Home USA News Seahawks defense ruins Ken Walker day in OT loss to Raiders

Seahawks defense ruins Ken Walker day in OT loss to Raiders

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Las Vegas Raiders tight end Foster Moreau (87) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the fourth quarter of an NFL game on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle.

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Foster Moreau (87) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the fourth quarter of an NFL game on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle.

Pete Caster / The News Tribune

It was as stunning and brutal as it was fitting.

The Seahawks defense got pummeled, right up the middle, like all day, to lose another wholly winnable game.

Josh Jacobs ran in a straight line like he was way late getting from Pioneer Square to the Space Needle, untouched through Seattle’s porous defenders for an 86-yard touchdown. That sprint with 4:20 left in overtime sent the Seahawks to their second consecutive loss and further back in the NFC West, a 40-34 face-plant against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday at silenced Lumen Field.

If a walk-in, walk-off touchdown of almost 90 yards to beat you on your home field isn’t enough to spark change, this suddenly sinking Seahawks season isn’t changing.

Seattle allowed 283 yards rushing and 576 yards total, the third-most in Seahawks history, to the previously 3-7 Raiders. The problems stopping the run have persisted for this team and its new 3-4 defense from September, through October and now Thanksgiving.

“It’s just unacceptable of us,” Seahawks defensive tackle Poona Ford said inside a quiet locker room.

Ford got walled off at the point of attack as Jacobs ran past him on the final play.

Meanwhile, San Francisco shut out New Orleans to improve to 7-4. The Seahawks (6-5) are now a game plus the head-to-head tiebreaker behind the 49ers for first place in the NFC West.

Wild-card holder Washington also won, to improve to 7-5. So Seattle has gone from first place in the division to outside the NFC’s seven-team playoff placing in a span of seven days including a bye.

“Really disappointing,” coach Pete Carroll said.

“That’s a game we should have won.”

The Seahawks lost the coin toss to start overtime. The way Seattle’s defense played, that seemed decisive.

But on third and 1 at the Seattle 37-yard line, defensive tackle Shelby Harris burst through the line and dropped Jacobs for a yard loss. On fourth down, Daniel Carson was short and wide on a 56-yard field goal.

That gave the Seahawks a drive start at their own 46. Yet they went three and out, at the most inopportune time.

After the Raiders tied the game at 34, quarterback Geno Smith (27 for 37 passing, 328 yards, two touchdown throws, two key turnovers) got the ball at the Seahawks 25-yard line with 1:54 and three time outs remaining in regulation. He completed three passes on the first four plays of the drive. DK Metcalf’s diving catch of a low throw just before it hit the turf along the Seahawks sideline gave Seattle a first down near midfield with 57 seconds to go.

But a prolonged replay review by the NFL officiating office in New York finally ruled Metcalf (11 catches on 15 targets for 90 yards) did not fully control the ball throughout his roll onto the sideline, so the pass was incomplete.

The Seahawks punted, and the game went to Seattle’s first overtime this season.

“This is a game to show us if you want it you’ve got to take it,” Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett said after his three catches for 68 yards including a 35-yard touchdown from Smith.

“It’s not going to be handed to you.”

Defense falters

Jacobs carried 33 times for a Raiders-record 229 yards. It was the most by a back ever against Seattle.

He ran right at the Seahawks. He did it time and again, often behind a fullback, old-school, smashing football. It was as Tampa Bay did in Seattle’s previous game, a loss in Germany before a bye.

Yet the defense stood up on fourth and inches at midfield with 6 minutes gone in the fourth quarter.

Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels inexplicably called for a slower, lateral toss play left instead of another straight run for the first down. Seahawks safety Ryan Neal beat his blocker to force Jacobs further outside left. Linebacker Cody Barton jumped on Jacobs for the tackle in the backfield and rousing turnover on downs with the game tied at 27.

After a first-play sack, Smith escaped another one and ran 18 yards to the Raiders 36. On third and 1 from the Raiders 18, Smith rolled outside right. Homer was open in the right flat, caught the flip pass and ran past three Raiders into the end zone. The 18-yard touchdown catch and run put Seattle ahead 34-27 with just under 6 minutes remaining.

It was a timely third career score, the first this season for Homer, a fourth-year veteran.

But the Raiders responded. Quarterback Derek Carr to Davante Adams for 28 yards, with Adams making a one-armed catch while Seahawks cornerback Michael Jackson grabbed the other, got Las Vegas to midfield.

On third and goal from the 6 with 2 minutes left, Carr found tight end Foster Moreau running free across the back line of the end zone away from linebacker Jordyn Brooks. Carr’s TD flip tied the game at 34 with 1:54 left.

For the fifth time in six offensive possessions, Seattle’s defense allowed the Raiders to score.

Ken Walker returns to scoring

Rookie running back Ken Walker responded from his first start without a touchdown run in Germany two weeks ago by scoring twice Sunday.

Walker’s second score was a Marshawn Lynch-ian bull run.

After a 28-yard catch and run by Tyler Lockett and 21-yard pass for Marquise Goodwin’s first catch of the game, Walker took a handoff from Smith at the Raiders 14. The second-round pick ran through an arm tackle. He cut from left to right inside then ran into defender Tyler Hall. He carried him, Tre’von Moehrig and Raider Duron Harmon from the 4 across the goal line, with tackle Abe Lucas and guard Damien Lewis assisting.

Walker’s second touchdown of the game and ninth in seven games put Seattle ahead 27-24.

Walker is five scores away from surpassing Curt Warner in 1983 for the most rushing touchdowns by a Seahawks rookie.

But then with the score tied at 27 and Smith finally in a groove throwing and moving the offense early in the fourth quarter, Walker and Smith messed up a handoff exchange. It appeared Walker was grabbing for a handoff the quarterback didn’t fully want to give. The ball dropped between them at the Raiders 28-yard line. Las Vegas’ Chandler Jones recovered the fumble, and the game remained tied at 27.

It was the second turnover for Seattle.

In the second quarter, Smith threw well left of Lockett, who had stopped his route. The Raiders scored on the next play, a 30-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs.

Suddenly the Seahawks were down 21-13 in a game they should have led by two scores early.

Smith responded by completing his next five passes on the succeeding drive, for 70 of Seattle’s 75 yards to a touchdown. Smith’s final throw and catch were perfect, by Tyler Lockett running past inexplicably stopped Raiders cornerback Rock Ya-Sin down the right sideline. The 35-yard score was Smith’s 18th touchdown pass against five interceptions this season. Seattle trailed 21-20.

But Seattle’s defense bent far too easily on Las Vegas’ ensuing drive. It was so long — 13 plays, more than 5 minutes, it became a 2-minute drill. The Seahawks’ pass rush that had a sack by Poona Ford (his career-high third this season) plus three quarterback hits early disappeared. The Raiders almost breezed to a 36-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson and a 24-20 lead into halftime.

Seahawks run over. Again.

Las Vegas did what Tampa Bay did in Germany two weeks earlier, what New Orleans in October, Atlanta and San Francisco in September did to Seattle.

The Raiders ran right at and over the Seahawks.

The Raiders were 23rd in NFL averaging 106.8 yards rushing per game coming in. They had 144 yards rushing in the first three quarters Sunday against the league’s 28th-ranked run defense.

Jacobs had 103 yards on 21 carries in the first three periods.

The Seahawks defense allowed the Raiders to score 20 points on four drives without stopping Las Vegas. The run of defensive ineptitude went from a Raiders punt late in the first quarter until Las Vegas tight end Foster Moreau had Carr’s third-and-6 pass go off his chest. That should have been a first down in Seattle territory in the final minute of the third quarter.

That’s how the game was tied at 27 entering the fourth quarter.

Lost chances early

Coach Pete Carroll loves to tell his Seahawks they can’t win games in the first and second quarters.

But they can seize control of them. That’s what Seattle failed to do Sunday, when the Raiders handed them multiple chances to do it.

The Seahawks led 13-7 in the second quarter. But they knew it should have been more. And that’s why the Raiders led a game they could have been blown out of early.

Diggs had two interceptions of Carr before the game was 9 minutes old. But Smith and Seattle’s offense failed to fully capitalize on four drive starts at better than the Seattle 35-yard line and two in Raiders territory to begin the game.

Diggs dived to pick off Carr’s throw well wide of Davante Adams on the game’s first play. Seattle’s Bryan Mone got in on Carr up the middle to force the poor throw. It was one more play than Mone had in the Seahawks’ previous game. Leaving the big nose tackle a healthy inactive in Munich preceded Tampa Bay running all over the Seahawks. That tactical error helped send Seattle to a 21-16 loss in Germany before its bye, and pushed the Seahawks out of first place in the NFC West.

Sunday, Diggs’ return of 24 yards on his first interception became a quick Seattle touchdown. Two plays later, rookie Ken Walker cut sharply to the right and improvised to a 12-yard touchdown. The Seahawks led 28 seconds into the game.

The 71-year-old Carroll was hopping in his Nike Air Monarchs to his right and his left and ran out almost to the painted numbers off the sideline to congratulate his offense for the quick start coming off the bye.

But breakdowns in coverage allowed the Raiders to tie the game, even with linebacker Uchenna Nwosu briefly sending Carr from the game with a hit to his ribs after an incomplete pass. Carr missed one play, then finished a touchdown drive. Running back Ameer Abdullah beat Diggs on a wheel route out and up the right sideline for an 18-yard touchdown. Abdullah celebrated the score by pantomiming a karate-style leg sweep in the air that grazed Diggs’ shoulder for a creative unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Diggs had a second interception of Carr when linebacker Cody Barton tipped a pass over the middle to Diggs. Carroll twice ran over to Diggs, on the sideline and tapping his safety’s shoulders on the bench, to celebrate that second turnover.

But Smith and the offense wasted starting that drive at the Raiders 35. They got only a field goal by Jason Myers. Those three points were a reprieve. Smith was intercepted forcing a pass to DK Metcalf into two defending Raiders in the back right of the end zone on third and 5 from the 6. A replay review ruled Raiders safety Duron Harmon was bobbling the ball while he fell onto his back beyond the end zone’s back line for an incomplete pass instead of an interception for Smith.

Exquisite pass protection on the edges by rookie offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, who’d been questionable to play because of an illness, allowed Smith to throw 33 yards to Metcalf down the left sideline on Seattle’s next possession. That set up Myers for another short field goal and a 13-7 lead that felt like it should have been 17-7 or 21-7 Seahawks.

After the two picks in the first quarter, Diggs was one interception from becoming the only NFL player with at least 3 interceptions in each of the last six seasons.

This story was originally published November 27, 2022 4:47 PM.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.

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