If the Seahawks fail to reach the postseason, they will be look back on Sunday’s loss to the eminently beatable Lions in Detroit as one of the principal reasons. The Seahawks squandered a 17-7 lead at Ford Field, came back to lead 24-21, and then couldn’t prevent the Lions (3-4) from mounting the game-winning drive in the final five minutes on what became their final possession.
The 28-24 loss dropped the Seahawks to 4-4, with the 5-3 Minnesota Vikings due in at CenturyLink Field Sunday. The Seahawks have lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Their four losses have come by a total of 21 points.
Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford, facing a 24-21 deficit with five minutes remaining, orchestrated a 16-play, 80-yard drive, concluding it with a one-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to Titus Young with 20 seconds left.
Stafford threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. Two of his TD passes went to Young, who had a 100-yard receiving day with nine receptions. He had 11 for the season entering the game.
Detroit amassed 415 total yards against the Seahawks, who collected 363, but could convert just three of nine third-down attempts. Detroit converted 12 of 16.
“We have to look at the positives,” said quarterback Russell Wilson. “All of our losses have been on the road and we have (five) of our last eight at home.
“Our defense has done a great job of making big defensive stops, but we didn’t today. I know we will the next time . . . we just didn’t have enough today, for whatever reason.”
The Seahawks set themselves up for a win with one of their better drives of the season, a 12-play, 87-yard effort directed by Wilson that concluded with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller for a 24-21 lead at the 5:27 mark of the fourth quarter.
Wilson kept that drive alive by converting a fourth-and-two with a six-yard completion to Golden Tate, who led Seattle with seven receptions (already missing WR Doug Baldwin with a sprained ankle, the Seahawks also played without WR Braylon Edwards, whose knee swelled up before the game).
Wilson would have had his third, fourth-quarter comeback win of the season if the Seahawks had been able to hold the Lions on the final possession. But Stafford dinked them to death while consuming clock. In his game-winning drive, Stafford completed 10 passes, none longer than 11 yards. The Seahawks were helpless to prevent it.
Wilson, criticized for his poor road play (55.1 passer rating entering the game) threw a season-high 35 passes, completing 25 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Marshawn Lynch busted a career-long 77-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but had just 28 yards on 11 other carries as the Lions largely dominated Seattle’s offensive line (with 105 yards, Lynch has four 100-yard rushing games this season).
Seattle had the upper hand for most of the first half, in part because Detroit couldn’t get out of its own way. Three sloppy penalties (offsides, encroachment, illegal formation) extended Seattle’s second drive of the game and helped set up a 23-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka, giving the Seahawks a 3-0 lead.
The Lions answered with an 82-yard march that ended with Stafford’s six-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles and a 7-3 Detroit lead. That marked the first time in 2012 that the Lions had scored a touchdown when starting a drive inside their 20-yard-line.
On the first play after Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 28 yards, Lynch burst 77 yards for a touchdown for 10-7 lead. It was the longest scoring run of Lynch’s career, eclipsing his famous, 67-yard run against New Orleans in a 2011 NFC wild card playoff game. Lynch’s previous longest TD run in the regular season was 56 yards, for Buffalo in 2007.
The Seahawks caught another break on their next possession when the Lions’ Jonte Green waasflagged with a 41-yard, pass interference penalty, giving Seattle possession on the Detroit 15. Two plays later, Wilson threw a nine-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice, giving Seattle a 17-7 lead at the 11:39 mark of the second quarter.
That margin didn’t last long as Stafford threw a 46-yard touchdown pass on third down to Young, slicing Seattle’s lead to 17-14 at 8:56. Young got behind Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor for the score.
The Lions used an interception of Wilson to mount a nine-play, 56-yard drive that resulted in Stafford running one yard for the go-ahead (21-17) touchdown, but the Seahawks came back with its big drive to re-take the lead.