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Wretched Offense Dooms Seahawks in Destructive Loss to Saints

Barely producing 100 total yards after a long touchdown to DK Metcalf, Seattle's offensive ineptitude cost the team yet another winnable game at home, giving the organization three consecutive losses for the first time since 2011 and dropping them into last place in the NFC West.

Less than five minutes into their Monday Night Football clash with the Saints, the Seahawks got off to a roaring start as Geno Smith connected with DK Metcalf for an 84-yard touchdown to give them an early 7-0 advantage.

But from that point on, Smith and his counterparts slogged through the next three quarters offensively, managing to score only three more points for the remainder of regulation. Squandering a strong performance by the defense, Seattle ultimately suffered a damaging 13-10 loss, dropping to 2-5 on the season and losing three consecutive games for the third time since 2011.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Seahawks latest defeat at Lumen Field:

1. Smith struggled at the controls in his second straight start replacing Russell Wilson.

Smith couldn't have asked for a better start on Monday night, as he hit Metcalf on his first drop back and the star receiver broke multiple tackles before racing 84 yards for a touchdown to give the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead. But from that point, in part due to relentless pressure by the Saints, the veteran signal caller struggled to find open receivers and make decisive reads from the pocket. Excluding his big play to Metcalf, he completed only 11 out of 21 pass attempts for 83 passing yards and averaged under four yards per attempt. On several occasions, he threw inaccurate passes that nearly resulted in interceptions, failing to throw under rhythm.

Aside from the errant passes, Smith also took several demoralizing sacks down the stretch. Most notably, with the Seahawks trailing by three inside two minutes left to play, he inexcusably didn't unload the football on first and second down, taking a pair of sacks for negative 18 yards and allowing more than a minute of time to melt off the clock. Two plays later, his 4th and 28 heave was swatted away by Damario Davis and the Saints were able to take knee to clinch the win. On the night, Smith was sacked five times for 38 yards and several of those came at the worst imaginable times in a tightly contested game.

2. Shane Waldron and Pete Carroll deserve credit for the ship sinking with a poor game plan.

Given the weather and quarterback situation, Carroll and Waldron shouldn't be faulted for leaning on the ground game. To win on Monday, they weren't going to get it done asking Smith to sling it 40 times against a talented Saints secondary. But at the same time, New Orleans entered the contest with the No. 2 run defense in the NFL for a reason and despite getting ambushed all night, they kept trying to run into a brick wall to no avail. On the night, Seattle ran 28 times for 92 yards, with Alex Collins being held to a dismal 2.2 yards per carry and Rashaad Penny contributing nine yards on six carries in his first game back from injury.

During two consecutive drives in the third quarter, Waldron called eight straight run plays, including seven carries for Collins, that netted 19 total yards. Two of those carries came immediately after linebacker Jordyn Brooks recovered tight end Adam Trautman's fumble deep in Saints territory and produced zero net yards. That happened far too often, setting up the backup quarterback for failure with long second and third down situations. Even without Wilson, the coaching staff has to own a failed conservative game plan and failing to make adequate adjustments. Add in poor time management and it wasn't a good night on the sidelines either.

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3. The Seahawks only partially achieved their goals containing Alvin Kamara.

All week long, Carroll stressed the importance of keeping Kamara in check both as a runner and a receiver. One of the most dynamic backs in the league, Seattle did a heck of a job bottling him up as a ball carrier, limiting him to 51 rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry. But as a receiver, the defense failed for the most part, allowing the dual-threat weapon to rack up eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. Somehow, with him being the top priority, he was wide open on multiple plays with no defenders in the same zip code and picked up chunks of yardage after the catch.

First, Kamara caught a screen and raced 23 yards, setting up the Saints first field goal. Then on the next drive, he immediately created separation against safety Ryan Neal on a crosser for a 31-yard reception and scored from 13 yards out a few plays later to give his team their first lead. While the Seahawks did stuff him on a screen in the second half, it was too little, too late as the damage Kamara inflicted on their defense with 128 receiving yards on the night proved to be enough to win a low scoring affair.

4. For a second straight week, Seattle’s defense did more than enough to win a football game.

Aside from letting Kamara run wild as a receiver in the first two quarters, the Seahawks managed to hold the Saints to 13 points and limited them to two third down conversions on 13 attempts. Jameis Winston completed only 19 of 35 pass attempts for 222 yards, no receiver not named Kamara had more than 32 receiving yards, and New Orleans went 1-4 in the red zone. In 95 percent of NFL games, that's a strong enough outing for a victory.

Unfortunately, when it mattered most, the unit couldn't get out of its own way and gifted the opposition a game-winning field goal in the closing minutes of regulation. On two different occasions, Seattle had third down stops on the drive. First, Marquise Blair looked to have a sack on Winston, but he was flagged for roughing the passer after making helmet contact, extending the drive. Moments later, after another third down stop, defensive tackle Al Woods was flagged for an inexcusable encroachment penalty on a field goal, once again extending the drive. Those costly mistakes allowed the Saints to chew close to two additional minutes off the clock. Nonetheless, with a competent offense, they wouldn't have been in that situation most likely.

5. Jason Myers will be viewed as a goat, but he shouldn’t be.

Regression is a real phenomenon at the kicker position and unfortunately for the Seahawks, Myers hasn't been near as effective as he was during a record-setting 2020 campaign. Since his streak of 37 consecutive field goals made was snapped in Minnesota in Week 3, he's now missed four field goals including 44 and 53-yard kicks on Monday night against New Orleans. The significance of those misses has only been magnified by Seattle's offensive struggles minus Wilson under center and making at least one of those would have allowed the team to take the game into overtime for a second straight week.

But if there's a game where Myers can be forgiven for not splitting the uprights, this one would fit the bill. Though Carroll admitted the "typhoon bomb" never blew up as forecasters projected, it still rained most of the game and wind was absolutely a factor in the passing and kicking game. Both of Myers' misses, particularly the 53-yard one, came in generally poor conditions.