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September 14, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Three thoughts on Seattle’s loss to San Diego

Here are three thoughts from Times reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta in the wake of Seattle’s 30-21 loss at San Diego on Sunday:

First, from Jenks:

1, We may have gotten a glimpse of how teams are going to attack the Seahawks. Safety Earl Thomas hit on this after the game: He said that teams started dinking and dunking the ball a lot with short throws on the Seahawks late last season. The Chargers did exactly that on Sunday and were highly effective. Quarterback Philip Rivers said after the game that it helped keep Seattle’s pass rush at bay, and it also took advantage of the fact that the Seahawks didn’t tackle very well. It seems like that might be a formula other teams try to follow.

2, The Seahawks were most effective with their hurry-up offense. The Seahawks ran the two-minute drill to perfection to score a touchdown at the end of the first half, and they stuck with it for most of the second half. Quarterback Russell Wilson looked comfortable operating without huddling, and the Seahawks finally started to get in rhythm. It’s not the style the Seahawks want to play; they’d much rather play how the Chargers did and control the ball and the clock and rely on their defense. But they looked good when they were in the hurry-up.

3, I’ll be interested to hear more from coach Pete Carroll about the cramping issues. To my knowledge, the Chargers didn’t have the same problems with the heat that the Seahawks did. Three members of the secondary — Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell — had to the leave the game for a series or more because of cramping. The Seahawks, of course, aren’t accustomed to playing in hot weather, but they also knew it was going to be that way for most of the week. I’m wondering if they think they could have done more to prevent it, or if that was just a byproduct of the defense being on the field for so long.

And from Condotta:

1, I know there are lots of questions about why Seattle didn’t get the ball more to Marshawn Lynch. As I wrote in the grades, his six carries tied for the fewest he has had in a regular season game with the Seahawks. But much of the issue was that the Seahawks ran only 40 plays overall and only 18 in the first half. Seattle got behind early, as well, and was most effective with its hurry-up offense. I don’t think there was any design to go away from Lynch; it was just the way the game went. But it shows again that rushing numbers and carries often are as much a result as the other way around. Had Seattle been ahead in the second half,  and running lots of offense, no doubt Lynch would have had a more usual-looking stat line. Percy Harvin also had just three touches. That’s not enough for either of them. But it’s obviously not what the Seattle coaches had in mind, just a function of the way the game went.

2, San Diego’s offense makes it hard to know what to make of the pass rush. It’s worth remembering that San Diego’s offense is predicated on short, timing routes and getting rid of the ball quickly — all things that don’t lend themselves to an opposing defense getting a lot of sacks. Still, it seemed like the pass rush was inconsistent today and that there were times when it needed to be more of a factor and it wasn’t. Are the Seahawks missing some of the departed vets such as Chris Clemons? Certainly; Seattle had depth up front that last year was the envy of the NFL. As Carroll said this week, Seattle is still trying to find the right mix up front. Today made it appear as if the second-line units are still a work in progress.

3, The Seahawks need to clean some things up. Seattle simply made too many mistakes today to win. A critical turnover that led to a touchdown, eight penalties — twice as many as last week and all seeming to be pretty critical — and a few too many missed tackles. Seattle forced 39 turnovers last season. But the Chargers didn’t have any today, a rare time the Seahawks lost the turnover battle. That they also lost the game is far from a coincidence.


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