MINNEAPOLIS—For the second straight week, the Seahawks started fast and built a double-digit lead, and for the second straight week, that lead didn't hold up.
And with Sunday's 30-17 loss to the Vikings, the Seahawks find themselves looking for answers, particularly on defense, so they can turn things around.
"It's a really long season, there's a lot of games to be played, and we've got to make sure that we get right and get better, improve and make some adjustments so it doesn't look the same as it did," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We need to see four quarters of consistent football, enough to get a win, and we didn't have it today, it wasn't there."
Standing outside the Seahawks locker room, veteran left tackle Duane Brown was disappointed in how the day went for his team, but also knows there's a lot of time for the team to get back on track.
"We've got a lot to learn from," said Brown. "We've got a long season left, but we have to have a sense of urgency going into this week."
Asked to sum up his feelings about the day, linebacker Carlos Dunlap II paused for a beat, though about his answer, then said, "Frustrated, disappointed, we got out-executed this game and the second half of last game. Nobody loves to see that happen. We know we have way more ability than we have shown but we have to go do it."
As Dunlap noted, the Seahawks have the talent and ability to be a much better team than their 1-2 record would indicate, but there's a difference between having the talent and potential to be a winning team and actually playing like it for four quarters.
The Seahawks won their season opener in Indianapolis comfortably and looked good in all three phases of the game, and they started well last week against the Titans, building a 15-point halftime lead. But the Titans were able to storm back with a big second half and win in overtime, and on Sunday the Vikings came back from an early17-7 deficit in the second quarter to score 23 unanswered points, shutting Seattle out in the second half.
Seattle's defense struggled throughout to slow Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense down, with the Vikings scoring on six of their first seven possessions, and Carroll acknowledged after the game that something needs to change on that side of the ball.
"We threw everything out there," Carroll said. "All the stuff we've been working on, we went with today. We tried different things to try to get pressure, but they were ahead on the rhythm, they did a nice job staying ahead of us."
Carroll was then asked if the on-field personnel needed to change if throwing different schematic things at the Vikings didn't work, and said, "We'll take a look at everything. We'll look at everything. We've got to get better, we've just got to get better, so we'll utilize all the ways we can go about that."
And while no one on defense is denying that they need to get better on that side of the ball, it's hardly fair to lay all of the blame at their feet. For as good as the Seahawks offense has looked at times this season, including in the first half Sunday with Seattle scoring on each of its first three possessions, that group has struggled to maintain that level of play in the second half. The Seahawks were shut out in the second half Sunday and managed only one first down on each of their first two possessions of the half, and this was the third straight game without a score in the third quarter.
For one half, Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf were putting on a clinic, with Metcalf catching five passes for 88 yards and a score, and Chris Carson was having a great game, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown, but that production dried up in the second half.
"We came out very aggressive, physical," Brown said. "We wanted to be that way on the road against a tough defense. We had the right mentality. Great play-calling, everything was firing on all cylinders. The second half, I can't pinpoint what changed. They've got great players over there, so you can't take anything away anything from them… We didn't execute as well as we should have."
Brown added that communication was an issue in the second half, leading to some missed blocking assignments, "and they made us pay for it. We need to be better in those situations."
Wilson, who threw for 298 yards and a touchdown without an interception, isn't down on his team despite consecutive losses.
"I'm not discouraged by any means," he said. "I believe in what we can do and what we will do."
"I think that we are confident that we can respond in the right way… As we go through the season, there will be challenges. It's going to be a journey. We're not stopping here. I think our mentality has to be at the highest level always, and that's where we are at. We know that and we're prepared to do that and we're prepared to go on this journey, and we know it's going to be tough. You take one game at a time, play one moment at a time. We can always be cleaner and we can always be better. But I believe in this football team. I believe in what we can do and what we will do."
With 14 games left, there's still plenty of time for the Seahawks to turn things around, and they've made the playoffs despite slow starts multiple times under Carroll, recovering from 0-2 starts in 2018 and 2015 to make the playoffs, and Carroll is planning on this team getting back on track this season too.
"Stay together and hang together," Carroll said when asked what his message was for the team. "It's a long season. We don't know how the stories are going to be written. Right now you guys will go off and try to figure it out, but we don't know. We don't know what's going to happen with other teams and all of that. We have to just keep staying together and connected and keep giving ourselves the opportunity to have a great season. Only way to do that is to hang. Here we go, we're on the road next week. We've got to get through this start and get rolling."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Minnesota Vikings in their third game of the 2021 season at U.S. Bank Stadium. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington Lottery.