Takeaways from Seahawks 33-27 loss to Titans

Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titans

Sunday's 33-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans was a very odd contest.

It featured neither team being on the field for the national anthem as a statement of protest, a first half where the offense couldn't do anything and the defense was dominant, and a second half where the inverse was true.

Penalties were also flying left and right as the Seahawks were assessed 11 penalties for 98 yards and called for several more.

The Seahawks have not been playing very visually appealing football in the first few weeks of the year. It also hasn't been very effective football at times.

With that in mind, here are four takeaways from the Seahawks 33-27 loss to the Titans:

1. Russell Wilson is missing too many throws.

While Wilson's numbers looked quite strong at the end of the day, it was some of his missed opportunities in the first half that leave the strongest impression.

Wilson has missed several throws through the first three weeks of the season and his consistent miss tends to currently be high of his target.

Wilson finished the game with a career-high 373 yards, four touchdowns and a 110.3 passer rating, but he was just 7 of 16 for 110 yards with a touchdown in the first half. The final drive of the half produced 82 of those yards on 3 of 5 completions before a 4-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin got Seattle on the board.  

Seattle's offense isn't good enough right now to get by without Wilson playing at a peak level. The offensive line gave Wilson plenty of time to throw on Sunday. Sure, they allowed some pressures and one sack. That isn't going to change. But Wilson frequently had a pocket to work from and still misfired on throws to his targets.

It's not that Wilson has to be perfect, but he can't miss as many opportunities as he did in the first half against Tennessee.

He was, obviously, much more productive in the second half. He was 22 of 33 for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. 

2. Might be time to start worrying about the run defense.

It was an extremely hot day and the Seahawks had to defend 35 rush attempts by the Titans offense. However, that can't full explain away the team's difficulties in slowing down the Tennessee ground game.

After Carlos Hyde sprung free for 61-yard and 27-yard runs last week for the 49ers, the Titans gashed Seattle for 195 yards on the day. DeMarco Murray's 75-yard touchdown romp in the third quarter was the longest rushing touchdown allowed by a Seattle defense in the Pete Carroll era. Andre Ellington had a 48-yard touchdown for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, which was the previous mark.

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, and Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware of the Kansas City Chiefs had some success on the ground against Seattle in the preseason as well.

Seattle was beat on the perimeter by the Titans, which is an extreme rarity for the Seahawks.

It's just the third time in the Carroll era that the Seahawks have allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to an opposing running back. Zac Stacy of the St. Louis Rams (134) and Mike James of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (158) did so in Week 8-9 of the 2013 season. David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals (113) and Tim Hightower of the New Orleans Saints (102) did so in Week 7-8 last year, and now Hyde and Murray with their showings the last two weeks.

3. Richard Sherman has to get himself under control.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was called for three penalties - including an unsportsmanlike conduct - on the same play in the first quarter.

Sherman was called for a defensive pass interference for contacting receiver Eric Decker on an interception by Kam Chancellor. On the return, Sherman was flagged for a holding penalty as well.

Sherman then took exception to both penalties, removed his helmet and was extremely animated in expressing his displeasure to the officials. He then followed the officials around for some time after the play trying to get an explanation for the calls and was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties result in an automatic ejection from the game. After a hit on the sidelines on Marcus Mariota in the second quarter, a scuffle broke out on the sidelines as Titans' players came to defend their quarterback. Tackle Taylor Lewan immediately got in Sherman's face and four personal foul penalties were assessed on the play, including one against Sherman.

Sherman said after the game that he didn't believe he'd committed the penalties and was asking the referee for an explanation as to what he allegedly did wrong to deserve the flag. He also said Mariota told him "good hit" after the play, seemingly acknowledging that it was a clean play.

Regardless, Sherman came mighty close to being thrown out of the game. While an unnecessary roughness is not an ejectable offense, the continued questioning of the officials in the first quarter could have led to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

When combined with his pair of outbursts last year against defensive coordinator Kris Richard and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Sherman is putting his team in bad situations. It didn't come back to hurt them against the Titans as Sherman wasn't ejected and remained in the game. But it wouldn't have taken much more for the opposite to be true.

Sherman allowed just one catch to Eric Decker for 17 yards in the game. They need him on the field. They came extremely close to losing that on Sunday.

4. Seahawks, Titans remain in locker room for national anthem.

After the comments from President Donald Trump on Friday night at a campaign rally in Alabama, the players from both the Seahawks and Titans elected to remain in the locker room for the national anthem on Sunday afternoon.

Trump said that the NFL should fire the "sons of b-----es" that sit or kneel for the national anthem. The players instead decided amongst themselves not to be on the sidelines for the anthem at all on Sunday in response to Trump's inflammatory remarks. The comments have received sizable rebuke from the NFL itself, most NFL teams and dozens of players across the league as protests reached their highest level yet.

"As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work toward equality and justice for all.

"Respectfully, The Players of the Seattle Seahawks"

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been sitting for the anthem all season. He elected to remain in the locker room as well after discussions among the players decided on that course of action.

The Titans followed suit as well.

"As a team, we wanted to be unified in our actions today," the team said in a statement. "The players jointly decided this was the best course of action. Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be construed as unpatriotic."


Photo Credit: NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Running Back Demarco Murray #29 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks at Nissan Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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