While nowhere near willing to trash the Seahawks’ playoff hopes with residence in the weak NFC West enabling them to remain somewhat relevant, head coach Pete Carroll wasn’t lying when he said his team “played like garbage” in a 42-24 thumping by the Chiefs at Qwest Field. For the second game in a row at home, the Seahawks surrendered more than 40 points, and in losing four of their last five games but still amazingly remaining tied for first in their division at 5-6, the average margin in those defeats is 24 points.
Terrible defense, particularly against the run, has been the biggest reason behind Seattle's dramatic free-fall. Heading into Week Seven, the Seahawks were ranked a lofty second in rushing yards allowed. But in the last six games, they have allowed an average of 162 yards rushing, playing in the last four without key run defenders DE Red Bryant and DT Colin Cole, who suffered knee and ankle injuries, respectively, in the 33-3 loss at Oakland. Bryant is out for the season, and Cole remains far from ready to return to action.
Seattle’s offense, meanwhile, regressed without WR Mike Williams, who sat out the Chiefs game with a strained foot. QB Matt Hasselbeck was intercepted twice and lost a fumble after not being picked off in either of his previous two starts while throwing for more than 300 yards in each of those games. Deon Butler was unable to pick up the slack in Williams’ absence, managing only two catches for nine yards after being targeted a team-high nine times and dropping a pair of passes.
As for Seattle's run game, it was a joke, managing a mere 20 yards, compared to 270 by the Chiefs — the most allowed by the Seahawks in a regular-season game since 2000.
The PFW Spin
Thank God for the Panthers?
One would think that, in spite of how awful they have looked lately, the Seahawks should be able to stop their bleeding this Sunday with lowly Carolina coming to town. But Carroll’s garbage references could continue if the defense doesn’t do a much better job tackling than it did against the Chiefs. While they really do miss Bryant and Cole immensely, there’s no excuse for the plethora of missed tackles that made the Seahawks’ latest loss so hard to stomach.
The Panthers, who gave the Browns a real run for their money in Week 12, also could benefit from a Seattle ground game that has sunk to the lowest depths, currently ranked 32nd with neither Marshawn Lynch nor Justin Forsett doing squat lately.
There are two bright spots worth noting: The emergence of WR Ben Obomanu, who had 159 yards receiving against the Chiefs, including an 87-yard TD grab, and the Seahawks’ feisty special-teams unit, which came up with a blocked field goal and a blocked punt that was returned for a TD.
But that's small consolation for a team with a very big bundle of problems with the stretch drive looming.