JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — All the momentum the Seattle Seahawks built up over the past two weeks came crashing down Sunday amid a flurry of interceptions and injuries. Enough of them to hand Seattle a 30-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Seahawks started slowly on offense — stop me if you’ve heard that before — and got gashed on defense in the second half. They lost Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) in the process. Jacksonville scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, all with Wagner off the field.
Russell Wilson threw a pair of long fourth-quarter touchdowns to make things interesting, but he couldn’t find a third when his fourth-down pass fell incomplete with just over two minutes left.
The ending was incredibly ugly. Defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson was headed off the field after being ejected when it appeared a fan threw something at him from the stands. Jefferson tried to climb the railing before he was pulled off. Sheldon Richardson was ejected the play before as the two teams went at it while Jacksonville was running out the clock.
Coach Pete Carroll ran onto the field at one point and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Just when things were looking up for the Seahawks after they beat Philadelphia last week for their second straight win, this was a most dispiriting loss.
What it means: The Seahawks (8-5) were in the NFC’s No. 5 spot but fell out of playoff position with this loss and Atlanta’s win on Thursday night. For Wilson, a three-interception, two-touchdown performance won’t do any favors to his chances of winning MVP. For the Seahawks, their defense could be in trouble if Wagner and/or Wright are unavailable for next week’s rematch with the NFC West-leading Rams.
What I liked: Not much. The Seahawks’ run game showed more signs of life, totaling 141 yards. But, as has often been the case, much of that came from Wilson’s scrambles. Something else to like: Wilson threw his 16th and 17th fourth-quarter touchdown passes of the season on long strikes to Paul Richardson (61 yards) and Tyler Lockett (74). That’s a new NFL single-season record for fourth-quarter TD passes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
What I didn’t like: The list is long. Let’s start with Wilson’s decision-making, which normally is sound but was poor on his three interceptions. All were ill-advised deep shots into tight coverage. Right tackle Germain Ifedi, who entered with a league-high 12 accepted penalties, was flagged four times in this game. Two came on the same play. Officials called him for holding, which negated what could have been a long gain via a defensive-pass-interference penalty. He was then called for unsportsmanlike conduct while pleading his case with an official. Seattle’s defense did well to hold Jacksonville to three points in the first half, but it got gashed for some big plays in the third quarter that helped the Jaguars pull away. The Seahawks had only one official hit on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
Fantasy fallout: It already was clear Mike Davis is Seattle’s best available running back. That was even more evident Sunday. Davis started again and rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries, including 44 on an impressive three-play stretch at the end of the first half. Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch for the second time this season.
Mixed bag on special teams: The Seahawks had their special teams to thank for setting up their first touchdown, which came midway through the third quarter and tied the game at 10. They had that unit to blame for Jacksonville taking a 14-point lead a few minutes later.
Terence Garvin forced a fumble on a kickoff to give Seattle a short field before Wilson hit Doug Baldwin in the end zone. But then Jacksonville’s Jaydon Mickens (a University of Washington product) set up a 1-yard Leonard Fournette touchdown run with a 72-yard punt return a few minutes later. And that came after Bortles and Keelan Cole hooked up on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
What’s next: The Seahawks return home for a huge game against the Rams. They’ve shown they can handle Los Angeles’ offense, having held the Rams to 10 points in Week 5 at the Coliseum. That was with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Wagner and Wright, though.