Instant Reaction: Seahawks come through in must-win game vs Titans

Dec 24, 2023, 1:38 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf catches a touchdown pass against Tennessee on Dec. 24, 2023. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have shaken off a four-game losing skid, coming back to beat Tennessee 20-17 on Christmas Eve for their second straight win.

Seahawks 20, Titans 17 | Seattle in playoff spot | Big Plays | Stats

Now 8-7 on the season, Seattle has moved into playoff position in the NFC with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.

What did Sunday’s victory tell us? The voices of Seattle Sports make sense of it all with their instant reactions, which we deliver here on immediately after every Seahawks game.

Read what they have to say below, and tune in to the station on 710 AM or the Seattle Sports app all day Tuesday for much more reaction and analysis, including at 9:30 a.m. with The Pete Carroll Show with the head coach himself live from team headquarters.

Stacy Rost – Bump and Stacy (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having two different conversations about this Seahawks team this season.

The first is what’s happening in 2023, and that’s that the Hawks are still in playoff contention thanks to a much-needed win over the Titans. That’s a good thing! This one wasn’t quite as thrilling as their primetime win over the Eagles on Monday night, but it was a win nonetheless and this time on the road.

The good: they were 54% on third down, didn’t turn the ball over, and had two fourth-quarter touchdowns when they needed it most. They’re finally taking advantage of rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba as a third-down threat. They’re still waiting to get the run game going consistently, but having Kenneth Walker III healthy and active is progress at least.

That’s the first focus. The second? This team has some issues to iron out.

If you’re a bit more pragmatic (or perhaps especially enjoy your role as a fantasy football general manager), you’re hoping they don’t make the playoffs and instead secure higher draft picks.

But if you enjoy the playoffs – as most fans do – you’re rooting for wins while simultaneously trying not to pull your hair out as a defense that tried its hardest to improve against the run continues to struggle, as the most penalized team in the league continues to draw flags, and as a team that’s struggled to find an identity continues to be inconsistent.

Three real questions for this team as they head into their next contest: How can some of that fourth-quarter offensive hustle start sooner? How can offensive coordinator Shane Waldron take advantage of his weapons? And how can the defense avoid mistakes against the run?

Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob (2-7 p.m.)

It was must-win, and the Seahawks once again found a way.

Much like last week, the offense had very little production until the final two drives of the game. Up until then, they had scored a total of six points. But on the second-to-last drive, they go 96 yards on 10 plays in 6:33 to go up 12-10. And then after surrendering the lead back to Tennessee, the offense goes 75 yards on 14 plays in 2:24.

You have to give credit to Pete and this team for finding a way when things aren’t going well. This team is resilient if they’re anything.

This was far from a pretty game and there are certainly issues on both sides of the ball that need to be addressed, but style points mean nothing at this point in the season. It’s a bottom-line business, and the bottom line is the Seahawks need to win the remainder of their games (most likely), and so far they’re doing it!

Dave Wyman – Wyman and Bob/Seahawks Radio Network analyst

Brock Huard – Brock and Salk (6-10 a.m.)

Michael Bumpus – Bump and Stacy

Mike Lefko – Wyman and Bob

The Seahawks will never make it easy but that was one heck of a final drive to pull off a win that they absolutely had to have in order to keep a playoff berth alive.

It took entirely too long to get the offense going, especially against a Titans defense ravaged by injuries, but getting the ball to DK Metcalf yielded great results. The Seahawks had just three offensive possessions in the second half and all of them ended in points (field goal, touchdown, touchdown). There was no one who could cover DK all game, and he proved it with the terrific TD catch and the defensive pass interference penalty he drew to set up the go-ahead touchdown. That perhaps makes it a little more baffling that he was only targeted twice in the first half.

A win overshadows the concerns, but the defense not being able to stop the run – against a team that has struggled with its offensive line all season – doesn’t ease any worries about how the Seahawks will do over the next two weeks. The fact that it came down to a “last team to have the ball wins” type of outing was entirely due to a couple of inexcusable defensive penalties that allowed the Titans to put together a 15-play drive that lasted nearly 9 minutes.

The defensive line got to Titans QB Ryan Tannehill on the first drive of the game and it felt like that would be easily duplicated, especially against a Titans offensive line that came in allowing the fifth-most sacks this  season. And while it didn’t exactly come to fruition like that, when the Seahawks got the Titans into must-pass situations, they were able to get the job done and get to the quarterback.

Strange game, strange win. It didn’t seem like one that should have come down to the wire, but it seems to be built into the DNA of the Seahawks to keep it close and find ways to win at the end. It certainly is a stress-inducing existence, but today it paid off.

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Instant Reaction: Seahawks come through in must-win game vs Titans