KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seattle twice drove into Kansas City territory in the third quarter, twice went for it on fourth down while trying to dig out of a 17-3 hole and twice came up short on the frigid field inside Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday.
That about sums up the Seahawks offense these days.
Geno Smith struggled to deal with the Chiefs pass rush, his wide receiver group missing injured Tyler Lockett struggled to make plays, and the Seahawks didn’t reach the end zone until a mostly meaningless touchdown in the closing minutes of a 24-10 loss that just about knocks Seattle out of the playoff hunt with two games left in the regular season.
Patrick Mahomes threw two TD passes for the Chiefs before running for a clinching score in the fourth quarter.
Travis Kelce had six catches for 113 yards, and Kadarius Toney and Jerick McKinnon had touchdown catches, as the AFC West champion Chiefs (12-3) remain tied with the Bills — who hold the tiebreaker — with two games to go.
Asked what the Seahawks need to do to change their fortunes, coach Pete Carroll replied: “Get better everywhere.”
It was the fifth loss in six games for a Seahawks team that was a surprising 6-3 after beating Arizona on Nov. 6.
The downfall of the Seahawks over the past six weeks largely can be attributed to the downfall of their offense, where a series of injuries to their running backs — and now a broken hand for Lockett — have kept Smith from having much help.
“It’s always good to have Tyler out there so all the attention’s not on me. So they’ve got to pick their poison,” said the Seahawks’ DK Metcalf, who had seven catches for 81 yards but had to work for every one of them.
Seattle (7-8) briefly lost another player Saturday when wide receiver Marquise Goodwin banged up his wrist. And about the only bright spot was Kenneth Walker III, who ran for 107 yards, most of it during their failed second-half comeback.
“He’s such a good player. We were just determined to go back out in the second half and make sure we’d find out,” Carroll said. “The guys up front did well. Everybody. The blockers were very efficient.”
Yet the Seahawks struggled to move the ball early, punting on their first six possessions before finally getting a field goal before halftime that came largely as the result of two penalties on Chiefs defensive back Joshua Williams.
Even then, Seattle failed to punch into the end zone three times before sending Jason Myers out for the kick.
“Our defense had just a great day, and some of those young guys, they played their tails off,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid acknowledged afterward. “The defensive line I thought was extraordinary.”
Meanwhile, the offensive woes of Carroll’s bunch — they were 2 of 14 on third down and tackled for a loss six times — were perhaps best encapsulated by the third quarter, when the Chiefs were struggling to build on their lead.
Seattle had a promising drive end when tight end Colby Parkinson was stuffed short after a fourth-down catch at the Kansas City 34, and a few minutes later, another fourth-down attempt failed when Laquon Treadwell didn’t run his route to the first-down marker and came up short of the line to reach.
The Seahawks were driving again in the fourth, trying once more to make it a one-possession game, when Smith spotted Treadwell heading to the pylon. But the Pro Bowl quarterback’s throw airmailed everyone but safety Juan Thornhill, who toe-tapped in the end zone to secure the interception with 7:42 left in the game.
That was the last good chance Seattle had to mount a comeback.
“He took a shot and the safety made a really good play,” Carroll said. “It’s the right read to take it.”
In the end, it was a dismal performance that closely mirrored the past two for the Seahawks, when they gained 287 yards in a 30-24 loss to the Panthers and 277 yards in last week’s 21-13 loss to the 49ers. And it was one that just about knocks the Seahawks out of the race for a playoff spot in the NFC with two games to go.