O’Neil: After living on edge, Seahawks’ highwire act finally tumbles
The league’s most thrilling highwire act took a tumble in the desert on Sunday night.
The last unbeaten team in the NFC bit the dust in thoroughly spectacular fashion as the Seahawks lost a 10-point lead in the final 6 minutes and 44 seconds of the fourth quarter. They then squandered an absolute gift in overtime when the Cardinals missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt they couldn’t wait to take, trying the kick on second down.
But ultimately, this team that has earned a reputation for its comebacks suffered a come-from-ahead loss in a game in which they never trailed. Well, at least not until Arizona’s Zane Gonzalez made that 48-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the 10-minute overtime period to decide it.
Arizona 37, Seattle 34. In overtime. It was absolutely as excruciating as it sounds.
Now, there’s a way to dress this game up to make it sound more appetizing. You could point out that Seattle had the game-winning touchdown nullified when DK Metcalf’s 48-yard catch in overtime was negated by a holding penalty against David Moore. Except Moore really did hold that guy.
You could also point to a pair of penalties that sustained Arizona touchdown drives in the second half, and while a third-down penalty against Bobby Wagner for unnecessary roughness was definitely dubious, that was the third quarter and Seattle seemed to have control of that game well after that point.
You could also compliment what was a pretty admirable effort by an Arizona team that’s on the rise in not just the division, but the conference. Kyler Murray showed himself both creative and tough. He threw for three touchdowns, rushed for one and ultimately outdueled Russell Wilson, who threw for more yards but was picked off three times, including with just under a minute remaining in the overtime, setting up Arizona for that game-winning kick.
The reality is Seattle earned this loss. Every bit of it. This was a game the Seahawks had control of. They gained 377 yards in the first half, scoring on all but one of their six possessions. They never punted. They were up two scores after Tyler Lockett’s third touchdown of the game, which he scored with just under 7 minutes left, and even after giving up an Arizona touchdown after an awful penalty, the Seahawks were one 2-yard rush away from clinching with just under 2 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. But after living on the edge for so much of the first two months of this season, the Seahawks cut it just too close.
All year long, we’ve wondered what would happen if Seattle’s offense was something less than extraordinary. We got the answer in Arizona, and it was more than a little concerning. The Seahawks had exactly one scoring drive in the second half. They got the ball twice in overtime – which is fortunate – and never moved the ball past midfield.
Seattle’s defense forced a total of one punt in the second half. It was on the Cardinals’ opening drive of the third quarter. Arizona moved into scoring position on each of its last four drives of the game with only token resistance.
The problem isn’t that Seattle lost this game. That was bound to happen given this team’s inability to secure games for going on two seasons. It’s the fact that they lost this game, which they had such control of.
This game in which Tyler Lockett caught 15 passes – tying Steve Largent’s franchise record for a single game. He also scored three touchdowns. This game in which DK Metcalf made an absolutely unbelievable effort to catch Budda Baker from behind and prevent a sure touchdown in the second quarter.
That was the first of what turned out to be three interceptions by Wilson, the most he’s had since he was picked off three times in Jacksonville in December 2017. Wilson wasn’t bad this game. He just wasn’t as great as he was the first five weeks of this season. At least not in the second half and not in overtime, and the Seahawks suffered their first defeat of the season in especially excruciating fashion.