Drew Lock gained in the competition to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.
While sitting on his couch, in COVID quarantine.
That’s not saying Seattle’s starting offense would have definitely looked better with Lock running it Thursday. But it could hardly have looked worse.
Just when it appeared the Seahawks’ derby to replace traded Russell Wilson was stalled because of Lock’s positive coronavirus test, Thursday night happened at Lumen Field. Geno Smith and the starting offense went out in the second preseason game and made these recently toothless Chicago Bears look like Monsters of the Midway again in Seattle’s 27-11 preseason loss.
It left coach Pete Carroll acknowledging he is “curious” to see what this team may look like with the no-luck Lock finally getting the chance to lead it.
“It’s disappointing that he didn’t get a chance to play tonight,” Carroll said. “We had a different plan for this night. ...
“That’s why I’m still curious to see how plays with us. Yeah, I am. He’s done enough good things. He’s got some real stuff to him, and real exciting ability and play-making stuff that y’all will see when he does get his chance, eventually.
“Just disappointed we did get to see more about it tonight.”
But another potential complication to this competition: Carroll said Lock was still really ill as of Thursday morning.
It was 24-0 Chicago early in the third quarter of this game Lock was supposed to start, until he tested positive Tuesday.
And 24-0 wasn’t even that close.
Smith missed on six of his first 13 passes. He got sacked twice. His starting offense had three passes go off hands.
Rookie left tackle Charles Cross had three penalties, including one to negate what would have been a completion on third down deep in Bears territory in the second quarter.
“You can’t play football like that,” Carroll said. “It’s bad.”
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Carroll referred to the fact five starters on defense, including $110 million safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams plus inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks, did not play. Starting wide receiver DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett played only the first series. Third wide out Marquise Goodwin didn’t play.
“I want to maintain my patience knowing who’s playing and the guys who are going to be playing on game day when we open up (Sept. 12 vs. Wilson’s Broncos),” Carroll said. “I’m more concerned about are they ready based on the amount of work they’ve been able to get.
“This (short) week did not help us in that regard. We couldn’t do anything about it. These next two weeks (including the final preseason game Aug. 26 at Dallas) are enormous for the other guys who haven’t been playing in the games, to make sure they are ready...They have a sense that the pups are out there playing for them.
“We’ve got some really good players that aren’t out there right now.”
Starting left guard Damien Lewis got carted off the field with an ankle injury that had an air cast over it. Carroll said Lewis and the team dodged a serious injury; it’s a lateral sprain, with X-ray negative.
Smith came out from halftime with a wrap over his right knee and mid-leg. He and Carroll said it was a minor bump. He got it getting hit to the ground onto both knees on an incomplete pass in the first quarter. He said he would have continued playing had this been a real game.
Asked how Smith did, Carroll said: “He did OK. ...We needed to help him a little bit. We’ve got to come through for him. We’ve got to catch the football for him.”
Smith lamented the offense’s “self-inflicted wounds,” which were a continuation of a training camp full of false-start penalties when he’s been running the offense.
He finished 10 for 18 passing (with three drops and one pass batted down at the line). He had 112 yards passing and a pedestrian passer rating of 74.3. A perfect rating is 158.3.
Lock’s last week replacing Smith and leading Seattle’s second-team offense at Pittsburgh was 131.1. Lock threw two touchdown passes against the Steelers, though he also blew reading a blitzing linebacker off the edge when he got sacked and lost a fumble late with the game on the line.
Jacob Eason, the third quarterback from the University of Washington and Lake Stevens, entered with the starting offensive line for the first drive of the second half. Eason has barely gotten any scrimmage plays in training camp, because coaches were maximizing the chances to evaluate Smith versus Lock.
Now they are wondering what this offense may look like with Lock running it, as he did in practice Tuesday an hour before he tested positive.
Per the NFL following CDC guidelines, Lock is in quarantine for five days, through at least Saturday. If he is symptom-free and tests negative he can return to practice Sunday, the first on-field workout day for the team following this game full of malfunction.
Questions abound. Will Lock start next week against Dallas? Will Carroll play his starters more than he normally does?
“Really, I’ve postponed the thought of that. We have a long week here, and we will figure it out,” the coach said. “I don’t know exactly how we are going to do that yet, because I don’t have to.”
Eason finished 17 of 35 for 141 yards. His poor passing rating of 59.3 fit his poor completion rate.
The Seahawks’ offense had seven three-and-out drives through the first 2 1/2 quarters. Four of those three-and-outs came with Smith quarterbacking the starters. Seattle was 1 for its first 11 converting third downs, a season-long issue last year when the team went 7-10 and out of the playoffs. Thursday’s final third-down conversion number was 4 for 19 (21%).
Seattle had 169 total yards of offense with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when the starting offensive line was still in the game against Chicago’s reserve defense.
The Seahawks had 13 penalties, plus another one for illegal hands to the face on reserve offensive tackle Stone Forsythe. Chicago declined it to end a series in the fourth quarter.
Michael Dickson punted 10 times. That would have been his career high if it had been a regular-season game.
Boos to end the half
Smith got another chance in the situation in which he excelled last weekend at Pittsburgh: a 2-minute drill at the end of the first half. Running back DeeJay Dallas dropped a first-down pass. Cross, the ninth-overall pick who’s been the starting left tackle since the first practice of the first offseason practice, had a false-start penalty. Smith got sacked for a loss of 7 more yards.
Three plays, minus-7 yards, and another punt by Dickson.
The fans at Lumen Field booed, which doesn’t happen every preseason game.
Seattle’s makeshift defense stopped the Bears on four plays. Chicago punted. But Seahawks reserve wide receiver Cade Johnson muffed the catch. The ball bounded into the end zone where Chicago’s Elijah Hicks recovered it for a touchdown.
Seattle trailed 17-0.
Special teams had as bad a night as the other Seahawks units. The group had more missed tackles in addition to Johnson’s muff, which jeopardizes his already shaky future with the team.
Kicker Jason Myers missed a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right.
“Some things and some people, there will be some changes,” Carroll said.