BRANDON GUSTAFSON

What They Said: Seahawks break down blowout loss to 49ers

Nov 23, 2023, 9:54 PM | Updated: 10:10 pm

Seattle Seahawks...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks gets sacked by the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 23, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It was a Thanksgiving to forget for the Seattle Seahawks, who suffered their second lopsided defeat in four weeks, this time against the San Francisco 49ers 31-13.

San Francisco 49ers 31, Seattle Seahawks 13: Recap | Box score | Instant Reaction

Seattle fell 37-3 in Baltimore on Nov. 5 before beating the Washington Commanders 29-26 the next week. Then last Sunday, the Seahawks gave away a win in Los Angeles against the Rams 17-16, and now have dropped another game to an NFC West rival to fall to 6-5 on the year.

Thursday’s game started off horribly for the Seahawks, who had zero net offensive yards for most of the first half and trailed 24-3 at halftime. The offense didn’t score a single touchdown and the Seahawks’ lone trip to the end zone was on a pick-6 by linebacker Jordyn Brooks in the third quarter.

That Brooks interception made it 24-10 to give the Seahawks some momentum, but the offense still couldn’t get anything going against the 49ers’ defense.

With this most recent loss in the books, here’s a bit of what star Seahawks players and head coach Pete Carroll had to say about the loss after the game.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

Carroll lamented missing out on “a big opportunity” against a very good 49ers team at home in primetime.

“The first half of this game, we couldn’t get out of our own way enough to make them go long fields and to keep the football, so they got off to a really good start,” he said.

“We’ve got to clean it up,” Carroll said later. “We cannot give our opponents the opportunity to have short fields and expect to get the kind of results we want … This is a really difficult team to play when you give them stuff.”

The Seahawks did get within 11 points in the third quarter, but weren’t able to close the gap any more than that.

“There’s a time … where one more score and it’s going to feel a whole lot different. And we weren’t able to get that closed off,” he said.

Offensively, Carroll wants to see more consistency.

“We’re not feeling it. You can see it, we’re just not moving the ball steadily and we have to find our way to do that,” he said. “It’s mixing the stuff that we have and using the guys that we have better than we have so far.”

The Seahawks didn’t have running back Kenneth Walker III, so rookie Zach Charbonnet served as Seattle’s lead back, totaling 58 total yards on the day.

“I thought Zach ran hard as (heck). He went after it and did a nice job when we gave him a chance,” Carroll said. “… He’s a good football player. But we missed Ken. Ken is a totally different style than Zach. I’ve told you a ton of times that I like having that changeup and we didn’t have that tonight.”

As for quarterback Geno Smith, who was questionable with an elbow injury suffered in the Rams game four days prior, Carroll didn’t think he was limited physically.

“It had nothing to do with it. It was fine,” he said. “… He won’t tell you if it had anything to do with his night tonight. Geno did a good job just to get back out, that’s for darn sure, and we have to help him be effective.”

On defense, something of note was starting cornerback Riq Woolen getting pulled in the first half. It appeared to be a benching due to some poor tackling, and Carroll said it was that mixed with injury.

“Riq wasn’t back all the way. He didn’t tackle well with his shoulder,” Carroll said.

Woolen was on the team’s injury report this week with a shoulder injury but had no injury designation for the game. There was also no team announcement during the game that he was out with any sort of injury.

“We went into the game wanting to see if he could hold up and didn’t feel like he was ready,” Carroll said. “And Mike (Jackson) was 100% ready to go and we think Mike’s a terrific football player and there’s no problem putting him on the field.”

QB Geno Smith

Smith said “no, not at all,” when asked if his elbow impacted his game.

“It was good enough to play, so wasn’t thinking about it. Was just trying to go out there and win,” he said.

Smith finished the day 18 of 27 for 180 yards and an interception and was sacked six times.

Like Carroll, he lamented the Seahawks’ lack of consistency on offense.

“It starts with every guy individually looking at his own film, looking at his own tape and looking himself in the mirror and saying, ‘What can I do to help the team? How can I be more consistent? How can I be more effective on a down-to-down basis and how can I be better so we score more points than we’re doing right now?’ And it directly starts with me,” he said. “But as you know, we’re all connected out there, all 11, so every single guy has got to look himself in the mirror, and it starts with me.”

The Seahawks have gone 20 drives without a touchdown on offense and have just three touchdowns over their last four games.

“I still believe in the guys we have, I still believe in the coaches,” Smith said. “… There is no excuse for it, there is no words I can say that will make it better. What needs to be done is we need to work harder. We need to find a way.”

Smith also stuck up for offensive coordinator Shane Waldron when asked about Seattle’s game planning.

“I feel like Shane always does a great job. I’ve got his back 110%. He knows that,” he said. “I feel like it comes down to us executing better as players. No matter what play is called, it comes down to the players making it come to life. Shane’s called some great games for us and he’s going to continue to do that.”

Defensive stars

Brooks, who had Seattle’s biggest play with his pick-6, said the Seahawks’ defense “just didn’t come out ready to go.”

“I don’t think we were all the way there mentally, and that’s why they ended up with seven points right out of the gate,” he said.

Both safety Quandre Diggs and rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon brought up the Seahawks starting slowly in this game.

“We can’t do that because that gives the other team confidence and we’ve got to just shut that down,” Witherspoon said.

The 49ers have won four in a row against the Seahawks, and Diggs said that poor starts have led to all four of those losses.

“We start slow, we get back going and I think it just kind of opens up in the fourth quarter,” he said. “… It’s just been starting slow. You go fight because that’s what this team does, but you find yourself in a hole that’s a little too big to dig out of … They’re a great team. What do you expect? Those guys have been really good for a long time. ”

The Seahawks face the 49ers again in two weeks, and they have another tough test next Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys. And as if those two games weren’t tough enough, Seattle will then face the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

“It’s playoff mode right now. I think we’ve just got to come to work ready to work and take it day by day,” Brooks said.

“I think we need to start faster on both sides of the ball,” Diggs said. “You can’t come out and let those guys get momentum and jump up and try to fight your way back into the game … We’ve got to start faster as a team and play complementary football. That’s all it really is.”

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What They Said: Seahawks break down blowout loss to 49ers