The Seattle Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals in a tough 17-10 defensive showdown. It was a rough outing for Seattle's offense, which somehow couldn't find a way to turn four interceptions by the defense into a win for the Seahawks.
With the loss, the Seahawks failed to clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs. Seattle now must win next week against the Rams to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Can't change today...only Tomorrow. #GoHawks— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) December 23, 2013
Here are eight takeaways from today's loss:
All stats are taken from NFL.com.
This has been an alarming trend for Seattle for much of the last two seasons. The Seahawks simply aren't good on offense early in games. This was especially true in this game. The Seahawks had plenty of chances and simply didn't take advantage of any of them.
Wilson first completion at 4:33 of 1Q.— Art Thiel (@Art_Thiel) December 22, 2013
This was an uncharacteristically poor game for Seattle's quarterback. Russell Wilson was off-target on a number of passes and made some poor decisions. In the first half alone, there were three drives that ended when Wilson decided not to take the easy first down and elected instead to try for a low-percentage big play.
Seattle's offense doesn't have the talent to overcome a poor showing from its quarterback. The Seahawks need Wilson to play well and carry this offense like he has for much of the past two seasons.
Easily Russell Wilson's worst game of the season for Seattle. Not making great decisions, hesitant at times, accuracy a bit off...— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) December 22, 2013
Cornerback Richard Sherman had two more interceptions this week. That's two in each of the team's last two games. Sherman now has eight on the season, matching his total from a year ago. Opposing QBs haven't seemed to figure out that throwing in Sherman's direction is never a good idea.
DPOY award keeps moving from one part of Seattle's secondary to another.— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) December 22, 2013
The Seahawks installed running back Robert Turbin as the team's kick returner because of ball security. Forget that he isn't a threat to make anyone miss and that he averages just 21 yards per kick return. Ball security was the reason given by head coach Pete Carroll that Turbin was back there on kickoffs.
Turbin fumbled the ball twice on three returns in this game, though one was fortunately overturned by instant replay. Turbin simply has no business returning kicks, and the ball security excuse no longer applies.
Turbin has been returning instead of Kearse because of "ball security" per Carroll.— Liz Mathews 710 ESPN (@Liz_Mathews) December 22, 2013
It was a great story. Dominant play and world-record breaking crowd noise leading to a 14-0 at home record over the last two seasons. It was a great story.
The Seahawks aren't invincible at home. They can be defeated in Seattle if they play poorly. It is time for everyone to move past that story and recognize that playing at CenturyLink doesn't guarantee a win.
Seattle's defense played well enough to win. In fact, they played well enough to win in a blowout. The Seahawks lost because their offense couldn't do anything productive.
The Seahawks managed just 10 first downs and converted on just two out of 13 third downs. Add in a lack of big plays and a missed field goal, and it becomes a recipe for scoring just 10 points. It doesn't matter how well the defense plays, they aren't going to win many football games with that type of execution by the offense.
The Seahawks must get this figured out, and quickly, or their season won't be ending in New York in February like they want it to.
One hundred and two yards. That's how many yards the Seahawks gave up on penalties. That's more than the length of the field. The Seahawks also gave the Cardinals six first downs on penalties.
Seattle's penalty problems are entirely unacceptable. Pete Carroll and the fans of the team can continue to make excuses, but this is a real problem.
With an awful loss in this game, the Seahawks now must win next week. A loss to the Rams in Week 17, and the Seahawks could drop to being the fifth seed in the playoffs. That means no first-round bye and no home playoff games.
If the Seahawks can win against the Rams, then they will clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. That means no game in the Wild Card Round and no games on the road until the Super Bowl.
Next week's game will now define Seattle's regular season for 2013. It has become a must-win on many different levels for the Seahawks.