Given that Seattle fell behind 31-0 in the first half in Carolina on Sunday – only to score 24 unanswered points in a losing effort – there’s a growing theory that the Seahawks lost due to sluggishness stemming from the early kickoff time, which, by the way, was 10 a.m. PT.

But is that fair? Especially when a team falls behind by that much?

“Listen, I do think that plays into it a little bit, but I don’t think that’s an excuse or the reason they lost,” CBS Sports and Bleacher Report NFL analyst Phil Simms said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I’ve been a big believer – and you can go on my Bleacher Report videos and look it up if you want to call B.S. on me or whatever – but I’ve been a big believer that these four teams that are playing this Sunday have been head and shoulder better than the rest of football all year long. The Seattle Seahawks, they’re not the same team. First of all, you can’t construct a 53-man roster when you’re paying the majority of your salary cap to 10 players. So they’ve lost depth within their team. They’ve got to make the transition from a power-run team to (more of a passing team). You paid $100 million to your quarterback, Russell Wilson. You’ve got to get more creative on the offensive side of the ball. You need to surround him with some weapons. And the biggest thing is their defense.”

Indeed, Seattle looked helpless in the first quarter-and-a-half on Sunday. Wilson’s early pick-six certainly didn’t help, but the Panthers moved the ball at will.

“Yes, their defense is talented, but it’s definitely not as deep as it was two years ago when they beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl,” Simms said of Seattle. “Just look at their defensive line then to now. And the biggest thing is with their defense, NFL football has caught on to the Seattle Seahawks’ scheme. You have Dan Quinn with the Atlanta Falcons. You have Gus Bradley with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Everybody is studying Seattle because they’ve been the best defense, and Ken Norton Jr. is with the Raiders. When you’re practicing against it a lot and you’re playing against it a lot and you’re studying one of the elite teams all the time to see how you can beat it, offenses have found all the right plays now within their scheme to kind of expose that Seattle scheme. I think they need to go back to the drawing board.”

All that said, in no way does Simms feel that Seattle’s window is closing.

“I still think their prime players have a lot of good years left,” he said. “I just think they’re going to have to kind of reformulate their plan of attack and find a way to continue to get depth on their football team. They’re paying Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Russell Okung, K.J. Wright and Kam Chancellor, they’re basically getting the whole salary – $150 million is almost all going to those guys right there. So they are just going to have to find bargains in free agency, and of course they’re going to have to do really well in the draft as well.”


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