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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Just when it looked like the Seahawks were finding some momentum in the second half of their Week 14 game at Jacksonville, the Jaguars answered back emphatically with two quick scores. While the Seahawks showed fight in the fourth quarter, as they always do, the Jaguars’ big third-quarter was too much to overcome, and Seattle fell 30-24 at EverBank Field.
Here are five rapid reactions to the loss, which dropped Seattle’s record to 8-5:
1. Jacksonville’s Defense Made Life Hard On Russell Wilson, But As He Often Does, Wilson Responded.
The Jaguars have been the best defensive team in the NFL by nearly every measure this season, and they were as advertised for most of Sunday’s game, making things very difficult for the Seahawks, particularly in the first half.
The Seahawks took their shots against Jacksonville’s talented secondary, but three times the Jaguars intercepted Russell Wilson on deep passes. This game marked just the fourth time in Wilson’s six-year career, postseason included, that he has thrown three or more interceptions in a game.
Wilson did find some big plays in the passing game, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, a 61-yard touchdown to Paul Richardson and a 74-yarder to Tyler Lockett but Seattle’s comeback still fell short.
2. Wilson Had Another Massive Fourth Quarter.
Wilson came into Sunday’s game with an NFL best 134.1 passer rating in the fourth quarter, and even on a day when things weren’t going well for him, he still managed to make big things happen late in the game. With the Seahawks needing to score and score fast to get back in the game, Wilson made some of his best throws of the game, including a 61-yard touchdown pass to Richardson and the 74-yarder for Lockett, who has scored in each of the past two games.
With those two touchdowns, Wilson now has 17 in the fourth quarter this season, the most fourth-quarter touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. He came into the game tied with Eli Manning, who had 15 in 2011.
3. The Seahawks Were Undone By Big Plays.
The Seahawks made plenty of big plays on offense to stay in the game, but the Jaguars were explosive as well, and big plays were the biggest factor in their ability to score 30 points.
The Jaguars had eight explosive plays (12-plus run, 16-plus pass) in the first three quarters, including touchdown passes of 18 and 75 yards. The Jaguars also got a 72-yard punt return from former University of Washington receiver Jaydon Mickens, setting up another third-quarter touchdown. Chris Ivory’s 34-yard run on Jacksonville’s first-quarter drive that ended in a field goal was the longest run against Seattle since its Week 3 loss in Tennessee.
On a related note…
4. Injuries Continue To Pile Up On Defense.
The Seahawks came into the game without several key players on defense—Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril are on injured reserve and Kam Chancellor is also out for the season—and two more Pro Bowlers were unable to finish this game. Bobby Wagner, who is having a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season, left the game early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury, and things only got worse later for the linebackers, with K.J. Wright suffering a concussion late in the third quarter.
5. There Were More Encouraging Signs From The Running Game.
For the second straight game, Mike Davis provided a spark in the running game, this time rushing for 66 yards on five carries. He also had a huge gain on a screen pass, but that was negated by a penalty. Wilson added 50 yards on the ground, and the Seahawks finished with 141 rushing yards, an encouraging trend heading into the homestretch of the season. Unfortunately, Davis left the game early with a rib injury.