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Seahawks grades: Failing defense threatens to unravel all that is good with this team

UPDATED: Mon., Oct. 26, 2020

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray breaks the tackle of Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright for a touchdown during the second half of their  (Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray breaks the tackle of Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright for a touchdown during the second half of their (Ross D. Franklin)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Not that Seahawks fans weren’t already worried that their team might have some fatal flaws.

But a simply stunning 37-34 overtime loss to host Arizona only further confirmed the worst fears that this is a team with an offense good enough to win it all, and a defense that as currently constructed – though it’s worth remembering Jamal Adams remains out – is bad enough to undo it all.

What we know for sure is that Seattle blowing the lead it did Sunday night opened the door wide for the rest of the NFC West to stay in the hunt.

And, boy, now the 49ers – fresh off a dismantling of the Patriots – come to town.

How quickly things can change.

On to some grades.

Quarterback: Russell Wilson took all the blame for his three interceptions – his most in a game since 2017.

It’s a good sign of leadership but it also seemed like Wilson fell prey at times to having to do too much.

Wilson had only 10 picks in his past 36 regular-season games, but having to keep doing the almost unthinkable seemed to catch up to him.

Still, for most of the night he was as good as always, including running as he hasn’t all season with 84 yards on six carries.

Grade: C+

Running back: This game is why the Seahawks signed Carlos Hyde.

After the injuries that decimated the position last season, the Seahawks wanted to be assured they had the proper depth.

It paid off when Chris Carson had to leave in the first half with a foot injury.

Hyde, who had missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, did yeoman’s work with 68 yards on 15 carries and a nifty 24-yard toe-tapping touchdown down the sideline.

The hope is obviously that Carson is not injured seriously, but Carroll’s comment that it’s a mid-foot sprain and they don’t know what it means seemed ominous.

Also critical at the end was a knee contusion suffered by Travis Homer that had Seattle using rookie DeeJay Dallas substantially in the fourth quarter and overtime. Dallas missed a block on a blitz that turned into a sack in overtime that proved pivotal.

Grade: B

Wide receiver: Tyler Lockett had the best game of his career and as good as any in Seattle history with a career-high 200 yards receiving on 15 receptions, bouncing back after two games in which he had combined for just six catches.

Lockett had more than that by halftime, when he had eight for 133 yards.

DK Metcalf was held in check with two catches for 23 yards with Arizona mostly shadowing him with Patrick Peterson – which will set up a nice storyline for the Cardinals return here in a few weeks – though the called-back late touchdown would have changed everything.

And what a tough penalty on David Moore there at the end.

Moore had a nice game until then with three receptions on three targets for 54 yards.

Grade: A-

Tight end: Jacob Hollister, who played just three snaps against the Vikings two weeks ago and entered the game with just two catches for the season, had two catches by the end of the first quarter in his most impactful game of the season.

Will Dissly and Greg Olsen each also had two catches as the tight end group had seven of Wilson’s 33 receptions.

Grade: B

Offensive line: Seattle had to make do at times with its most makeshift line of the season.

Jordan Simmons got his second consecutive start at left guard with Mike Iupati again out with a back injury. And then right guard Damien Lewis left for a series in the second quarter, replaced by Jamarco Jones.

But as we’ve said all year, all those points and yards aren’t coming without some solid play up front.

Grade: B+

Defensive line: As Cris Collinsworth pointed out a few times on the broadcast, Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray “had all day” a bit too often, the bye week seeming to do nothing to help solve Seattle’s pass-rush issues.

Indeed, the Seahawks not only had no sacks but stunningly not a single quarterback hit. Sure, Murray is hard to hit. But he had 48 official pass attempts – you’d think he’d get hit at least once.

Seattle did a nice job at times against the run but that lack of a pass rush – even if Pete Carroll said the Seahawks at times were just trying to keep Murray contained – is too much to ignore at this point.

Every team seems to be having season-highs passing against Seattle, and it’s starting up front.

Grade: D

Linebacker: This was a tough game for everyone, as usually sure-handed Bobby Wagner missed a tackle on Murray on the second series that Murray turned into a first-down scramble and later had a penalty – if controversial – on a third-down play that kept an Arizona scoring drive alive.

Jordyn Brooks got the start at weakside linebacker and was good early on.

But the lack of an overall pass rush is telling for the entire front seven.

Grade: C

Secondary: Just another tough day in this department, as the secondary really missed the hard-hitting presence of Adams, who hopefully will be back soon.

Shaquill Griffin left the game to be evaluated for a concussion in the third quarter and was replaced by Tre Flowers, though, with Flowers going to the right side and Quinton Dunbar taking Griffin’s spot on the left side.

Grade: D

Special teams: Overall, not bad until the end.

Jason Myers had two field goals on two attempts, tying his output for the season in the first five games.

Michael Dickson didn’t have much work but continued what has been a fine season so far with a punt in the third quarter downed at the 7, though he surely would have preferred his final punt with 52 seconds left to have stayed out of the end zone and made Arizona go a little further – the caveat being that it was a 66-yard kick and that’s a tough thing to do.

However, a penalty for leverage on Benson Mayowa on Arizona’s field-goal attempt with 2:57 left might have been the biggest misplay of the year for Seattle on special teams. That opened the door for Arizona to score a TD and then need only a field goal at the end to tie it.

Grade: B

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