O’Neil: Seahawks’ loss, though brutal, no deal-breaker like some are wailing
Let the wailing commence.
Go ahead. Get it out of your system. This defense that has been suspect throughout this season was utterly awful in Seattle’s 44-34 loss in Buffalo. The Seahawks didn’t force a single punt in the first half of Sunday’s game in Buffalo and wound up giving up the most points Seattle has allowed in any of Pete Carroll’s 10-plus seasons as head coach.
Go ahead, gimme’ that all-caps scream about HOW SEATTLE WON’T BE ABLE TO WIN A SUPER BOWL WITH A DEFENSE THAT LETS JOSH ALLEN THROW FOR 415 YARDS!!!
You can throw a couple of emojis in there if you want. Maybe the one with the red face with steam being puffed from the nostrils.
It was an enraging performance from a defense that everyone hoped would start showing improvement with safety Jamal Adams back and Carlos Dunlap making his Seahawks debut.
Seattle’s quarterback didn’t distinguish himself, either. He threw for enough yards – finishing with 390 – but he committed four turnovers in the game and was uncharacteristically inaccurate to start the second half. Of course, he was also beaten with a regularity that is usually reserved for bass drums and dead horses. I know, I know. HE’S NOT GOING TO WIN AN MVP PLAYING LIKE THAT!!!
I hear you. Can I say something real quick, though, before you start screaming about cornerback Quinton Dunbar?
OK. Well, Seattle committed four turnovers, forced none and turned the ball over in the red zone in the first half. The Seahawks were also missing two of their top three cornerbacks, their top two running backs and they still only lost by 10 on the road to a team that was leading its division.
I’m not saying it’s not a bad result or claiming some sort of moral victory. I saw it. It was awful. I’m just not willing to pretend that this was some sort of deal-breaker for Seattle’s season.
These things happen in the NFL. They happen to good teams. We’re just not used to them happening to Seattle, which for a number of years seemed impervious to blowouts. Seattle went five years without ever losing by double digits. From the middle of the 2011 season all the way until December 2016 when the Seahawks went to Green Bay and got drop-kicked 38-10 by the Packers. The Los Angeles Rams dragged them around CenturyLink Field in 2017, scoring 34 points in the first half alone. Sunday’s game was only the third time since Wilson became quarterback that Seattle didn’t get the ball in the fourth quarter with a chance to at least tie or take the lead.
The Seahawks cut Buffalo’s lead to seven points on Jason Myers’ 44-yard field goal with 1:56 left in the third quarter, but that was as close as they’d get. The Bills scored a touchdown on their ensuing possession, Wilson turned the ball over on two of Seattle’s next three possessions, giving away any chance at a comeback.
Those turnovers made it hard to see the fact that Seattle’s defense was better in the second half. Now admittedly, it would be tough to be worse than that first half in which Allen threw for 282 yards and three scores, but the Bills offense had only one sustained drive in the entire second half.
Seattle also finished with a season-high seven sacks, and while that reflects both Buffalo’s insistence on throwing the ball and Seattle’s willingness to blitz, it also showed the Seahawks were able to make the opposing quarterback move.
Adams had 1.5 sacks. Dunlap recorded a sack in his Seahawks debut while Damon “Snacks” Harrison still hasn’t been active for a game.
That’s not to say there isn’t a problem in Seattle. There is. The Seahawks have allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in six of the eight games so far this season. Allen became the third to throw for more than 400 yards in a game, though it is worth noting that Sunday was the first time under Carroll that Seattle lost when an opposing quarterback threw for more than 400 yards.
This game was an opportunity for the Seahawks to take a step forward, and instead they slid backward. I’m just not willing to pronounce this season spoiled yet. There’s still a month and a half left for the Seahawks to get back to some semblance of competence on that side of the ball.
OK. I’ll stop making sense now so you can resume wailing over all of the glaring inadequacies of this 6-2 team.