The good news is that the Seahawk’s defense played its best game of the season, the bad news is that the offense played its worst game of the season. The result was a frustrating 13-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. A game-opening 11-play 75 yards drive that culminated with a Ken Walker gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead. It was shockingly the Seahawk’s only touchdown of the game. Conversely, the defense surrendered a 13-yard 69-yard drive to the Bengals on their opening drive who scored on a Joe Burrow eight-yard pass to Tyler Boyd. With both offenses marching down the field and scoring at will on its opening drive the game looked like it was going to be a shootout. The game was anything but as both defenses quickly adjusted.
GENO SMITH PICKED THE WRONG DAY TO HAVE A BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE
Geno Smith had arguably his worst day as a Seahawks throwing two interceptions and getting sacked four times for 29 yards. Smith was slow to move out of the pocket and get rid of the ball. His slow movement in the pocket could have been due to a nagging ankle injury. His slow reactions to throwing the ball out of bounds or to the check-downs were in due to the Bengals pressure which left him unsettled when dropping back in the pocket. Smith was sacked on two separate fourth-down plays.
“Just trying to find the open guy. Going through my reads trying to find the open guy. Like I said, I’ll have to go back through the film to get an exact observation of what I should have done better, but overall I just should have been better. I feel like my guys and the defense played a tremendous game. I feel like the offensive line played a tremendous game. You felt Charles Cross out there when he got back in the game, he did a tremendous job. I thought Jaxon (Smith-Njigba), I’m so proud of Jaxon and the way he played. So proud of DK and the way he played as well as Tyler, man.
I felt like the guys deserved to win today. I didn’t do my best job today to get that done. So those are things I put on myself, I lay right on my feet right, on my shoulders and I look forward to the next opportunity.”
What made matters was when Smith’s transgressions occurred. One sack was on a fourth-down attempt. The first interception gave the ball back to the Bengals after a Tre Brown interception.
The second was in the fourth quarter after the Seattle defense stopped the Bengals on fourth and one. Smith threw his second interception on a play where DK Metcalf went one way and Smith threw the ball the other way.
THE DEFENSE’S ABILITY TO CREATE PRESSURE IF FOR REAL
After registering 11 sacks in the pre-bye win over the New York Giants it is pretty much a given that the Seahawks would not be able to reach that same number against the Bengals. The question leading into the game was how close could they get to that number.
The answer surprising enough was three. A long way from eleven but an effective number to slow down Burrow in the second half. At one point the Seahawks defense made seven stops in a row. Dremon’t Jones, Jarran Reed, and Boye Mafe each recorded crucial sacks to give the offense a chance to pull off some late-game heroics.
“Joe (Burrow) was getting the ball out quick. We figured that out early on. He wasn’t around when our rush would get there. We were trying to hit him from different angles, coming up the middle or whatever the case may be. He was doing a great job of getting the ball out. We were just trying to rally and do our best to get to him, but honestly, it wasn’t happening as much as we needed it to.”
HAVE TO BE EFFICIENT IN THE REDZONE TO WIN GAMES
An improved third-down ratio of 5 for 12 saw the Seahawk’s offense move the ball down the field. The inability to execute inside the red zone is what ultimately cost the Seahawks. Converting one of five chances inside the red zone is not going to win you very many NFL games.
“We didn’t finish. We didn’t finish in the red zone. I think that’s pretty obvious. I thought we moved the ball well pretty much all day and stalled out down there.” Smith said after the game. “ We’d have to look at the film to see exactly what happened but just from thoughts after the game, it felt like we didn’t finish and didn’t execute as well as we did in the open field.”
As to be expected head coach Pete Carroll put somewhat of a positive spin on the team’s inability to execute in the red zone.
“ All the red zone stuff is where they got us, where we needed touchdowns. Our numbers will look bad there in the red zone, but we were so close to winning that football game. Give them credit, they hung in there and got it, but I loved the way we played today.
I know we had our penalties and there’s stuff to get better at, but that’s a competitive group. They fought their butt off today, both sides of the football. It’s going to help us down the road. We’re going to keep playing hard, keep playing tough, and make it hard on everybody we play.”
BIG TAKE AWAY
The Seahawk’s defense took another step forward in its ability to create consistent pressure on Burrow and hold the Bengals to just 46 rushing yards. The return of Jamal Adams adds another dimension to the defense. Smith will rebound from his bad day at the office and the return of Charles Cross and Phil Haynes made a difference but they both needed a game under their belt to return to normal.
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