The Seattle Seahawks came out with a reason to fight for Sunday's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons at Lumen Field.
But even though fiery motivation carried over after an embarrassing 27-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, the team - especially the defense - still has a lot to clean up after falling for a second-straight week, as Atlanta prevailed 27-23.
Coach Pete Carroll recognizes the weaknesses Seattle's defense has shown through three weeks. And at age 71, he doesn't have time to wait around for results.
"It's newness," Carroll said of the defensive shortcomings. "We have to clean things up and progress faster. There's no time. We have to get better now."
The Seahawks still managed to get two takeaways but were bludgeoned with big plays and a handful of chunk-yardage sequences.
Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota, who went 13 of 20 passing for 229 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, had 11 of his 13 completions result in gains of 10 yards or more. Six of these went for at least 20 yards.
Atlanta's offense also only faced third down seven times the whole game, as the Falcons were moving the ball quite well for a team that is still relatively unfamiliar with itself.
Carroll will still give credit where credit is due, but even one solid play by the offense means there's something the defense could've done better.
"Mariota made a couple of good throws for them," he said. "The big one was the third down and 19 that we gave it to them. That was a gimme, and so there's a couple of things in there that we can clean up, and sometimes they're going to make a play on you."
The Seahawks' next opportunity to show any sign of growth on defense will come in Week 4 when the team makes the trip to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions, a young and talented team that boasts dangerous weapons like receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and running back D'Andre Swift. Seattle is clearly susceptible to the big play, and both of these guys are home-run hitters.
Carroll can only do so much from now until then.
"We just need to get better," Carroll said. "We can see it. We know the answers. We can give them answers to the test, but we have to execute better."
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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