Yes, Seattle’s 33-27 loss to the Titans Sunday is on the D. It got embarrassed by an opponent that, if not for a couple non-play-affecting penalty flags, should have scored even more.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — They have a cornerback making $13 million this season, a defensive end making $11 million and a free safety making $10 million.
Their two best linebackers will clear a combined $14 million, and their recently-acquired defensive tackle will net $8 million.
The Seahawks spend more money on that side of the ball than any other team in the NFL. But on the day their offense finally found its footing, the defense came up bankrupt.
Yes, Seattle’s 33-27 loss to the Titans on Sunday is on the D. It got embarrassed by an opponent that, if not for a couple non-play-affecting penalty flags, should have scored even more.
And it wasn’t because Marcus Mariota was flinging heat-seeking passes into the hands of unguardable receivers. It was because the physically superior Seahawks were mentally outdueled.
“That was not like ourselves. That was definitely not Seahawks defense or up to what our standards are,” said defensive end Cliff Avril. “The cool thing is that it’s all self-inflicted stuff that we can fix.”
That might be “cool” in the sense that Seattle can shore up its shortcomings from Sunday’s defeat. But it’s not so cool that the unit this team relies on was the prime culprit in the loss.
We saw bad angles leading to big plays. We saw bad tackling leading to long scores. And we saw bad judgment leading to psychological fatigue.
That last one was what strong safety Kam Chancellor griped about after the game. He said that his teammates’ squabbling with the Titans wasted energy that the Seahawks needed.
There was Richard Sherman jawing with Taylor Lewan. There was Michael Bennett getting heated on the line. There was a sideline scuffle involving a couple dozen players after Sherman’s late hit on Mariota.
“Anytime you get into bickering it wastes energy,” Chancellor said. “It distracts us and makes us lose focus.”
DeMarco Murray’s 75-yard touchdown run was the longest allowed by the Seattle defense since Frank Gore had an 80-yarder against them in 2009. That was before Pete Carroll was hired in January 2010.
Perhaps that lack of focus explained how Tennessee managed an eight-play, 47-yard drive in the final minute of the first half to steal three points. Or how receiver Rishard Matthews took a screen pass 55 yards to the house in the third quarter. Or how DeMarco Murray scored on a 75-yard scamper six minutes later, marking the longest run the Seahawks have allowed since 2009.
“Just bad ball,” said linebacker K.J. Wright, who admitted to taking a bad angle on the Murray run. “Sometimes we make mistakes, but we get paid a lot of money not to make those mistakes.”
What was particularly disheartening about Seattle’s collapse in the second half — when the Titans scored 24 points — is that its offense had finally figured out how to produce. After being held to a combined 21 points in their first two games — not to mention seven points in the first half Sunday — the Seahawks suddenly looked unstoppable.
Russell Wilson was throwing pinpoint passes en route to racking up 373 yards and four TDs. He engineered a five-play touchdown drive in the first half in which the Hawks scored in 43 seconds. He engineered a seven-play touchdown drive in the second half in which they scored in 2:28.
|Defense vs. offense|
|Seattle offense finally came to life on Sunday, but the defense wilted in the Tennessee heat.|
|Game||Defensive yards allowed||Offensive yards by Seahawks|
|At Green Bay (L)||370||225|
|San Francisco (W)||248||312|
|At Tennessee (W)||420||433|
Sorry, but if you give 27 points to a defense that has won the points-allowed title four of the past five seasons, you’ve done your job. Unfortunately, the players tasked with slowing down the Titans didn’t do theirs.
Logic says that a unit with eight Pro Bowlers still in their primes will bounce back. When the Seahawks won the scoring defense title in 2015, they gave up at least 30 points in three different games. This stuff happens in the NFL, but that doesn’t make the performance Sunday any less disappointing.
Fans know all too well the impact one defeat can have on a team’s season. Had the Seahawks come away with an extra victory last year, they would have earned a first-round bye and hosted the divisional playoff game. But a couple slips cost them that luxury, and might have cost them another shot at a title.
Make no mistake: Sunday was a slip. Seattle’s defense is too talented to give up 420 total yards. It’s too stacked to allow 195 rushing yards — the most Seattle has surrendered in four years. It’s too well-compensated to let a game like Sunday’s slip away.
Clearly, the Seahawks made a choice to put most of their capital in the defense. And considering the defense was the principal player in their’ Super Bowl runs, that’s fine.
It’s just that, if the front office is going to show those guys the money, then those guys need to show up.
Bob Condotta and Matt Calkins break down the Seahawks’ loss