Here are five thoughts on the Seahawks after reviewing Sunday's game against the Bengals and looked at the numbers, which are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.
1. Russell Wilson went 15-for-23 for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 21 yards. Those aren't bad numbers, but the truth is this was probably his worst game of the season. The Seahawks were 5-for-13 on third down, and head coach Pete Carroll pointed out that Wilson missed some opportunities.
"He had a couple of opportunities that we’re kicking ourselves over down the stretch on some third downs, a couple third downs that we could have won," Carroll said. "And we just didn’t execute as cleanly as we needed to. Missed a chance at Jimmy [Graham] on a crucial third-and-8, and missed Doug [Baldwin] on one. He just missed a couple of them. He’d been pretty good earlier, and a couple just got away from us."
On one third-and-2, Wilson had a clean pocket but started to take off, spun around and eventually threw the ball away. He had a deep-ball opportunity to Tyler Lockett in overtime, but Carroll pointed out that Baldwin, who was wide open on a crossing route, was the first read on the play. Wilson left the pocket early before throwing incomplete to Lockett, who had blown by the defense. Wilson averaged 2.96 seconds before passes, the longest time of any quarterback last week.
Again, this was far from a disastrous performance. And it's understandable that Wilson doesn't trust his protection, given how often he's been pressured this season. He's completing 70.7 percent of his passes on the season and is averaging 7.95 yards per attempt. But the bottom line is Wilson had opportunities to make plays and extend drives down the stretch Sunday and didn't capitalize.
"There were zones in the deep coverage didn’t get it done," Carroll said. "... His assignment was to go where he went."
The first touchdown seemed like a complete communication breakdown/coverage bust. Based on what Carroll said, Williams should have been covering the deep third and breaking on the seam. But he was up at the line of scrimmage. Williams did play the deep third on the second touchdown, but he couldn't get to Eifert in time. According to Carroll, Chancellor's job was not to carry the seam on either play.
With that in mind, this still wasn't his best game. The Bengals hit a 44-yard completion downfield on a vertical route between Chancellor and Richard Sherman. He got called for holding on a third down. He missed a couple tackles. And Chancellor gave up two completions of 25 yards down the stretch, although one was a beautiful pass and catch from Andy Dalton to Eifert.
3. When zeroing in on the run game, I came away more impressed with Thomas Rawls and less impressed with the blocking. Rawls demonstrated fantastic vision throughout, better speed than I thought he had and the ability to fight through contact. No one should crown him after five games, but Rawls looks like the real deal. What's interesting is that he only played 29 snaps and touched the ball on 23 of them. Carroll said the coaches didn't want to burden him with a major role in the passing game. That's something worth watching going forward. But I really liked the way he ran the ball.
4. For the most part, Dalton ate up Kris Richard's blitzes. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 112 yards against extra pressure. He was sacked three times and scrambled twice.
ESPN Stats & Information dug up some startling numbers on the Seahawks' defense as a whole. Opposing quarterbacks are 40-for-48 for 449 yards and three touchdowns against them in the fourth quarter. That's the highest opposing completion percentage (83.3 percent) in the league.
Seattle has also been vulnerable in the space between its linebackers and Earl Thomas. Opposing quarterbacks are 9-for-10 inside the numbers on throws 10-plus yards downfield. Last year, teams completed just 43.6 percent of their passes in that area. Clearly, they need to tighten up their coverage in that spot.
5. Leftovers: The play concept got Jermaine Kearse open on his 30-yard touchdown. Kearse didn't have to beat anyone one-on-one. Cincinnati's safety jumped an underneath route and left him all by himself in the end zone. ... Late in the first quarter, Dalton had Eifert down the seam on what looked like it could have been another TD, but he checked it down. ...The Thomas interception in the end zone came on one of the rare snaps when the Seahawks were playing with two deep safeties. Michael Bennett had a chance to take out Dalton or right tackle Andre Smith on the return. He chose Dalton. ...Lockett is getting open downfield even if the numbers don't reflect that.