Sunday’s 37-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens is almost as bad as it could have been for the Seattle Seahawks. No, that isn’t hyperbole, as this 34-point defeat ties a 41-7 beatdown in 2010 as the second worst defeat(s) Seattle has suffered in the Pete Carroll era.
When a team has a calamitous failure like this, it’s hard to narrow the reasons why to any one aspect, but a few certainly stand out more than others. In this week’s takeaways list, there’s plenty to mention. Unfortunately, there won’t be a ton of positive notes for me to choose from.
Simply put, the Seahawks were soundly humiliated. I could leave it there, and many might prefer it left that way. But for a little more digging, here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s disasterclass.
Seahawks fail the midterm test
The major talking point during the week was how the Ravens were going to be the biggest test the Seahawks have faced so far this year. Since it’s Week 9, which is the midway(ish) point in a 17-game season, it seems fair to call this Seattle’s midterm exam in the class of “Top NFL Contenders.”
Just like millions of college kids every year, the Seahawks got a regrettable dose of reality with a flunked midterm. By moving into first place in the NFC West, Seattle made the case they deserved to be talked about as one of the better teams in the league. But Sunday showed there’s still a sizable gap between the Seahawks and the upper echelon of NFL.
The good news is it’s just a midterm. Plenty of students get the wakeup call and hit the books harder. Seattle will have to do the equivalent on the football field. It’s possible, but it won’t be easy. This is the kind of loss that sticks in people’s minds when thinking about true contenders.
Has the clock struck midnight for Geno Smith?
Halloween has come and gone, but Geno Smith might be turning back into a pumpkin. The Seahawks quarterback shocked the world last year with his strong Pro Bowl caliber campaign and winning Comeback Player of the Year honors. However, Smith could be coming back down to Earth.
Ever since his magnificent performance in Week 2 against the Lions, Smith has looked rather pedestrian at best. At worst, he’s looking like a shell of himself. Right now, Smith is in the midst of a four-game funk, as Seattle has gone 2-2 during this stretch. Against the Ravens, Smith completed 13-of-28 passes for 157 yards and an interception, as well as a fumble. In fairness to Smith, the offensive line has collapsed, allowing four sacks.
Still, turnovers have become a major issue for Smith, who is giving the ball away like its candy to Trick-or-Treaters (ok, I’m done with the Halloween references). In his last four games, Smith has turned the ball over seven total times – six of which have been interceptions.
Run defense completely folded
The Ravens made the 2023 Seahawks look like the 2022 version, at least when it comes to defending the run. Seattle had improved mightily in this department, but after allowing 155 yards to Cleveland in Week 8, we all saw signs of potential cracks in the armor. The Seahawks attempted to improve this by acquiring defensive lineman Leonard Williams.
Well, the team certainly didn’t see a return on investment in his first game. Not his fault, as the entire defense had absolutely no answers for Baltimore’s ground attack. The Ravens rushed for an astonishing 298 yards – 138 coming from Keaton Mitchell.
The only reason Baltimore did not finish with 300 or more rushing yards was because backup quarterback Tyler Huntley took two kneel downs at Seattle’s goal line to end the game – the only possession in the second half the Ravens did not score on.
Seattle's ground attack was stuck in the mud
While Baltimore was running up and down the field at will, like someone playing a game of Madden on the rookie setting, the Seahawks couldn’t get anything going themselves. Seattle as a team 28 rushing yards on 15 total carries as a team. Kenneth Walker III “led” the way with 16 yards on nine carries.
The heart and soul of this Seahawks offense is their ability to run the ball well. Baltimore shut them down completely, and it spelled disaster for Seattle.
Third down is STILL a major problem
At this point, this is just going to be a regular spot on the “Takeaways” articles. A weekly check-in to see how bad things continue to be for the Seahawks offense on third down. I wrote in Saturday’s prediction article about how Seattle could be doomed if they are unable to extend drives, stay on the field, and win time of possession against a Ravens team that excels at all three. I was proven right to a catastrophic degree.
The Seahawks were 1-for-12 on third down, 0-1 in the red zone, and 0-1 on fourth down. Such failures on critical downs also led to Seattle losing time of possession 40:04 to 19:56. Being incapable of sustaining drives not only limits opportunities offensively, but keeps your defense on the field far longer than they should ever have to be.
If the Seahawks want to take the next leap, they need to find a way to fix this offense, and they need to do it fast.