SEATTLE — A game that featured 27 combined accepted penalties for 255 yards, at least four Kansas City dropped passes and varying other manner of stumbles and bumbles by both sides gave all the evidence of an NFL contest being played in August.
“This game was kind of a strange game in that it shifted out of whack for a while,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll.
But in the third exhibition game — the traditional dress rehearsal that is regarded as the closest thing to the real thing — it was Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson who usually got it pointed in the right direction while showing again that he’s ready to put the injury frustrations of a year ago in the rearview mirror.
In what will be the last extended playing time he will get before the regular season, Wilson turned in another sterling outing Friday night. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown in leading a big-play Seattle offense that was the key to a 26-13 win over the Chiefs at CenturyLink Field.
“It feels great to be out there healthy and moving around and making plays and just having a lot of fun playing football like I always do,” said Wilson, who played the first half and then one series in the third quarter.
Wilson wasn’t completely flawless — a pass in the end zone in the second quarter could well have been picked off by Kansas City’s Phillip Gaines.
But for the most part Wilson looked like his old self, several times using his legs to buy time to hit receivers for big gains, and a couple of times simply escaping pressure to prevent losses.
Wilson, who might get only a series next Thursday in the exhibition finale at Oakland, is 29 of 41 for the preseason for 447 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, a passer rating of 130.84.
The Seahawks have scored on seven of the 10 drives Wilson has led in the preseason — with two touchdowns and five field goals — with another possession ending in a missed field goal.
“Really solid decision-making, really clear thinking, very precise, very quick with the football, the tempo on offense is like we like it. … He’s in command of that,” Carroll said. “I know he’s excited.”
Against a Kansas City defense that led the Chiefs to a 12-4 record last season, Wilson made ready use of all his offensive weapons. He hit seven different receivers in the first half and completed passes to four different receivers for 20 yards or more in averaging a whopping 11.4 yards per attempt. The most spectacular pass was a 30-yard completion that tight end Jimmy Graham corraled with one hand.
If there was a quibble it was Seattle’s inability to score in the red zone. The Seahawks three times had to settle for field goals when inside the 20.
But the way the offense played in the first half also may have helped settle one of the biggest questions heading into the game — the status of the left tackle position in the first game without George Fant.
Rees Odhiambo got the start and the Seahawks did not have a sack in the first half along with piling up 224 yards and also showing a bit more life in the running game. Seattle rushed for 64 yards on 15 carries in the first two quarters with Chris Carson leading the way with 31 yards on six carries (Carson finished with 46 yards on eight carries and also had two receptions for 44 yards in only further cementing his spot on the roster).
Odhiambo was beaten for a sack by Chris Jones in the third quarter on a play Carroll said was simply an assignment mistake — Odhiambo thought he was going to take a linebacker, allowing Jones to slide inside mostly untouched.
“I thought he did pretty well,” Carroll said.
Kansas City’s only touchdown came on a 95-yard kickoff return by De’Anthony Thomas after Seattle had scored on a 2-yard pass from Wilson to fullback Tre Madden in the second quarter.
And the stats indicated Seattle was dominant defensively, with the Seahawks outgaining the Chiefs 390 yards to 225.
But the Chiefs drove 63 yards on 14 plays the first time they had the ball, marking the third time in three games that Seattle’s starting defense gave up a long scoring march on an opponent’s first possession.
Carroll lamented that some poor technique on tackling led to some of the Chiefs’ early success, particularly on a few runs. Kansas City rushed for 37 yards on nine attempts in the first quarter.
“I think fundamentally our pad level in the game didn’t allow us to make some of the winning tackles that we are used to making,” Carroll said. “They were falling forward and gaining five, six yards. That’s kind of what I was most disappointed about.”
The first-team defense settled down from there, allowing just 39 yards on 17 plays the rest of the first half — the starters played throughout the first two quarters — though a handful of drops by Kansas City receivers helped.