Seahawks left searching for answers after another collapse
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Earl Thomas could not wait to get to his team meeting on Monday.
Players had to air out what has gone wrong with the Seattle Seahawks.
''We're not being (ourselves),'' Thomas said. ''I think we're distracted in some areas. I think today is a big day for us.''
All is not right with the two-time defending NFC champions. Their weeks are now being spent explaining what's gone wrong. That's the result of a 2-4 start that has featured two straight fourth-quarter collapses that simply have not happened in the past.
For a team with ''Finish'' as one of their mottos, the Seahawks are not living up to one of their core tenets.
And there's little time to get the problem fixed with a Thursday night game at San Francisco on the docket.
''Not finishing these last two games were really crucial. We've got to get better at the end,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday. ''The execution that got us in the lead and put us in position early in the game just needs to continue. We don't really need to do anything different. We need to continue the execution and not let it fall where they take advantage of the last quarter, which has happened.''
The latest collapse came Sunday when the Seahawks led 23-14 with less than 12 minutes remaining and walked out of their home stadium baffled by a 27-23 loss to the Panthers, punctuated by a miscommunication on Greg Olsen's winning 26-yard touchdown catch with 32 seconds left. Instead of staying with Olsen, All-Pros Thomas and Richard Sherman were caught playing two different coverages after getting mixed signals. The result was Olsen running uncovered.
''Our communication now is really at a high level, and unfortunately you can make a mistake, and we did,'' Carroll said. ''We let them down there before that all happened, and they already were in field goal range and all that. We hadn't done the right things earlier, but that was a big mistake.''
The collapse against Carolina might not sting as much if the same thing hadn't happened just a week earlier and on an even grander scale. The Seahawks led Cincinnati 24-7 in the fourth quarter, only to lose 27-24 in overtime. In all four of Seattle's losses this season, the Seahawks have led in the fourth quarter.
That fact has led to plenty of blame being placed on Seattle's defense for being unable to hold late leads. The Seahawks are 28th in the NFL in fourth-quarter points allowed with 55 and are a minus-28 in point differential. Since Week 1, the Seahawks are being outscored 48-9 in the fourth quarter.
But there is blame for Seattle's offense, too, for not being able to sustain drives late.
''Our third-down play is not good enough right now. We are not able to get that next turnaround, that next opportunity and we are missing out on a lot of really cool stuff that we have,'' Carroll said. ''We didn't run the football as much as we wanted to because we didn't convert enough.''
In the past two games, Seattle has five total first downs in the fourth quarter. Seattle was 1 of 4 on third downs in the fourth quarter against Carolina after going 1 of 5 in the fourth quarter and overtime of the loss to Cincinnati.
Combined with the defensive problems, it's a mix that has the Seahawks facing trouble they haven't experienced the past few seasons.
''These situations, they're not going to break us,'' Thomas said.
NOTES: Carroll is hopeful that LB Bobby Wagner (pectoral) will be able to play vs. San Francisco after sitting out Sunday's loss. ... C Patrick Lewis, who made his first start of the season on Sunday, suffered ankle and knee injuries and is in doubt for Thursday. ... T Garry Gilliam (ankle) and WR Tyler Lockett (hip) were also banged up against Carolina but Carroll had no update on their status for Thursday.
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