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What we learned from Seahawks’ loss to Packers in final preseason game

By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Well, it wasn’t the worst loss the Seahawks have ever suffered at Lambeau Field.

But the Seahawks’ 19-15 defeat in their third and, thankfully, final preseason game was sealed when Benny Sapp III intercepted a Holton Ahlers pass in the end zone with 13 seconds to go.

The Seahawks appeared in line to win the game after SaRodorick Thompson’s 1-yard TD run with 6:38 to play until former Seattle seventh-round draft pick Alex McGough led a late drive that resulted in a Nate McCrary 1-yard run with 1:56 left that put the Packers ahead for good.

Ahlers, inserted into the game after Drew Lock played to that point, led Seattle from its 25 to the Green Bay 12 before throwing a pick in the end zone.

“I wanted him to play,’’ coach Pete Carroll said later of putting in Ahlers, an undrafted rookie free agent from East Carolina who appears in line to be the team’s practice squad quarterback. “His dad is here, the whole thing. … He almost got it done.’’

But when he didn’t, it left Seattle with a 2-1 preseason record and heading home with the tough task of paring the roster from 90 to 53 players by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Seattle played no one who is assured of a starting job.

Green Bay, meanwhile, played many of its starters for the entire first quarter, including quarterback Jordan Love and most of its offensive line. Love led one touchdown drive and another drive for a field goal in his three series.

Here are three things we learned.

More Bobo? Yes, more Bobo

Receiver Jake Bobo, an undrafted free agent from UCLA who has become the sensation of training camp, added to his legend with two catches for 27 yards, including an 18-yarder from Lock for a touchdown in the second quarter for Seattle’s only offensive highlight of the first half.

Bobo beat Green Bay safety Innis Gaines to break into the open down the left side and corralled a perfectly placed pass from Lock to complete the TD on third-and-3, the kind of play Bobo has made throughout camp and that has likely secured not only a roster spot but possibly a significant role in the receiving rotation to start the season.

“He has done everything he has had a chance to do,’’ Carroll said. “… Drew gives him a great pass and a great call. The whole thing was just a gorgeous football play, and he figured out how to finish it just right. He has been terrific.”

The play completed a five-play, 61-yard drive in 1:56 on what was the Seahawks’ first possession against a Green Bay defense that was solely backups.

The Packers had played a number of starters during the first three series when the Seahawks had just 33 yards on 12 plays with just two first downs, punting after each.

But with Green Bay removing its starters, the Seahawks used three DeeJay Dallas runs for gains of 27, five and two yards to set up the Lock-to-Bobo connection.

Bobo has worked with the starting offense in three-receiver sets alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf the past week in practice following a wrist injury to rookie first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba. And with injuries/suspension hitting a few other receivers who did not play Saturday (Dee Eskridge, Dareke Young and Cody Thompson), Bobo seems almost a lock to make the roster.

Jackson struggles again

The only players listed as starters who played were cornerbacks Michael Jackson and Tre Brown.

Jackson started on the right side and Brown on the left.

That seemed indicative, as Jackson was starting at the spot where Riq Woolen, who like most of the rest of the starters did not play, has a stranglehold on the starting job. Brown started at the spot that appears wide open – with Jackson and Brown now the two main contenders there.

Brown took over that spot this week after a strong game against the Cowboys, which included an interception in the fourth quarter that helped preserve a 22-14 win.

He likely extended his lead Saturday as Jackson had another tough game.

Jackson was beaten for Green Bay’s only touchdown during the first three quarters, a six-yard pass from Love to Christian Watson.

Jackson also was called for a holding penalty on a third-and-three and was beaten by Watson for what could have been another long gain – and maybe a TD – earlier in the game if the pass had not been underthrown.

Carroll offered little about the cornerback spot later saying “I need to see the film. I don’t have a good call on that.’’

The wild card is that the Seahawks have held the door open enough that rookie first-round pick Devon Witherspoon could still emerge as the starter on the left side. Witherspoon did not play in the preseason due to a hamstring issue but is expected to practice this week.

The Seahawks liked what they saw of Witherspoon when he practiced early in camp and played in the mock game. If he returns this week, he would have a chance to get back in the competition.

Lock erratic but successful

As noted, Lock played until the final series.

Through three quarters his numbers were a step back from his Week 2 performance against the Cowboys when he led the Seahawks to touchdowns on the only two drives he played. The Seattle offense punted on seven of its first eight full possessions Saturday.

But, still in the game when Seattle got the ball back with 11:45 left and trailing 12-7, Lock got the Seahawks going. He first hit former WSU standout Easop Winston Jr., for 30 yards, then on a third-and-six ran for six yards to keep the drive alive, then a few plays later hit Winston again for 33 yards to get Seattle to the 2, where SaRodorick Thompson eventually ran it in for a touchdown.

The drive not only made Winston one of the winners of the game – he had all of his three catches for a team high 74 yards on that drive – a winner of the game, but also put a nice bow on the preseason for Lock.

“I thought that Drew showed that he can get out there and play in all kinds of situations,’’ Carroll said.

Lock finished 16 of 25 for 150 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 93.8. That put a decent bow on a preseason in which he was 38 of 55 for 460 yards, three TDs and one interception and a rating of 105.1.

That would seem to be enough to convince the Seahawks that Lock can be a suitable backup to Geno Smit, which Carroll said had been a goal of the preseason, to give Lock most of the snaps after he did not play a down in the regular season a year ago.

“The whole idea here was to get him ready to play football in this preseason and feel 100 percent solid that he is ready to go,’’ Carroll said. “Now he has to prepare every day like it is his day. He is going to try and take a lesson from Geno (Smith) about how to do that.

“I’m going to be hard on him because he knows exactly what it is to get that done. He needs to keep doing it week after week, and when the time comes, he will be ready to go.”