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October 12, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Post-game impressions following Seattle’s loss to Dallas

Here are three thoughts on Seattle’s 30-23 loss to Dallas  Sunday from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.

First, Jenks:

1. The Seahawks are still struggling on third down. The Seahawks’ offense could never get in rhythm against the Cowboys, and perhaps the biggest reason was because they never put themselves in position to do so. The Seahawks too often faced third and long: 12 of Seattle’s 13 third downs were 3rd-and-6 or longer. That’s not a sustainable way to operate. The Seahawks converted on 38 percent of their third downs against Dallas, which is also their percentage on third down entering the game. That ranked them 22nd in the league heading into Sunday. The repercussions of that against the Cowboys were multiple “If you look at it, why didn’t you give the ball to Marshawn (Lynch) more, or why didn’t this guy catch more passes?” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s because you have to get first downs and get more plays. When the defense is out there for a long time and the offense has a three and out then you don’t get your shots, and that’s just what happens. The story is going to write itself every time that way.”

2. The Seahawks’ depth at cornerback is a growing concern. Early in the season, Carroll mentioned that the Seahawks’ lack of depth at cornerback was concerning following injuries to Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon. But Seattle’s depth took another hit on Sunday, when starting cornerback Byron Maxwell left with a pretty severe ankle sprain. He was carted to the locker room and didn’t return. That forced into action Marcus Burley, who the Seahawks traded a sixth-round pick for just before the season, and Steven Terrell, who the Seahawks activated from their practice squad a day before the game. Lane can’t return until Seattle’s game against the Giants on Nov. 9, and Simon is still recovering from knee surgery.

3. Russell Wilson never looked right. Wilson started off the game with a solid drive, including a 53-yard pass that was perfectly placed down the sideline to Jermaine Kearse. But he also made a handful of questionable decisions that nearly led to interceptions, and he completed just 50 percent of his passes for 126 yards. He wasn’t alone along the offense, but he missed throws that he normally makes and also appeared to struggle when deciding to run or throw. “I’ll take the blame for it,” Wilson said. “I think I could have played a lot better.” Carroll agreed: “All in all, when he throws for 120 yards and he’s 50 percent then that’s not a good day for him, and he’s better than that.”

And from Condotta:

1. This is going to be a really interesting week to see how the Seahawks react to their first real adversity as Super Bowl champs. The San Diego loss was tough, but also I think in the minds of the players and coaches pretty explainable as the kind of thing that happens on the road in the NFL against good teams. But this was a real butt-kicking and at home. Sure, Seattle has some injuries right now. But everybody does — Dallas was short-handed at linebacker today, for instance. You’ve no doubt heard about Doug Baldwin’s comments afterward, which are well-covered here in Larry Stone’s column. It’s good stuff, but also can be misconstrued. I don’t sense anything here other than a team that just won the Super Bowl that now is being challenged and is facing some frustration as a result. That said, how they respond in St. Louis will tell a lot about where this season now heads. Seattle is now the hunted — just look at how excited a franchise with the history that Dallas has was to win the game today. As everyone says, getting to the top is easier than staying there. Seattle is finding that out.

2. The Seahawks need more than what they got today out of Percy Harvin, who had minus-one yard on three carries and no yards on three receptions, with a long of five. That’s not a slam on Harvin individually. It’s hardly solely on him that those plays aren’t going anywhere. But opponents are keying on Harvin — there is nowhere for him to go when he gets the ball. So Seattle has to figure out what to do to get it to him in other ways. Maybe use him more on vertical routes. Harvin could have had a big game last week at Washington if not for the penalties. So maybe this is a one week thing. Still, the reality is that Harvin has just 133 yards receiving on 22 receptions for the season and 92 rushing on 11 (with 51 on one play at San Diego). However they do it, the Seahawks have to get more out of him.

3. I’m sure much will also be made this week of not getting the ball enough to Lynch, who had just 10 carries. As Stone noted in his column, even Lynch’s agent took note of that with this Tweet:

But fair to note that Seattle ran just 46 plays. Seattle had only 15 in the first half. Seattle appeared to really be trying to get Harvin going on its first drive — he got three of his six touches for the game on that possession. Lynch had a carry and a pass on that drive. On Seattle’s second drive, Lynch got it on second down for three yards before a penalty then moved it back on third down, which killed the drive. Seattle then ran just seven plays in the second quarter, two in the final 16 seconds. On the only real drive, a penalty on first down moved Seattle back and forced the Seahawks to throw on each down. It’s another time when looking at the mere numbers makes it easy to say “get it to Lynch more” but looking through the game itself makes it a little more understandable. Still, there’s no question that the game needs to unfold in a way in which Lynch gets the ball a lot more than he did today.


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