Seattle defense struggles in season-ending loss to Packers

By Keith Jenkins, Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 12, 2020 at 8:23 p.m.


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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks were routinely Super Bowl contenders just a few years ago thanks in large part to their dominant defense.

That's no longer the case.

Seattle's defense bent and then broke Sunday, surrendering 344 total yards and committing costly penalties in a season-ending 28-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional round. It was yet another rough outing for a defensive unit that struggled to stop anyone all season.

The pieces that led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2014 and 2015 are mostly gone. Richard Sherman is with the 49ers, Earl Thomas is a member of the Ravens and Kam Chancellor is retired. Malcolm Smith, who was the Super Bowl MVP for the Seahawks in 2014, and Michael Bennett are both in Dallas.

K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner are still there. Wagner's 136 postseason tackles are the most in the NFL since 2012. Wagner led the league with 159 tackles this regular season. But Wagner and the Seattle defense haven't been the same without a shutdown secondary.

Davante Adams did whatever he wanted Sunday, torching the Seattle defense for a franchise playoff-record 160 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. Aaron Jones added two scores, including one with Jadeveon Clowney on the sideline with an injury to his midsection. The Seahawks did manage two sacks on Aaron Rodgers, who passed Dan Marino for eighth on the all-time list of career postseason passing yards, but failed to force a single turnover and couldn't get off the field when it needed to.

The Packers' offense, which struggled to find consistency all season, was 9 of 14 on third down and 3 for 3 in the red zone.

The Seahawks finished 2019 with the 26th-ranked defense in the NFL. Seattle had the 27th-ranked passing defense and was ranked 22nd against the run.

Seattle has now lost nine straight at Lambeau Field and is 1-9 all-time in the Packers' home stadium.

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Keith Jenkins

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