CINCINNATI—The dramatic, comeback win was in reach for the Seahawks when Geno Smith hit Tyler Locket for a big gain that put Seattle only 11-yards away from a game-winning touchdown.
But three plays later, following a short run and two incomplete passes, Smith was hit as he threw, the ball falling to the turf as the Bengals celebrated a 17-13 win.
It was a frustrating finish to a game the Seahawks felt like the could have and should have won, especially because of how many opportunities they had to take the lead in the second half with the defense doing its part to stop the Bengals.
But after managing only three points on four trips inside the 10-yard line in the second half, the Seahawks were unable to finish off a win, and head back to Seattle with a 3-2 record they feel could be a game better.
"It makes it more frustrating, of course, yeah, sure it does, because it was there," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "That was a game to win right there. We come out here, on the road, their crowd going crazy, and we're right there. We're inside the 10 a bunch of times to win the game, and unfortunately we just couldn't get it in."
Yet as disappointing as the finish to the game was, Carroll and his team also came out of the game feeling good about how the team played overall, and about the direction they are headed.
"It was the red zone stuff that got us, we needed our touchdowns," Carroll said. ".So our numbers will look like crap there in the red zone. But man, we were so close to winning that football game. Give (the Bengals) credit, they hung in there and got it. But I love the way we played today. I know we had our penalties and we had some stuff and there's always stuff to get better, but that's a freakin' competitive group man, they fought their ass off today, both sides of the football. It's going to help us down the road, we're going to keep playing really hard, we're going to keep playing tough, and we're going to make it hard on everybody we play."
Said safety Julian Love, "We're leaving frustrated, but we know what's ahead of us. That was a message coach Carroll shared."
The afternoon was particularly tough on quarterback Geno Smith, who placed the blame squarely on his shoulders, even if there were plenty of factors beyond his play that contributed to the loss. Smith made plenty of great throws on his way to 323 passing yards, but he was also intercepted twice, including once in the red zone, and was part of the offense's struggles to convert in the red zone throughout the second half.
"Overall, I just should have been better," Smith said. "I feel like the defense played a tremendous game, I feel like the offensive line played a tremendous game. You felt Charles Cross out there, he did a tremendous job. I'm so proud of Jaxon (Smith-Njigba) the way he played, so proud of DK (Metcalf) the way he fought and battled, as well as Tyler (Lockett). I feel like the guys deserve to win today, obviously I didn't do my best job today to get that done. Those are things I put on myself, I lay right at my feet, right on my shoulders, and I look forward to the next opportunity."
And while Smith was upset with himself for the way Sunday's game went, he doesn't plan on letting the sting of this loss linger for very long.
"You've got to flush it," he said. "You play long enough in this game, it'll to happen. But you've got to flush it, you've got to move on to the next one. We've got a lot of football left to play. I believe in the type of player that I am. I know that today isn't indicative of who I am as a player. A few mistakes that I'd love to have back, but sometimes that happens in this game. So you've just got to flush it and move on."
"I feel like the guys played a tremendous game, and if I made a few less mistakes and a few more plays, then we're in here talking about a win. Really, it falls at my feet, on my shoulders, and that next one, that next one is what it's all about."
As hard as Smith was on himself taking the blame for the loss, his teammates are confident that he and the Seahawks offense will be fine next week and beyond.
"I'm very confident (in the offense)," said outside linebacker Boye Mafe, who had his third straight game with a sack. "Our offense has been clicking all year."
Said rookie receiver Jake Bobo, who had 43 yards on two catches, "This team is going to be just fine. We're going to keep battling, keep following 7 (Smith), keep following those guys on the other side of the ball, we'll be all right."
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 6 at the Bengals at Paycor Stadium on October 15, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery. This gallery will be updated throughout the game.