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Seahawks' red zone struggles prove costly in 24-20 loss to Chiefs

The Seahawks never trailed by more than a touchdown, but a pair of missed fourth down conversions late in the game proved to be too costly as the Seahawks saw their 3-game winning streak come to an end.

Peter Aiken

When it's 4th and Goal on the 2 and you have Marshawn Lynch on your side, do you A.) Give it to Lynch and let him power it in or B.) Throw a fade route in the corner of the end zone to Doug Baldwin? All of you say option A? Logical, but that wasn't the route the Seahawks chose as a pair of fourth down stops snapped Seattle's 3-game win streak in a 24-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

What proved to be costly was Seattle's inability to complete drives, going just 2-of-5 in the red zone while the Chiefs completed 3-of-4 of their red zone opportunities.

For the second straight week, Marshawn Lynch proved just what a valuable asset he is to the Seahawks, rushing for 124 yards on 24 carries. However, Lynch was kept out of the end zone by the Chiefs' defense, who have still yet to allow a rushing touchdown this year.

Russell Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 71 yards on eight carries as he was often forced to scramble out of the pocket when it collapsed around him.

Let's dive right into this recap so we can move along with our Sunday.

1st Quarter

Seattle's opening drive didn't last long as the Seahawks went 3-and-out. On 3rd and 2, Russell Wilson's pass was batted down at the line, forcing Seattle to punt away. It's almost as if the Hawks like to piss off Marshawn Lynch as human possible. You have perhaps the most powerful running back at your disposal, and you opt to pass when you need just two yards. Lynch could probably gain two yards by hopping forward on one leg.

The Chiefs had no issues moving the ball on their opening drive. The Chiefs never had to go more than a yard on third downs during the drive, easily converting both of them. Smith completed four out of five passes for 31 yards on the drive while Jamaal Charles ran for another 34 yards on six carries, including the touchdown on 3rd and 1 to cap off the drive. Charles also had two catches for 19 yards, including a 13-yard gain on a screen pass. The drive went 15 plays for 86 yards and lasted 9:01, the second longest drive of the year against the Seahawks. It also marked the first time in nearly two years that Seattle allowed a touchdown on their opponent's opening drive.

2nd Quarter

Marshawn Lynch set the tone on Seattle's next drive with four straight carries for 35 yards to midfield. After a pair of carries by Robert Turbin only went for three yards, Wilson completed his first pass of the drive to Luke Wilson for 10 yards. Three plays later on 3rd and 12, Wilson would be sacked and lose the ball (quickly jumped on by Justin Britt), but the Seahawks would be bailed out by R Parker, who was flagged for hands to the face. Wilson would then hit Jermaine Kearse who slipped past a defender to gain 24 yards all the way down to the 5 yard line. On another crucial 3rd down, Wilson evaded pressure as the play broke down, hitting Doug Baldwin in the end zone for the touchdown. The 16-play, 90-yard drive that lasted nine minutes was Seattle's longest drive of the year.

Kansas City answered right back with a pair of big plays through the air and on the ground for 23 and 28 yards, respectively. After three plays, the Chiefs already found themselves in the red zone. On the fourth play, Charles reached the end zone with a 19-yard touchdown run and was barely touched on his way in, capping off an 80-yard drive that lasted just 2:13. So much for those nine minute drives, eh?

Marshawn Lynch continued to carry the ball well with a trio of carries all for at least eight yards, including a 15-yard carry. Two plays later, Wilson once again made something out of nothing as he was forced to scramble out of the pocket. Despite all his receivers being well covered, Wilson was able to take matters into his own hands with a 14-yard gain. Seattle settle for a field goal, opting for the easy 3 points instead of going for it on 4th-and-3 at the 5.

The game moved along at a rapid pace due to the lengthy drives in the first half as we reached the 2 minute warning just over an hour into the game. Kansas City's final drive of the first half was only their third of the game to that point. Time of possession had suddenly turned into a crucial aspect of the game.

The Seahawks came up with a big turnover as Travis Kelce coughed up the ball while being tackled to the ground. Kelce never made contact with the ground as he rolled over Earl Thomas. The play would go under review, but the call would stand as the Seahawks took over with 1:09 to go in the half.

The Seahawks once again marched inside the 10-yard line. thanks to a pair of runs by Russell Wilson along with a 12-yard completion to Doug Baldwin. Wilson would hit Jermaine Kearse in the front corner of the end zone square in the numbers, but Kearse wasn't able to hang onto the pass. Once again, Seattle would be forced to settle for a field goal as the Chiefs held a 14-13 lead going into halftime.

While the Chiefs and Seahawks combined for just seven total drives in the first half, Kansas City was able to capitalize when they reached the red zone. The Seahawks on the other hand, stalled on two of their three trips inside the 20-yard line.

If Seattle can finish those other two drives, suddenly it's a 21-13 lead for the Seahawks going into the half. Instead, the Chiefs held a 14-13 lead.

3rd Quarter

Kansas City opened the second half with another long drive, going 12 plays and 67 yards over the span of nearly eight minutes. However, unlike their previous two scoring drives, the Seahawks were able to force the Chiefs to settle for a field goal, stuffing Knile Davis for a two-yard loss. It was the first run of the day for the Chiefs that went for a loss.

During the drive, Marshawn Lynch looked dejected on the sidelines as it was announced his return was questionable. During halftime, Lynch remained outside on the bench as the trainers worked on his knee. However, Lynch wouldn't miss a down, heading right back onto the field for Seattle's first drive of the second half.

On 3rd and 8, Wilson was brought down by Tamba Hali who came in uncontested from the right side. Hali blew right by Justin Britt, bringing down Wilson and forcing the Seahawks to punt the ball away.

On the ensuing play, De'Anthony Thomas returned the punt 40 yards into Seattle territory. After the play was over, Ricardo Lockette lost his cool, throwing a punch at Kurt Coleman, resulting in Lockette being ejected from the game. At least Lockette was smart enough to clock a guy wearing a helmet, that'll show him!

Seattle would catch a lucky break as it was ruled that Thomas stepped out at the 29 yard line, 32 yards back from where he initially ended up. On Kansas City's first play of the drive, Charles lost possession of the ball. In the blink of an eye, it went from 1st down for the Chiefs on the Seattle 25-yard line to 1st down for the Seahawks on the Kansas City 44-yard line.

The Wilson-to-Wilson sitcom was in play once again as Russell hit Luke for a 27-yard completion. Marshawn Lynch would then power up the middle for eight yards. Wilson capped off the drive by hitting former Chief Tony Moeaki in the back corner of the end zone to give the Seahawks a 20-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Seattle was taking advantage of Kansas City's turnovers, coming up with 10 points off the fumbles.

4th Quarter

The Chiefs would jump right back out front early in the fourth quarter as Knile Davis reached the end zone on a 4-yard touchdown run. The play was set up by a huge run from Jamaal Charles on the previous play as Charles broke free for 47 yards. The run was the longest allowed by the Seahawks this season.

On Seattle's next drive, Wilson would once again use his legs when the pocket collapsed, rushing for 11 yards on two consecutive plays. Lynch continued his productive day, breaking the 100-yard mark for the second straight week. However, on the drive, Max Unger would need to be taken off the field on a cart as it looked like he got bent backwards while being piled up on. Patrick Lewis would step in for Unger. On 3rd and goal at the 4-yard line, the 10th play of the drive, Lynch's number was called. He was stuffed well short of the line, but the Seahawks would go for it on 4th and goal from the 2-yard line. Wilson would attempt to hit Baldwin in the corner, but Baldwin was bumped by Sean Smith as the pass fell incomplete. No flag would be thrown as the Chiefs took over with a 24-20 lead and 7:08 left to play.

In my opinion, Baldwin made more of an effort complaining about the call than he did trying to recover from the bump. As soon as contact was made, Baldwin started throwing a hissy fit. Whether he could've recovered from the bump is a debate, but Baldwin made no effort on the play as soon as he was touched. You need to finish the play and not assume the refs will always bail you out.

Seattle's defense would step up, forcing a 3-and-out on the ensuing drive and causing the Chiefs to punt for the first time all day. The Seahawks would take over on the Chiefs' 45-yard line, trailing by four points with 6:15 left to play.

Seattle would initially convert on a 3rd and 8 as Jermaine Kearse looked to come up with a reception and fall forward for the first down. However, Andy Reid tossed the red challenge flag, and rightfully so. Kearse was given a far-too-generous spot at first, and the play would be reversed to bring up a 4th and 1. Marshawn Lynch would be eaten up in the backfield on a draw play, giving the Chiefs the ball back with just 3:53 to go.

The Seahawks defense would once again step up to the challenge, stopping the Chiefs just inches short of a first down on 3rd and 1. However, the challenge wouldn't get any easier as they were pinned on their own 4-yard line after the punt.

On the first play of the drive, Wilson was nearly sacked in the end zone, which would have ended the game. Somehow he got the ball off the Marshawn Lynch to keep their hopes alive. Wilson would then hit Doug Baldwin on 3rd and 9 for a 22-yard gain. But then on 2nd and 10, Wilson was sacked for a loss of eight yards, putting the Seahawks in a near-impossible 4th and 18 situation two plays later. Wilson would once again be pressured and his pass to Paul Richardson would fall incomplete, icing the game.

I leave you with Danny Kelly being the bigger man and rightfully so, giving credit where credit is due as the Chiefs really stepped up in a huge way to end the game.

Next weekend, the Seahawks return home to square off against the league-leading Arizona Cardinals. Arizona looks to already well be on their way to a division title and unless the Seahawks can defend their home turf at CenturyLink Field, the Cardinals might just grab a stranglehold on the NFC West next weekend. The Cardinals have already proven they know how to win at CenturyLink, so the Seahawks will need more than just their home crowd to upset the division leaders. I can't believe I just used the phrase "upset" when referring to the Seahawks needing a win at home.