Struggling Seahawks Defense Costs Them a Close Loss Versus New Orleans

"CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington" by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Seattle Seahawks played yet another entertaining game of football in Week 5, though they lost in the end to the New Orleans Saints, 39-32. Quite frankly, I’m baffled by how this season has gone. Quarterback Geno Smith is legitimately in the top 10 in his position. With how consistently they can move the ball down the field, I have had more fun watching this team than I have in the last five or six years.

The offense remains a blindingly bright spot. Smith went for 268 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Tyler Lockett caught five receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. DK Metcalf caught an additional five with 88 yards, including a 50-yard score in the first quarter. Metcalf did give up a costly fumble to turn the ball over, but he was fine otherwise.

The big story exiting this week is obviously the injury to Rashaad Penny, the breakout tailback that had made a name for himself after multiple consecutive stints on the injured list. Penny broke his fibula and required surgery, putting an end to his 2022 season. His explosive talent will be missed, as he has been one of the best runners in football over the last 10 or so games. Fortunately, the Seahawks came prepared. They drafted Kenneth Walker III in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft for this exact purpose. Both Penny and his predecessor, Chris Carson, had looming injury questions and are now both out of the picture. Walker has a similar explosive profile to Penny and showcased that in the fourth quarter of their last game when he broke through a hole on the right side of the offensive line and ran all the way for a 69-yard touchdown. Penny will be missed, but Walker clearly has the ability to impact the offense in the same way.

The defensive woes for Seattle have been well-documented, and last Sunday was no different. The main offender on the Saints’ offense was Taysom Hill, infamous utility man who ran nine times for 112 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed a touchdown pass to Adam Trautman in the third quarter. Hill is a menace and though the Saints can clearly appropriately scheme for him, the Seahawks simply looked incompetent when he was on the field. The issues are too many to list, with the disaster’s only glimpse of hope being rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen hauling in his third interception in as many games.

Somehow, the division is still up for grabs. It would be unfair to say that the Seahawks are worthy of the playoffs with how bad their defense is, but all four teams are separated by one game. The San Francisco 49ers lead at 3-2, with the other three teams tied at 2-3. All of the teams have struggled in the first few weeks, with none of them looking ready to run away with the division title. It’s not the cleanest division race, but it’s close and it gives the Seahawks something to play for. Unfortunately for them, the schedule going forward will feature tougher opponents over the next several weeks that should prove to be serious trials for the team.