The Seahawks played a good Bengals team on Sunday and lost a close one in overtime. This game left a bitter taste in the mouths of Seahawk fans for so many reasons. For starters, the Seahawks blew a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter, but what was more frustrating was that the team seemed to really overcome a lot of the challenges they were experiencing the past few games, only to have the game slip away from them in the end.
Ultimately, the Seahawks were out-coached.
The offensive line as a whole played it's best game of the season. It wasn't exactly a championship caliber performance, but there was clear improvement. They paved the way for Seattle to rush for 200 yards on a Bengals defense that only gives up an average of 85.8 yards per game.
A huge reason they were so successful on the ground was due to the hard running style of undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls, who started in place of the hamstring-plagued Marshawn Lynch. Rawls compiled a league high 169 yards rushing capped off by a 69-yard rushing touchdown.
The defense struggled early but found their footing eventually. They netted their first interception of
the season when Earl Thomas stepped in front of a potential touchdown pass. They kept the Bengals run game in check most of the game while accumulating 3 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.
They played well, just not well enough, and I place the bulk of the blame for that upon the coaching staff.
Every coach has a vision for their team's identity. Pete Carroll has been extremely forthcoming with his vision. He's even broke it down into consumable buzz words. This is a physical, run-first team that wants to pound the ball at you offensively while breaking your will defensively.
So, what happens when inevitable change strikes your team? What do you do when your run-first team loses it's star running back for a stretch of games? What if your secondary is so thin, you're not able to be as physically menacing as you would like? What if you can't do the things you want to do to maintain your identity on a consistent basis?
You have two choices, really. Adapt or die.
If Pete Carroll is comfortable risking this season on maintaining their identity over adapting to their roster's greatest strengths-- we're in deep trouble as Seahawks fans. The Seahawks need to accept some hard truths and adapt their identity if the have any hopes at all of catching Arizona and winning this division. So far, Kam or no Kam, this team has not won a road game yet this season and they're not far from playing themselves out of any chance at a home playoff game.
Darrell Bevell needs to show me and everyone else what makes him qualified to be an NFL offensive coordinator and play caller. Throughout his career he has shown us nothing that indicates he possess any sort of unique or special skill set.
He was the quarterbacks coach for the Packers when they had both Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. He then went to Minnesota when they had Favre, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin before coming here to Seattle. Everywhere this man has gone, he's been surrounded by phenomenal talent and at best achieved minor success.
I fail to see any positive attributes this guy brings to the table. The play calling on offense from the 3rd quarter on in that game seemed like he was doing everything in his power to keep the Bengals in that game.
The Seahawks return to Seattle this weekend to face a Panthers team who they've beaten 3 years running. Still, the Panthers are hot right now and the Seahawks have identity issues. Seattle must find a way to get to 3-3 next week to keep this season from getting away from them.