The Seattle Seahawks let this 34-28 game against the Indianapolis Colts slip away in the fourth quarter. This was a frustrating game in many ways for Seattle, but there were still some positives for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks finally jumped out with a quick start for the first time this season but couldn't sustain that level of energy throughout the game. Seattle now needs to find a way to finally put four quarters of good football together in one game.
The Seahawks also managed to avoid adding to their mounting injury problems. Pete Carroll said after the game that the team suffered no major injuries, per Liz Mathews of 710 ESPN.
So rather than dwelling too much on the lost opportunities, here are the biggest takeaways from this frustrating loss for the Seahawks:
Not that there was ever any true expectation that they would do so, but the Seahawks now cannot go undefeated this season.
Every team gets tripped up as some point. The Seahawks ran into the wrong team at the wrong time. It happens, and this isn't cause for panic.
Looks like we won't be going undefeated 12s but we will bounce back and clean up the mistakes.... See y'all at the Link #GoHawks— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 6, 2013
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson set a franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 102 yards on just 13 carries. His ability to move the football when everything else broke down was a large part of Seattle's offensive success in this game.
More importantly, though, was Wilson's ability to avoid many of the hits he's been taking in recent weeks. By not sitting in the pocket and waiting to get crushed by poorly blocked defensive linemen, Wilson actually decreased his chance of getting injured by deciding to run in this game.
Late in the game, when the Seahawks needed a defensive stop, they just couldn't get one. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was able to find open receivers on almost every pass play.
Seattle's vaunted secondary just couldn't seem to cover the Indianapolis receivers. Even All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman struggled.
Given the history of these players over the past couple seasons, the Seahawks don't need to be worried. The Seahawks just need make sure that this is the one-time occurrence that it appears to be.
The Seahawks work hard on their special teams play, and for the most part the results have demonstrated that. Their punt returns, punts inside the 20 and kickoff coverage units are all among the best in the NFL.
The problem is that when things go wrong, they go catastrophically wrong. The Seahawks had already given up a blocked punt and a partially blocked punt this season. Today they had a FG blocked that was returned for a touchdown.
The Seahawks must find a way to fix these mistakes. This one turned out to be very costly today.
For all the yards and points put up by the Seahawks, they still struggled on third down. Their inability to sustain drives and keep their defense on the sidelines is ultimately what cost Seattle this game.
They simply gave Luck too many chances, and he eventually capitalized on them.
Difference in the game... Indianapolis 7 of 12 on third down. Seattle 2 of 12.— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) October 6, 2013
Related to that last slide is Seattle's inability to find the end zone. The Seahawks moved the ball well for much of the game but couldn't turn that success into touchdowns.
By settling for field goals far too often, the Seahawks let the game stay close enough that Indianapolis was able to eventually come back and win.
Telling stat: The @seahawks were at or inside the Indy 30 seven times and got two TDs (4 FGs).— Dave Boling (@DaveBoling) October 6, 2013
The Seattle receivers have been struggling to get open. Wilson's 102 yards rushing says quite clearly that when he looked downfield, there weren't a lot of options to throw the football to.
Sidney Rice hasn't been the same thus far in 2013. He finished this game with one reception for just eight yards. He, Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse have all struggled to get separation from defenders, though Kearse has shown that he can simply outjump defenders to the ball at times.
The Seahawks need Percy Harvin to get healthy, and soon.
The Seahawks have played three of their five games on the road, and all three have been played at 1 p.m. ET. They've also played three-of-five against playoff teams from a season ago and four-of-five that were in the top eight in the league in defense coming into this week.
They've also been playing without three starters on the offensive line and without the best wide receiver on the roster.
Yet despite all that, this team is still 4-1 and in first place in its division.
While the players, coaches and fans are all frustrated with this loss, it is important to keep the rest of the season in perspective. This team is still in first place and will begin getting healthy on offense over the next couple weeks.