RENTON, Wash. (AP) — At the beginning of a practice last week, Bobby Wagner pulled together his Seattle Seahawks teammates in the middle of the field and unloaded with a passionate, fiery speech.
After a dispiriting performance in the first game of a season with high expectations, the veteran linebacker knew the atmosphere needed to change.
“Bobby called them up on Wednesday and hit them right between the eyes,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Wagner's leadership appeared to have a positive effect on Sunday, when the Seahawks played at buzzy Detroit and came away with a 37-31 overtime victory.
It was far from perfect. But the Seahawks' effort and resolve returned. Those qualities were absent when they were blown out at home by the Los Angeles Rams.
Seattle didn’t crater being down both starting offensive tackles or when starting cornerback Riq Woolen left with a chest/shoulder injury. DK Metcalf played through a rib injury and Geno Smith looked like the quarterback he was for most of last season.
“We just had to go out there and kind of put the past behind us,” Smith said. “Last week is last week, has nothing to do with this week, and go out there and play ball and it wasn’t perfect today, but we found a way to win and that’s what matters.”
Take away one poor decision that led to a sack late in regulation and Smith was terrific. Seattle's passing game was smartly constructed to limit the amount of pressure Smith would be under while also giving him some intermediate shots downfield. Smith was 32 of 41 for 328 yards and connected with nine targets, including all three tight ends and both running backs. He was 6 of 7 in overtime, including Tyler Lockett's game-ending 6-yard TD catch, his second of the game.
The deep passing game has been absent — Seattle has two pass plays of longer than 25 yards through two games. But the intermediate throws that were successful against the Lions should turn into more downfield opportunities in the future.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Seahawks must find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback. Both Matthew Stafford in Week 1 and Jared Goff on Sunday were far too comfortable in the pocket and found gaps in Seattle’s secondary.
Seattle had zero sacks and two QB hits on Stafford in the opener. Goff didn’t face pressure until later in the game, when defensive end Dre’Mont Jones and cornerback Tre Brown recorded sacks. The Seahawks need more disruption.
Coming into the week, the biggest concern for Seattle was how Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe would fare at the offensive tackle spots with starters Charles Cross (toe) and Abraham Lucas (knee) out.
The backups held their own and with some creative protection designs were able to keep Smith mostly clean. The only time Smith was sacked — or even hit — came late in the fourth quarter on a play where he held the ball too long. In Week 1, the Lions had seven QB hits on Patrick Mahomes.
Jason Myers was the picture of consistency last season when he made 34 of 37 field goals, including all six attempts from 50 yards or longer.
This year, he's missed three of his last four kicks — from 39 yards in Week 1 and from 45 and 56 yards on Sunday. Myers signed a four-year contract extension after last season, but his performance needs to improve.
Carroll said Woolen was still feeling sore on Monday. ... Metcalf was feeling better than expected and is considered day to day. ... S Jamal Adams (quadriceps tendon) is expected to be a full participant in practice, but it may still be another week before he’s ready for game action.
60.7% — The Rams and Lions combined to convert 17 of 28 third-down attempts against the Seahawks through the first two weeks. That was the worst in the league entering Monday night's games.
Seattle will host Carolina for the second straight season on Sunday. The Panthers beat the Seahawks 30-24 in Week 14 last year. Smith threw two interceptions and the Seahawks held the ball for just 21 minutes. This will be the 12th meeting between the teams since Carroll arrived in 2010, playoffs included. Seattle is 8-3 in that span.
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Tim Booth, The Associated Press