By Brady Henderson
The latest road game ended with a familiar outcome for the Seahawks.
But unlike previous close losses in which Seattle's offense failed to make enough plays down the stretch to win, Sunday's 28-24 defeat in Detroit can be pinned squarely on the shoulders of a defense that had previously been the Seahawks' strength.
"The defensive guys knew that the game was on them and they took it and were readily held accountable for it. They understand that," coach Pete Carroll told "Brock and Salk" on Monday.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions were 12 of 16 on third down and scored three touchdowns in such situations. (AP photo)
Seattle's passing game, a glaring weakness all season, found some life in Detroit as Russell Wilson threw for 236 yards, his second-highest output of the season. Receivers didn't drop the ball the way they did against San Francisco. The Seahawks rushed for 133 yards, 77 of which came on a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run.
The Seahawks were penalized just four times and their special teams were strong as usual.
But an inability to get off the field on defense was costly. The Lions converted 12 of 16 third-down opportunities, three of them coming during their game-winning drive. Three of Detroit's four touchdowns came on third down, including the winning score with 20 seconds remaining.
"It really is the focal point because we really didn't break down anywhere else," Carroll said. "We really had a very solid football game and played well enough in all areas to get ourselves a win, and they just continued to covert."
The Seahawks led 17-7 in the second quarter and were one third-and-11 stop away from getting the ball back, but a lapse in the secondary allowed Titus Young to get behind Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor for a 46-yard touchdown that cut Seattle's lead to three.
"We had a real breakdown on the bomb. Richard and Kam just – they kind of thought that the play was going to go somewhere else and all the sudden they relax for a second and the guy keeps running, Titus gets behind them and [Stafford] throws a strike," Carroll said.
"That was a real big bust for us. That doesn't happen. That just doesn't happen to us. Unfortunately, it did right there."
It's fair to wonder how much the absence of Jason Jones hurt the Seahawks, particularly on that play. Jones, the defensive lineman Seattle signed to improve its pass rush in nickel situations, was sidelined due to an ankle injury.
The Seahawks sacked Stafford twice but often allowed him too much time to find an open receiver, a problem that has plagued them in previous games. When they brought extra pressure, Carroll said, defenders sometimes disguised blitzes for too long and didn't get to Stafford in time.
"They took advantage of that," Carroll said.