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Monday, December 9, 2013
Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 14

By Terry Blount

A review of four hot issues from the Seattle Seahawks' 19-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers:

Penalties a problem: The Seahawks have said all year the only way they can lose is if they beat themselves. It’s true, and their Achilles' heel all season has been penalties. Seattle is one of the most penalized teams in the NFL, partially because of their physical and aggressive style of play. But the Seahawks also take way too many careless penalties. Most of the time they are good enough to overcome them, but not on the road against a good team like the 49ers. Seattle had nine penalties for 85 yards, and several of them killed big plays for the offense or kept drives alive for San Francisco. It’s the one weak area of the team that has to improve.

Unleash the Beast: Marshawn Lynch now has gone three consecutive games without topping 100 yards rushing. He ran for 72 yards on 20 carries Sunday, giving him 171 yards rushing on 53 carries in the last three outings for an average of 3.2 per carry. Those are not Beast Mode numbers. His 11-yard touchdown run was the only rushing first down the Seahawks had Sunday, although a penalty nixed one 15-yard run. Defenses are keying on Lynch, but Seattle still needs to win the line of scrimmage and overpower teams up front

Wright hurt: Outside linebacker K.J. Wright suffered a broken foot in the first half and may be out for the rest of the season. Coach Pete Carroll said he thought it was at least a six-week recovery time, which might mean he could return for the Super Bowl if Seattle makes it. But the Seahawks will have to make a decision whether they want to carry Wright on the active roster with the hope of getting him back, or go ahead and place him on injured reserve, which would end his season. Malcolm Smith will move into the starting lineup for Wright. Smith is a solid contributor who has started four games this year and has played in all 13.

Sherman, Thomas, where are you? Free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman are the leaders of the Seattle defense and two of the best defensive backs in the league, but neither man has an interception in the last five games after picking off four each in the first eight games. The Seahawks rely on these guys to come up with big plays. They need to step up in the last three games of the regular season.