DETROIT Considered the Seattle Seahawks strength, the defense couldnt muster a stop when it was needed against strong-armed Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.
After Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson directed yet another fourth-quarter touchdown drive to put the Seahawks ahead, the much-talked about defense failed to make it stick, resulting in a 28-24 setback to the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Seahawks allowed Stafford to throw for 352 yards and a season-high three touchdown passes. He also ran for a 1-yard score.
The loss dropped Seattle back to the .500 mark at 4-4 this season including a 1-4 record away from CenturyLink Field.
Seattle has its first two-game losing streak of the 2012 campaign.
While Seattles defense has played well this season at times looking dominant some of the teams struggles on that side of the ball had previously been overshadowed by the Seahawks inability to move the ball on offense.
That wasnt the case Sunday. The Seahawks allowed Detroit to convert an embarrassing 12 out of 16 third-down plays into first downs. Seattles defense was ranked No. 5 in the league in yardage allowed heading into the game, but the Seahawks have given up over 400 yards of offense in two of their past three contests.
Every one of those guys on defense knows the game was ours to win, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. They thought they had to do what they had to do, Lets go get our stop and get out of here, and it didnt happen.
Thankfully for the Seahawks, the schedule turns in their favor in the second half of the season, with five of the last eight games at home, including all three NFC West Division battles.
Down 21-17 with 11 minutes, seconds to play, Wilson led the Seahawks on a 12-play, 87-yard drive for a score. Wilson found tight end Zach Miller on a corner route in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown, giving Seattle a 24-21 lead with 5:27 remaining.
Wilson was 6-for-8 passing for 75 yards on the drive.
However, Seattles defense couldnt stop Detroits potent offense.
Stafford marched Detroit 80 yards down the field in 16 plays, capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown throw to Titus Young on a slant route for the winning score with 20 seconds remaining.
Seattle may have expected Stafford to go to his No. 1 receiver, Calvin Johnson, but Stafford said he liked the other matchup.
There were about four dudes standing next to Calvin Johnson, and one dude standing next to Titus, Stafford said. I liked my numbers over there a little better.
Seattle failed to mount a scoring drive on its final possession.
A second-year player from Boise State, Young started in place of Seattle native and former Seahawks player Nate Burleson, whos out for the season with a broken leg.
Young finished with a game-high nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
I think the offense played great good enough for us to win the game, Seattle safety Earl Thomas said. If somebody wouldve told me that the offense was going to give us 24 points, I would have taken it all day long.
So I think this game is more on us, especially being in the back end (of the defense). We gave up some explosive plays, everybody across the board. But now we need to move on to the Vikings (Seattles next opponent at home Nov. 4).
Added Wilson: Our defense has done a tremendous job all season of making some big-time stops when weve needed them. And unfortunately they didnt today. But I know they will next time, and thats the way we look at it.
Wilson was 25-for-35 passing for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Seattles offensive line did a great job of protecting Wilson.
Detroit, with one of the best defensive lines in the league, did not catch Wilson for a sack. Wilson posted a 96.8 passer rating.
Marshawn Lynch helped Seattle jump out to a 10-7 lead on a perfectly blocked toss play, rumbling 77 yards untouched for a score in the first minute of the second quarter. It was his longest career run. Lynch topped 100 yards for the fourth time this season, finishing with 105 yards on 12 carries.
The Seahawks extended their lead to 17-7 with 11:39 remaining before halftime when Wilson connected with Sidney Rice for a 9-yard score. Rice finished with six receptions for 55 yards.
But the Lions roared right back, with Stafford finding Young behind Seattles secondary for a 46-yard touchdown, closing the gap to 17-14 midway through the second quarter.
The Lions took the lead early in the fourth quarter with a nine-play, 56-yard drive punctuated by Staffords 1-yard run on a bootleg to the left side of Seattles defense, giving Detroit a 21-17 advantage and setting up the late-game fireworks.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437