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NFL

Seattle Came Alive Just Long Enough To Enjoy Some Heartbreak

Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after a failed two point conversion against the Washington Football Team during the fourth quarter at FedExField on November 29, 2021 in Landover, Maryland.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are broken. I don’t just mean Russell Wilson’s surgically and quite possibly magically repaired finger. This season has been a lost one in the Pacific Northwest, and Monday night’s game was just one more punch in the face during what feels like a finally concluding run of excellence. Seattle traveled to Washington to take on the Football Team, and generally played like a team that entered at 3-7. Though some early excitement in the form of a blocked extra point-turned-two-point-conversion went Seattle’s way, nothing much else did until the team’s final drive.

Seattle was plagued by the same problem it has been all year: It simply could not keep possession of the ball. The Seahawks entered Monday’s game with the worst average time of possession in the league, and somehow did even worse against Washington: Seattle only controlled the ball for 18 minutes and 20 seconds, and went over a quarter—between the end of the second and the start of the fourth—without even getting a first down. (Once they got that first down, they promptly had to punt.)

The defense did what it could, but was definitely worn down by the third quarter; Washington’s final scoring drive was an efficient 11-play sequence where Taylor Heinicke picked out whatever receivers he wanted in between double-digit yard runs by both Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. McKissic scored from a 10-yard rush and was promptly followed into the end zone by Gibson on the two-point conversion that would prove the difference. The next four drives for Seattle, including the aforementioned one at the start of the fourth quarter, ended in punts, setting the stage for a wilder ending than this game deserved.

After a late 16-play Washington drive that took almost nine minutes and ended with an overturned touchdown grab by Logan Thomas…

…Seattle took over from its four-yard line with 2:19 to go. This is where the titular coming alive occurred, as Wilson shook off a truly horrid game full of bad decisions and inaccurate passes to march the Seahawks down the field. There weren’t any particularly big plays in the run-up to the eventual touchdown; the biggest yard-gainer was a 19-yard pass interference on third down that moved the ball to the Seattle 40. The touchdown, though, that was huge:

How Freddie Swain ended up so open in the dying embers of a one-score game, I’ll never understand, but Wilson put the ball exactly where it needed to be on his easiest pass of the night. Suddenly, with 15 seconds left, Seattle was one two-point conversion away from sending this thing into overtime. It didn’t work out that way, though, thanks to Kendall Fuller:

And yet, it wasn’t quite over. The refs came into play once again on the ensuing onside kick: After the ball bounced just over a flabbergasted Jordan Kunaszyk, Gavin Heslop recovered for the Seahawks, setting the stage for a potential game-winning field goal. Or, at least, the stage would have been set if not for an illegal formation call on Seattle on the onside kick. What should have led to a wild final 15 seconds instead turned into another onside kick, this time recovered by Washington.

Though Washington will be thrilled to move to 5-6 and the seventh seed in the NFC, Seattle will have to feel like they let their final shot at saving this season slip through their fingers. At the very least, Seattle will have to begrudge the fact that it took them so long to get their rhythm going on offense. That final drive was a wonder to watch, doubly so if you slogged through the first 10 drives that the offense put together on Monday. There just haven’t been enough of those this season, and with its record at 3-8, the Seahawks can probably put this one to bed. Wilson and Swain and the final drive gave the team hope, but only for a brief moment.