The Seahawks fell to 1-2 on the season, and there was plenty to take away from the loss — good and bad.
With temperatures hitting triple digits in Tennessee, the Seahawks (1-2) wilted, falling 33-27 to the Titans (2-1). Here are three things we learned from the Seahawks’ loss.
1. The resilient Seattle defense finally collapsed
The Seahawks’ vaunted defense kept them in the game last week against San Francisco, and it kept them in the first half of Sunday’s game against Tennessee.
But even though the Seahawks’ offense showed signs of life on two touchdown drives that bookended halftime, they couldn’t sustain enough of a rhythm to ever pull away from the Titans. As a result, the Seahawks’ defense was stuck on the field for most of the second and third quarters, and Tennessee gradually wore them down.
The Titans scored three unanswered third quarter touchdowns to take a 30-14 lead.
The play that best epitomized the Titans’ third quarter surge and the Seahawks’ defensive lull: Running back DeMarco Murray romped 75 yards downfield and outran just about every Seahawks defensive player on his way to the end zone.
For the second week in a row, the Seahawks’ defense allowed a running back to go for 100 rushing yards. This time, it was Murray, who had 115 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
This game once again underlined how badly the Seahawks need their offense to find some consistency, and fast.
2. The up-tempo, hurry up offense works yet again
The Seahawks offense started the game the same way they did last week – unable to move the chains. Seattle punted six times – with five three-and-outs – and had only 41 offensive yards when the offense got the ball back with 2:04 left in the second quarter.
Cue the up-tempo hurry up offense that’s been the Seahawks’ lifeblood so far this season.
First, Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin down the sideline for a 36-yard pickup. Then, C.J. Prosise beat the linebacker in a personnel mismatch, and motored upfield to pick up 46 yards and get Seattle to first-and-goal from its own 4.
Wilson’s first scoring attempt was a fade pass to Jimmy Graham in the left corner of the end zone that the tight end couldn’t catch.
But his next pass was money – a 4-yard strike to Doug Baldwin that came in a little low, but that Baldwin was able to somehow cradle up for the score.
It took 49 seconds for Seattle to pick up 86 offensive yards – more than double their 41-yard total through that point – and finally score a touchdown.
Then, after the half, the Seahawks came out with the up-tempo offense again. Wilson hit Baldwin, Carson scrambled for 7, then came Jimmy Graham’s big 26-yard catch over the middle to set up Wilson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Carson.
The two Seahawks drives before and after the half were reminiscent of Seattle’s hurry up, no-huddle offensive series at the end of the first half against Green Bay two weeks ago, when, after nothing but offensive misfires through that point, the Seahawks embraced the hurry-up offense and snap into rhythm to finally score their first points of the game with a field goal from Blair Walsh.
Oh and the drive that ended with Luke Willson’s fourth quarter touchdown? That, was also the culmination of an up-tempo drive
Yes, we’ve heard the arguments as to why the Seahawks have to be discerning about when they go up-tempo — limits substitution and have to be careful about how it might affect the defense — but really, if the no-huddle gets the Seahawks offense in rhythm on a more consistent basis, it makes sense to do it more frequently, right?
3. Even a gimpy Jimmy Graham can be an effective weapon
Tight end Jimmy Graham missed two days of practice this week with an ankle issue, but managed to play against the Titans.
He made an impact. Graham looked dominant on his 26-yard reception in the third quarter, shedding an attempted tackle by Derrick Morgan, powering up field and making another defender miss before finally getting brought down at the Tennessee 11-yard line.
Graham’s catch set up Chris Carson’s 10-yard touchdown reception.
Graham also had a scoring opportunity in the second quarter that he might have capitalized on if he hadn’t been nursing an ankle injury. Wilson tried to hit him on a fade route into the end zone, but Graham couldn’t quite get up for the ball. He then came up with some big catches in the fourth quarter after Baldwin left the game with a groin injury.
After catching three balls for eight yards against Green Bay, and being held to just one reception for a yard against San Francisco, Graham had his best game of the season, finishing with seven receptions for 72 yards.