The Seattle Seahawks' defense struggled once again in Week 17. The team allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to gain 6.6 yards per play while the Steelers' two running backs averaged nearly 5 yards a carry. Seattle missed a massive amount of tackles and got gashed for nearly the entire game. Seattle simply seemed incapable of stopping what for most of the year has been an anemic Pittsburgh offense.
The loss puts Seattle at 8-8 and needing a victory in Week 18 to have any chance of making the playoffs. But Seattle has to travel to play the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona scored 35 points against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and Arizona ran for 221 yards and had 449 yards against the Eagles. Why would 12s expect a better showing by the Seahawks defense in Week 18?
In the post-game press conference following Seattle's loss to the Steelers, quarterback Geno Smith said out loud what many 12s are thinking. Smith was asked about how the last two games have gone and how Seattle has been outpaced in time of possession - the Steelers held the ball for 37:33 to 22:27 for Seattle - and Smith answered by saying the Tennessee Titans and Steelers were simply playing "keep away."
Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith says the bad part out loud
Smith is not the kind of player to call out anyone or his team overall and he would never mean to be so harsh, but even though his intention was not to disparage his team's defense, he was also not wrong in his implication. Teams are able to play "keep away" from the Seahawks, and the Seattle offense has limited opportunities to score because the Seattle defense cannot stop teams from running the ball and picking up third downs.
Pittsburgh converted 6 of 13 third down attempts and 2 of 3 fourth down attempts. For much of the game, the Steelers were averaging nearly 7 yards a rush. Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph completed 15 of his final 17 passes. The defense lost the game for Seattle and will keep the Seahawks from making the postseason.
Seattle allows opposing offenses to play keep away. The same issues also stay from season to season. The only way to change the problem might be to make some coaching changes.