The prospects of a third consecutive Super Bowl run for the Seattle Seahawks are looking a little dicey after a disappointing 27-24 loss in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals. Although the Seahawks are only five games into their 2015 campaign, having just two wins against three losses, and a winless record on the road thus far does not inspire confidence.
With 6:41 left in the third quarter, the Seahawks appeared to have taken control of the game as Bobby Wagner took a fumble recovery from the Bengals 23-yard-line into the end zone for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead. As noted by ESPN, Seattle has struggled putting teams away so far this season, as they ultimately lost the game against the Bengals after a similarly close call last week against the Lions.
“It’s the second week in a row that the Seahawks have struggled to hold on to a big lead. Against the Detroit Lions on Monday night, they were one yard away from a potential loss, but Kam Chancellor forced a Calvin Johnson fumble.”
One reason for optimism among Seahawks fans was a dazzling performance from undrafted rookie running back Thomas Rawls from Central Michigan University. The unheralded back had 23 carries for 169 yards and a touchdown in a career-best performance. Filling the considerably large shoes of injured back Marshawn Lynch is a big concern for the Seattle Seahawks, as local sportswriters such as Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times have recently speculated that perhaps Lynch is on the decline as he approaches 30-years-old.
Despite the heroics of Rawls, the Seahawks were done in by an extremely strong fourth quarter performance by veteran Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Entering the fourth quarter facing a 17 point deficit, Dalton threw for one touchdown, ran for another, and then marched the Bengals 69 yards down the field on a seven-play drive that resulted in a game-tying, 31-yard Mike Nugent field goal to end regulation.
In overtime, the Seattle Seahawks’ offense couldn’t get in gear, gaining just 18 yards on six plays on their first drive, and going three-and-out on their second. Worse yet, the second drive went the wrong direction as the Seahawks went minus-six yards in three plays after a Gerry Gilliam penalty on first down for clipping. The ensuing punt was returned 19 yards by Adam “Pacman” Jones of the Bengals, giving them favorable field position to open up what was ultimately the game-winning drive.
The Seahawks defense faced a steady diet of runs from Giovani Bernard on the final drive, and ultimately could only watch as Mike Nugent came back onto the field to kick a game-winning, 42-yard field goal that had a noticeable assist from the left upright as it caromed in for the win.
Seattle will need to get past any lingering disappointment over the loss quickly as they return home next weekend to face the Carolina Panthers, who are undefeated in their first four games and have the luxury of an extra week to prepare for the Seahawks as they were on their bye week this weekend. According to a recent blog post on ESPN, the Panthers’ star quarterback Cam Newton planned on spending his weekend relaxing and recovering while the Seahawks traveled across the country to ultimately lose in overtime.
“(F)or the next couple of days, Newton wants to relax, eat pizza, drink Kool-Aid ‘with a little pineapple juice in it’ and do other things he might resist during a game week. He wants to heal the aches and pains of the first four games.”
[Image Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport]