Improved communication among OL one of several positives from loss to Bengals

It is hard to be optimistic a day after the Seahawks surrendered a 17 point fourth quarter lead on the road to the Cincinnati Bengals but there were significant silver linings to the dark clouds. Here are 10 Day-After takeaways - some positive and some negative - to keep in mind.

10.  Improved communication from Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offensive linemen helped Seattle pick up the Bengals blitzes throughout much of this game, contributing to the team surrendering "just" four sacks and Wilson completing several long downfield throws against man coverage. 

9. FOX color commentator Troy Aikman pointed out Kam Chancellor allowing Tyler Eifert to release into the end zone freely on the tight end's two touchdowns but in both cases it was clear Seattle's All-Pro strong safety was expecting help over the top. Give Andy Dalton credit for fitting passes in between Chancellor and the cavalry arriving late to pick up Eifert. 

8. Though he didn't come through with a flashy interception, Richard Sherman once again demonstrated his brilliant play, leaving his customary left corner role to shadow Bengals' superstar A.J. Green throughout much of the game. Few corners in the game - and none with Sherman's height - are asked to do this. 

7. Wilson made some spectacular decisions in this game but his forced throw into double-coverage on Jimmy Graham that was intercepted certainly stands out as a poor one. Wilson is generally one of the NFL's elite when it comes to minimizing red zone mistakes but not on this play, which resulted in Adam Jones' 13th career pick. The interception was particularly tough because it abruptly ended a seven play drive that was Seattle's first of the second half. 

6. Like in any game, there were some questionable calls from the referees in this contest, including on several pass interference penalties that stung the Seahawks. Not all of them went against the Seahawks, however. Bobby Wagner appeared to get away with hitting Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in the third quarter. It was the lack of a call on Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick who slammed into Tyler Lockett in overtime, however, that was particularly costly.  

5. What a terrific effort from Thomas Rawls on his 69-yard touchdown scamper... Rawls initially started to his right but showed vision, burst and determined, powerful running in cutting back to his left and taking advantage of a terrific seal block from left tackle Russell Okung and running block from wideout Jermaine Kearse. Bursting past Okung and winding behind Kearse, Rawls slithered his way to the left sideline, eventually shaking off Bengals' safety Reggie Nelson and keeping his feet to finish the run in the end zone, staking Seattle to a 17-7 third quarter lead. If you haven't heard Steve Raible's call of the play, you should. Rawls finished with 169 rushing yards on the day - more yardage than Marshawn Lynch has even run for while in a Seattle uniform. 

4. Newcomers Graham and Cary Williams haven't shown the same level of competitiveness as the players they've replaced. Wilson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell are often blamed when Graham doesn't get the ball but there were times Sunday in which he simply didn't have his head turned back toward his quarterback, forcing Wilson to look elsewhere. Williams, on the other hand, was victimized on several downfield completions by Dalton but it was the utter lack of effort to re-engage with Eifert after an initial missed tackle in the fourth quarter that was particularly disturbing. 

3. While the Seahawks' hearts may have been broken by the loss, no bones were. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill suffered a strained quadriceps and Wagner was limited by a strained pectoral muscle but the Seahawks were otherwise healthy.  

2. Don't look now but the Seahawks once again lead the NFL in rushing yards, averaging an impressive 142.4 yards per game. Carroll and Tom Cable have preached patience with Seattle's re-shuffled offensive line and Sunday provided evidence that the group is, indeed, improving. 

1. It is the nature of the business to want to blame someone for a loss as stinging as this one. Certainly some of the blame needs to be placed on the coaching staff as the aggression both Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard showed early in the game disappeared in the 4th quarter and overtime sessions, when the Seahawks earned just three first downs on six drives and hemorrhaged yardage on defense, allowing 230 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime sessions compared to just 225 over the first three quarters of play. In the Seahawks three road losses, dynamic play from the opponents' best players -- St. Louis Rams DT Aaron DonaldGreen Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Dalton -- simply took over the game. Carroll and Seattle's coaches need to do a better job of game-planning of minimizing the impact these stars had down the stretch. Forcing opponents to win with their secondary options rather than ride their stars has been a key element of Seattle's success to this point. 


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