In the day leading up to his team’s Week 3 game against the Saints, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll cautioned that New Orleans was going to be a tough challenge, even without quarterback Drew Brees. As good as Brees is, the Saints are talented enough across the board to present challenges, Carroll noted, even without their future Hall of Famer at quarterback.
And sure enough, the Saints presented challenges in all three phases of the game, which combined with too many self-inflicted wounds, was too much for the Seahawks to overcome in a 33-27 defeat.
Here are five rapid reactions to the Seahawks’ first loss of the season:
1. The Seahawks couldn’t get out of their own way.
The Saints made plenty of plays in their own right, but the Seahawks didn’t do a lot to help themselves on Sunday, starting with the first play from scrimmage, which saw Will Dissly get flagged for a block in the back.
That 10-yard penalty led to a three-and-out, then there was a false start before the punt, followed by an uncharacteristically short and low punt by Michael Dickson, contributing to a 53-yard Deonte Harris return for a touchdown.
Later in the first half, Chris Carson lost a fumble after a big gain, and the Saints returned the loose ball for a touchdown. And just like that, the Seahawks found themselves trailing 13-7 without New Orleans needing to do much of anything on offense to that point.
At the end of the half, Russell Wilson hit DK Metcalf for a 54-yard gain, but time ran out before a timeout could be called, costing the Seahawks a likely field goal.
The self-inflicted wounds continued into the second half, with a penalty on special teams directly leading to seven points for the Saints. After the opening drive of the second half stalled out, the Saints tried a 53-yard field goal and the attempt missed, but the Seahawks were flagged for illegal formation, giving the Saints a first down. The Saints turned that second chance into an eventual touchdown to take a three-touchdown lead.
2. K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner had big games.
One of the bright spots in an otherwise tough loss was the play of veteran linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
Wagner had a team-high 18 tackles, establishing a new career high, a total that is also tied for the second-highest in team history, along with Terry Beeson and Sammy Green. Kam Chancellor owns the single-game record for the Seahawks with 19 in a 2015 game against the Cardinals.
Wright, meanwhile, had 13 tackles including seven in the first half, and Wright’s tackle total didn’t even include one of his best plays, a vintage Wright obliteration of a screen pass that was wiped out by a holding penalty on the Saints that the Seahawks accepted. Wright also made a great play to break up a third-down pass in the fourth quarter to get the ball back to the Seahawks.
3. Alvin Kamara is very hard to tackle.
The Seahawks knew coming into the game that two players posed particularly difficult challenges on the Saints’ offense, receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara. For the most part the Seahawks did a good job on Thomas, limiting the All-Pro receiver to 54 yards on five catches.
Kamara, however, was a problem. The 2017 rookie of the year and a two-time Pro-Bowler, Kamara caught nine passes for a team-high 92 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown on a screen pass that saw him break several tackles. He also rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, with a lot of that yardage coming after contact.
4. Tyler Lockett had another big game.
After a relatively quiet game in the opener, Tyler Lockett had a career-high 10 receptions in last week’s win over the Steelers. He backed that performance up with another big game Sunday, establishing another career-high with 11 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. The yardage total was also the highest of his career, topping a previous high of 130 yards in a 2016 win over the Rams.
5. Turnovers have been a problem.
A year ago, the Seahawks had the best turnover differential in the NFL at plus-15, and they committed a league-low 11 turnovers. Through three games this season, however, turnovers have been an issue for the Seahawks, and on Sunday that played a big role in the loss. Particularly concerning are the fumbles by running back Chris Carson, who has lost a fumble in each game after fumbling only three times during the entire 2018 season.
Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.