Saints 39, Seahawks 32: Winners and Losers – Field Gulls

Saints 39, Seahawks 32: Winners and Losers - Field Gulls

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 nonexistent defense.”

The Seattle Seahawks offense, even with a dismal third down, still averaged 8 yards per play and put up 32 points against a more than respectable. New Orleans Saints defense That wins you the most games home or away and is the kind of outing that can make you a playoff team. The way the Seahawks defense is playing is 0-17 form, and unlike last week the offense couldn’t win the shootout. It’s a 39-32 loss to the Saints and a return to below .500.

Time of Winners and Losers.


Winners

Gene Smith

The Saints have a top-10 DVOA defense and the only key players they missed were Marcus Maye and PJ Williams. This was a more rigid test than the Detroit Lions or Atlanta Falcons and he saved. He finished 16/25 for 268 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no turnovers. His day could have been better if not for drops (DK Metcalf and Will Dissly, ahem) and a penalty removing a touchdown to Metcalf. His accuracy continues to amaze, and the second TD to Tyler Lockett was straight out of the main Russell Wilson playbook. I’m still in awe of how he dropped that pass into a bucket.

The only major knock was the 3rd and 2 sack you can’t take. It looked like Noah Fant was open but he didn’t throw his way, but instead just throw the ball away. On the other hand, if he threw the ball away… there is a choice Pete Carroll would make involving a 4th and 2 “go for it” or a punt. Maybe the bag was a hidden boon to save us another headache to talk about. (I’m kidding, I’m kidding)

Gene held up his end of the bargain. He makes plays that I doubt many here thought he could make. Short of a clutch game-winning drive similar to Wilson’s best moments (which certainly hasn’t happened yet), I really don’t know what more he could do to impress his biggest critics to date. This offense is actually exciting and he was a part of that.

Tyler Lockett

Approaching halftime, Lockett wasn’t even targeted. By the end of the game he had 104 yards on 5 catches and a pair of phenomenal touchdowns that show why he is a steady hand at receiver. Lockett was spectacular and it certainly helped that Geno Smith delivered some absolute dimes.

Kenneth Walker III

The rookie had his breakthrough moment in the form of a 69-yard touchdown run to briefly give the Seahawks the lead. There wasn’t much of note from Walker in that game up to that point, but he showed why the Seahawks were high in the first. 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 the landing of Olave was received when there was a great effort to knock the ball free. Other than that I thought he was solid in coverage and for the second week in a row he forced a fumble. Woolen meanwhile recovered that fumble and recorded his third interception in as many weeks. These guys make big plays every week and without the fact that the overall unit is porous, you have to be encouraged by these two.

Big Al Woods

Unfortunately his knee injury puts his immediate player status in jeopardy, but he is basically all run defense and when he tackles someone they lose ALL their forward momentum. I hope his injury isn’t serious because if he’s out, this already bad run defense just got a whole lot worse.

Ryan Neal

Honestly? Just to not be Josh Jones. And he really saved a touchdown and made some clutch 3rd down stops.

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 runner. Andy Dalton was only sacked once but he was pressured on several other occasions and hit five times. But damn this run defense is a nightmare. If Pete Carroll acknowledged any complaints about him caring too much about the running game, then it was grossly misconstrued. Taysom Hill will usually run the ball when he’s at quarterback, and the Seahawks looked stunningly unprepared. They have forced NO tackles for loss against the run for two straight weeks.

This was a severely undermanned Saints offense and they still gave up 39. The Seahawks defensive line looks like the worst in the league by a massive distance. Poona Ford and Bryan Mone in particular seem way overrated and they have been the best parts of this defense over the past two seasons. Is it the full-time scheme change? I don’t know. But they are awful to look at and seem unable to improve. I’m not in “Fire Clint Hurtt” mode even though this is worse than the entire Ken Norton Jr era, but the staff on this side of the ball needs to be under scrutiny for this ineptitude.

Refs, refs, refs

There were a lot of legitimate penalties that the Seahawks took and the ill-disciplined nature of this team needs to stop. The hold that Charles Cross was marked for was apparently not called on the Saints at all even when there were cases when a hold should have been called. The Tariq Lana grip was absurd and extended driving. I don’t agree that Metcalf’s fumble should have stood – it’s either incomplete or catch and down with contact. I’m going to be controversial and say that Chris Olave’s touchdown was correct and that the third step was the extra action that voided the “go to the ground” rule. But overall it was not a well executed game. They’re not the reason the Seahawks lost, but it sure felt like there was home cooking. I’d rather not see Brad Allen’s crew again.

Special Teams

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

Quandre Diggs

I have to go here at this point even though I love Quandre: He doesn’t play like a high-end safety. The injury he’s coming back from is by no means easy to come back from, but he struggled mightily this afternoon and hasn’t really factored in much this season. Tackling has never been his strength, but the winning Taysom Hill touchdown doesn’t happen without his sniff in the open field, and he gave up a TD to Adam Trautman at the end of the third quarter. Safety was supposed to be the best part of Seattle’s defense, and through the Adams injury, Josh Jones’ bad play, and Diggs’ bad play it’s a game-breaking liability.

DK Metcalf

On the surface, 5 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown is cool. Hell, he was unlucky to have another touchdown wiped out due to a lame holding penalty. He also dropped a wide open touchdown in the first half that turned a TD into a field goal, and while I don’t agree that he fumbled in the third quarter, it was still a case of poor ball security from 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 WR, but the fumbling needs to stop. He’s among the worst offenders among wide receivers and unlike other guys ahead of him he doesn’t return kicks or punt.

Cody Barton

He cannot shed blocks. All in all. Whether against OL or Taysom Hill, he is overmatched and there is no better choice on this list. Big special teams contributor, but that’s it.

Matt Millen

Seriously, what was that broadcast? I’m glad he called some of the questionable penalties, but beyond that he just ignores injuries happening on the field and on camera, didn’t understand the rules of the game or looked at an obvious penalty (like Marshon Lattimore on Dee Eskridge). ) and thinking that their feet had become entangled. At least Brandon Gaudin was good listening outside of thinking that the Seahawks going for 2 down 31-25 would make it a 3 point game.

Final Notes

  • Will Dissly had an ugly drop that stopped driving, which makes it his first incomplete goal of the season. Luckily Noah Fant stepped up and had 3 catches for 47 yards. I feel the boot action was defended much better by New Orleans than Detroit.
  • It felt like Shane Waldron tried to establish the run a little too early, and it contributed to some of the less successful Seahawks possessions. Outside of the Walker touchdown and a big Rashaad Penny run, there wasn’t much going on in terms of space for backs to operate. Not saying it was a badly named game but it was uneven to me.
  • The assistant coach that deserves the most credit to me is actually Andy Dickerson, as the pass protection continues to hold up well and he’s been dealt a tough hand with two rookie tackles. If the run blocking can continue to improve this could be a top 10 OL.
  • I feel so bad for Rashaad Penny. He hasn’t gone a year of his career without some kind of injury and now he has his second major, broken tibia. Forget his future with the Seahawks, running backs have notoriously short lifespans and this was kind of a “proof” year and now it’s cut short. Just wishing for a full recovery for him and that he can continue to play in the NFL, whether here or elsewhere.
  • Marshawn Lynch did not miss a game from 2012-2014. Since then, the Seahawks have gone eight straight seasons with at least one of their running backs suffering a season-ending injury. It’s amazingly bad luck.
  • The state of this defensive line is, at this point, a major reason not to want Pete Carroll to lead a roster rebuild. This is four years of searching for a competent pass rusher post-Frank Clark trade, and it has repeatedly resulted in failure. At least they ran defense like a crutch instead, but now they just can’t generate pressure with a four AND screener against the run. Legion of Boom 2.0 is not going to happen no matter how much Pete invests in the secondary. There is a premium placed on the trenches in the NFL and the Seahawks have failed miserably to improve the defensive line. Too many one-year stopgaps, too many failed draft picks, too many underwhelming results. You’d think Pete would be aware of this given the rise of the Seahawks defense included the acquisition of Chris Clemons, but instead we get this mess. I’m tired of looking at it. Carroll is nowhere closer to finding a solution.
  • Oh look. Arizona at home. That always goes well. At least Colt McCoy isn’t slated to start.

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