On Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks were once again defeated at home by the San Francisco 49ers. It was their fourth loss in their last five games. With the loss, Seattle has lost their playoff spot and is now a game behind the Commanders and Giants with three games left to play. It puts the Seahawks in do-or-die mode, with probably their toughest opponent of the year next week against the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s time to take a dive into what exactly has turned Seattle from a 6-3 football team to a 7-7 team so quickly.
What was quite apparent in their game Thursday night was their inability to win at the line of scrimmage. This was also present against Carolina, and it showed once again against a much more talented 49ers team. The offensive line had their hands full all night, with Nick Bosa and Terron Armstead both applying massive pressure each and every snap. Left tackle Charles Cross struggled mightily against Bosa, and given he is a rookie, it was a tough task to give in the first place. However, Seattle had to have had a game plan in order to limit what Bosa would be able to attack throughout the game. The Seahawks struggled to run the football once again, even with rookie Kenneth Walker III back from injury. When Seattle cannot run the football, their passing game becomes much weaker, as teams such as the 49ers know that their defensive line can create enough pressure to get to Geno Smith with just their front four linemen. This allows them to put more men in coverage which makes it more difficult to find an open man. The Seahawks have had difficulty finding a solution to this problem, and it’s led to them being on the outside looking in terms of the playoffs.
Defensively, Seattle also has struggled on the line of scrimmage. Opposing teams run at will against them, with teams averaging 161 yards rushing per game. This is obviously not a recipe for success, and the Seahawks continue to have no answer. This was also apparent Thursday night, as San Francisco ran for 170 yards, and it opened up the rest of their playbook to throw two touchdown passes to tight end George Kittle. Another significant issue with Seattle’s defense is their difficulty to put pressure on the quarterback. Brock Purdy had all day to throw Thursday night, and when a rookie quarterback is starting his first road game, pressure is what makes rookies struggle in most cases. That was not the case last night, as Purdy was sacked just once. The Seahawks have to find a way to get to the QB, whether it be blitz schemes or personnel changes. Expect them to draft a top interior defensive lineman or edge rusher in this year’s draft in order to fix this problem long-term.
The road to the playoffs doesn’t get any easier for Seattle. The Chiefs are an offensive powerhouse, with great schemes and an all-time great quarterback. Their defense has holes, but their team usually controls the time of possession, which allows for a few mistakes. In order to snag back a Wild Card spot, Seattle will have to win out and hope that some other teams lose. The Seahawks need to regroup and take the long week to flush the past few games and get creative. Changes will have to be made in order to save their season.