Wilson, Seattle nearly complete rally but fall to Chargers
SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson missed a wide-open Jaron Brown for a potential touchdown. He reverted to a problem from earlier this season taking too many sacks. Most costly, he misread coverage and threw a pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Yet for all those issues, Wilson was a slightly deflected pass away from leading a remarkable comeback and getting the Seattle Seahawks into overtime against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Encapsulating Wilson's performance in Seattle's 25-17 loss to the Chargers is not simple. At times, he showed the same brilliance as a week ago against Detroit when he posted the first perfect passer rating in team history. In other moments, Wilson looked uncertain — especially with Seattle's run game working only in spurts because of a hip injury to starter Chris Carson.
He'll be lauded for giving Seattle a chance to force overtime on the final, untimed play of regulation following a pass interference penalty against Tyler Lockett in the end zone. But he'll also lament Chargers safety Jahleel Addae getting the tip of his finger on the throw and deflecting it just enough that David Moore couldn't make a clean catch.
"I knew it was a tight window and we tried to get it in there," Wilson said. I think it maybe got tipped a hair. It was tough. David has done a great job all year making those plays."
Wilson's day mirrored Seattle's as a whole. Their offense was great on the opening possession, only to face problems with penalties and sacks that put them in difficult down-and-distance situations and caused the offense to stagnate. Defensively, the Seahawks allowed the Chargers to average 10 yards per play in the first half, and rush for 7.3 yards per carry for the game. Melvin Gordon ran for 113 yards on just 16 carries, averaging 7.1 yards per rush.
Big plays were a problem, too. Seattle allowed a 34-yard touchdown run by Gordon, a 28-yard run by Keenan Allen, a 54-yard pass to Allen and a 30-yard TD toss to Mike Williams.
"I feel like we got in our own way a lot," Seattle defensive end Frank Clark said. "When you look at the past few weeks, you watch how much we've improved from where we started. It's obvious. The stats don't lie. The rankings don't lie where we placed. But at the end of the day, we didn't come to show that today. We didn't show up and show out at the end of the day and that's what you've got to do in this league."
Despite those issues on the defensive side, it comes back to the play of the quarterback as usual. Seattle's intended style worked to perfection on the opening drive when Wilson used up more than half of the first quarter and capped the 13-play drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Brown.
From there is where Wilson and the Seahawks struggled. Of Seattle's next nine possessions, none gained more than 49 net yards and only one — finishing off the first half — ended in points when Sebastian Janikowski hit a 44-yard field goal. Wilson was sacked three times and while he was 15 of 20 passing for 148 yards during that stretch, many of those completions came with Seattle facing long down-and-distance situations. Seattle had just 53 yards rushing in the second and third quarters combined after running for 45 yards on the opening drive of the game.
"We got behind the sticks today and it hasn't happened for about a month now. ... It changes everything. That's not the way we've been playing," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Despite all that, Wilson nearly pulled off another fourth-quarter rally. Wilson hit Nick Vannett on a 6-yard TD with 1:50 remaining to cut the Chargers' lead to one score. Seattle got the ball back with 1:24 left at its own 22 and after two completions and a roughing the passer penalty on Melvin Ingram, the Seahawks were at the Chargers 44 with 50 seconds left. Wilson scrambled for 16 yards to the Chargers 28 and, after a spike, Seattle had 30 seconds left.
Seattle got a break on the pass interference call, putting the ball at the 1 for an untimed down. Seattle's J.R. Sweezy was called for false start backing the play up to the 6, and Wilson's final attempt for Moore was partially tipped by Addae and fell incomplete.
"It was really close. We had a chance but it didn't work," Wilson said.
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