A sampling of what the national media are saying after the Seahawks blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and fell to the Bengals, 27-24, in overtime.
It looked like the Seahawks were well on their way to a season-defining win on Sunday in Cincinnati.
Instead, we’re sitting here on Monday wondering if Seattle’s collapse is going to define the season in a different way.
Pete Carroll, for one, was left baffled by the Seahawks, who let a 24-7 lead entering the fourth quarter turn into a 27-24 overtime loss.
The offense, which had gotten a fantastic game from Thomas Rawls, went south for the final six possessions. The defense got its first interception and even scored a touchdown on a fumble return thanks to Bobby Wagner, but then couldn’t stop the Bengals in the fourth quarter.
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As Larry Stone pointed out, it was the fifth time in the last seven games going back to the NFC Championship Game that the Seahawks have blown a fourth-quarter lead. As he also said, Sunday’s game was a particularly painful variation on an increasingly troubling theme.
The national media appeared to take a similar view of Sunday’s game, which also vaulted the Bengals to a 5-0 start.
MMQB’s Peter King thought this was the type of game the Bengals would not have won in recent years. He also offered Seahawks fans a glimmer of hope:
No quarterback’s getting beat up like Russell Wilson. No coincidence Seattle is 2-3 … lots of reasons why, really, including the leaky and green offensive line. But the Seahawks are still very much alive, despite the fact Wilson has been sacked an NFL-high 22 times.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated had plenty of praise for the emboldened Bengals, but also had this to say about the Seahawks:
I imagine Pete Carroll realizes nothing is going to come easily in Seattle this season. His Super Bowl-bound Seahawks lost three regular-season games in 2013 and four in 2014, but they’re already 2–3 and now have to stomach the fact that the team’s vaunted defense surrendered 20 points to Cincinnati from the start of the fourth quarter on. That after Seattle’s defense had limited the Bears and Lions to just one field goal combined the past two weeks, a run coinciding with the return of holdout safety Kam Chancellor.
Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar came away questioning the Seahawks’ playoff worthiness:
There was enough about the Seahawks’ playcalling and execution to make many wonder if the two-time defending NFC champs are even in playoff form this season. The team’s continued and baffling underuse of Jimmy Graham continued—Graham caught just three passes for 30 yards on five targets—and there were coverage breakdowns all over the place.
Grantland’s Bill Barnwell took a deeper look at why Seattle’s offense was inept late, and he thinks it had something to do with the Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap:
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell seemed to come in for specific criticism about his game plan, with Seattle fans feeling like the Seahawks hadn’t done enough to try to add to their lead, a sore spot given that the Seahawks nearly blew a narrow lead against the Lions last week and couldn’t hold a 10-point lead while going scoreless in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. I’m not so sure.
Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com said the Seahawks need to figure out a way to close games. Quickly:
Sunday’s loss was a wasted opportunity. The Seahawks had a chance to return home with a 3-2 record and an impressive victory on the road. Instead, the team has serious questions to answer as it prepares for a matchup with the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner blog sounded as baffled as Carroll:
The Seahawks are a surprisingly meek 2-3 coming off an NFC championship last season. They barely beat the Lions at home last Monday, getting a fortunate non-call at the end to win. Then they blew a huge lead against the Bengals. Who are these guys? There are a lot of issues with the Seahawks that will be scrutinized all week as we try to get a read on if Seattle can realistically bounce back this season.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com said the margin of error is only getting thinner for the Seahawks, and he also had some criticism of Russell Wilson:
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks‘ passing game went absent after halftime. The Seahawks had only three first downs in their final six drives, including two chances in overtime. Wilson deserves some of the blame. He made a clearly poor decision to run to end one overtime drive, and often held the ball too long. The Seahawks‘ offensive line played much better overall.
For Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals’ win had lots of It Factor for the home team:
Sunday’s 27-24 overtime decision over the Seattle Seahawks was one for the It Factor. It might not have been perfect with shutdown defense or, for most of three quarters, the sort of brilliant offensive belligerence to which we’d become accustomed. It was fat with intangibles, though. It overflowed with the It Factor. Karma of the good sort. On Sunday, the Bengals showed they have It, however you’d like it interpreted. This was a special win, with a chance to be defining.