BRADY HENDERSON

Seahawks’ Trevone Boykin calls shaky performance vs Vikings ‘a huge learning experience’

Aug 19, 2016, 2:23 AM | Updated: 2:18 pm
Trevone Boykin threw pick-six and also took two costly sacks late in Seattle's preseason loss to Mi...
Trevone Boykin threw pick-six and also took two costly sacks late in Seattle's preseason loss to Minnesota. (AP)
(AP)
LISTEN: What's next for Trevone Boykin?

Rookie Trevone Boykin’s trial run as the Seahawks’ backup quarterback was never going to be without its share of mistakes. Whether or not he holds onto that job will depend largely on how well he minimizes them, something he did last week in his NFL debut but failed to do Thursday night.

There were three big ones, all coming over the Seahawks’ final two possessions of their 18-11 preseason loss to Minnesota at CenturyLink Field. They thwarted Seattle’s chances at another last-second victory not to mention Boykin’s latest opportunity to solidify his spot.

The first was an underthrown pass that was intercepted and returned 53 yards for the decisive touchdown. The score was tied at 11 and Seattle was driving with a minute and a half left in the game when Boykin misfired on an out route to receiver E.Z. Nwachukwu. Cornerback Marcus Sherels made a nice play to cut underneath the route and pick off the pass, Boykin acknowledged, but he knew better than to miss that throw where he did.

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“It was a bad ball. Ball was behind,” Boykin said afterward. “You can’t throw the ball behind on an out-breaking route.”

He was not the only guilty party on that interception. Coach Pete Carroll noted that the running back on the play – Troymaine Pope – missed a blitz pickup, forcing Boykin to hurry his throw with a pass-rusher bearing down on him.

Carroll seemed more disappointed by the sack Boykin took on Seattle’s final possession, when Seattle had driven to Minnesota’s 5-yard line and had 23 seconds left. A throwaway would have stopped the clock and left the Seahawks with at least two more cracks at the end zone, but with no timeouts remaining, Seattle had time for only one more once Boykin went down and lost 10 yards in the process. His final throw fell incomplete as time expired.

Boykin had taken a sack on the first play of that drive, losing 17 yards and forcing the Seahawks to burn their final timeout. Aided by a pass-interference penalty that gave Seattle 53 yards, he drove the Seahawks all the way to Minnesota’s 5. The stage was set for a repeat of last week’s finish against Kansas City, when Boykin capped off an 88-yard drive with a last-second touchdown throw.

Not this time.

“I was really disappointed for Trevone on the second-down play when he didn’t throw the ball away,” Carroll said. “We were gonna win the game in our mentality. We were gonna do it again here at the end and that was going to be really fun and exciting. It’s too bad we missed that. That’s something that’s really fundamental to us, and we made a mistake there.”

Despite those late mistakes and an underwhelming passing line – 10 for 20, 127 yards, no touchdowns – it wasn’t entirely bad for Boykin. He channeled Russell Wilson on a few scrambles, including one on a two-point attempt when he spectacularly went tail over teakettle as he dove across the goal line.

That mobility is something the Seahawks haven’t had behind Wilson, and as Carroll has noted, it would allow them to run their desired offense if Boykin ever had to step in. Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson were never going to pose much of a running threat on read-option plays, for instance. They probably couldn’t have pulled off Boykin’s acrobatic flip into the end zone, either.

“Right there, it’s just don’t be denied,” Boykin said of the play.

Carroll said he also showed improvement in his command of the huddle. That has been one of the challenges for Boykin coming from a spread offense at TCU, where the plays were much less wordy and therefore way easier to spit out. It was a point of emphasis after some predictable struggles last week in Kansas City, which was his first taste of NFL game action. Carroll thought he was “much better” this time.

“Really clean,” Carroll said. “He did have a play where we called a timeout. We weren’t set up right and I’m not sure why that happened, but it looked familiar from the week before. So if there was only one, he’s getting better.”

But the late mistakes will stick in Boykin’s craw, not just the pick-six but also the sacks. Especially that second one, when Seattle was on the doorstep of the end zone and had no more timeouts. He knew better.

“The sack was just something that we can’t give up,” he said. “I’ve got to know the situation, where we’re at on the field, what we need to win and what we’ve got to do. I can’t take that sack there. That’s totally on me. That’s my fault. This is a huge learning experience for me.”

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