Rost: What we learned about the Seahawks in Week 10
The Seahawks lost 21-16 to the Buccaneers in Munich, Germany on Sunday, falling to 6-4 and shrinking their lead for first place in the NFC West to just a half-game over the San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s a look at what we learned from the Seahawks’ Week 10 game.
The Bucs are who we thought they were
Credit ESPN’s Mina Kimes for noting this one in response to a take stating that the Seahawks, who floundered through the better part of four quarters against Tampa Bay, are “who we thought they were.” Meaning, presumably, the five-win team Vegas oddsmakers projected.
Outside of the fact that the Seahawks are already not that team, since they’re now 6-4 heading into their bye week, the lasting impression from Sunday’s lackluster performance from Seattle wasn’t that several weeks’ worth of play was pure aberration.
Rather, it was that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — a team chalk-full of talent — aren’t the struggling NFC squad we thought they were. Sure, you could read it as softening the blow of a Seahawks loss. But the Bucs were also a curious team. Led by the most decorated player in NFL history who’s second this year in passing yards and had (prior to Sunday) just one interception, they were averaging just 18 points per game. Their defense was one of the best in the league a couple seasons ago and has many of the same faces, including Vita Vea, who’s having a career year, but they weren’t getting wins.
There was a more-than-fair case for the Seahawks, who matched up well as the more complete team going against a talented Bucs squad two years removed from a Super Bowl but also underperforming. Seattle’s offense was averaging 26 points per game and its defense had limited opponents to 18 points per game over the previous four weeks. They also excelled both in the pass and on the ground with rookie sensation Kenneth Walker III, while the Bucs’ run defense was averaging and NFL-worst 60 yards per game.
What you saw Sunday was a Seahawks team struggling to get things started and a Bucs team playing at a level its stars are well capable of. You also saw Tom Brady, the best quarterback in NFL history, have one of his best performances of the season.
Seattle’s offense needs to find a way to be more efficient on third down (1 of 9 with no conversions in the first half isn’t going to cut it anywhere), but what fans have seen so far from that group feels like a legitimate improvement over 2021. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s the team many were expecting Seattle would be.
Truth about Seahawks’ defense somewhere in the middle
You could expect rookie mistakes from young defenders, but few expected the league’s worst rushing offense to put up more than 160 yards on the ground against Seattle’s defense this week.
In Week 2? Sure. Week 3? Absolutely. The Seahawks at that time were one of the worst rushing defenses in football, having given up 189 yards to San Francisco and 179 to Detroit in those two weeks, respectively.
But since then, they’ve improved. Make no mistake, they were getting gashed at times still on the ground (don’t forget the 245 yards they gave up to Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill in New Orleans). But they’d tightened up across a four-week stretch that included games against Justin Herbert and the Chargers, then Giants running back Saquon Barkley and the league’s second-best rushing offense, and two meetings with Arizona’s Kyler Murray (the latter of which also featured DeAndre Hopkins).
Unfortunately, Sunday was plain ugly. Linebacker Cody Barton hauled in just the second interception thrown by Brady all season and rookie Tariq Woolen picked off Leonard Fournette trying to throw to Brady on what might’ve been the worst trick play of the year. But other than that, there were few highlights to be found. Broken coverage led to a touchdown from Julio Jones. Back-breaking conversions were allowed late. The Seahawks didn’t record a single sack.
It’s hard to say Seattle’s defense has regressed when it has strung together half a season of good play. But their warts were exposed again against a Bucs offense that made it look too easy.
The Seahawks’ saving grace (though it didn’t pay off) was a late rally from the offense.
“We talked about how important it is to realize that we were right back in this game and we weren’t out of it,” head coach Pete Carroll said postgame. “And we never thought that and we didn’t show that. That’s the same kind of mentality that going to help us finish the season and do something special with this year. We don’t think anything changes in that regard. Just on this night they did a better job than we did.”