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Seahawks loose winning recipe, Russell Wilson's frantic rally denied in 25-17 defeat to Chargers

Russell Wilson pushes both hands outward. Then he dropped his head.

David Moore drops all of himself to the turf. He stayed down, as if shot.

The Chargers is all about them and the field. It was a white blur of escapism and celebration.

This is what the ingredients for an indispensable recipe looks like.

David Moore on a final, untimed down following two penalties. The ball claps off the receiver's chest in the back of the end zone. That's how Seattle's 25-17 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers ends Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

But the Seahawks (4-4) lost it way before that.

"We did not get a turnover; we needed to do it, "coach Pete Carroll said. "We did not get to the quarterback enough to cause those plays to happen.

"We were not able to compliment (on offense), like we did for the last month or so: Play both sides of the ball really clean. What happens, we are going to be in a tough one. And we were.

"We were poised and ready to win it. So we're disappointed we did not get that done. "

The recipe has become clear since late September, after two ghastly defeats to begin this year. That recipe has become the only way to win. The lack of even one ingredient means likely defeat. These Seahawks are not as experienced and talented as many areas as in the previous six years, five of them playoff ones. System and scheme, not only talents, is what wins for Seattle this season.

On the open, the Seahawks must run the ball early and often with Chris Bowing lead Chris Carson. Wilson's play-action passes. Fewer, more opportunistic pass-throughs do not pass on their guardians. See: 14 completions in 17 throws but 248 yards passing for Wilson last week, a win at Detroit.

On defense, the recipe takes hold of the opposing quarterback into quick decisions, and to take the ball away. The Seahawks forced 16 turnovers in the first seven games.

Sunday, for the first time since way back on Sept. 17 at Chicago, the Seahawks did not speak of the above.

The defense did not get Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Few do. He has been sacked for just nine times in seven games, the fewest of any full-time quarterbacks in the NFL. And the Seahawks did not force a turnover, after forcing three previous Sundays in the win at Detroit.

Plus, in the third quarter the Seahawks lost strong safety Bradley McDougald to a knee injury. He's been the Seahawks' most consistent and best player from the opening game. Second-year man Delano Hill replaced McDougald, who returned for one in the fourth quarter.

Oakland and Detroit, the Chargers rolled to 249 yards on just 25 plays helped in Sunday's opening. Allowing 10 yards per play is no way to win a game.

The Seahawks were fortunate to be down 19-10 into the fourth quarter before Wilson's interception for the Chargers touchdown.

Rivers completed 13 of 26 passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers in his 200th consecutive NFL start.

"It's really important, man. We've been prising ourselves on getting turnovers. Creating turnovers. I feel like our turnovers help us out, "All-linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

"We definitely need to get the ball. We did not do that today. That's something that stands out to me. We need to get the ball out. "

Carson left the open and the game after 40 yards on eight carries in the first half, with a 15-yard run on the game's first play. Seattle starts with four consecutive runs for the second straight game. Three games ago, in the win over Oakland in London, they ran seven consecutive times with Carson.

Sunday he re-injured his sore groin and hip that caused him to miss the win at Arizona Sept. 30, the only game in his previous four he had not rushed for 100 yards.

"Chris has been pretty hot lately," Carroll said.

"We certainly missed him."

Mike Davis replaced him and gained 62 yards on 15 runs. But he's not the bullish, decisive Carson.

Even Davis said of the offense without Carson, "it changes the physicality … I feel like Chris can do it all.

"We usually click more. We did not click like we have been. "

Then, right guard D.J. Fluker, the massive road grader and team's best run blocker, left the game in the third quarter with a calf injury. Backup center Joey Hunt is absolutely not D.J. Fluker in size, experience and performance. But Hunt went in to right guard.

Not having Carson, Losing her best run blocker and thus not having made a rushing threat made the opening resort to almost every-passing, and Wilson and his line look like it was 2017 again. Or weeks one and two at Denver and Chicago this season. The Chargers sacked Wilson four times. That was the last time he'd been dumped since six sacks by the Bears in week two. Los Angeles hits him six other times. Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Moore. Wilson was running around avoiding more hits and sacks instead of throwing on time.

The Seahawks compounded Carson and Fluker with 10 penalties, for 83 yards. That included Justin Britt for highly debatable unnecessary-roughness flags during live-ball running plays, plus Moore for standing in the way of a Chargers Baldwin on a third down in the first helped. That resulted in a missed field goal.

Then there was the final penalty. J.R. Sweezy at the end.

It came after Wilson hit Nick Vannett with a bullet in the end zone. The Seahawks had all three time outs remaining.

They had Sebastian Janikowski kick a plop ball on a semi-onside kickoff, but the Chargers fielded that easily at their own 42-yard line.

"We had to stop them anyway," from there or deeper in Chargers' territory, "Carroll reasoned about the onside kick.

Jarran Reed sacked Rivers back to his own 40. The resulting punt was downed at the Seahawks 18.

Wilson and the Open had 82 yards and 1:24 to go, with no time outs.

Wilson completed a pass to Lockett to the Seattle 40, then the Seahawks got to the Chargers 44 thanks to a roughing-the-passer foul on Charger Melvin Ingram. Wilson ran to the Chargers 28, then spiked the ball with 30 seconds to go. On second down he dropped the shotgun snap and threw incomplete. Davis was short of the line to gain. On fourth down, Wilson chucked one in the end zone for Lockett, as it was broken up by Chargers cornerback Michael Davis, flags flew for interference on Davis.

Officials enforced the foul on the 1-yard line with no time left on the clock.

Defensive line barked simulated offensive signals. That caused sweezy to flinch early. The foul pushed the ball back to the 6.

"You can see it," Carroll said of the Chargers' uncalled baiting.

Wilson would not specify what that changed. Davis out of shotgun spread formation before the flag flew. From the 6, it had to be pass.

"We shot ourselves in the footsteps with the penalties," Britt said. "We've got to clean that up."

On the next and final snap, from the 6-yard line instead of the 1, Wilson waited then fired a dart back to the end zone between two defenders for Moore. Chargers safety Jahleel Addae made his way to Moore. The ball hit Moore squarely in the chest between the numbers, and slammed off his chest between the 8 and 3 on the front of his jersey to the turf.

"David Moore is making 10 plays out of 10," Wilson said.

"It was a tight window and we tried to get it in there. I think maybe it got tipped a hair, a little bit. It was tough. David has done a great job every year making those plays.

"He's going to make the next one. No doubt. "

Wilson completed 26 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and a killer interception.

Moore, but Chargers cornerback Desmond King was the only one out there. King caught the pass for an interception and returned it easily 42 yards. Los Angeles' Caleb Sturgis missed his second extra point, on top of a missed field goal, and seattle trailed 25-10.

The Seahawks' ensuing drive gained yards, to the Chargers 6-yard line, but took more than 5 minutes. Moore dropped a touchdown pass with more than 2 minutes left, costing Seattle more time. By the time Vannett caught his TD, only 1:50 remained.

The Rams lost at New Orleans to fall to 8-1. They are still three games plus a win over Seattle ahead of the Seahawks atop the NFC West. The Seahawks play the Rams at L.A. next Sunday.

January's playoffs, Carolina won and is 6-2. Minnesota won and is 5-3-1.

The Seahawks, two games behind the Panthers and 1 1/2 the Vikings for a wild-card spot, play at Carolina Nov. 25 and host Minnesota Dec. 10th

So the goal is still attainable. Just harder to attain as of Sunday night.

"I'm not discouraged." Wagner said. "There's eight more games. There's lots of season left. There are a lot of things left to be done.

"I disappointed in the loss? Of course. Who loves to lose? No one loves to lose. But discouraged? No. We have too many great players in this room. We have too much confidence. We show too much to feel like that. "



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