The Seattle Seahawks (3-2) should’ve beaten the Cincinnati Bengals (3-3), but the offense was highly culpable for their failures to finish drives in the red zone.
Geno Smith threw two interceptions, took multiple untimely sacks, and the red zone offense only managed 10 points in 5 trips. The opening drive touchdown that looked so promising gave way to a disjointed performance and a 17-13 loss to Joe Burrow and company.
Seattle’s defense allowed 14 points on the first two drives, but locked the Bengals offense down and limited them to just a field goal the rest of the way (on a 0-yard drive). The Seahawks’ three-game winning streak is over, and there are huge concerns about this offense moving forward as it pertains to their red zone struggles.
Seattle got off to a perfect start. Geno Smith was 5/5 for 51 yards, including a 3rd down conversion to Jaxon Smith-Njigba to keep the drive moving. After a defensive pass interference in the end zone, Kenneth Walker got the ball at the 1-yard line and sauntered in for six. An 11-play, 75-yard drive to open the day!
The Bengals responded with their own long drive in the form of a 13-play, 69-yard drive that ended in an 8-yard Joe Burrow touchdown pass on the slant to Tyler Boyd, who beat Riq Woolen. What was pivotal on this drive was a 4th and 2 offsides penalty on Jarran Reed, which might have been just a hard count attempt and not a real effort to go for it.
Seattle ended their opening quarter with a three-and-out, while the Bengals just marched down the field with Ja’Marr Chase racking up big catches and putting Cincinnati in the red zone. Rookie Andrei Iosivas capped things off with a 3-yard touchdown for his first NFL score, again with Woolen beaten.
The Seahawks had a promising drive end in Bengals territory after Geno was sacked on 3rd and long. DK Metcalf was wide open a couple of plays prior for a touchdown, but Smith didn’t throw his way. Metcalf was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on that same series for shoving Cam Taylor-Britt, but Geno got them out of a 2nd and 21 jam with a deep pass to Tyler Lockett. For once, the Seahawks defense was able to hold Cincinnati to a short drive and their first punt.
Seattle had a pretty peculiar four-minute drill with more runs than you’d probably want to see, and then Geno was fortunate not to have a 3rd and 11 prayer intercepted. Jason Myers drilled his 55-yard field goal through the uprights.
Cincinnati’s one-minute drill went three-and-out, as Burrow threw two incomplete passes in Riq Woolen’s direction, and his improvised scramble drill play to avoid getting sacked ended in a short completion nowhere near the sticks. Geno got sacked to round out the opening 30 minutes.
Tre Brown started the 2nd half committing pass interference on Tee Higgins. Two plays later, he picked off Burrow down the field while looking for Ja’Marr Chase.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks gave it right back. They had goal-to-go inside the 5 and then Ken Walker committed a low block penalty on 2nd and goal. The next snap was a Geno pick to Mike Hilton. A heavily covered Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the intended receiver.
Joe Burrow got one conversion to Tee Higgins, but that was as good as it got. Jarran Reed and Dre’Mont Jones both recorded sacks to force a punt. DeeJay Dallas sprung free for a 23-yard punt return into Bengals territory.
Jake Bobo made a huge play to set up a goal-to-go situation for the Seahawks. Geno found him open for 20 yards, then Dax Hill was flagged for a roughness penalty that saw Bobo go to the tent for a concussion check. Seattle’s red zone struggles continued, however, as Kenneth Walker was stuffed twice and then Geno threw incomplete to Lockett. Jason Myers hit a 23-yard field goal to pull Seattle within 1.
With 3rd and 1 at their own 45, the Bengals went power-heavy and ran it into the teeth of Seattle’s defense. Bad idea! Jordyn Brooks and Dre’Mont Jones were there to stymie Joe Mixon and prompt another Bengals punt.
After a big first down over the middle to Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Geno Smith threw a pick to Cam Taylor-Britt, who returned it into Seahawks territory. DK Metcalf straight up stopped his route. Bad mistake by Metcalf on the miscommunication, but the Bengals offense gained 0 yards and settled for a 52-yard field goal, which Evan McPherson nailed with 11:52 to go.
Geno Smith was gifted a roughing the passer call, but Ken Walker committed a drive-killing illegal block in the back on the next snap. Receivers were struggling to get open against Cincinnati’s secondary.
The defensive battle continued, as the Seahawks defense stepped up with a huge sack by Boye Mafe on Burrow. Jamal Adams made a clutch open field tackle on 3rd and 12 to get the ball back for the Seahawks with 6:17 left.
DK Metcalf got free for 30 yards into Bengals territory, and Geno scrambled to the red zone. On 3rd down, the Bengals blitzed but DK was open on the slant for the first-and-goal! Geno got sacked twice, including on 4th down.
Seattle still had two timeouts left and the two-minute warning, so another stop was needed. They got it with Tre Brown breaking up a 3rd and 6 deep shot to Tee Higgins, who committed OPI anyway. With 1:39 left and a timeout in hand, the Seahawks had another shot at redemption and the win.
Geno completed over the middle to Colby Parkinson for 8. An offside on Cincinnati gave them a free 5 and a first down. Tyler Lockett over the middle to the 10! Then Geno almost got picked in the end zone with :49 left. Ken Walker to the 8-yard line and a timeout called by the Bengals. Too high and incomplete on 3rd down. 4th and ballgame with :41 left. Hit as he throws, incomplete.
1st Quarter: Kenneth Walker III 1-yard touchdown run - SEA 7, CIN 0
No better way to start a day. ☀️— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 15, 2023
1st Quarter: Tyler Boyd 8-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow - SEA 7, CIN 7
2nd Quarter: Andrei Iosivas 3-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow - SEA 7, CIN 14
2nd Quarter: Jason Myers 55-yard field goal - SEA 10, CIN 14
3rd Quarter: Jason Myers 23-yard field goal - SEA 13, CIN 14
4th Quarter: Evan McPherson 52-yard field goal - SEA 13, CIN 17
Seahawks Injury Report
RT Jake Curhan was dealing with a foot injury but didn’t miss any time.
WR DK Metcalf had a hip injury suffered in the 3rd quarter. He returned in the 4th quarter.
Next week’s opponent
The Seahawks return home to face the Arizona Cardinals (1-4) on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1:05 PM PT on FOX.