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DANNY ONEIL

What We Learned: Seahawks suddenly vulnerable defending against the run

Sep 25, 2017, 2:22 PM

Rishard Matthews' 55-yard TD was the longest pass play the Seahawks gave up Sunday. (AP)...

Rishard Matthews' 55-yard TD was the longest pass play the Seahawks gave up Sunday. (AP)

(AP)

We’re learning not to expect as much from the Seahawks on the road.

And certainly not on the road in September as Seattle is now 2-11 on the road in the first month of the season under Pete Carroll.

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That wasn’t the only lesson to be taken from Sunday’s game as we run through what we found out about this team:

Three things we learned

1. Russell Wilson is an absolute monster when trailing by double digits.

The Titans took a 30-14 lead with just under 2 minutes left in the third quarter, and Seattle’s quarterback starting spitting darts just like he did back when he was a rookie playing in Atlanta in the divisional playoffs. Over the final 17 minutes of the game, Wilson was 17-for-23 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns. It really was pretty darn breathtaking especially when you contrast it against Seattle’s first six possessions in which the Seahawks gained a total of 41 yards, two first downs and no points. If nothing else, the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game was a reminder of what Wilson can do when he feels he’s got nothing to lose.

2. Seattle’s run defense is giving way in the second half.

In the first half, Tennessee rushed 17 times for a total of 30 yards. The Titans didn’t have a run longer than 6 yards. In the second half, the Titans rushed 18 times for 165 yards. They had six runs longer than 6 yards, including a 75-yard DeMarco Murray touchdown that is the longest regular-season run from scrimmage against the Seahawks during Carroll’s tenure. The decline wasn’t as severe last week against San Francisco, but it was there as the Seahawks began giving up ground at an alarming rate early in the fourth quarter against the 49ers. The Seahawks are lighter along the defensive line than they’ve been in past years. They’re also playing a ton of snaps early in games as the offense treads water. But whatever the reason, it’s clear the Seahawks run defense is more vulnerable that it has been in past years.

3. The Seahawks need to force opponents into throwing situations.

There’s a lot of criticism of Seattle’s defensive line, which is understandable. The Seahawks didn’t so much as hit Marcus Mariota during Sunday’s game. But before anyone goes overboard in criticizing the lack of pressure, let’s take a look at the circumstances. Tennessee attempted all of six passes in the second half. The Titans didn’t try to throw the ball down the field. Their longest completion – a 55-yard touchdown to Rishard Matthews – was on an underneath crossing route. The fact that Seattle wasn’t able to establish a lead never put Tennessee in a situation where the Titans felt forced to pass the ball downfield, just like last week when the 49ers didn’t have a single explosive passing play. Seattle has to put an opponent in position where it actually feels it needs to pass the ball before we start evaluating whether this defensive line can apply pass pressure.

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What We Learned: Seahawks suddenly vulnerable defending against the run