For three quarters, the Seahawks defense looked like its old self. It held Cincinnati’s league-leading passing game to just one touchdown and led 24-7.
For the fourth quarter, the Seahawks defense look like its one of recent. It failed to hold a fourth-quarter lead for the fourth time in six games dating to January’s NFC championship game.
Mike Nugent’s field goal at the end of regulation extended a game that should have been over. Then Cincinnati’s second drive of overtime, after Seattle’s offense couldn’t do anything on two drives, ended with Nugent’s field goal that bounced off the left upright and through to end the Seahawks’ dismal, 27-24 loss with 3:36 left in overtime Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Seahawks (2-3) scored 17 unanswered points and out-gained the NFL’s second-ranked offense and top-ranked passing game 236-58 from the end of the first quarter until 2 minutes remained in the third.
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Then the Bengals (5-0) scored 17 points in the final 12½ minutes of fourth quarter. That was off a 35-yard punt return, more long passes past Kam Chancellor and Cary Williams, and an long drive in the final 2:17 without any timeouts. That ended with Cincinnati’s field-goal unit rushing onto the field and Nugent making his 31-yard field goal as regulation time expired.
Seattle’s offense didn’t help, not crossing midfield again after Thomas Rawls’ 69-yard romp early in the third quarter.
Rawls’ 69-yard score was the longest initial career rushing touchdown by a rookie since DeMarco Murray for Dallas in 2011
Rawls, starting for the second consecutive game because Marshawn Lynch was back home with a strained hamstring, finished with 169 yards rushing on 23 carries. The impressive, undrafted rookie was curiously on the sidelines with his helmet on watching Fred Jackson, a 34-year old with a bad ankle, run all of Seattle’s plays on its first, fruitless drive of overtime
It was 24-7 in the third quarter, Seattle completely throttling the NFL’s best passing game, when Cincinnati’s Adam “Pacman” Jones ran back a punt 35 yards. Punter Jon Ryan saved the touchdown at the Seattle 33. Then All-Pro middle linebacker banged his sore shoulder and went off with a trainer and team doctor.
On the second of two plays he missed, the Bengals scored a touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Andy Dalton to tight end Tyler Eifert down the middle past a flailing Kam Chancellor and Cary Williams, who had rough days in coverage and tackling. That cut Seattle’s lead to 24-14 with 12:45 left.
Wagner yelled and angrily stomped away from the doctor as the Bengals scored that TD that revived their chances.
Still leading by 10, Seattle had third and 2 with less than 10 minutes left, Rawls and fullback Derrick Coleman in I formation and 182 yards rushing to that point. But they chose to throw. Wilson couldn’t find anyone open, scrambled around and then threw the ball away for a punt. The Bengals had the ball back down by 10 with 9 minutes to go.
Cassius Marsh and Ahtyba Rubin got a sack of Dalton to create second and 13, Seattle’s second sack of a QB who’s been sacked just twice all season coming in. But then Dalton converted consecutive third down with throws, and then when he saw the middle of the Seahawks’ defense empty on second and goal from the 5 he snuck it in to cut the lead to 24-21 with 3:38 to go.
The Seahawks gained 195 yards in the half, out-gaining the NFL’s second-ranked offense by 6 yards.