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Offensive Woes Persist As Seahawks Suffer Costly Defeat to Short-Handed Cardinals

Despite catching a few breaks with Arizona's top two weapons sidelined, Seattle failed to play with the desperation necessary to pick up a must-have NFC West win and its hopes of a playoff run have all but disintegrated in mid-November.

No Kyler Murray. No DeAndre Hopkins. With the Cardinals’ top two playmakers on offense sidelined, the Seahawks had the perfect opportunity to right the ship and get back in the win column playing in front of their own fans.

But as it turns out, football games still have to be played between the lines and if you didn’t know records before kickoff, Arizona would have looked like the team with a 3-6 record desperately needing a win. Even without Murray or Hopkins, led by the steady hand of backup Colt McCoy and a stingy defense, the visitors stormed in Lumen Field and all but put the nail in Seattle's playoff coffin by grinding out a physical 19-13 win.

Dropping to 3-7 on the season, here are five quick takeaways from the Seahawks latest embarrassing performance at Lumen Field:

1. Playoffs? Right now, Seattle's goal should be to avoid giving New York a top-five pick.

Before even diving into what transpired on the field on Sunday, any discussion about the Seahawks climbing back into the wild card discussion needs to be tabled. While not mathematically eliminated, several other teams battling for one of those three spots won this weekend, including the Vikings, who hold a tiebreaker against Pete Carroll's team. Four games under .500, the focus should be on simply trying to string together a couple wins in a row and avoid giving the Jets a top-five pick from the Jamal Adams trade.

The players can continue to talk about being confident in their chances of turning things around, but they haven't walked the walk. The reality is that the hole they have dug for themselves simply looks too deep to overcome with seven games remaining on the schedule and even if they get hot down the stretch, they'd need to probably win out to be a playoff team.

2. Russell Wilson might be healthy, but once again didn't look like it on Sunday.

When Wilson returned from injured reserve, everyone expected the Seahawks to be rejuvenated with the eight-time Pro Bowler back under center. But after being shut out for the first time in a decade in large part due to the quarterback's rustiness and poor decision making, he once again floundered playing against the NFL's fifth-ranked scoring defense. While he hit several of his patented deep balls to Tyler Lockett and finished with 8.8 yards per attempt as a result, he still completed only 14 out of 26 pass attempts for 207 yards, didn't throw a touchdown, and went 0-5 passing while also taking two sacks on third down.

There were a few flashes of the pre-injury sandlot ball by Wilson, including escaping the pocket to find Lockett downfield for a 36-yard completion in the second quarter. But overall, he wasn't near as sharp as he needed to be, missing several completable passes in the red zone that led to two promising drives ending in field goals. He also missed multiple check downs that could have helped prolong drives, an issue that has plagued him on-and-off during his career and been especially problematic in the past two weeks. Regardless of his health status, his comeback hasn't brought the offense to life as the organization prayed it would.

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3. Seattle found some success running the football, but still didn't generate the volume it wanted.

Right out of the gates, the Seahawks looked poised to take advantage of one of the NFL's worst run defenses when Rashaad Penny exploded through a crease for an 18-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. But Penny then promptly exited with a hamstring injury and didn't play again until the second half, a sign of things to come. Though they tried harder than last week's loss in Green Bay to get the ground game established, as the late Chester Bennington once sang for Linkin Park, in the end, it didn't even matter. Seattle still only ran the ball a grand total of 18 times, once again resulting from poor third down performance (2-10) limiting plays and possession time, holding the ball nearly 20 minutes less than Arizona. By the end of regulation, led by 36 yards from Alex Collins, the Seahawks averaged 4.5 yards per carry but finished with just 86 rushing yards for the game.

4. Winning in Seattle for the second time in two years, McCoy remains the Seahawks' backup kryptonite.

Last year, McCoy led the Giants to an unexpected win over the Seahawks in Week 13, but he was more of a caretaker under center than anything else. That wasn't the case on Sunday, however, as McCoy looked like the player with eight Pro Bowls on his resume rather than Wilson. Efficient and cool in the pocket under pressure, he excelled hitting check downs to running backs and tight ends but also made big throws downfield when he needed to, finishing with 35 completions on 44 attempts for 328 yards and a pair of first half touchdowns to tight end Zach Ertz. It was the first time he had eclipsed 300 passing yards since way back in 2014 when he was with the Washington Football Team.

Shockingly, McCoy almost looked like Murray during the final quarter running the ball as well, picking up quality yardage on a read-option keeper and a designed quarterback draw. His underrated mobility came in handy escaping the pocket during numerous instances throughout the game to extend plays and the Seahawks simply didn't make enough adjustments to keep him in check.

5. Ultimately, in large part due to self-inflicted wounds, Seattle's defense was once again done in by seeing too many snaps on the field.

Players won't use fatigue as an excuse and haven't throughout the season, but as has been the case most of the season, the Seahawks' defense battled their own issues getting stops on third down while constantly being thrown back out on the field due to the aforementioned inept offense that couldn't sustain drives. With McCoy playing with near-perfect accuracy and in rhythm, Arizona converted five out of seven third down attempts in the first half alone and also received a new set of downs via penalty on its opening possession in the red zone when cornerback Tre Brown was flagged for pass interference defending veteran receiver A.J. Green at the two-yard line.

In the second half, the Cardinals weren't as effective overall, converting on just two third downs out of seven. But one of those came at a crucial juncture in the game after the Seahawks scored their lone touchdown on a two-yard run by DeeJay Dallas, cutting the deficit to 16-13 with under eight minutes to play. Already in Seattle territory and facing 3rd and 7, McCoy found a wide open Ertz down the seam for a 20-yard gain. Four plays later after a Christian Kirk touchdown was overturned and called an incomplete pass, safety Jamal Adams then got too physical with Ertz on a 3rd and goal incompletion, giving the visitors a fresh set of downs at the goal line. James Conner promptly walked into the end zone from a yard out to seal the game.

On one hand, Seattle's defense didn't get much support for a second straight week and being on the field for nearly 40 minutes led to their late struggles. But on the other hand, the group had chances to make impact plays down the stretch to get the ball back to Wilson and company and didn't get the job done.