Saints 39, Seahawks 32: winners and losers

I guess if you’re going to have a former Big XII quarterback as your starter, you’re going to have a Big XII quality defense, which is another way of saying “virtually non-existent defense”.

The Seattle Seahawks offense, even with a dismal 3rd down performance, still averaged 8 yards per play and had 32 points against a more than respectable New Orleans Saints defense. It wins you most home or away games and is the type of outing that can make you a playoff team. The way the Seahawks defense plays is 0-17, and unlike last week, the offense couldn’t win the shootout. It’s a 39-32 loss to the Saints and a comeback under the .500 mark.

Times of winners and losers.


Winners

Geno Smith

The Saints have a top-10 defense by DVOA and the only key players they lacked were Marcus Maye and PJ Williams. It was a tougher test than the Detroit Lions or Atlanta Falcons and he delivered. He went 16/25 for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns and no turnovers. His day could have been better had it not been for the falls (DK Metcalf and Will Dissly, ahem) and a penalty erasing a touchdown from Metcalf. His accuracy continues to amaze, and Tyler Lockett’s second TD was straight out of Russell Wilson’s first playbook. I’m still in awe of how he dumped that pass into a bucket.

The only major hit was the 3rd and 2nd sack, which you can’t cash in. It looked like Noah Fant was open but he didn’t throw his way, instead he just threw the ball. On the other hand, if he had thrown the ball…there is a choice Pete Carroll would have made involving a 4th and 2 go or a punt. Maybe the bag was a good hidden thing to keep us from having another headache to talk about. (just kidding, kidding)

Geno held its end of the bargain. He makes games, I doubt many here thought he could do. Barring a clutch-winning ride akin to Wilson’s finest moments (which, admittedly, hasn’t happened yet), I really don’t know what more he could do to impress his biggest critics. so far. This attack is really exciting and he was part of it.

Tyler Locket

Coming into halftime, Lockett hadn’t even been targeted. By the end of the game, he had 104-for-5 receiving yards and a pair of phenomenal touchdowns that show why he’s a steady hand at receiver. Lockett was sensational and it certainly helped that Geno Smith delivered absolute pennies.

Kenneth Walker III

The rookie had his defining moment in the form of a 69-yard touchdown run to briefly give the Seahawks the lead. There weren’t many notes from Walker in this game up to that point, but he showed why the Seahawks were high on the former Michigan State star in the first place. With Rashaad Penny’s season almost over, Walker will be RB1 the rest of the way.

Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen

Bryant was unlucky that Olave’s touchdown was given as it was a big effort to clear the ball. Other than that I thought he was solid in his cover and for the second week in a row I forced a fumble. Woolen meanwhile recovered that fumble and recorded his third interception in as many weeks. These guys make big plays on a weekly basis and without the fact that the whole unit is porous, you have to be cheered on by these two.

Big Al Wood

Sadly, his knee injury jeopardizes his immediate player status, but he’s basically all of the run defense and when he tackles someone, he loses ALL of his forward momentum. I hope his injury isn’t serious because if he’s out, that already poor running defense has gotten even worse.

Ryan Neal

Frankly? Just not to be Josh Jones. And he really saved a touchdown and made some clutch saves in 3rd.

losers

Defense, defense, defense

Really, it’s just the run defense because I don’t think the pass defense was that bad. Hell, I liked the blitz packages and sending Jordyn Brooks as an extra rusher. Andy Dalton has only been sacked once but has come under several other pressures and been hit five times. But damn it, this run defense is a nightmare. If Pete Carroll acknowledged complaints that he cared too much about the racing game, it was grossly misinterpreted. Taysom Hill will typically run the ball when he’s quarterbacked, and the Seahawks looked incredibly ill-prepared. They forced NO tackles for the loss on the run for two straight weeks.

It was a seriously under-equipped Saints offense and they still gave up 39. The Seahawks’ defensive line looks like the worst in the league by far. Poona Ford and Bryan Mone in particular seem well overwhelmed and they’ve been the best parts of this defense for the past two seasons. Is it the full-time diet change? I do not know. But they are terrible to watch and seem unable to improve. I’m not in ‘Fire Clint Hurtt’ mode even though it’s worse than the entire Ken Norton Jr era, but the staff on this side of the ball need to be watched for this ineptitude.

Refs, refs, refs

The Seahawks have given many legitimate penalties and the unruly nature of this team needs to stop. The hold that Charles Cross was flagged for was apparently not called on the Saints at all, even when there were instances where a hold should have been called. Tariq Woolen’s take was absurd and extended a drive. I disagree that Metcalf’s fumbling should have stood – it’s either incomplete or caught up in contact. I will be controversial and say Chris Olave’s touchdown was okay and step three was the extra act that negated the “go to ground” rule. But in general, it was not a well officiated match. They’re not the reason the Seahawks lost, but it felt like home cooking. I prefer not to see Brad Allen’s team again.

Special teams

Jason Myers missed an extra point, which apparently caused this two-point conversion attempt in the 4th quarter. Michael Dickson seemingly independent on a rugby-style punt which turned into a disaster. Why not just do a normal punt formation? There was a block in the back penalty on a Seahawks punt as opposed to a return! Larry Izzo’s unit looked bad and made critical mistakes.

Whenre Diggs

Gotta go at this point, even though I like Quandre: he doesn’t play like a high-end safety. The injury he came back from is by no means easy, but he struggled a lot this afternoon and really hasn’t factored in much this season. Tackle was never his strength, but Taysom Hill’s game-winning touchdown doesn’t come without his flair in the open field, and he gave up a TD to Adam Trautman late in the 3rd quarter. Safety was supposed to be the best part of Seattle’s defense, and through Adams’ injury, Josh Jones’ poor play and Diggs’ poor play, it’s a critical liability.

DK Metcalf

On the surface, 5 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown is cool. Hell, he was unlucky that another touchdown was wiped out due to a lame holding penalty. He also dropped a wide open touchdown in the 1st half that turned a TD into a field goal, and while I don’t agree he fumbled in the 3rd quarter, it was still a a case of poor ball safety by someone who has a history of doing so. The drop bothers me a lot more because those are the plays you need to make as a top-flight WR, but the fumbling needs to stop. He’s among the worst offenders among wide receivers and unlike the other guys in front of him, he doesn’t return kicks or punts.

Cody Barton

He cannot get rid of blocks. At all. Whether against OL or the hill of Taysom, it’s outdated and there’s no better option on this list. Big contributor to special teams, but that’s it.

Matt Millen

Seriously, what was that broadcast? I’m glad he called some of the dodgy penalties, but beyond that he was simply ignoring injuries on the pitch and on camera, not understanding the rules of the game, or looking at an obvious penalty (like that of Marshon Lattimore on Dee Eskridge) and thinking their feet were tangled. At least Brandon Gaudin was a good listener outside of thinking the Seahawks for 2 down 31-25 would make it a 3-point game.

Final remarks

  • Will Dissly had a nasty crash that stalled a practice, making it his first incomplete goal of the season. Fortunately, Noah Fant stepped in and had 3 catches for 47 yards. I feel like the starter action was much better defended by New Orleans than Detroit.
  • It felt like Shane Waldron tried to establish the run a little too early, and that contributed to some of the Seahawks’ less successful possessions. Outside of Walker’s touchdown and Rashaad Penny’s big run, not much was happening in terms of space for the fullbacks to operate. I’m not saying it was badly called game but it was uneven for me.
  • The assistant coach who deserves the most praise for me is actually Andy Dickerson, as the pass protection continues to hold up well and he had a tough hand with two rookie tackles. If the run blocking can continue to improve, it could be an OL top 10.
  • I feel so bad for Rashaad Penny. He hasn’t gone a year of his career without some sort of injury and now he has his second serious one, a broken tibia. Forget his future with the Seahawks, running backs have a notoriously short lifespan and it was kind of a ‘proof’ of the year and now it’s been cut short. I just wish him a full recovery and that he can continue to play in the NFL, whether here or elsewhere.
  • Marshawn Lynch didn’t miss a game from 2012 to 2014. Since then, the Seahawks have gone eight straight seasons with at least one of their running backs suffering from a season-ending injury. It’s surprisingly unlucky.
  • The state of that defensive line is, at this point, a major reason for not wanting Pete Carroll to lead a roster rebuild. It’s been four years of searching for a competent passer after the Frank Clark trade, and it has repeatedly ended in failure. At least they had run the defense as a crutch instead, but now they’re just unable to generate pressure with four AND are a sieve against the run. Legion of Boom 2.0 won’t happen no matter how much Pete invests in the secondary. There is a premium on the trenches in the NFL and the Seahawks have failed miserably at improving the defensive line. Too many one-year workarounds, too many failed draft picks, too many disappointing results. You would think Pete would be aware of this given that the rise of the Seahawks defense included the acquisition of Chris Clemons, but instead we get this mess. I’m tired of watching it. Carroll is far from finding a solution.
  • Oh look. Arizona at home. It always goes well. At least Colt McCoy shouldn’t start.

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