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NEW ORLEANS – The Seahawks’ comeback attempt came up just short in a 25-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Needing a touchdown on their final possession of the game, the Seahawks drove as far as the Saints’ 10-yard line, but Russell Wilson was unable to connect with Jermaine Kearse in the back of the end zone on the final play of the game.
Here are five rapid reactions to the Seahawks loss, which drops their record to 4-2-1:
1. Earl Thomas and Cliff Avril continue to shine.
We’re lumping Avril and Thomas together because those two teamed up for one of the biggest plays of the day, with Avril forcing a fumble that Thomas returned 34 yards for a touchdown. Later in the first half, Thomas came up with a touchdown-saving pass breakup on a deep attempt in the end zone.
Avril, meanwhile, continues to build on what is turning into the best season of his career. Recording a sack, giving him 7.5 this season, and a pass defensed. Avril also made the stop on New Orleans’ 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. He could have had another sack, but was held on a play on which Frank Clark registered a sack instead.
2. The offense showed progress in the second half.
After struggling to score points in last week’s tie at Arizona, Seattle’s offense found the end zone in the first half against the Saints, but other than that one drive, the offense had a hard time staying on the field, thanks in large part to penalties killing drives before they could get going. But after rushing for only three yards on three carries, the Seahawks opened the second half by running seven straight times on a drive that not only resulted in a field goal, but also took 6:04 off the clock, a much-needed break for a defense that had been on the field for 43 first-half plays a week after playing 95 snaps against Arizona. Seattle’s offense added another long drive in the fourth quarter, though again had to settle for a field goal.
The offense was not, however, able to finish off what was nearly a game-winning drive, with time running out following the incomplete Wilson pass attempt to Kearse.
3. Bobby Wagner was everywhere.
Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner has been playing great all season, but he was particularly impressive against New Orleans Sunday, racking up 15 combined tackles, including 11 in the first half. Wagner now has a team-high 72 tackles.
4. Tanner McEvoy keeps making big plays.
When Tanner McEvoy hauled in a game-winning touchdown in Seattle’s preseason opener at Kansas City, it was apparently a preview of what was to come for the undrafted rookie receiver. McEvoy hasn’t had a ton of playing time this season, but he continues to make the most out of the opportunities he does get. On Sunday, that meant catching a backward pass from Russell Wilson, then throwing a strike to fellow rookie C.J. Prosise for a 43-yard gain. That pass from McEvoy, who was a quarterback for part of his college career, led to a Christine Michael touchdown run, and it was just the latest big play from McEvoy. In Seattle’s Week 4 win over the Jets, McEvoy had a 42-yard touchdown for his first career catch, and in last week’s game, he blocked a punt to set up a field goal.
5. Penalties hurt the Seahawks.
As mentioned above, a few first-half penalties kept the offense from getting on track, and on the other side of the ball, multiple third-down penalties on Seattle’s defense kept the Saints on the field.
Overall, the Seahawks had 11 penalties enforced against them for 76 yards, while the Saints had just two for 10 yards.