kelly Jennings to a hyperextended elbow in the first quarter, and recently acquired defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer hurt his knee and ankle and had to leave the game. X-rays on all three were negative, and all will have MRI exams today.
And while injuries are always the biggest concern in a preseason game, some of Seattle’s play left something to be desired as well. As was the case a week ago against Tennessee, the Seahawks’ defense couldn’t stop an opponent on an opening drive, and the starting offense quickly had to punt.
Playing against Seattle’s starting defense for almost the entire first half, Green Bay scored 17 points and piled up 264 yards. Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers was out of the game well before halftime, but still completed 8 of 11 passes for 116 yards and two scores, giving him a quarterback ranking of 146.2.
In addition to a big game from Rogers, the Packers also ran the ball well, gaining 174 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
“We’ve got some concerns up front,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to stop the running game. We gave up a bunch of yards rushing today. They didn’t fool us, they kind of ran at us, so that’s something we have to do a whole lot better job of.”
Another concern from last week’s game was the team’s inability to run the ball consistently, and that was again a problem Saturday. Seattle finished with a respectable mark of 4.2 yards per carry, but it was just 3.6 in the first half when the starters played.
“That’s a concern,” Carroll said. “We have to get that rolling.”
Of course it wasn’t all bad for Seattle. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was just 4 for 10 in last week’s game, enjoyed better protection this time around and completed 11 of 15 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.
After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Seahawks took advantage of good field possession and tied the game when Hasselbeck improvised while rolling out to find Deion Branch for an 11-yard score.
“Matt played very well, did a beautiful job handling himself in the first half,” Carroll said. “He did a nice job moving the club, made some good choices and all of that.”
Also encouraging for Seattle was the return of Leon Washington, who saw his first game action since suffering a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula last season while with the Jets. The running back carried just four times in the first half, but showed impressive burst hitting the hole on an 11-yard score that tied the game at 14.
“He was really pumped up to make a statement that he was back and ready to go,” Carroll said.
“He looked good, we’re really pleased with that.”
Charlie Whitehurst, a bright spot in last week’s game, led the team to a touchdown on his first drive, giving Seattle a 21-17 lead in the third quarter, but he struggled overall, going 9 for 20 for 73 yards and two interceptions.
Whitehurst’s first interception came after a Green Bay turnover, taking away a chance to extend the lead, and his second came with the Packers up three, ending Seattle’s hopes of a comeback.