Reporter Bob Condotta grades the Seahawks’ loss to the Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just when you think you have a handle on what the Seahawks are, they up and surprise you.

True, the Seahawks got the loss that just about everyone expected Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs, 24-10.

But it didn’t really come the way most expected.

The defense, Seattle’s biggest Achilles heel much of the season, up held the No. 1 offense in the NFL to 297 yards, 132 below its season average coming in.

But the offense — tasked most of the season with having to outscore opponents — suddenly couldn’t make a play when it really mattered and was held to its lowest point total of the year (The Week Two 27-7 loss at San Francisco saw the offense shut out but special teams scored a TD).

No doubt, the absence of Tyler Lockett likely had a lot to do with that.

And maybe that’s the real story of this season — a team showing that there is still lots of work to be done to get the overall depth and talent to survive the personnel losses that inevitably arise.

On to the grades:

Quarterback

Statistically, it was as bad a game as Geno Smith has had all season as he finished with a season-low 74.5 passer rating and didn’t have a touchdown until garbage time. He had a few decisions he’d like to have back, notably passing up a run for a sure first down on the first possession of the third quarter to throw a pass to Marquise Goodwin that went incomplete. He also took the blame for the interception on a pass intended for Goodwin in the fourth quarter, saying he just didn’t throw a good pass. But trying to do without Lockett is obviously a big asterisk.

Grade: C

Running back

Kenneth Walker III again showed why the Seahawks drafted him where they did — it just took him a little too long to do so. Despite not practicing all week with an ankle injury, Walker had the third 100-yard game of his career with 107 after gaining just 16 yards in the first half. It still feels like Walker has a few too many negative runs. But that might be the price to pay for the big ones he gets. Travis Homer left early with an ankle injury, leaving the third-down/two-minute role to DeeJay Dallas.

Grade: B-plus

Receiver

Without Lockett to worry about, the Chiefs paid a lot of attention to DK Metcalf. He was able to battle through it for much of the game, making six catches for 71 yards in the first half. But he was held to just one for 10 on two targets in the second half. Smith looked elsewhere for targets on the two fourth-down plays that failed in the second half. And Metcalf said he should have gotten both feet in bounds on the pass in the end zone late in the first half. Metcalf also indicated that the holding call against him on the first play of the game was valid. This game illustrated again Seattle’s need to add to its receiving competition behind Lockett and Metcalf as the rest of the Seahawks receivers had just four catches for 28 yards, with a long gain of 17 by Laquon Treadwell on the final drive.

Grade: B-minus

Tight ends

The tight ends put up a decent looking day — six receptions for 76 yards and Seattle’s only TD, that by Noah Fant in the final minutes. But the Seahawks might have hoped for more when so much attention was going to Metcalf.

Grade: C-plus

Offensive line

For 28 minutes, this was a really bad performance up front as the Seahawks had just 32 yards on their first 20 plays and 10 rushing yards on their first eight attempts. But working a little quicker — and Smith being under center more — helped the running game get jump-started in the second half, and the line seemed to play better as the game wore on. Still, Seattle’s front has seemed to take too long to get going of late. Gabe Jackson and Phil Haynes again rotated at right guard. Stone Forsythe saw some snaps as an extra — and eligible — tackle in heavy formations as the Seahawks tried to get their running game going early. He took over at right tackle in the third quarter when Abe Lucas was sidelined after reinjuring his elbow. Lucas was beaten by George Karlaftis for a sack that ended Seattle’s fourth possession of the game.

Grade: C-minus

Defensive line

The defensive line, with Al Woods out, began with Poona Ford at nose tackle and Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson at ends. Despite not having Woods and Bryan Mone to clog the middle, this might have been Seattle’s best performance of the year against the run when considering the opponent, holding the Chiefs to 77 yards on 22 carries with no run of longer than 8 yards. Harris (six) and Ford (four) combined for 10 tackles. More pass rush is needed, though, as Patrick Mahomes was sacked just once and hit three times. And the ease with which the Chiefs moved when they got in the red zone — going 3 for 3 — is hard to ignore.

Grade: B-minus

Linebacker

Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton tied for the team lead with eight tackles as each seemed to play the run as well as they have all year. But Brooks in particular had some issues in coverage when matched up against Travis Kelce. Brooks appeared to be the primary defender on the 52-yard completion to Kelce that helped put the game away in the fourth quarter. Darrell Taylor had what felt like his best game in quite a while with four tackles and a sack. Boye Mafe had some good moments, finishing with three tackles and one of what were just two tackles for a loss for the Seahawks. But much more pass rush is needed all around.

Grade: C-plus

Secondary

The Seahawks didn’t give up a pass play to a receiver of longer than 13 yards (Kelce, a tight end, had three of 20 or longer), showing how well the cornerbacks appeared to play. Tariq Woolen saved a touchdown with some blazing catch-up speed on a deep pass to Justin Watson in the first quarter. Teez Tabor got the start at strong safety with Ryan Neal sidelined, but he was beaten for a 27-yard gain by Kelce, and Johnathan Abram came on to play much of the second half.

Grade: B

Special teams

The cold weather seemed to affect the kickers somewhat for both teams. But Jason Myers made another field goal and is 27 of 28 this season and the Seahawks again covered kicks well. Godwin Igwebuike also had another good kickoff return — this one of 48 yards — and is averaging 28.3 for the season. But he also mishandled a kick in the second quarter that forced Seattle to start at its 7 while down 17-0.

Dallas, back in the lineup after two weeks off, again returned punts with Lockett out.

Grade: B-plus

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