JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- All the momentum the Seattle Seahawks built up over the past two weeks came crashing down Sunday. It happened amid a flurry of interceptions, injuries and some lapses on defense and special teams -- 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 by some big plays in the second half. They lost Pro Bowl linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and K.J. Wright (concussion) plus starting running back Mike Davis (ribs) in the process. Jacksonville scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, all with Wagner off the field.
After Seattle was shut out in the first half, 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. Seattle argued to no avail that officials missed a penalty on Jacksonville for pulling down Paul Richardson on that play.
The ending was incredibly ugly. Defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson was headed off the field after being ejected when a fan threw a drink at him from the stands. When more drinks were thrown at him, Jefferson tried to climb a railing to confront the fan(s) before he was pulled off. Sheldon Richardson was ejected the play before as the two teams went at it while Jacksonville was kneeling to run out the clock.
It was an unseemly finish to a disappointing performance for Seattle. Just when things were looking up for the Seahawks after they beat Philadelphia last week for their second straight win, they suffered a 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. They caught a break, though, with the Rams (9-4) losing to the Eagles Sunday. That means Seattle can still overtake the Rams for the division lead with a win over Los Angeles next Sunday. Seattle's defense could be in trouble if Wagner and/or Wright are unavailable for next week's rematch with the NFC West-leading Rams. Carroll said Wagner's injury is to the same hamstring that has been giving him trouble for several weeks. He didn't have any information on the statuses of the three injured players. Wright will be in the league's mandated concussion protocol. For Wilson, a three-interception, two-touchdown performance won't do any favors to his chances of winning MVP.
What I liked: The Seahawks' run game showed more signs of life, totaling 141 yards. But, as has often been the case, much of that (50 yards) came from Wilson's scrambles. 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. Those scores helped make a game of what was turning into a runaway for Jacksonville.
What I didn't like: The list is long. Let's start with Wilson's decision-making, which normally is sound but was questionable on his three interceptions. All were ill-advised deep shots into what looked like tight coverage. In his defense, Doug Baldwin may have gotten tripped up on one of them. Seattle's offense finished the first half with no points after Blair Walsh missed a 38-yard field goal in the closing seconds. He's now missed six kicks over the last six games and seven on the season. 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 beaten for some big plays in the second half -- including a 75-yard touchdown pass -- that helped the Jaguars pull away. The Seahawks had only one official hit on quarterback Blake Bortles.
Fantasy fallout: It already was clear that 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. Davis, though, left the game late in the third quarter with what Carroll called a rib injury.
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.