3 Seahawks most to blame for Week 14 loss vs. Panthers


3 Seahawks most to blame for Week 14 loss vs. Panthers

The Seattle Seahawks found themselves with a great opportunity to reestablish themselves as a contender for the top spot in the NFC West in Week 14. Not only did they have a favorable matchup on their hands against the Carolina Panthers, but the San Francisco 49ers, the team ahead of them in the NFC West standings, were being forced to roll with their third-string quarterback in Brock Purdy.
Instead, everything fell apart for the Seahawks. They fell behind early against the Panthers and were never able to recover, eventually losing by a score of 30-24. On the other hand, the 49ers looked fantastic with Purdy under center, and added to their lead atop the division after thrashing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This was about as bad as things could have gone for the Seahawks, and it looks like their only path to playoffs now is going to be through a wild card spot. With this very disappointing loss in the books, let’s pick out the three Seahawks that are most to blame for this crushing loss at the hands of the Panthers.
3. Travis Homer

The Seahawks were forced to turn over the lead running back role to Travis Homer with both Kenneth Walker III and DeeJay Dallas out for this game, and it’s fair to wonder whether Seattle would have won this game if either of those guys were active. Homer didn’t have a favorable game script, but he didn’t exactly impress when he was given the ball in this game.

Homer picked up just 26 yards on nine carries in this one, while also making a minimal contribution in the passing attack by hauling in just two passes for eight yards. Seattle has gotten such good production from Walker and Dallas that it made Homer stepping up vital, but he simply failed to do so in this one.

The hope is that either Walker or Dallas will be able to suit up moving forward, because Homer proved in this one that he is not cut out for the responsibility of being a lead running back. Seattle falling behind early certainly didn’t help, but Homer did not do the offense any favors in this game.
2. The Seahawks run defense

Seattle played right into Carolina’s hands in this one by allowing them to jump out to a 17-0 lead. The Panthers are at their best when they are able to build up an early lead and run the game out, and that’s exactly what they did here. And ultimately, the Seahawks run defense will have to shoulder some of the blame that comes with getting dominated on the ground like they did in this one.

All in all, the Panthers ran 45 times for 223 yards and two touchdowns, good for a robust 4.8 yards per carry. The Seahawks front seven had no answers for Carolina on the ground, and that allowed the Panthers to dominate the time of possession in this game (39:16 to 20:44) and prevent the Seahawks from coming back in this game.

Part of this is the offense’s fault for simply being unable to put together long drives, but the Seahawks front seven couldn’t slow down the Panthers on the ground despite the fact that Sam Darnold only threw for 120 yards in this game. It’s tough to include them here, but this was not a good outing for Seattle’s run defense.
1. Geno Smith

Geno Smith has played a huge role in the Seahawks resurgence this season, but this was not his best outing. Smith played a huge role in putting Seattle in a huge hole early, and while he had some bright moments in this game, he could not dig himself and his team out of that hole, and it ultimately resulted in suffering a big loss to the Panthers.

Smith’s final line isn’t horrible (21/36, 264 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT) but he struggled to string together long drives, and his two interceptions led to ten points for Carolina. If you take away the final drive of the game for Seattle, in which the Panthers defense virtually stopped playing, Smith would have only thrown for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

The offense’s inability to get off the ground put the Seahawks in a 17-0 hole they couldn’t find their way out of. Smith did a good job to make this game competitive, but Seattle was never able to get over that final hump. And ultimately, that falls on Smith’s shoulders, and while he has been a revelation for the Seahawks this season, he’s going to have to be a lot better moving forward if Seattle intends on finding their way into the playoffs.

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