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Cowboys vs. Seahawks: Seattle falls to division rival on Thanksgiving

The Seahawks will be entering Thursday night coming off of two straight losses.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

49ers vs. Seahawks score, takeaways: Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel feast on Seattle’s defense in blowout - Bryan DeArdo, CBS Sports

The ‘Hawks couldn’t handle the high-powered 49ers offense.

Seattle had a brief comeback that was spearheaded by linebacker Jordyn Brook’s pick-six, which was the only touchdown scored by either team in the third quarter — and the Seahawks’ only touchdown of the game. But the 49ers put the contest on ice on Brandon Aiyuk’s 28-yard touchdown catch midway through the fourth quarter.

San Francisco’s defense dominated a Seattle offense that was missing running back Kenneth Walker III. The unit made life tough on Geno Smith, sacking him six times and holding him to just 180 yards through the air.

Why the Seahawks lost

With Walker out, and with Smith playing with an injury, Seattle needed to get some help from its special teams and defense. They got that help on Dee Eskridge’s 65-yard kickoff return following Samuel’s touchdown and on Brook’s pick-six in early in the third quarter. But the Seahawks still lost because their offense didn’t carry their weight.

Walker’s absence led to the Seahawks’ offense being one-dimensional for most of the night. Seattle started to pick up some momentum at the end of the first half when they went to an up-tempo offense. It continued in the second half as Smith began to complete some chunk plays downfield.

But it was too little, too late as the 49ers defense — knowing a pass was coming — was able to tee off on Smith while not giving him time to complete downfield passes on weighty downs.

Devon Witherspoon echoes Richard Sherman on defensive mentality - Tim Weaver, USA Today

The Seahawks’ rookie DB didn’t mince words after Thanksgiving defeat.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll didn’t have any answers on Thursday night when he was asked how his team can close the gap with the 49ers. His rookie cornerback offered a colorful anecdote that might provide at least the right philosophy to bounce back.

Devon Witherspoon is not only one of the game’s best cornerbacks, he is one of the few athletes around the NFL who isn’t afraid to say something interesting. After the game, when Witherspoon was asked about another slow start for his team, he replied with an answer that reminded Doug Farrar of something he heard from Richard Sherman back in 2015. Specifically, the Seahawks need to drop their nuts.

Perhaps allowing Witherspoon and the rest of Seattle’s talented defense to try playing some man coverage would inspire a little more nut-dropping. In any case, Pete Carroll has to learn that his soft zones won’t work when he’s not getting any pressure up front.

One could also apply Spoon’s message to the personnel department, where the Seahawks are still vastly outmatched in the trenches compared to the 49ers and the Eagles – the exact teams they’ll need to get past if they’re going to return to the Super Bowl anytime soon.

More than anything else that’ll mean upgrading on both sides of the line of scrimmage this offseason…

Pete Carroll Confident Seahawks Will Respond “At A Crucial Point” In Season - John Boyle, Seahawks.com

HC Pete Carroll maintains belief in his team as December football nears.

For Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, there was no sense in hiding from what happened on Thursday night in a 31-13 loss to the 49ers.

The defeat was Seattle’s second in a row and third in four games, leaving the Seahawks with a 6-5 record heading into their Week 13 game in Dallas.

“I’m concerned about everything we’re doing right now,” Carroll said. “That night last night will make you challenge everything. There’s questions to be asked and answers to be found. That’s where we are right now.

With six games left in the season, including three straight against three of the NFC’s top teams, Dallas, San Francisco and Philadelphia, this closing stretch to the season is, as Carroll put it on Thursday “playoff time every week” given both the stakes and the caliber of opponent.

“We’re at a crucial point,” he said. “It’s crucial that we make sure we’re together. This is a really challenging stretch coming. They’re always hard, but we’ve got to get our minds right and make sure we’re focusing on doing the right thing and executing and playing ball really hard with great effort and intensity and all the kind of stuff that we’d like to build this team around.”

But while nobody is happy with how the team has played in recent losses, Carroll does still have full belief that the Seahawks have what it takes to get back on track.

“I know these guys,” he said. “I totally know these guys and trust these guys. I know where their heart is and the voice in the locker room, the voice of the leadership with these guys; they’ll hang tough. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy to turn something around, it’s hard. It’ll be good for us, it’ll make us better.”

Reality quickly sets in for the Seahawks - Mike Florio, NBC Sports

The Seahawks begin a critical NFC gauntlet with a loss.

The 2023 Seahawks were like a kid who was learning to ride a bike and it wasn’t quite clear whether they’d pedal through it or fall off.

Based on the last five days — and the next three games — it looks like they’re about to land in the shrubs.

They’ve gone from 6-3 to 6-5 since Sunday, losing to the Rams on a missed field goal and to the 49ers by 18. Next Thursday night, the Seahawks face the Cowboys in Dallas. Then, it’s the 49ers in San Francisco. After that, it’s the Eagles.

A great start to the season, which saw the Seahawks catch the 49ers atop the NFC West, is yielding to the reality that Seattle just can’t compete with the elite teams in the NFC. If they lose the next three and drop to 6-8, they might not even make it to the postseason at all.

That doesn’t mean they’re done. But it’s currently trending in that direction. They’ll need to win at least one of the next three to have a shot at a wild-card berth. It won’t be easy, especially since they’d lose the tiebreaker with the Rams, who swept the Seahawks this season.

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