Winning on the road is hard, and self-inflicted wounds will make winning impossible anywhere. The Seattle Seahawks’ sloppiness in the red zone cost them dearly, and a winnable game against the Cincinnati Bengals was lost by a score of 17-13. For some reason I’m not irritated by this loss as much as others are, and that’s partially because I believe there were a lot of positives from this game in the bigger picture, as well as the idea that the Bengals will turn their season around and be a playoff team.
Let’s get to Winners and Losers.
Pass Defense (after the first two drives)
I thought we were in for a reality check after the Bengals were just carving the Seahawks secondary and linebackers up. Joe Burrow started 13/15 for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns, and then after that he was 11/20 for 62 yards and an interception. That’s a huge credit to the pass rush for generating more pressure, as well as the linebackers and secondary for locking Cincy’s weapons down.
Ja’Marr Chase had 4 catches for 60 yards in two drives and finished with 6 for 80. This is not worth downplaying even in a loss. I am not saying the Seahawks defense is elite but there are signs of a great defense being built at long last.
He might have been the best cornerback all day. Back from his concussion, Brown had an interception (with Ja’Marr Chase unable to get open) and two passes defensed, including a huge break-up of what was the potential dagger throw to Tee Higgins (who pushed off anyway). That was a dazzling performance by Brown against tough assignments.
Three passes defensed and not a lot of targets his way. Need I say more? He’s a revelation on so many fronts and his instincts seem to match his athletic gifts.
I’m still a tiny bit skeptical about how good this group really is because the schedule of opposing rushing offense has been underwhelming up to this point. They still limited Joe Mixon to just 38 yards on 12 carries, and the Bengals had 46 rushing yards total. The gaps are getting plugged, all three levels of the defense are making great tackles, and they’re all pursuing the ball carriers very well.
You wanted JSN on things other than screens? You got it. He had 4 catches for 48 yards on 5 targets. Unfortunately that one non-completed target was an interception that was all on Geno, and he certainly had a touchdown opportunity on a play in which Geno ended up scrambling for a first down. The big thing is that we saw JSN as a middle of field target and a potential YAC threat, which is encouraging for his development.
Steady as they come! Lockett had 6 catches for 94 yards and drew a pass interference in the end zone that set the Seahawks up for a 1-yard touchdown run.
He’s real. He’s really real. I hope that concussion isn’t real bad because he’s earning even more snaps in this offense. Bobo had 2 catches for 43 yards, including one that drew a roughness penalty and the concussion check, and continues to be a quality blocker.
Can’t knock him today! Two field goals made, one of them from 55 yards out.
I don’t think Geno was as awful as this fanbase has made him out to be, and I’m going to lose my mind if I hear calls for Drew Lock on what is a 3-2 team led by a QB who arguably kept the season afloat against the Detroit Lions. That said, he was worse than the 27/41 for 323 yards performance indicated. Two interceptions thrown (one wasn’t really on him, but he had the potential for more picks) and a lot of bad sacks taken and just woefully executed red zone plays. Much more annoying is him missing potential touchdowns to both Jaxon Smith-Njigba and DK Metcalf. It’s almost as if his clock got sped up too often in this one and it led to some panicky plays.
Essentially, Geno’s good plays were outweighed by the high-leverage bad plays he made. It happens, and the Bengals defense is pretty good. They didn’t execute well enough when it mattered most.
Charles Cross returning seems to be a blessing and a curse. We saw way too many empty formations, not enough Zach Charbonnet, not a lot of play-action, and the replays indicated a lot of wide receivers just not getting open. And at some point the two seasons of bad red zone offense has to fall at least partially on his shoulders. Too many runs to nowhere and particularly on 2nd down stalled out some promising drives. This didn’t feel like a well-called game from Waldron and the results in the RZ were ugly.
He can’t start another week. I applaud him for his efforts in Abe Lucas’ absence but he’s a big liability right now on this offensive line. Asking him to consistently pass protect in 1-v-1 situations is tempting fate, and they got burned on the final play. With an apparent foot injury, that’s all the more reason to explore other options.
Kenneth Walker III
Not a lot of running lanes for Walker, who had just 62 yards on 19 carries, 27 yards on 3 catches, but did have the only touchdown for the Seahawks. More concerning was the illegal low block penalty that indirectly led to the first Geno Smith interception—the call was kinda weak but technically correct—and then the drive-killing block in the back on a Colby Parkinson catch. I believe Zach Charbonnet should’ve gotten some of Walker’s snaps. Those penalties were killer.
He needs to start getting benched for snaps at a time for these ridiculous hot-head penalties. That shove of Cam Taylor-Britt put Seattle in 2nd and 21, which thankfully they converted anyway, but he is too easy to goad into unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He’s getting another fine, and it’s deserved. As if that wasn’t enough, Metcalf essentially caused Geno’s other interception by randomly stopping his route. He’s had a great start to the season but today was the worst of DK.
Very weird day when I put him on the Losers list but he allowed both touchdown passes, so even though he finished the game strongly, the Bengals definitely were not shy to go his way early on.
Too many penalties again. The Seahawks committed 7 penalties for 64 yards, and a couple of them were absolutely critical, drive-killing mistakes on offense. Seattle is one of the most penalized teams in the league and they cannot continue to put themselves in terrible spots. Pete Carroll’s got to emphasize cleaning this aspect of their play up.
- A quiet day for the tight ends, who were limited to just 5 catches for 29 yards. No doubt that despite my want of more play-action, Lou Anarumo did a great job of taking away a lot of Seattle’s best plays out of 12 personnel.
- Quandre Diggs was playing closer to the line of scrimmage than I can recall over the past couple of seasons. Having a healthy secondary is definitely opening up the playbook some more in terms of what coverages Clint Hurtt wants to run, and I believe Diggs had a really good performance.
- Good to see Jamal Adams go the distance and not suffer another injury, and he had a critical tackle for loss on a 3rd and 12.
- DeeJay Dallas continues to be a much improved punt returner, which is a good thing to see.
- When Damien Lewis comes back, I think Anthony Bradford should be starting over Phil Haynes at right guard. Lewis’ absence might have been one of the biggest factors in the run-blocking struggles.
- This is a bad loss in the sense that it should’ve been a win. Shit happens. Sometimes you have a great pitching performance and leave too many runners stranded on base. Sometimes you badly outshoot the other team in hockey or soccer but you don’t take your chances well enough and lose 2-1. It’s just that these losses are magnified with far fewer games in football than in other sports. There are real issues to be addressed with the 3rd down offense, the penalties, the red zone inefficiency, and the offensive line, but they’re not impossible to correct. If they drop the Arizona Cardinals game next week, though? Yeah I’ll be worried. Can’t afford to lose another divisional matchup. In the meantime? The Seahawks are still 3-2 in a weak conference, so be pissed off today and tomorrow but this was not a “wow this team sucks” loss.