The Seattle Seahawks faced a lot of questions in Cincinnati, along with a revitalized Bengals offense. Was the resurgent pass rush legitimate? Could a banged-up secondary back up DK Metcalf's claim of superiority? Most of all, could the offense convert on third down? We got all those answers and more. For Pete's Sake, one of those was not the answer the 12 wanted.
For those of you who subscribe to the tl;dr lifestyle, the answers are: sort of, yes, and no. The Seahawks got quite a mixed bag in Sunday's loss to the Bengals. The defense definitely showed up, especially in the second half of the game. The offense piled up the yards, outgaining the Bengals by nearly 170 yards. The Seahawks had 24 first downs compared to the Bengals 15 and controlled the ball eight minutes longer than the home team. Easy win, right?
Sadly, no; it was neither easy nor a win. The glaring issue that faces this Seattle team week after week struck again in Sunday's loss. At times, it seems that this offense couldn't convert a third down if you gave it to them via penalty. Seatle converted just five of 12 chances against Cincinnati, which is sadly an improvement on their performance coming into this game. Add in their O-for-two record on fourth down, and you have the reason for the day's 13-17 loss.
The Seattle Seahawks have to start converting on third down
Let's rip off the bandaid and talk about the bad stuff first. That means it's time to talk about the Seahawks and their third-down performance. After four games, the Hawks were an abysmal 13 of 45 on third-down conversions. That's a success rate of just 29 percent. After today's loss, Seattle is 18 of 57 on third down. So, yay, their success rate skyrocketed to nearly 32 percent. Unfortunately, the Hawks were donut for two on fourth down versus the Bengals. That not only dropped them from 50 percent for the season to 33 percent but was a huge factor in their loss to the defending AFC North champs.
We can't gloss over the team's performance in the red zone, either. After week four, the Seahawks had scored on 10 of their 17 trips to the red zone. Sure, it would be nice if more of them were touchdowns, but coming away with points matters. Against the Bengals, the Hawks were just one of five in the red zone. None of those were on a missed field goal, either, so that's all on the offense. This team simply has to improve on third down. It's a testament to their big play ability that they've won three games despite ranking 31st in third-down conversions. And, they have to get it going again in the red zone.