Seahawks defense hopes to find old mojo against Broncos
As the Seahawks defenders prepare to face Denver in a Super Bowl rematch, last year’s game isn’t the focus. They’re more worried about what happened in Sunday’s loss at San Diego and how to fix it.
/ Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON – Seahawks defenders say they are eager to get reacquainted with a certain NFL team Sunday. But it’s not the Denver Broncos, who come to CenturyLink Field for a 1:25 p.m. rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Instead, the team the Seahawks really want to see again Sunday is the Seahawks themselves.
That group that got beat 30-21 by the San Diego Chargers last Sunday? That one, they say, is one they didn’t really recognize and hope to never cross paths with again.
“There was a lot of stuff that happened last Sunday you haven’t seen in a long time,’’ said linebacker K.J. Wright. “A guy catching three touchdowns on us (San Diego tight end Antonio Gates), that’s something you probably won’t see for a very, very long time.’’
Or as safety Earl Thomas put it Thursday: “That game was so weird. It was different. It just felt funny out there.’’
It looked even more curious when Thomas reviewed it on tape.
The game was played in mid-90s heat, with 33 percent humidity, and Thomas was one of three players who left for a time with cramps.
But it wasn’t just the heat. Thomas said he was just out of sorts the whole day.
“Even in my body language when I watch myself on film,’’ he said. “I have no regrets from the game. But one thing I can say is just my technique and my posture wasn’t like aggressive. And I just think that’s part of my mindset that I need to turn on.”
Thomas said the rare defeat led to something of a revelation as he left San Diego.
“I think I definitely got my championship spirit back after that loss,” he said. “My crave, my hunger and my desire to be unstoppable is back. I didn’t think I lost it, but after that game I was like, ‘Dang, something just hit me,’ and I’ve just been focused ever since and it feels so good just to be feeling like this.”
Certainly, something was missing for Seattle’s defense against the Chargers they need to rediscover.
What the team needs to stop missing, though, is tackles.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said Thursday he counted 12 missed tackles, which he said was as much to blame for the loss as anything.
San Diego’s offense is predicated on a short passing game and making yards after the catch. Seattle’s defense, meanwhile, is designed in a manner in which the Seahawks often concede short passes, counting on being sure tacklers and keeping gains minimal. Sunday, though, the Seahawks didn’t do their part. They would also say they missed too many tackles in the opener against Green Bay.
“For us to have that many was uncomfortable for us, for sure,” Quinn said.
Denver runs a similar offense, so Quinn says limiting yards after the catch “will be a real factor again this week, too.”
The missed tackles helped lead to another dastardly stat — San Diego converting 10 of 17 third-down attempts. Seattle, in fact, ranks last in the NFL having allowed opponents to convert 16 of 29 third-down attempts, 55 percent.
Another number that gnaws at Seattle is that the Seahawks have forced just one turnover, an interception against Green Bay.
“It really started with the tackling and not getting the ball out,” Quinn said.
San Diego, though, also pulled out a few tricks. Thomas noted that the Chargers tried a play in the third quarter — a fake bubble screen that was instead a pass to the backside post — that had worked against the Seahawks in a 30-28 divisional playoff loss to Atlanta in January 2013. The pass Sunday was incomplete. But Thomas said it shows the lengths to which opponents are going to try to find ways to beat the Seattle defense.
“We’ve got to be prepared for everything that we’ve messed up on since we’ve been part of the Legion of Boom,” Thomas said.
Thomas vows the Seahawks will be.
“We are ready to play right now,’’ he said. “I love when we have something to prove.’’
Seattle hadn’t allowed 30 points in a game since that playoff loss to Atlanta and allowed as many as three touchdown passes only once in 2013.
The loss at San Diego, Wright said, left everyone feeling “miserable and upset.”
“Guys are really on it because we don’t want that feeling we felt Sunday and Monday,’’ Wright said. “No one wants to feel like that again.’’