Takeaways from Seahawks 30-24 loss to Jaguars

posted by Curtis Crabtree - 

Seattle Seahawks v Jacksonville Jaguars

The Seahawks had their most impressive victory of the season last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles and perhaps their most damaging defeat this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Seattle lost their minds in the closing seconds, lost several key players to injury and lost their chance to take over first place in NFC West with a 30-24 loss to the Jaguars. Injuries and potential suspensions could leave the Seahawks incredibly short-handed for what amounts to a nearly must-win game next Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Seahawks managed zero sacks and just one quarterback hit on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Special teams had their issues as well with a 72-yard punt return allowed to Jaydon Mickens and Blair Walsh missing a 38-yard field goal try.

And Russell Wilson tossed three more interceptions on Sunday, which the team just can't survive given their current situation.

Add in injuries to Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mike Davis and the Seahawks didn't do enough to win the game.

With the result already decided, Michael Bennett and others decided to lose their minds and act like sore losers, which could hurt them significantly next week depending on how heavy-handed the league wants to treat their actions.

Here are five takeaways from the Seahawks loss to the Jaguars:

1. There's no place for any bit of the circus at the end of the game.

The Seahawks were beat on Sunday. The Jaguars outplayed them and earned the victory. What many Seattle defenders did in the closing seconds was completely uncalled for.

Defensive end Michael Bennett has previously been extremely critical of opponents for acts he felt tried to injure him. He blasted Atlanta Falcons tackle Jake Matthews last season when Matthews injured his knee with a legal cut block that caught him in a vulnerable position.

And yet, Bennett felt it was justifiable to lunge at Jaguars center Brandon Linder's legs on a kneel down play in a futile attempt to swat the ball from his grasp. He then hooked Linder's leg, took him to the ground while rolling up on the back of his legs and drove him into the turf.

The incident sparked a skirmish where Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch.

It's a completely hypocritical and an unsportsmanlike act from Bennett. The increased tensions led to Quinton Jefferson crashing the line of scrimmage on the following kneel down before another fight ensued and Jefferson was ejected. Jefferson then tried to go after fans in the stands after he had multiple objects throw at him while trying to leave the field. He had to be restrained by team equipment manager Erik Kennedy.

The fans were completely at fault as well for throwing stuff at Seattle players, but the situation never would have been possible if not for poor acts on the field first from Bennett and others.

The multiple displays of classless behavior could see multiple players suspended. Fines are a certainty as well. Carroll was even flagged for leaving the sidelines to enter the defensive huddle after the second kneel down went awry.

"I just tried to make a statement to our guys so we didn't finish with any more garbage happening out there," Carroll said.

Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots ended in similar fashion with Bruce Irvin being ejected following a fight on a kneel down after Russell Wilson's interception at the goal line. Jeremy Lane blasted Randall Cobb on a kneel down last year in Green Bay as well. Brushing it off as "just competing" is farcical.

There's no place for sour acts like Bennett put forth in the closing moments. And it could carry significant penalties into next week when Seattle faces a must-win game against the Los Angeles Rams.

2. Russell Wilson's turnovers are too much for the Seahawks to overcome.

As we've said over the last several weeks, the Seahawks don't have the margin for error needed anymore to survive careless turnovers from Russell Wilson.

Against good teams, any turnover from Wilson is a near death sentence for the Seahawks. Wilson had three turnovers on three interceptions Sunday in Jacksonville.

Wilson forced the ball downfield on all three occasions he was intercepted. A.J. Bouye intercepted Wilson twice with Jalen Ramsey picking him off once. While the last two interceptions both came on second-and-long situations, Wilson was taking shots deep down field against good zone coverage on a defense that has been the best in the league all season.

Wilson was magical in the fourth quarter yet again. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the final frame as Seattle desperately tried to rally from 17 points down. But this Seahawks team can't just wait around for the fourth quarter anymore. They can't give the ball away multiple times in a game and expect to survive the errors.

It's an extremely high standard to hold Wilson to right now. However, it's just reality that they no longer have that margin of error to work with.

3. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mike Davis injuries compound on an already depleted roster.

Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, and running back Mike Davis all left the game due to injuries and did not return.

Wagner aggravated a sore hamstring that has kept him from practicing much over the last several weeks.

Wright sustained a concussion in the third quarter and Davis injured his ribs, forcing him from the game.

For a team already decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the loss of Wagner and Wright were too much to overcome. Terence Garvin and D.J. Alexander had to replace Wagner and Wright on the field while Michael Wilhoite's workload increased significantly as well.

Seattle's defense had to finish the game without Wagner, Wright, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril. That's a significant group of players to not have at your disposal on one side of the football at this point in the season.

Wagner has been a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the wake of injuries to Sherman, Chancellor and Avril. He's been the glue that's been able to hold the defense together despite three major losses. If he was to miss any significant stretch of time, it might be the more than Seattle can cope with.

4. Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham miss opportunities on Seattle's final drive.

A drop from Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin stepping out of bounds short of a first down were the final pieces that cemented a Seahawks loss on Sunday.

Graham didn't record a single catch on the day. A.J. Bouye intercepted a pass intended for Graham in the third quarter and Graham dropped what should have been an easy completion to open Seattle's final drive. 

After the drop, Wilson hit Baldwin for a 9-yard gain only to have Baldwin step out of bounds to stop the clock a yard shy of a first down.

The Seahawks were already across midfield with Baldwin's completion and the clock stopped with 2:29 remaining. They also had two timeouts remaining so time wasn't exactly Seattle's biggest issue.

To segue back to last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Graham also went out of bounds a yard short of a first down early in the third quarter. Two failed plays later and Seattle appeared as though they were going to have to punt only to have a defensive penalty give the Seahawks a first down.

Yards matter. For a Seattle team that struggles to pick up one yard at times due to running game issues, missed opportunities to convert first downs can be haunting. Wilson was sacked on third-and-1 and his fourth down pass to Baldwin fell incomplete against an all-out blitz to end Seattle's chances.

Yes, the Jaguars could (should) have been called for defensive holding on Paul Richardson on the fourth down play, but Seattle can't pass up the chances they had to determine their own fate.

5. Looking for a positive from this loss? Seattle's offensive line was good.

It's been a punching bag for years now, but Seattle's offensive line is no longer a unit of futility.

Russell Wilson was sacked just twice by the NFL's top pass rushing unit and had clean pockets to work from most of the night. Additionally, rushing lanes were created for Mike Davis, J.D. McKissic and Wilson to lead Seattle to 141 rushing yards in the game. It was the team's third best rushing game of the season behind their performances against Indianapolis (194) and Washington (148).

Germain Ifedi continues to have penalty issues at right tackle. He was officially called for three penalties during the game, but he was also the player responsible for being off the line of scrimmage for an illegal formation penalty on Seattle's final drive. Two holdings and a taunting penalty against an official were the three official penalties, though only the taunting penalty was enforced for any yardage.

"He's got to clean it up," Carroll said. "The unsportsmanlike one is totally uncalled for. There's no place for that."

Ifedi has been called for a league-leading 17 penalties this season.

However, the play of the unit overall has improved dramatically since the addition of Duane Brown and the return of Luke Joeckel. Ethan Pocic is also providing really encouraging play at right guard as well.

The offensive line is no longer preventing the Seahawks from producing. Those faults were much more universal on Sunday in Jacksonville.


Photo Credit: JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10: Jaydon Mickens #85 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the football during the first half of their game against the Seattle Seahawks at EverBank Field on December 10, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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