RENTON, Wash. (AP) — In the last three games, the Seattle Seahawks have scored 103 points.
And they have lost twice.
The reason? A defense that is broken. Unable to stop the race. Unable to stop big plays. And until that changes, no matter how many points Geno Smith and Seattle’s offense scores, it may not be enough.
“I would have thought it would be enough points to win all those games,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Carroll was left searching for answers after Sunday’s 39-32 loss to New Orleans, where the Seahawks simply got run over. Seattle allowed 235 rushing yards, including 112 yards to Taysom Hill and 103 yards to Alvin Kamara.
It was a sobering defensive effort, and for the fourth week in a row, Seattle couldn’t stop their opponent’s running game.
Not surprisingly, the Seahawks have lost three of those four games.
Carroll said the problems against New Orleans were due in part to Hill and his versatility in shooting or running. But that doesn’t explain the problems of the previous weeks and the inability to stop San Francisco, Atlanta or Detroit.
“I think we’re going to get better at this as we go along,” Carroll said.
Seattle did better, otherwise one of the big storylines that unfolds early in the season will be overshadowed.
Smith could be the favorite for player of the year return a quarter of the season. He again played exquisitely against the Saints, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns, though Seattle continues to have second-half inconsistencies on the offensive end.
But the inadequacy of the defense thus far is slowly taking Smith away from the spotlight he deserves and making his performance something of a footnote.
WHAT IS WORKING
Big plays continue to be a key part of Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks had four touchdowns of 35 yards or more against the Saints and have eight offensive touchdowns of 25 yards or more in five games. Last season, the Seahawks had 14 offensive touchdowns of 25 or more yards in 17 games.
“It’s a very fast-progressing group and I hope we can continue to make the plays and make the explosions, get the field position in order and all that kind of stuff,” Carroll said. “He’s a pretty exciting part of our team.”
WHO NEED HELP
How bad is Seattle’s run defense? Look at it in the context of Carroll’s tenure and it begins to stand out. Seattle has allowed four consecutive opponents to rush for at least 145 yards. There are only two seasons with Carroll in charge in which Seattle has had more games in which opponents have rushed for more than 145 yards. And in those seasons, 2019 and 2018, the longest streak of consecutive games was three. Until Seattle figures out a way to stop the streak, it won’t have a winning formula.
Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III is about to see if he can handle the featured role in Seattle’s backfield. Walker showed some of the flash that made him a second-round pick out of Seattle with his 69-yard touchdown run against the Saints. What remains unproven, at least at this level, is whether Walker can handle the load of 15 to 20 carries per game. That’s about to be tested with Rashaad Penny in the offseason after suffering a fractured fibula in his lower left leg that will require surgery.
DECREASE IN STOCKS
It would be easy to pick just anyone on Seattle’s defense, but DK Metcalf falls into this category even though he had five receptions for 88 yards and a 50-yard touchdown. But it was two mistakes by Metcalf that proved costly. Metcalf dropped an accurate shot from Smith in the back of the end zone in the first half that would have tied Seattle at 17-17. The biggest mistake came on the first play of the second half when Metcalf fumbled. New Orleans scored on turnover and never trailed again.
Penny’s was the most shocking injury and continues a long and frustrating injury history for the 2018 first-round pick. Penny rushed for 151 yards a week ago against Detroit and was on his way to a good day against the Saints when he was shot down from behind and suffered another season-ending injury. Seattle claimed RB Tony Jones from New Orleans waivers to add depth, as backup Travis Homer is on injured reserve with a rib injury.
1 — Seattle went 1-for-9 on third down against the Saints after going 9-for-12 a week earlier against the Lions. The Seahawks began the week as the second best team in the league in third downs and converted 55.3% of their attempts.
Seattle plays its only home game in a span of four weeks, hosting division rival Arizona on Sunday.
The Seahawks have lost two of their last three at home against the Cardinals.
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