Pete Carroll did not blame the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to 21-16 on their long trip to Munich. They were as slow as possible early on, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a 14-0 halftime advantage.
He also didn’t blame the turf, noting that they weren’t alone in having difficulty finding their feet on the Allianz Arena’s slick surface.
The Seahawks’ worst performance in Week 2 in Santa Clara could be explained by their loss to the greatest quarterback ever and a team that is better than Tampa Bay’s record of 4-5 entering the game.
Whatever the reason, the Seahawks (4-4) played too well during their four-game winning streak across the Atlantic. They are now at the brink of bursting their bubble, particularly after their second-half rally. The way they played the majority of the NFL’s game in Germany was at least somewhat troubling, given the similarities it bore to their struggles on both ends of the ball during their 1-2 start.
Carroll said to reporters, “We discussed how important it was to realize that our team was right back in the game and that we weren’t out of it.” We didn’t think that, and we didn’t show it. This mentality will help us finish the season strong and make this an exceptional year. That’s what we believe. They did a better job than us on this night.”
The story ended with Seattle scoring just one of nine on offense, and the Bucs converting on 10 of their 15 opportunities for a 66.6% success ratio that almost doubled their average going into Sunday.
The Seahawks admitted that they underestimated Tampa Bay’s running ability. They were last in the NFL in yards allowed per game (67.7) and attempts per attempt (2.98). The defensive strategy of Seattle was to collapse the pocket and then drop into coverage to stop Brady or the Bucs’ pass-catchers. They made Bryan Mone, the run-stuffing defensive tackle, a healthy scratch to make room for Myles Adams who is a better interior rusher.
Mone could have been used by the Seahawks as Tampa Bay’s backs ran for nearly twice the amount of rushing attempts before Sunday. ESPN Stats & Information reports that the Bucs ran according to design on 57% (excluding kneel downs) of their plays, which is the highest rate by a Brady team since 2018. Carroll was especially proud of how they iced it on the ground using their four-minute offense. This prevented Geno Smith and Seattle from getting the ball back.
Carroll stated, “It is really disappointing.” “They haven’t been running the ball very consistent, so we came into the game hoping to just be able keep it under wraps, and be able deploy for the throwing games. They did better than we expected. They ran the ball for the entire fourth quarter. That is what kills me.
The game plan that was designed to stop Brady failed, too.
Cody Barton’s leaping intercept in the fourth quarter was exactly what the Seahawks had in mind when they decided not to blitz as often and instead kept seven defenders in coverage. However, that strategy produced only one official QB hit. NFL Next Gen Stats shows that Brady was able to throw for 2.78 seconds, which is his best performance since Week 4. The Seahawks defense looked less like the unit that was thriving over the past four games, with Brady posting his highest Total QBR, completion rate, and yards-per-attempt.
Their other defensive highlight was Tariq Woolen’s third quarter interception on Brady’s halfback pass. Tampa Bay had an opportunity to reduce their lead to four when the Seahawks drove deep into Tampa Bay territory on Smith’s next possession. However, he was unable to catch a QB draw and lost a field goal.
Smith had already won the game for the Seahawks.
Smith completed his line of efficiency (23 of 33 yards for 275 yards) and threw two touchdown passes to Tyler Lockett & Marquise Goodwin. According to Next Gen Stats, Smith’s on-the-run pass to Goodwin in the end zone had a completion chance of only 24.4%. Smith has now completed six touchdown passes this season with a completion probability below 25%, while only two other quarterbacks have more.
Smith was also the Seahawks’ leader in rushing, with 22 yards. This is five more than Kenneth Walker III who ran for 10 carries. His mixed bag of a game included only one completion on five third down throws, and the defining fumble.
Smith has been playing at a Pro Bowl level this year thanks to his excellent decision-making and talent. However, this was Smith’s second consecutive game where he made a costly error. He was unable to lead the Seahawks to three consecutive touchdown drives, and win over the Arizona Cardinals, unlike last week when he threw a pick-6, this time they were too far from the finish line.
He said, “Obviously I have to protect the football.” “That cannot happen. Guy made a great move as I was going down. But if I don’t make that turn in the red zone it’s a different game.
There is a silver lining: the Seahawks remain at the top of the NFC West with a half game lead over the 5-4 San Francisco 49ers. There are some tough matchups remaining, including one with the Chiefs in Kansas City on Christmas Eve. However, five of their seven remaining games will be played at home.
The 12-hour journey from Seattle to Seattle by the Seahawks might seem longer after this loss.
Al Woods, defensive tackle, said that he believes this experience will humble him and help him get back to basics so he can start over.