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NASHVILLE—A first-half defensive battle turned into a second-half shootout, with the Seahawks and Titans trading big plays and scores to add excitement to a game that started with a combined eight punts before there was a score.
In the end, the Titans came through with a few more big plays, leading to a 33-27 victory that dropped the Seahawks record to 1-2.
Here are five rapid reactions to Seattle’s Week 3 loss:
1. What Started As A Very Good Defensive Performance Was Undone By Big Plays.
For most of the first half, the Seahawks defense was dominant, forcing four straight three-and-outs to start the game. The Titans averaged just 1.8 yards per rush in the first half, and their first two field goals came on drives kept alive by Seahawks penalties.
Things took an unexpected turn in the second half, however, with the Titans scoring touchdowns on all three of their third quarter possessions. Especially unusual about those scores is that all came on big plays, something the Seahawks don’t usually allow. Receiver Rishard Matthews broke multiple tackles to turn a short pass into a 55-yard score, tight end Jonnu Smith got wide open for a 21-yard score, then DeMarco Murray got loose for a 75-yard touchdown run.
2. Doug Baldwin Is Really Good.
OK, that’s not exactly breaking news—Baldwin did go to the Pro Bowl last year, after all—but just about every time the Seahawks offense needed a spark Sunday, Baldwin was the player providing it, including a 36-yard grab to jumpstart Seattle’s first scoring drive, and an impressive, diving 4-yard touchdown catch to cap that drive.
Baldwin, who finished the game with 10 catches for 105 yards, earned a lot of those yards after the catch with some impressive footwork. Unfortunately Baldwin left the game early in the fourth quarter with a groin injury.
3. There Were Some Very Encouraging Signs From The Offense.
Seattle’s offense produced only one touchdown in its first two games, and didn’t get off to a great start Sunday, punting on its first six possessions. There was a lot to like about the Seahawks’ offensive performance the rest of the way, however, with Russell Wilson and company putting together three touchdown drives of 75 or more yards on their next five possessions.
Seattle showed big-play ability on its final drive of the half, with Wilson hitting Baldwin for 36 yards and C.J. Prosise for 46; then the Seahawks showed balance on their first drive of the second half, putting together one of their more impressive drives of the season, which was capped by a Chris Carson touchdown catch.
The Seahawks finished the game with a season-high 433 yards, including a 29 for 49, 373-yard, four-touchdown performance by Wilson.
4. Seattle’s Tight Ends Made Big Plays.
Jimmy Graham was questionable for Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury, but not only did he play, he had his best game of the season, hauling in seven catches for 72 yards. Luke Willson also made his mark, catching three passes for 53 yards, including an impressive leaping grab for a 27-yard score.
5. Penalties Were Costly.
The Seahawks defense was on the field for 43 plays and more than 19 minutes in the first half, hardly ideal on a hot, humid afternoon. And while the offense’s early struggles were a factor in that, so too were some very costly defensive penalties that helped sustain Tennessee’s first two scoring drives.
The Seahawks finished the game with 11 penalties assessed against them for 98 yards, and several more that were declined.