The stench from that stinker might still be pungent, but overall, the Seahawks season still smells rosy. 

The loss to the Buccaneers in Munich might feel like a body blow, but Seattle’s body of work has it in an enviable position. 

At some point, you figured this team was going to put up a dud — that it would underwhelm and stir fear that a regression to preseason expectations was imminent. But the reality is that the Seahawks are 6-4, on top of the NFC West and will play five of their remaining seven games at home. Ask a fan or a player or a coach if they would take that deal before the season began, and they’d be foolish to say anything but “yes.” 

Obviously, there were some concerns that arose out of that 21-16 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Perhaps chief among them was Seattle’s inability to stop the Bucs’ running attack, which entered the game as the worst in the NFL. This has been an area in which the Seahawks’ “D” has excelled in recent weeks, as a defensive turnaround prompted a four-game winning streak that shot Seattle to the top of the division and captured the NFL’s attention. 

But for Tampa (5-5) to grind out 161 yards on the ground — which was more than 2.5 times its average output for the season? For the Seahawks to allow anybody but the best quarterback of all time in Tom Brady to beat them? It was reminiscent of the September/early-October Seahawks, who sported the worst defense in the league and had fans thinking more about draft picks than playoff seeds. 

“We have not been like that for a while,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the loss. “It feels like a real opportunity missed.” 

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But there is still plenty of opportunity for success — more than fans could have hoped for in what most outside the organization (probably a whole lot within it) thought would be a rebuilding year. Of course, one of the primary reasons it doesn’t feel like a rebuild right now is because of the play of quarterback Geno Smith — who’s now the sportsbooks favorite to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

The 32-year-old holds the second-best passer rating in the NFL at 108 — a stat actually boosted by the 115.1 rating he produced Sunday when going 23 of 33 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. But stat lines can be deceiving at times. Anybody watching Smith for those first three quarters saw a signal caller who looked more like a seven-year backup — off target and flustered, particularly by his third-quarter red-zone fumble that gave the Bucs the ball back as Seattle trailed 14-3.

That felt like the ballgame right there, and the final score would suggest it was the difference-maker. But Smith was still able to lead two touchdown drives in the fourth, further proving that it’s difficult to keep him rattled for long. 

Seahawks fans should still leave the game feeling like they have a QB who can lead them to the postseason — and perhaps a win or two in that postseason. 

“That second half, to me, is an example of truly who we are,” Smith said. “I don’t think that first half really is who we are. We couldn’t get anything going. But we really fought back in the second half. That’s a team [Tampa Bay] that won a Super Bowl two years ago.” 

It’s also a team that is 5-5 currently, but the point is received. Seattle outplayed a quality opponent in the second half when it easily could have headed into bye-week vacation mode before the third quarter began. 

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Then, of course, there was the Seahawks’ running game — where rookie sensation Kenneth Walker III tallied just 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. Before Sunday, Walker had gained 106 rushing yards per contest in his four games as Seattle’s starting running back. And that came after he produced 88 yards and eight carries vs. the Saints in the game that previous starter Rashaad Penny suffered a season-ending ankle injury. 

The thing about Walker, though, is that he isn’t a bruiser — he’s the type of back who will have six 1-yard carries before ripping one off for 40. That long scamper never came Sunday, and if teams can figure out how to consistently prevent that, Seattle is in trouble. But this feels more like one poor game for Walker than it does the beginning of a trend. 

The Seahawks schedule isn’t easy from here on in but could probably be described as favorable. They have games with the 2-7 Raiders and 3-7 Panthers at home, as well as Lumen Field battles with the 5-4 49ers and 6-3 Jets. They travel to Kansas City to play the 7-2 Chiefs, and have a home and away vs. the 3-6 Rams, who are struggling but remain the Super Bowl champions. Lots of work to do, but lots of doable work. 

The Seahawks are in a good spot. Regretful as they might be after Sunday’s performance, optimism should rule the days throughout this week off.